10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days

10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days

Traveling around Stockholm, I learned I could hike rooftops, island hop and easily get lost in a crowd of tall, blonde beauties.  Here’s more on what I uncovered exploring the Swedish capital.

One Week in Stockholm, Sweden

Growing up in New York, I didn’t have any Swedish friends, so I never learned much about Swedish culture.  I was familiar with some things Swedish, like the Volvo — safest car in the world. Then there were the memories of  Swedish Chef on PBS. I always enjoyed shopping and eating at IKEA (hello, Swedish meatballs!) and checking out the latest at H&M.

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View of Stockholm.

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The cutest little house out in the Stockholm archipelago.

So, I think my exposure to anything Swedish up until recently had been pretty poor.

As a lover of European travel, I was incredibly excited to go on a week-long trip to the capital of Sweden and experience the culture, food and do a bit of sightseeing.

Here’s a list of fun and beautiful things I learned in Stockholm.

10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days

A Stunning Stockholm Archipelago

Stockholm is a gateway to a world of a tens of thousands of islands, large rocks and skerries that spread out graciously over the cool Baltic Sea. How did I see so much of it over just two days? Whizzing by at nearly 60 knots per hour with local RIB boat tour guides from Oppet Hav.

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View from Uto island.

We not only buzzed, bumped and practically flew over the tips of waves as we crossed the sea (cue some happy roller coaster screams here), we stopped to check out some of the inhabited and uninhabited islands.  In the process, I got a taste of the good summer life for Swedes, including an overnight stay on Sandhamn island. A full post on this amazing way to experience the Stockholm archipelago coming soon.

Amazing Stockholm Dining Scene

Stockholm has a nice share of Michelin-starred dining experiences, making the Swedish capital a must-try foodie destination in Scandinavia. From there, the culinary scene gets more diverse. Walking the streets of Stockholm is like walking through an open air international food court at times as you take in the aromas of spices from around the globe.

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Amazing salmon dish.

Another thing I learned in Stockholm is that Swedes love foreign food influences and embrace cuisines from around the world; some restaurants add a touch of Norwegian culture while some are completely authentic to their origins.  On a foodie tour with Food Tours Stockholm, locals gave me insight into their view of their culinary world.  By the way, the Swedish meatballs were delicious.

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Food Tours Stockholm gives you a taste of the local and more.

Summer White Nights in Stockholm

I loved experiencing the famous white nights.

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Looking up at around 11:00 p.m.

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon in northern European countries like Sweden.  Until 11 o’clock at night, the sky is still pretty light. It gets darker after that but not black. The sun rises a few hours later.

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Late evening stroll in Norrmalm.

Tip: Here’s a packing tip that I learned in Stockholm. If you love your darkness and will travel during Scandinavia’s white summer nights, bring a sleeping mask. That saved me!

Swedish Design and Creativity

Poking in and out of shops over my week in Stockholm, I found the Swedes to be incredibly creative.  There’s good reason the world admires Scandinavian design’s simplicity, minimalism and functionality.

I also learned in Stockholm that there’s a great shopping scene. I especially loved the artisan boutiques at Sturegallerian.

Music – Swedish Influence

I remember reading about the strong Swedish music revolution in The New Yorker, including one article that opens up detailing the genius of the music streaming app Spotify. Going back to basics, it’s a land of modern music inspiration and talent.

The ABBA Museum features the awesomeness of the famous pop-group ABBA (Mama Mia!), and – in a colorful interactive way – tells a story about the continuing music influences born in Sweden today. Love Swedish House Mafia. I learned that Lykke Li  is Swedish, and so is Avicii. Remember the Cardigans, Ace of Base, Roxette? The list goes on.

Swedes Love the Summer Sun

All the locals I spoke to told me how much they love it when the sun cloaks their country.

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I have to admit, I found it a bit cool. I live in Greece, after all.

As for Swedes, they probably know their time in the sun is limited so they go for it and truly savor it.  I found locals picnicking in the parks, perched on the walls by the waterfront and soaking in the vitamin D anywhere the sun would shine.

Beautiful People Everywhere

Before I left for my trip, many friends who had traveled to Sweden would tell me how I would encounter beautiful people. Yep. It’s true. It’s a city full of tall, (many) blonde, (many) blue-eyed, beautiful men and women.   I also found the population to be pretty diverse representing many races and mixes of races.

If I’m going to mention Swedish beauty, I must include a photo of the captivating Greta Garbo.   I had the chance to pop into Stockholm’s Fotografiska Museum  which featured a photo exhibition on the iconic Hollywood star’s life.

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Stockholm is Easy to Explore

Another thing I learned in Stockholm is that the city is actually a series of islands. They are easy to explore whether by foot, by bike, from below or by boat. Oh, and from rooftops!

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Walkable. Bikable. Boatable. Hikable. Go!

I stayed in Norrmalm, a district near a convention center that hosted the TBEX conference I was attending. From there, the old town called Gamla Stan was an easy 15-minute walk.  The Stockholm metro, which was like a colorfully painted modern art cave, was easy to maneuver.

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Explosion of metro art at the Kungstradgarden station.

If I wanted, I could’ve biked about. Local bikers sped down the impressive circuit of city bike lanes at all times of the day.  Then, there were boat rides that breezed folks through the city’s waterways between the city’s islands.

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As for those city rooftops, you can explore Stockholm from there too.  Post on my unique rooftop hiking experience with Takvandring Tours coming soon.

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You can hike the rooftops in Stockholm.

Swedish Coffee Culture

I love cultures that love appreciating their coffee.

 

One of the Swedish words I learned in Stockholm is  fika, which is a coffee break. Some Swedes told me that fika can happen many times a day. However, the tasty snacks that can accompany good coffee would be in moderation.  Tasty snacks indeed. I savored delicious sandwiches and rich pastries at many points during my stay.  I loved fika at Vete-Kattan.

Swedish Families Galore

Seemed everywhere I looked, there were families about. Many of them seemed to be models that stepped out of a clothing catalog (point above: beautiful people), especially hipster parents with more than three happy little kids in tow.  I learned the country boasts inexpensive childcare and generous parental leave, and it is preparing for the boom of this young generation.

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Stockholm is a family friendly city.

How to Get to Stockholm

There are direct flights from Athens on Aegean Air and SAS.

Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Stockholm Arlanda Airport is 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Stockholm.

The Arlanda express train is an eco-friendly option that speeds its way to/from the city center every 15 minutes (for most of the day). Travel time: 20 minutes.  One way from 150 SEK per person/15 Euro

I had the experience of taking one of the Flygbussarna Airport Coaches. They depart 10-15 minutes between Arlanda Airport and the City Terminal (located next to the Central Station). Travel time: 35-45 minutes.  One way from 120 SEK per person/12 Euro

What to Do in Stockholm

Stockholm is a wonderful city to explore. Sign up for the Travel Greece, Travel Europe newsletter here for future articles. Don’t miss a post!

A great travel resource to check is Visit Stockholm.

Also, I really found the Stockholm Pass to be a great travel resource. You gain entrance to the major sites for a discount rate. Find out more at: www.stockholmpass.com

Travel is a wonderful way to learn, isn’t it? If you liked this post check out: 10 Things I Learned in Crete in 10 Days.

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Have you ever traveled to Stockholm or any place else in Sweden? I’d love to hear what you learned on your travels. Feel free to comment in the comment box below.

 



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I'm a writer and journalist, originally from New York, now loving expat life in Athens. Join me on my travels as I explore Greece and Europe.

Comments

  1. Great post! I’ve never been to Stockholm (although I really want to visit at some point) but went to Gothenburg a couple of times, and it was lovely! There are some gorgeous little islands outside the city, which are perfect for a day out or a barbecue – they were definitely the highlight of my trip!

  2. What can I say? I’ve never been to Stockholm but it sounds like a cool city with beautiful people. Scandinavian designs, bicycling, loving the sun when it’s up, salmon, norwegian touch! Feels like Copenhagen too. 🙂 Looks like you also had a week filled with exciting activities. A very good post Swedes would love to read, without a doubt. 🙂 Wondering, have you been to Cph?

    • I wonder if you’d find it very similar… No, I have never been to Copenhagen. I’ll be tapping you for travel insight when I do make it over there 😉 It is on my bucket list. Yes, there was so much to do in Stockholm. I wish I had more time to see more of the country. Isn’t that the way it always is?!

  3. It’s like being back in Sweden! Thank you for all the wonderful highlights p! Loved exploring Stockholm with you xoxo

  4. Very nice post Marissa !!!

  5. Very nice post Marissa, loved reading it!

  6. […] the person writing it has a fear of heights. When my friend and fellow travel blogger Marissa of My Greece, My Travels signed us up on the tour of rooftop hiking in Stockholm, she knew my ultimate challenge — I am […]

  7. You should have tried to visit the valley in Sweden called Dalarna. You will love the lakes, parks, boating, fishing, camping, history, tradition and water park 🙂

  8. Totally agree with everything you said, Marissa! Sweden and especially Stockholm have TOTALLY exceeded my expectations.Surely it is Europe’s most underrated city. I wisely chose to book a flat on Airbnb for four weeks, and my only regret that I didn’t make it longer.My magical Swedish summer is coming to an end, and already I’m having withdrawal symptoms!

  9. I can’t wait to go to Stockholm. Your pictures make it look so beautiful!!
    Emma
    http://www.emmaphilpott.com

  10. I saw your video of the Stockholm archipelago and I didn’t even know that they have so many islands! Lol.

    Also, every single blogger who went there have said the same thing: Swedes are beautiful people. :p

  11. […] For more about Stockholm, visit my earlier post: 10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days. […]

  12. Stockholm looks amazing. Would love to visit one day!

  13. […] For more about Stockholm, visit my earlier post: 10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days. […]

  14. That’s a really cool post. I really enjoyed Stockholm as well. Next time I go, I want to do the roof top hiking because that looks very cool.

  15. […] For more about Stockholm, visit my earlier post: 10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days. […]

  16. […] Travel is a wonderful way to learn new things about places and people, isn’t it? If you liked this post check out: 10 Things I Learned in Crete in 10 Days and 10 Things I Learned in Stockholm in 7 Days. […]

  17. Stockholm looks so beautiful. I didn’t realize it was a summer destination or a city of islands. The rooftop tour looks a bit scary for me though! Adventurous I think.

    • It is a really nice summer destination. It was all pleasantly surprising for me to discover when I went! I wouldn’t recommend the rooftop hiking for those with a fear of heights. It was really unique though.

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