WHERE TO STAY
For a relatively small city (population 1.6m), Stockholm has a range of accommodation options for every budget, from small boutique hotels to waterside Airbnbs. A more affordable option, Blique by Nobis is a contemporary hotel set in a former 1930s warehouse in Hagastaden, a fashionable art district with plenty of neighbourhood restaurants and cafes. In typical Scandi style, rooms are simple but chic, with comfy beds, clever storage space and Byredo toiletries in en-suite bathrooms. The hotel has a spacious outdoor terrace and bar (open in the summer), a rooftop bar and two restaurants – one of which serves a continental breakfast. Hotel Frantz is another surprisingly affordable option, between Stockholm’s old town and the district of Södermalm. Housed in a historic building that dates back to the mid-17th century, it’s a family-owned boutique hotel, with 48 rooms varying in size, from Våra Rums (small but perfect for a weekend) to suites and family rooms. Guests can try traditional Scandinavian dishes at the restaurant and order drinks from the cosy bar.
For something a little more upmarket, Miss Clara is in the middle of the city, two minutes’ walk from the famous Drottninggatan shopping street and a short distance from Stockholm Central Station. Guests can stay in typically chic bedrooms (superior rooms overlook the beautiful Sveavägen gardens), and dine at the excellent restaurant and bar which serves Italian food with a Swedish twist. A short walk away, Berns Hotel next to Nybrokajen Harbour is a top choice if you want to stay more centrally. The boutique hotel oozes style and the grand interiors are seriously impressive. Each of the generously sized 82 rooms has views of the river, while the Rooftop Terrace Room on the top floor comes with huge windows and a balcony terrace.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Stockholm is a smorgasbord for fine and casual dining, with a buzzing bar scene that’s especially lively on Thursday and Friday nights. Because it’s a relatively small city, you don’t need to book a table at the more casual spots – or queue outside – unlike other European cities. For traditional Swedish food, make a beeline for Meatballs for the People in Södermalm, a neighbourhood restaurant which specialises in typical Swedish cuisine. Diners can order every type of meatball (made from pork, beef, chicken, reindeer or veg, to name a few), served with mash, gravy and lingonberries. Symbiosis serves modern European dishes in its stylish dining room, while Bar Agrikultur further down the street celebrates the best of Swedish produce – locals head to the bar for wine and small sharing plates in the early evening.
In and around Vasastan’s picturesque streets, there are plenty of modern restaurants and cosy bars. Totemo Ramen, a small but cosy restaurant, serves some of the best Asian food in the city. It’s only open for lunch until 3pm, so get there early if you want to sit at the bar for hearty bowls of ramen filled with homemade noodles. Stop for cinnamon and cardamom buns from the nearby Lillebrors Bageri, then walk to Ambar for cocktails, wine and Asian bar snacks.
For fine dining, book a table at Gastrologik on Artillerigatan, which serves contemporary Swedish dishes in a minimalist dining room, or visit Michelin-starred Ekstedt on Humlegårdsgatan for wood-fired meat, fish and veg made with seasonal ingredients. Romantic meals are best spent at Etoile where you can enjoy contemporary dishes inspired by Africa and Asia, while Operakällaren inside the historic Opera House is one of the city’s best spots for French dishes with a Nordic twist.
Sweden’s national cinnamon roll day is at the start of October, but you can find delicious baked goods year-round. Vete-Katten on Kungsgatan is a Stockholm institution showcasing traditional buns, cream cakes, fresh donuts and warm bread. You can sit in the main café, or ask for coffee and buns to go. Skeppsbro Bageri by the world-famous baker Håkan Johansson Frost is also worth a visit, as is Fabrique for its gooey brownies and warm cookies.
There’s no shortage of cool bars in the city, but some of our favourites include Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessen in the fashionable district of Östermalmstorg. There’s an excellent wine and cocktail list, as well as non-alcoholic options which can be enjoyed alongside bar snacks and plates of cheese. Make like the locals and head to Savant Bar, a ten-minute walk from Schmaltz, or hop on the tram to get to Grus Grus, a candlelit wine bar. Elsewhere, Pharmarium, is a cool cocktail bar with unique drinks and Swedish beers.
WHERE TO SHOP
Stockholm is one of the best cities in Europe for shopping. In the city centre, you’ll find department stores, designer boutiques and high-street shops like Cos, Arket, H&M and & Other Stories. Now the UK is no longer in the EU, British travellers can enjoy tax-free shopping, so don’t forget to ask for a form at each shop for goods that cost at least 200 SEK (around £15). Once the form has been stamped, take it to the Global Blue office at Stockholm Arlanda Airport to process it and receive your refund.
Visit luxury department store NK Stockholm for designer brands like Acne Studios, Ba&sh, Isabel Marant, Loewe and Sandro. It also has a great selection of women’s denim, as well as a restaurant, deli and bakery. From here, you can walk to flagship stores by Swedish brands like Ganni, A Day’s March and Maje, then take the metro to Södermalm for Scandi interiors and independent homeware brands at Grandpa, Tambur and Esteriör.
For vintage shopping, Judits Second Hand on the main strip of Hornsgatan has designer pieces by Gucci, Hermès and Yves Saint Laurent, while Siv & Åke on Sankt Paulsgatan stocks unique designer shoes and accessories you won’t find elsewhere. Browse the rails at 59 Vintage Store on Hantverkargatan for 1970s gems, then make a beeline for Arkivet on Nybrogatan where you’ll find old-season Ganni and Totême. Don’t miss the Acne Archive outlet store in Torsgatan where old-season items are up to 70% off.
WHAT TO DO
Stockholm has one of the best cultural scenes of any city in the world, with over 60 museums and galleries to visit. If you’re strapped for time, don’t miss the Nationalmuseum, The Royal Palace, or Fotografiska (the world's largest contemporary photography gallery). A culture-filled trip should also include long riverside walks – Stockholm spans a total of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, one of the prettiest being on Strandvägen Boulevard. Be sure to get a feel for Stockholm’s traditional architecture, which is full of art deco and Nordic influences.
Take a ferry to Djurgården, a beautiful island surrounded by water. The main ferry takes about ten minutes, but you can also walk across the connecting bridge or hop on a local bus. You could easily spend a whole day at Djurgården, visiting the Rosendal Palace, Abba Museum and the amusement park – ideal if you’re travelling with kids. Walk around the Royal National City Park, which looks particularly beautiful in autumn, then catch a bus to Gamla Stan, the city’s old town. Here, you’ll find pretty orange, red and brown buildings as well as some key landmarks like the Nobel Prize Museum, The Royal Palace and Storkyrkan, a historic pink church.
Flight Time: London to Stockholm Arlanda takes 2 hours 30 minutes.
When To Go: Stockholm is a year-round city, but the best times to visit are during the autumn, spring and summer months. If you don’t like the cold, avoid the city during winter when temperatures average -1°C.
Currency: Swedish krona (SEK) but the country is practically cash free, so you won’t need to exchange money before your visit.
Time: GMT plus 1 hour.
Things To Note: Stockholm has a well-run transport network, comprising buses, the metro, commuter rails, trams and ferries, so it’s easy to avoid taxis which can be very expensive.
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