When trying to decide where to go away for a few days in September we quite literally went around the world. Barcelona, Lisbon and even a mini tour of Italy were all thrown into the mix (and FYI they are all still firmly on the travel bucket list) until we finally settled on Stockholm. Practically every person we mentioned our holiday destination to replied with ‘oh that’s different’ or ‘isn’t Sweden expensive?’ which wasn’t filling me with too much hope. A weekend filled with a whole lot of sightseeing, eating and ABBA later however and I’m dubbing Stockholm as one of my new favourite city's.
How To Get There
We flew from Manchester to Arlanda airport with Norwegian Air who provided the smoothest flight this gal has ever experienced. The flights are about 2 hours and 20 minutes and start at about £70 per person, although we booked ours as part of a package deal with the heros that are lastminute.com. Once you’ve landed on Swedish soil you can jump on the Arlanda Express which is Sweden's most eco-friendly transport system and you’ll be in the city centre within 20 minutes, giving you even more time to scoff down a few cinnamon buns.
Where To Stay
For us the hotel wasn’t too much of a big deal. We wanted somewhere clean and easy to get to and preferably one that would give us a cracking continental breakfast in the morning. Motel L provided all that and way more. The rooms are pretty small but it proved the perfect base for the 2 of us. It’s cheap and cheerful and I was a huge fan of the pink and orange decor. There’s a tram stop right outside although typically it was under maintenance the weekend we were there (the next one is a 10 minute walk so hardly an inconvenience) and yes, the breakfast was fab.
What To Do
No matter what you’re doing in Stockholm the easiest way to get around is by tram. You can pick up a 72 hour travel pass for the equivalent of around £20 and combine this with a good ol’ tram map and you’ll be zooming round the city like a local. Everything we wanted to do ended up being in walking distance of each other but the tram was ideal for getting to and from the hotel. Alternatively if the weather is on your side the CityBikes are the ultimate way to get from place to place if you’re not quite as lazy as me.
The old town or to use it’s official name, Gamla Stan, was by far my favourite part of the city. Full of thin, cobbled streets and home to some amazing architecture including The Grand Palace I could have spent hours getting lost here. If you’re there in a morning then make sure you check out the changing of the guard at the palace but be warned, this is tourist central so get there early to be at the front of the crowd.
We pre-booked tickets to the ABBA museum at my demand and despite my holiday buddy’s reservations it proved to be the hit of the holiday. It’s cheesy, it’s fun and it’s actually super (trooper?) interesting. Be prepared to shimmy your way through the crowds and be singing Dancing Queen for the foreseeable future afterwards.
Fotografiska is situated a little outside of the centre but boy is it worth the trip. I wasn’t sure what I thought to the idea of a photography exhibition but my mind was soon made up. The way the photos are displayed, each under their own spotlight, was enough to convert me and we ended up spending the best part of 2 hours inspecting what was on show. There’s also a cafe on the top floor with some top-notch views overlooking the river for once you’ve finished your browsing. And speaking of food…
Where To Eat
Food is, for me, one of the major parts of a holiday life. When undertaking my extensive holiday researchthe first and most important list I made was full of restaurant recommendations. We then didn’t bother going to any of them. I only came home with one regret and that was that I didn’t sample a single meatball. When in Sweden?! I KNOW! According to my research however, Meatballs For The People is THE place to go to get your ball fix (it sounds oh so wrong but we’re going with it.)
Stockholm’s best burgers can apparently be found at Phil's Burgers but we ended up sacking off my restaurant checklist and opting for al fresco tapas instead, complete with blankets for when it got a little chilly. Bistro Boheme is right by Central Station and was the ideal spot to people watch as we ate on a Saturday night.
We also stumbled on a tiny German restaurant in Gamla Stan which provided the best pork and mash I’ve ever eaten. Slingerbulten was the ultimate cosy restaurant and the perfect way to escape the Friday night crowds. We did spend the first hour of the meal thinking we were in an Italian but let’s not talk about that…
When it came to breakfast we opted for the continental number at the hotel but if there’s one thing you can’t miss in Stockholm it’s a cinnamon bun. These bad boys were something else, Chokladkoppen found in the main square in Gamla Stan are said to be the best in town but good luck getting a seat here; especially on a Saturday!
Stockholm may not be on your radar as your first thought when it comes to a city break but it sure as hell should be. It’s not the most purse-friendly holiday destination but watch the little things (like too many cinnamon buns, oops) and you’ll be fine. I’ve written this post with a big, soppy grin on my face as I remember what was arguably, my best weekend of 2017.