Monday, 28 May 2018

A Weekend in the City | Stockholm



In March, a few friends & myself popped over to Stockholm for a weekend of museums & architecture.  The city had never been high on my list of places to visit, but I fell in love with it pretty quickly.  Keep reading to find out what we got up to...

How We Got There...
We found a pretty cheap deal with Ryanair; flying from London Stansted to Skavsta, and then home to Stansted from Vasteras airport, for about £40 return.  Living in Europe, budget airlines like Ryanair are an absolute godsend! It gives us the opportunity to explore so many places without breaking the bank.  Yes, there may be delays and not as much legroom, but for £20 per flight, can we really complain?

Once we had arrived at Skavsta, we paid 159 Kr, about £14.00, to get in to the city by coach with Flygbussarna.  The journey took about an hour and a half and some of the landscape views were pretty great.

Where We Stayed...
We chose to stay at the Radisson Blu in the Norrmalm district, conveniently located right by Stockholm Centralstation.  The hotel was lush, decently priced and had a jacuzzi and sauna that we of course took advantage of after long days exploring. I would definitely recommend staying there if you plan on visiting Stockholm.  If you are looking to book a hotel, try Booking.com and click HERE to be rewarded with £15 off.

What We Did...
One thing I don't think any of us realised before we visited Stockholm (apart from the fact hardly anywhere takes cash!) is how the city is made up of islands.  I want to say there is 14, but don't quote me on that.  We tried to plan our days by island, pinpointing what we wanted to see and working out the best route.  I will try to talk about all the things we did in the same way...

On our first day there, we were pretty tired so after checking in to our hotel and grabbing a pizza, we found our bearings and headed to Moderna Museet.  Crossing the Skeppsholm Bridge, we got our first beautiful view of the city.



I love art museums, and I find modern art more interesting than a lot of other movements. The museum has such a good collection, and I'd definitely recommend visiting if you like modern and contemporary art, the pieces will definitely get you talking! After spending a good few hours wandering, we headed to Tak for a cocktail and a good sunset view before getting an early night.





Day two was very much a museum day! We left the hotel and walked to Djurgården via Östermalm.  Our first stop was Nordiska Museet, the Nordic Museum.  This place was SO cool, they had so much to see.  From fashion and jewellery, to Scandinavian home furniture, a fascinating exhibition about nordic light and the importance of design, a whole section dedicated to 1950s Sweden, and some amazing photography exhibitions, I doubt anyone would find this place boring.  It is the largest museum of cultural history in Sweden and gives an interesting insight in to Sweden's past and the lifestyle of it's people over the generations. 10/10 would recommend. 





We then headed to Skansen; an open-air museum where I did not expect to see brown bears and grey seals (they're just not on my radar when I'm planning a city break!). There is a lot at Skansen and it is impossible to see all of it in just a day, however you are given a handy map to help you explore as much as possible.  The museum is like a miniature Sweden, showcasing the different homes and farmsteads from across the country. It explores Swedish traditions, with staff in period costume.  And yes, there is also a zoo with native wildlife... Definitely worth a visit, it doesn't feel like you are in a capital city at all.





Our third and final stop was Vasamuseet, the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum that houses the only almost fully intact 17th century ship in the world. I can't say I've ever had much of an interest in maritime history, but I can see why this museum is Scandinavia's most popular.  Who knew looking at an old ship could be so interesting? The sheer size and scale of the Vasa is something you really have to see to comprehend, it is a true work of art.  Of course there is more than just the ship there; you can also wander the exhibitions, finding out what life would have been like on board.  If you are a history buff, or appreciate wooden carvings, or are a human, pop Vasamuseet on the top of your list for your Stockholm visit.



We started day three with the short walk to Stockholm's City Hall, a gorgeous piece of National Romantic architecture. I loved the red brickwork which looked stunning against the blue skies.  You can also get an amazing view of the city by walking through the inner courtyard and out via the arches.





There was no doubt that I was going to fall in love with Gamla Stan, the Old Town.  It is absolutely gorgeous and the many hidden architectural gems made it my favourite part of the whole weekend.  I love nothing more than wandering a city's old town, indulging in it's unique character and architecture. Gamla Stan had such an authentic feel and wasn't overwhelmed with tourists which made it the perfect place to explore.



I drive my friends mad with my love of cathedrals and churches so of course we stopped by Riddarholmskyrkan, one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, situated south of Birger Jarls torg (a beautiful square with an excellent pink building).  The church was gorgeous, unfortunately closed to visitors, but that didn't stop me admiring the exterior.





One of the Old Town's most popular spots for tourists is the Royal Palace, or Kungliga Slottet in Swedish. I love a palace and have a tendency to spend most of my time staring up at the beautiful ceilings.  I wouldn't say you must visit the Royal Palace, I've seen better, but it is impressive and if you are lost for something to do, it costs about 160 Kr.


Possibly the most recognisable part of Gamla Stan with it's narrow red and gold multi-story buildings is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm.  Surprisingly not too busy, considering it was a Sunday, we sat in the sunshine for a while eating waffles and taking in our surroundings.  I love having the opportunity on a city break to just sit and enjoy where you are, we don't have to always be doing something. I dare say the blue skies and the sunshine helped me to fall in love with Stortorget, but I bet it is still beautiful on a rainy day.



 
Before heading off to the Södermalm district, we visited Storkyrkan, informally referred to as Stockholm's cathedral.  An example of Brick Gothic architecture, this is the oldest church in Gamla Stan.  The cathedral was much smaller than a lot of the cathedrals I have visited, but was still beautiful.



We saw a few exhibitions at Fotografiska but my favourite was hands down Ellen von Unwerth's "Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women", I'd go as far as saying it was my favourite photography exhibition I have ever seen.  I loved the way it was presented; 7 galleries reflecting an emotional expression; love, play, power, gender, lust, passion and drama.  Ellen photographs the world's most beautiful women in a playful, sensual, and often candid way.  Her photographs are sexy without objectifying the subject, and as crazy as it may sound, looking at these photographs gave me a strange level of confidence, like I wanted to set my tripod up and take some self-portraits. I'm keen to get my hands on one of her books for future inspiration.  Sadly, this exhibition has now ended, but be sure to check out her work, it is truly beautiful.



Before heading home to our hotel, we walked up to the Fjällgatan viewpoint to get one last stunning view of a city we had all fallen in love with. 10/10 an excellent day.

What We Ate...
We of course made time to have some Swedish meatballs, but other than that I'm afraid we didn't really eat any Swedish food; most of our meals were a case of "where's the nearest place?" but I thought it would be fun to tell you about a couple of the places we did eat at, as they were pretty great.





Our first discovery was 1889 Fast Fine Pizza, a slightly different take on a fast food restaurant.  I'd go as far as saying this is the coolest pizza place in Europe; we all fell in love with the interior and the pizza was really good.  You order your food and drink at the counter, your pizza is then freshly made and brought over to you. They have a few choices available, including some vegetarian options, and they range in price from about £11 to £19, so not the cheapest of fast food places, but more than worth it for the warm yet edgy atmosphere and the great service.



Another restaurant close to our hotel was Gnarly Burger, serving American-style diner food.  Pretty much anywhere I can order nachos, a Philly cheese steak sandwich and a bottle of Corona is going to be a hit, so it's no surprise I liked this place.  I loved the laidback atmosphere and after a day of running around the city, it was the perfect place to relax and eat carbs.



Have you ever been somewhere and thought "hell, I do not belong here"? This was me at Tak, a rooftop bar not far from our hotel in Norrmalm.  I'm not one for fancy places where everyone is edging towards the more smart side of smart-casual, so Tak wasn't quite for me, but the views are stunning and the bourbon cocktail I chose was pretty good.  I'm definitely more comfortable at a place with a more casual vibe but if you want that shot for the 'gram or if stilettos and suits are your thing, why not check it out?

Admittedly, I think we all liked the Brickyard mostly for the ridiculously attractive barman that greeted us as we walked in.  I'm pretty certain we all went weak at the knees and some of us may have forgotten how to speak.  The bar is located in SoFo, not too far from Fotografiska, and has some gorgeous cocktails and a pretty decent menu if you are just after a few drinks and a light bite to eat.

 

With architecture out of a storybook, blue skies and plenty to see and do, we had a fab time in Stockholm and if you're thinking of spending the weekend there, I hope this post helps!

Where have you been recently? Feel free to pop links to your travel posts down below, I love reading about other's adventures!

I can also be found on Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin x

Thanks for stopping by,

Naomi xx
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2 comments

  1. Stockholm is definitely on my list! Great tips and love the photos, if you need any travel inspiration please head to abbiejadewanders.co.uk :) x

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    1. Thank you Abbie! Love your blog xx

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