Stockholm: An Introduction to Scandinavia

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I had always wanted to go to Stockholm but assumed it was too expensive and that it would require too much planning to explore the city. I was happy to be proven wrong. Yes, it’s not a cheap destination by any means, but it was only slightly more expensive than London and it really depends on what you want to do and where you want to eat. As for planning, we luckily got a lot of recommendations (which I will share below) and there were loads of itineraries online.

The City

Monteliusvägen. We were actually told about this viewing point by our waiter earlier that morning at breakfast. The Swedes are so incredibly nice and welcoming, every single person we asked for recommendations or help of any sort would go out of their way to accurately and thoroughly answer our questions. One waiter sat down with us for about 20 minutes to give us all his best recommendations. Anyway, this was a great viewpoint to get a look at Stockholm from above. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very cooperative that day.

Stockholm

 

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Running joke of the trip: we look like a diversity poster…

 

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Although first impressions make Stockholm out to look very sterile, it’s actually quite colourful.

We joined a walking tour to get a bit more context of the history of the city. On that tour, we were introduced to the narrowest street in Stockholm. Stortorget is the central point from which runs Köpmangatan, the oldest street in Stockholm. It’s the narrowest alley in Gamla Stan, only 90cm wide at its narrowest point, and I doubt we would have found it or even known about it without that tour.

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Luckily on the second day, the sun came out to play. That’s when we chose to get stuck on an archipelago boat tour for 2 hours…but at least it was nice and sunny!

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Had to get a headstand in, naturally.

 

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Diversity poster, take #2.

 

The UNESCO World Heritage Site

Stockholm has a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Skogskyrkogården, AKA The Woodland Cemetery. Despite it being a cemetery, it was quite calming to be there as it was away from the hum of the city and surrounded by green, fresh air, and chirping birds.

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Great Garbo and other famous people are buried here.

 

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‘The Angel of Death’, a work by the prominent Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, adorns the roof of a chapel on the grounds.

 

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The People, The Culture

Stockholm is known for having open-minded and tolerant people, so it was nice that this was the first thing I saw on our first morning grabbing breakfast at Urban Deli (near our gorgeous Airbnb apartment in Ringvägen). Great breakfast place – we ate there twice! The staff are super friendly and helpful, and the food is really good. They also have an attached deli that sells baked goods and other deli products.

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At Urban Deli.

I know I said the Swedes are open-minded and friendly, but perhaps this is taking it a bit far? Also, how would this even work…if one person goes in and closes the door, no one else can go in…is it just to give people the choice of more than one toilet? So confusing.

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Getting super cultural with ABBA…

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The Food

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Another great find for breakfast/brunch in the area (Ringvägen) is Greasy Spoon. Really cute decor and delicious food. Gets super packed on weekends though, so go early if you want to try it out.

 

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A place that came highly recommended for authentic Swedish food was Rolfs Kök. We all ended up ordering the most popular dish on the menu, the slow cooked beef. It’s apparently a recipe that is 14 years old and is what the restaurant is most popular for. It was super delicious but I got through about a quarter of it as it’s quite heavy.

 

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Another awesome recommendation was Miss Voon. Asian fusion cuisine and definitely not budget-friendly, but definitely worth it. It made me appreciate good cuisine even more and was the beginning of what turned out to be a culinary adventure over the course of the weekend. This was the duck; we loved it so much we got a second order of it (the menu isn’t that expansive – about 12 dishes if memory serves, and we had ordered almost all of them).

 

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The Wagyu beef dish.

 

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Beef tenderloin, crab tacos, and spring sushi (the only disappointing dish we encountered that night).

 

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Mouth-watering sashimi.

 

Recommendations:

  1. Do the free walking tour: it’s an hour and a half long and the tour guides are super friendly and funny. I’m not personally a fan of group tours, but this one was interesting and the tour guide really helped give historical and much needed context to our exploration of the city.
  2. Go to Monteliusvägen for great panoramic views of the city.
  3. Skip the archipelago boat tour, unless you really like being stuck on boats for 2 hours with nothing to do. It wasn’t a complete waste, it’s nice to see the city from a different perspective, but all you really see are people’s “summer homes” and a lot of blue water.
  4. Places to eat:
    1. Breakfast: Urban Deli, Greesy Spoon
    2. Lunch or dinner: Miss Voon, Rolfs Kök
    3. Drinks: Nosh and Chow, Riche

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