Stockholm provided us with one essential and wonderful thing that Copenhagen lacked: sunshine-filled warm weather. We were so fortunate to experience this fantastic Swedish city in some of the best weather we have had so far in our travels. Considering we were only able to spend a full 36 hours in this city before heading back to our home in Glasgow, I have decided to break this post up into a little guide on what to see, where to eat, and how to do it all in 36 hours. We by no means managed to see everything Stockholm has to offer, but we did have a fantastic time in that short day and half, so if you are short on time like we were this is my suggestion of what to do to take in some great Swedish culture, especially if you are a fan of food, shopping, and museums (on a budget).
12 noon: Check into the hostel. We stayed at the Hotel Zinkensdamm which was a bit of a last minute, lack of budget pick that actually turned out pretty well and provided us with the best location in Stockholm's Södermalm district. This area is perfect if you are in search of good shopping, cute cafes, great restaurants, and scenic architecture. Our hostel wasn't exactly the most fabulously luxurious place we have stayed at, but it did have very comfy beds, clean rooms, a nice helpful staff, and great location. After settling in get your hands on a map so that you can orient yourself and mark down a few places to head to throughout the day. Södermalm is pretty small and definitely walkable, even though it does have a subway system with a few convenient stops dotted about the island if you are short on time, and with a single ticket price of about 36 SEK (4.30$, a bit expensive in my book for a train ride).
1 pm: At this point hopefully you have gotten your bearings, and figured out where you are on the island. I suggest walking along Hornsgatan as it is full of small flower shops, clothing boutiques, and stylish furniture stores with gorgeous interiors. There are a few food spots on this street that I was recommended to go into, such Kalf and Hansen which serves organic Nordic fast food with vegetarian options, but we had a different plan in mind so didn't manage to check them out. Instead we walked along this street until we hit Mariatorget, then walked south pass the park till we got to the street where Drop Coffee is located. This place is a fantastic little coffee place that serves coffee made from ecologically sourced beans. After getting a coffee there, we headed to Bageri Petrus around the corner for a Kanebulle, which is Swedens signature cinnamon bun, sooooo good. I am completely obsessed with these things and can't wait to try making them when I return home.
2 pm: From Bageri Petrus you can walk west and down Götgatan to the opposite side of Södermalm for lunch at Pom och Flora. This lovely little cafe is somewhat of a local favorite, and serves all kinds of delicious, and healthy options at a relatively affordable price (Scandinavia is generally quite expensive). You can find a mix of food options here including vegan, gluten, and dairy free dishes, with organic natural ingredients such as the trending smoothie bowls and chia puddings. They also have a free refills on black coffee which is surprisingly rare in Europe. The surrounding area of this cafe has loads of lovely shops that we popped into on the first day including the popular store Grandpa which sells a mix of Scandinavian clothing, accessories, design, vintage items, and other knickknacks. Next door to Grandpa is L:A Bruket, a skincare brand from the western coast of Sweden. Across the street from the soap shop is a lovely little ceramics shop with an in-house workshop, located in a classically Stockholm styled building. These are scores of other furniture shops and vintage shops all within a walking distance or a few blocks of this street worth checking out. A popular stop for shoppers and sneaker lovers in this area is Sneakersnstuff. We revisited this area the next day so there's no need to do it all at once.
5pm: After finishing lunch and few hours of wandering along around the neighborhood we headed over to the Fotografiska museum located on the northeast side of the island. This museum of photography and the moving picture was one of my favorite things we did in Stockholm. It also had fantastic views of the Stockholm city skyline, and some of the best views of the Old Town island from the lookout spots. We explored this museum for a few hours, taking in some of the special exhibitions they were featuring including one on famed photographer Bettina Rheims and one commissioned by the museum in collaboration with photographer Emma Svensson, costume designers Linda Sandberg and Helena Andersson, and film maker Pieter ten Hoopen. The exhibit featured 21 models with three things in common, "dreams, emotions, and Down syndrome". Each subject portrayed as famous icons or archetypes, all images of "universal dreams and desires", with the intention of portraying the desire to be part of popular culture, art, or society. This exhibition, aptly titled "An Exhibition About the Right to Exist", moved me so much in its ability to allow a group who would otherwise be left on the sidelines of society to take center stage and for a moment become that dream or desire. A quote from the description plate read "This exhibition is about something greater than photography. It is about being allowed to exist, allowed to take your place, whoever you are". I love how photography allows for that to happen. How through photography you can portray the world how you see it or how you wish to see it. I find that quite powerful. And in its nature photography forces the audience to accept that representation, or face things that otherwise would not have received representation. Anyways I highly to recommend you go to this museum, well worth the visit.
8pm: After exploring the museum for a couple hours we headed over to Meatballs for the People for dinner. This cozy, ecological restaurant serves the classic Swedish dish of meatballs with mash (potato or celeriac root), lingonberries, and pickled cucumbers. Some ultimate comfort food, for me at least. After a long day of travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm and walking all over Södermalm this was just the place and the kind of food we needed. So we tucked in and headed back home after dinner to recuperate and plan for the next day.