Stockholm… my first stop on my latest European holiday. There’s a convenient direct roundtrip flight to here from LAX via the Scandinavian Air Shuttle (SAS). With only a few hours to explore, I think I did pretty well in managing my time in taking a peek around one of the world’s most beautiful capitals. Purchasing a hop on hop off tour definitely helped in giving me a brief overview of the city’s must see and must know.
This Swedish capital spans across 14 islands and 57 bridges and is the most densely populated capital city among its Nordic neighbors with settlements since the 6th millennium BC.
Gamla Stan or the Old Town is the oldest part of Stockholm with several notable buildings.
The oldest church in Gamla Stan is famous for its historic and religious artifacts. The most famous is the 15th century wooden statue of Saint George and the Dragon which serves as a reliquary, with relics believed to be of Saint George and six other saints.
Riddarholmskyrkan (Riddarholm Church) is an imposing burial cathedral for the Swedish monarchs. Kings from the Middle Ages are buried here.
Riddarhuset (House of Nobility)
Its main purpose, among others, is to maintain old traditions and cultures. Thus, the Latin inscription CLARIS MAIORUM EXEMPLIS (after the clear example of the forefathers) is etched on this building along with the statue of Gustav Vasa. He is the founder of the Royal House of Vasa and its successors include the current House of Bernadotte.
Riksdagshuset (Parliament Building)
Sveriges Kungahaus (Swedish Royal Palace)
The official residence of His Majesty the King. The palace is not only a royal residence but also a workplace for the various departments of the Royal Court. I think the most interesting part is that it is also accessible to visitors year round.
Kungliga Operan (Royal Swedish Opera)
Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern (Royal Dramatic Theater)
Kungliga Djurgarden (The Royal Game Park)
An island in central Stockholm which is a favorite among the locals and tourists alike for its historical buildings, monuments, museums, amusement parks, yacht harbors and vast green landscapes.
Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum)
A great museum to visit to know more about the Swedish culture, history and people.
Biologiska Museet (Biological Museum)
Abba The Museum
I’ve been on many warships but it was very interesting to know about the icebreakers’ daring stories. Sankt Erik is Sweden’s first icebreaker ship. It helped keep the archipelago channels open during the winter. Now it is a museum ship that gives you an insight into life at sea during the hard winter months of the polar regions.
This is probably my favorite boulevard in the city due to its prestigious harbor lined with waterfront restaurants and coffee shops, colorful flower stands, and pedestrian friendly walkways.
Getting around Stockholm
Arlanda Express is the quickest way to get to Stockholm City from Arlanda Airport. Tickets may be purchased upon arrival at the airport although I highly recommend buying online tickets ahead of time for a better discounted rate.
Once in Stockholm, there’s a metro that runs across the city and it is fascinatingly known as the world’s longest art exhibit.
Where to stay in Stockholm
This 130 year old hotel hosted the first Nobel Prize banquet and has since provided a luxury accommodation to Nobel Prize laureates and their families as well as celebrities, royal families and several notable people in history.
Now, if you prefer the more budget friendly yet stylish accommodations…
Located just 7 minutes off the airport, this is a conveniently located airport hotel especially if you need to catch an early flight the next day. Breakfast is included and they started serving it as early as 4:30am. There is a free shuttle as well to and from the airport which runs every 30 minutes.
The moment I stepped in, I fell in love with this hotel’s urban chic and minimalist design. Its got a very hip and casual vibe. The vibrant staff were very helpful in every way and in assisting me with the self
check in process which was a first for me. The lobby has a combined lounge and dining area where you can see a mix of people and they have a resident DJ as well during the summertime months.
What to eat…
Definitely a must try is the Köttbullar or the Swedish meatballs. We went to Bakfickan to try their Köttbullar med Gräddsås and it was delicious! It’s served with mashed potatoes, berries and cucumber salad and there are several quality wine selections to choose from as well. I believe if you’re looking for quality traditional Swedish food, this is the place!
Where to “chill” in Stockholm… literally…
I’ve been to the biggest permanent Ice Bar in the world located in Orlando, Florida. But this one in Stockholm, is the mother of all ice bars since it was the first permanent ice bar in the world. It’s worth a look, if you’re a bit curious or just want to cool down after a hot summer day of sightseeing.