From Gothenburg we continued on to Stockholm (4-8 Sep). After so much rushing around in Gothenburg I was a bit museum’d out and content to spend time just catching up on the kind of general admin that accumulates while you’re travelling (email, photos, etc), but Alex was keen to get out there and devour as much as possible, so we took time to do the things that interested each of us the most at our own pace.
Stockholm is not as expensive as Oslo and probably more on par with Denmark, but you get more SEK than DKK for your £ (at the moment, anyway). I was particularly impressed by how easy it was to get around the city: the public transport system is frequent, fast and efficient. We didn’t find quite so much evidence of cutting edge Scandinavian design in Stockholm as we did in Copenhagen (but perhaps we didn’t look in the right places), so it was more about the Vikings this time: from history and artefacts to, best of all, food (see Eats below). :D
10 top things to see and do in Stockholm
- Cycling tour. As usual, something like this is a great introduction to a new city and you can’t get much more Scandinavian than riding around on bikes that require back pedalling to brake.
- Gamla Stan. Wander around aimlessly and just enjoy the beautiful streets. This is particularly nice in the evening when there’s still some life around but it’s much quieter.
- Stockholm City Hall tower. Climb up to the top to take your postcard perfect photos of Gamla Stan.
- Monteliusvägen. If you visit Stockholm during a month when the City Hall tower is closed, you want to save some money, or you just fancy a walk and another nice view, get off the T-bana at Slussen and head to the left to climb up the hill for a very picturesque stroll.
- Vasa Museum. If you only go to one museum in Stockholm make it this one. Catch one of the guided tours and watch out the amazing documentary film about the ship’s reconstruction, then you can spend an hour or two pouring over the detailed exhibits and trying to take a photo that does the Vasa justice (good luck!).
- Fotografiska. When we visited Stockholm’s museum of photography we caught two excellent exhibitions of works by Christer Strömholm and Sally Mann. It’s open until 9pm every day (except Midsummer’s Eve and Christmas Eve), which is a bonus.
- National Historical Museum of Stockholm. This is where you can go to get your historical Viking fix: weapons, glassware, jewellery and coin hoards, even a skeleton. The museum has lots of other exhibits too, and it’s free on Fridays between 13:00-17:00!
- Nobel Museum. Alex did this one by himself and he raved about it and said it was inspirational.
- Thorildsplan T-bana station. Check it out if you’re a fan of retro gaming. :)
- Östermalm’s Saluhall. A very fancy market hall that I don’t recommend buying anything from, but it is nice to wander around and some of the stalls give out free samples.
If we hadn’t already been to the Norsk Folk Museum in Oslo and Old Bergen we probably also would have visited Stockholm’s famous open air museum, Skansen. And if we weren’t a bit roller-coastered-out from doing three other Scandinavian theme parks in the previous two weeks we probably would have gone to Gröna Lund too. (Although I’m not sure if I would have been brave enough to ride on Insane!)
Eats & drinks
- Nystekt Strömming. A fried herring stand out the front of Slussen station that may look no more appealing than a miscellaneous kebab stand but is well worth it for a cheap, tasty and very Scandinavian meal.
- There’s another takeaway-with-picnic-tables stand roughly in front of Ringvägen 4 that does cheap and tasty Thai food.
- Örtagården. An all-you-can-eat, mostly vegetarian buffet overlooking Östermalm’s Saluhall. 99SEK for lunch and you probably won’t need dinner.
- Cafe Art. A nice underground cafe in the middle of Gamla Stan. Recommended by Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet it was nonetheless very quiet when we were there. Excellent service.
- Drop Coffee. A lovely and bright cafe next to Mariatorget T-bana station. Great tea and cardamom buns (I’m sure the coffee is excellent too) and free wifi.
- Airfur. Sweden’s first and only restaurant dedicated to Viking food! We went despite expecting it to be cheesy but it’s not at all: the staff are great and seemed like they were really enjoying their roles, the food is excellent and the extensive list of different meads is as impressive as the drinks are strong and delicious. The decor is fantastic – we saw originals of the authentic glassware at the National Historical Museum. It was one of the priciest meals we’ve had on this journey but it’s well worth it if you want to treat yourself.