Four days in Stockholm

When most people think of Sweden, they probably think of Ikea, meatballs, and maybe Volvo. Ok, I think of those things too, but also street style bloggers like Elin Kling, fashion giant H&M (which also produces my beloved COS), and Byredo, which makes my perfume. It may not be the A-list European destination that, say, Paris or Rome is, but Stockholm is a cool, clean, cute city that’s totally worth a visit, especially if you’re going to hit Copenhagen too (as we did). There are a gazillion museums, great restaurants, world-class shopping, and lots of boats. Here’s how we spent our four days there.

Day one
We got a later start than anticipated, thanks to my delayed luggage (note to self: no more tight connections through Amsterdam) but began our vacation with lunch at Lisa Elmqvist, which was close to our hotel and came highly recommended by a friend. The restaurant is in a gourmet food hall, and they specialize in fish; here, I had my first (of many) taste of Skagen, which is smoked shrimp on toast and incredibly freaking delicious. They also sell fresh fish to go!

Our next order of business was to get a Stockholm Pass, which we did through our hotel. I highly recommend it, because it covers admission to most museums, as well as boat tours and the hop-on, hop-off bus and boat—we used these to get around the city, and the boats are especially key, since many parts of the city are on separate islands. So of course the first thing we did with it was take a boat tour under and around some of the bridges.

Afterward, we hit Gamla Stan, the old town, where the Royal Palace, the Nobel Museum, and a bunch of narrow, winding streets (and tourists!) can be found. Stockholm was mostly spared during the blitzes of WWII, so this neighborhood has an almost magical, frozen-in-time feel to it.

We had both thankfully slept on the plane, so we made it to a late dinner at Bakfickan—it’s the same chef as the Michelin-starred Operakallaren around the corner, but more traditional Swedish cuisine (and much lower prices). I had my first Swedish meatballs of the trip, and they were just as I had hoped—perfect.

Day two
After a tasty breakfast at our hotel and a reunion with my luggage, we took the bus to Sodermalm, which is an island of hipness, literally and figuratively. We did a little shopping—I loved the boutique Grandpa, and Sean got pants at Nudie Jeans—then had a light lunch of oysters and champagne at Nytorget 6.

This was the only day it rained on our trip, but thankfully we had a plan to go to Fotografiska, the
contemporary photography museum. The exhibits we saw varied from photojournalism to fashion photography to art-as-activism, however I was most intrigued by an installation that used machine learning to predict the future landscape of Stockholm.

It was pouring by dinnertime, so we had a romantic walk in the rain to Babette. The restaurant was tiny and we were wedged into a corner of the bar, but it was totally worth it—the food was fresh and delicious, the wine was fantastic, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.

Day three
We had several recommendations to check out the Vasamuseet, which is devoted to a 17th-century ship that sunk on its maiden voyage and sat on the bottom of the harbor for 300 years. (Can you sense my enthusiasm?) It was included in our Stockholm Pass, so we decided to go…until we saw the approximately 150 people waiting in line to get in. Thankfully the Abba museum is a few doors down, so we Supertrooper-ed over there instead. Pro tip: buy your tickets online and skip the wait (you can even do it on your phone). I would say I’m a moderate Abba fan and I definitely learned a lot; that said, you don’t have to know much about the band at all to enjoy the museum. There are a lot of interactive exhibits—karaoke, quizzes, dancing—that even kids were into. But most importantly, there’s the helicopter from the Arrival cover.

On the same island is Oaxen Slip, which was recommended to us by several people as well. They make their own mayonnaise and it was quite possibly the most delicious mayo I’ve ever had. We also had more smoked shrimp and a rather delicious steak. I should also mention that Grona Lund, the amusement park, is on this island; we did not go, but if ascending to terrifying heights and being dropped upside-down is your thing, this is the place to do it.

After two glasses of rosé at lunch (hey, I was on vacation!), I was ready to shop. Armed with a list of stores from my Stockholm-residing Internet friend Dita, I hit NK, the department store, where I scored an Isabel Marant dress on major sale (not a Swedish designer, I know). This part of Normalm is the main shopping area and lots of the Swedish brands can be found here: Toteme, Rodebjer, Filippa K, Samsoe & Samsoe, Our Legacy, and Byredo. I also loved the vibe in Mathilde, where I fell in love with this dress by Line of Oslo.

We had done a lot of walking on this day, so we decided to stick close to our hotel for dinner. We had walked by Taverna Brillo a few nights earlier and it looked like a happening place, so that’s where we went. This was one of my favorite meals of the trip—really fresh, delicious Italian food, great wine (and Aperol spritzes to start), and amazing people-watching.

Day four
We had very ambitious plans to hit a bunch of sites on our last day, and we were off to a great start with the National Library of Sweden. It’s a beautiful mix of new and old architecture, and also home to the Devil’s Bible (Codex Gigas), the largest medieval illuminated manuscript in the world (who knew?).

We thought that City Hall was covered by the Stockholm Pass, but it wasn’t; you also have to take a tour, and those were sold out for several hours, so we gave up and went to lunch at Prinsen. Our salads were delicious (and not cheap) and the people-watching was off the charts—I particularly enjoyed watching tourists wander into Céline across the street, and I will forever wonder if the blonde woman bought the light gray or dark gray Phantom bag (we left before she checked out).

Our last few afternoon hours were spent back in Sodermalm to pick up Sean’s pants (and Sean did quite a bit of damage at two record stores), then back in Gamla Stan to Swedish Hasbeens, where I found a pair of pink clog sandals on major sale. We toasted our finds at Pharmarium, a cocktail bar in Stortoget, the main square in Gamla Stan and also an excellent place for people-watching (in case you haven’t figured it out, this is one of my favorite things to do on vacation, and in general).

We capped off our last night with dinner at Woodstockholm AB, a postage stamp of a restaurant with delightful staff and really innovative, visually beautifully food. The theme when we were there was artists, so we did the tasting menu (which was a veritable bargain at roughly $85). The vibe reminded me of home, but with a distinctly Swedish twist—tidy and thoughtful.

Where we stayed
I absolutely loved our hotel, Miss Clara by Nobis. It’s a former girls’ school, and while the rooms are pretty minimalist, the common spaces feel very grand. We had breakfast included in our rate, and the buffet was one of the best I’ve ever had—everything from Swedish pancakes to smoked fish and a DIY museli bar. Even better, the toiletries were Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique scent, which happens to be my summer perfume. I felt like I hit the personal care jackpot! I also liked that the hotel was a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas, although their sister hotel, the Nobis, is right in the thick of things. I’d highly recommend either; as a bonus, both are members of Design Hotels, which is now part of the Marriott chain, so you can earn points too!


Grace Liang said...

Stockholm looks amazing! I've never been but hope to go soon now that i've read this!

Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom said...

Wow! So many sights, food and I love what you wore! I have never been to Stockholm, but would love to see it someday.


Ruth said...

It looks and sounds just amazing there! I haven't been there but I would love to go!

Kinga K. said...

Awesome pics, I want to go there ♥

Claire Justine said...

Looks like you had a great time Cheryl. You got some beautiful photos :)

Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at The Weekend Blog Hop. Hope you can join us today :)

mummabstylish said...

Looks great, thanks for sharing. Jacqui Mummabstylish

Elegance and Mommyhood said...

WOW Stockholm looks amazing and I want to visit soon! Love your fresh modern outfits through the trips and all the amazing food you ate and places you saw. The photo of you taken from the top of the stairs is my favorite.

It looks like a great trip, but it looks costly too. Give or take how much would a 3-night 4-day trip cost for two people?