Hello, hi or hej should I say. Yes, hej. Sorry for getting all Swedish on you when my accent and Swedish language knowledge is awful, but I’m still in Stockholm mode and I just can’t myself get out of it. So, hej everyone. If you didn’t get it already, that means hello, hi, hey or whatever you fancy, in Swedish.
With that all cleared up and now it’s clear for you to see I am indeed a bit crazy over Sweden, lets get on with todays post shall we. Yes you guessed it, it’s a travel post on my trip to Stockholm, my highlights and a little roundup and insight into my very cold, wintery and beautiful trip away to Stockholm, the land of beautiful buildings, good coffee and a true wintery Wonderland.
Go back to Friday 23rd February and our 3.45am alarm, I really didn’t know what I was expecting. I’d never before ventured to anywhere like Stockholm – nowhere quite so cold, so culturally unique and so Scandic. It was my first time in a Scandinavian country and I was so excited. Now that I’ve that area of the world, I so have to go back.
When we arrived into Skavsta airport we were greeted to snow, minus temperatures and landscapes like I’d never seen before. I knew straight away that this city break would be like none I’ve done before and I was very right. Our journey from the airport to the centre was my bus, and is one of my starting tips is to transfer from the airport by bus. It’s cheap, fast and you get to see rural Stockholm, its minimal and very quiet scenery in all its glory, which is very different to Stockholm’s city centre.
Our stay was at Hotel Birger Jarl, right in the heart of Stockholm’s city centre. The location couldn’t have been better really as we were close to shops, many restaurants, cafes, entertainment and public transport but on a set back and quiet street.
Being central in the city meant we could stay local but have lots around to see and do when the snow showers were at their peak. But, also meant we could travel far out if we wanted to and always find an easy way back with a train or cab. We got a few Ubers when we had walked out really far but walked the majority of the way. We racked up a fair few (tens of) thousands steps should I say. Well worth it though.
After arriving, kicking off our shoes, settling down in the hotel and chilling out for about an hour, we headed out early afternoon and wandered the streets to see what the beautiful city had to offer. Which, leads me onto my next two tips.
WALK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Before even going to Stockholm we were told how amazing its public transport system is, especially the trains. But, after arriving and walking around for our first day, we decided we wanted to walk as much as possible as we didn’t want to miss any pretty hidden alleys, corners or even shops.
During its coldest months, yes you do need to wrap up so I recommend wearing as many layers as humanely possible but all the walking is really worth it. We came across so many hidden gems as we were getting lost in the city, and really worked up our appetite to pack in all the good food we could.
FIKA TIME IS A MUST
So after arriving, been quite literally shattered but craving some trusty old caffeine, our first stop was coffee. Being the coffee fiend that I am I sniffed down a coffee shop right away and after the first few hours there we came to realise was one of the most popular coffee spots in the city. It was called Espresso House and we called in a fair few times after our first, as the coffee was oh so good. I went with a soya flat white and it was a dream. Also, just what I needed after our 3.45 start.
Before heading to Stockholm I did some research and also bought some pretty Scandic books to teach myself all about Swedish life, culture and recommendations. This is where I found out about Fika and knew it was something I could not miss. Fika is a Swedish concept meaning “to have coffee” and it is that quite literally. Mid-afternoon when you’re feeling a bit tired, from all that walking or just need a pick me up, find a good coffee spot, sit and enjoy a coffee over a chat and of course, a sweet treat. Swedish sweet treats are like no other and I couldn’t resist them with my coffee. The best Swedish treat was in a coffee shop called Fabrique, where me and Ollie shared a fair few Swedish buns. Holy moly they were fabulous.
So yeah, don’t miss Fika. After your first time you won’t want to miss it anyway, trust me.
– WHAT I WORE –
LEARN TO BE CASHLESS
Yes, sounds weird doesn’t it? Not taking any local currency away with you on a trip but its true, Stockholm is pretty much cashless and everywhere we went accepted cards. Just be sure to let your bank know before you travel so you can avoid those fees.
But yeah, we didn’t take any cash at all and were absolutely fine. Was quite nice not having to worry about losing it to, which is always the way when you go anywhere isn’t it, especially when you’re clumsy like moi.
JOIN IN ON THE NIGHTLIFE
The nightlife in Stockholm is quite different to other cities I’ve been to. Every bar or pub we went into was pretty full with life, full with good spirits and quite an atmosphere. It’s different because little did we know that Stockholm’s shops and supermarkets aren’t licensed to sell hard liquor and is only available in their dedicated hard liquor stores or of course, at bars, restaurants and pubs, which is why I think they were always busy.
Regardless of it being busy out, which some may not like, we felt it was good to become part of the culture and was great to be involved in. the atmosphere is quite rich, everyone is polite and friendly and luckily, we had a great pub just a block away from our hotel, which did a great G&T. Each restaurant we went to was busy, as were the bars and pubs, like I say, so it’s a great idea to go out and venture in the nightlife Stockholm has to offer, even it is just for dinner or a drink.
So folks, there you have it, my first (of many) instalment on my stay in Stockholm. What would you like to see next – more about the hotel? My top places to visit? A style diary? Let me know.
That’s all for now chickens.