7 Reasons You Should Visit Stockholm This Year

So last week I got myself on an airplane and headed to Stockholm. This was one of the very few trips in my life that I have taken on a whim with little to no research on where to go and what to see. I don’t know what I was thinking going to Sweden in the middle of the winter, although I love the cold (no, Dubai’s winter is not cold despite what faux fur-wearing ladies might tell you!), but there I was outside the central train station, shivering and questioning my decision to come here as I was aimlessly looking for my hotel, the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, which luckily is right outside the central train station.

Excited by the prospects of exploring a new city, I layered up even more and headed out in the direction of the old city. A colorful assemblage of houses and small buildings make this place one of the largest medieval town centers in Europe. Walking here was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had in my travels, and it removed any earlier doubt I had when my face was frozen as I arrived from the airport at the central station.

I won’t bore you with the details of what I did in the 4 days I was there, but I will share reasons why I think Stockholm is well worth a visit, even in the middle of the winter:

You can follow me on Instagram (@gmr83) for more pictures of Stockholm and my other trips around the world.

1. Gamla Stan: This is the old town of Stockholm that I mentioned earlier. The town dates back to the 13th century, and you could easily spend hours walking around the narrow medieval alleys enjoying the colors and architecture. The old town is home to the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum, and the Kungliga Slotted (Royal Palace). A photo opp at the iconic Stortorget square (pictured below) is a must!

2. Metro Stations: To be honest, one of the very few things I knew about Stockholm was that it had these gorgeous metro stations. And they did not disappoint. I ended up spending half a day hopping between the stations, which are proclaimed as “the world’s longest art gallery”, having been decorated with paintings, installations, mosaics and sculptures by 150 artists since the 1950s. My favorites were Kungsträdgården, T-centralen, Rådhuset, Solna Centrum, and Tensta on the Blue Line; Hötorget on the Green Line; Tekniska Högskolan, Stadion, and Morby Centrum on the Red Line.

3. Fika/Coffee Shops: Ah Stockholm, how I miss your coffee! Fika is a Swedish concept that is similar to the British afternoon tea, but you do not need a specific time for coffee here because coffee shops are abundant and good! A must try are the cinnamon and cardamom buns which seem to be served everywhere and for good reason as they are delicious. My recommended coffee shops are Drop Coffee (regularly voted as one of the best in the world), Fabrique, Il Caffe, and Petite France. The Culture Trip and Slow Travel Stockholm have two good lists for more places.

Cinnamon buns at Il Caffe

4. Food: If you are a salmon, seafood, and sushi lover like me, Stockholm is heaven. The city is also big on “super foods” – I even had my first turmeric latte here although it wasn’t my cup of tea (get it?!). I don’t think I saw this many organic cafes and restaurants anywhere else so the vegan/gluten-free crowd is spoiled for choice. My recommended restaurants/quick bite cafes are: Meatballs for the People, Snickarbacken 7 (amazing matcha latte!), Noorii Sushi, and definitely do not miss the Östermalms Saluhall, a food market serving Nordic and Swedish delicacies.

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Meatballs at Meatballs For The People

5. Island Hopping: Unbeknownst to me until shortly before this trip, Stockholm is located on a number of small and large islands, which makes island hopping a fun activity and a good way of covering more ground during better weather. Ask your hotel or ticket booth for a Waxholmsbolaget’s island hopping mapor download the Waxholmsbolaget app and plan your journey.

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No matter where you are in Stockholm, you are never too far from the water (or ice!)

6. Shopping: Stockholm has a ton of stores that would leave a dent in your credit card, and there are enough places for all tastes. Östermalm neighbourhood is a prime shopping destination especially for goods (clothing, rugs, furniture, office supplies, etc…) by Nordic designers.

Nordiska Kompaniet department store, Stockholm’s answer to Harrods

7. Quirky Stores: Stockholm is home to several quirky stores and you are bound to find something for your taste. While walking, I stumbled upon a store called Soda Nation that sells different sodas from around the world. Try the Boston ginger soda, and you won’t be disappointed. Another fun store was Lakritsroten which sells only licorice, whether it is candy, oil, cream, butter, tea, etc…

Part of Lakritstroten huge licorice collection

You can follow me on Instagram (@gmr83) for more pictures of Stockholm and my other trips around the world.