In between sweetness and saltiness. Full of history, life and modern design: Stockholm is the perfect starting point to experience the real Swedish atmosphere. Cruises on the sea, walks in the center, luxury or alternative shopping, history museums and modern art galleries: 48 hours in Stockholm for a romantic spring weekend.
Stockholm, Capital of Sweden, is one of the most enchanting cities in the world. Built on 14 island connected by 57 bridges, Stockholm is often called the Venice of the North. Walking through its beautiful parks or watching the outlines of old palaces and newer buildings being, you will understand why in 2010 Stockholm was awarded by EU Commision as European Green Capital. The city, between the lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea, offers visitors a vibrating heart: made by the big shopping streets in Norrmalm and Östermalm. Or the picturesque bars and clubs in the bohemian neighborhood SoFo. And of the numerous museums and palaces, today headquarters of the Swedish political power.
What to see in Stockholm
Stockholm will start seducing you from its most hidden core: the three islands of Gamla Stan, or Old City. A walk in the maze of small medieval streets, still full of colors, shops and elegant restaurants, is a must. Looking up from the typical cobblestones, you will be surprised by the details and the size of some of the oldest churches in the city, such as Riddarholm Church, where most of Sweden’s kings are buried. Or the beautiful Stockholm’s cathedral.
The museum of Nobel prizes, the Royal Palace with more than 600 rooms, and the Parliament – or Riksdag – are also located in this part of the capital. The City Hall, with its 106 metres high tower standing out against the other buildings, is not far from here, in Kungsholmen. Built in twelve years and made of almost eight millions of red bricks, it is an example of Swedish Romanesque architecture. Today is the setting for the yearly Nobel Awards Ceremony.
48 hours in Stockholm for a weekend
The beauty of Stockholm doesn’t lay only in its ancient part. But also in the most recent neighborhoods. Where over 70 museums entertain adults and kids during the whole year. Among the most visited attractions of the capital there are the ABBA museum, about Sweden’s musical icon, and the Moderna Museet, realized by architect Rafael Moneo. The Vasa Museet, instead, has on display the only ship dated 1600 existing in the world. Not to be missed is also Skansen, an open air museum with historical Swedish buildings. And the subway, or Tunnelbana, considered “the longest art exposition of the world”: full of artworks by Swedish and international artists. [also in our guide of the most amazing subway stations in the world – read it here].
Thanks to the ninenteen hours of daylight per day from May to July, Stockholm is a perfect destination in spring.When the sunny weather allows to explore by ferry and boat the almost 24.000 islands of its archipelago. The choice varies from a short trip and a picnic on beautiful, and almost wild coasts. To a longer stay at one of the typical holiday houses which inspired past and present poets and artists: such as the already named ABBA. However, if you don’t love the seaside, what about a cruise on the lake Mälaren? The Castle of Drottningholm here awaits, nominated UNESCO’s World Heritage site in 1991 and available for visits during the whole year. Even though the royal family lives in the southern wing.
Where to eat in Stockholm
Österlångatan 1, 113 53 Stockholm. +46 8 684 295 25
Founded by the internationally famous chef Jonas Petersson, Tradition offers traditional dishes of the Swedish cousine. In a cozy environment in Gamla Stan. Among the specialities in the menu: salmon, Baltic herrings and the famous Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce. Don’t miss the opportunity to try something new, such as reindeer meat. But don’t worry, there are also vegetarian meals with selected seasonal ingredients.
Östermalmstorg, 114 42 Stockholm.
As almost every city in Scandinavia, Stockholm has its own indoor market. Built in 1888, Östermalms Saluhallen has 17 among restaurants, bars and take away offering several delicatessen. With high quality tipical ingredients. The contrast between the historical building and the more recent culinary influences make it the best place for a lunch break: between tradition and innovation.
Where to stay in Stockholm
Hotel Birger Jal
Tulegatan 8, 113 53 Stockholm. +46 8 674 18 00
This iconic hotel couldn’t choose a better name to represent Sweden’s capital. Birger Jal is, in fact, considered the legendary traditional founder of Stockholm. Opened in the ’70s, today this hotel is the symbol of the modern Swedish design: its 271 rooms have different colors, furniture and style according to the Swedish designer or architect who designed them. Among the most famous: Fillipa K, Johanna Köhlin e Agneta Petterson, Love Arbén, Sanna Nathanson e Jonas Bohlin.
Ett Hem Hotel
Sköldungagatan 2, 114 27 Stockholm. +46 8 200590
A private house built in 1910 and then adapted to be an hotel with all amenities. Ett Hem (literally “A House”) is the perfect choice for those looking for peace and serenity while in Stockholm. With only 12 rooms, a gym and a Swedish sauna, Ett Hem offers a relaxing atmosphere. While letting guests borrow books, have self-served wine or start a small talk with the friendly staff. Or enjoy sunlight in the garden, exactly as they would do at their own place.
Shopping in Stockholm
Lisa Larsson Second Hand Boutique
Bondegatan 48, Stockholm. +46 8 643 6153
Probably because of the inhabitants environmental-friendly soul, in Scandinavia and in Stockholm in particular, second hand shops are a real institution and often home of unexpected treasures. Opened more than 20 years ago, Lisa Larsson Second Hand Boutique is also the favorite choice of fashion celebrities passionate about vintage garments and clothes from the 30s to the 70s.
Strandvägen 5, Stockholm. +46 8 670 16 00
Founded almost a century ago, Svenskt Tenn is one of the interior design company in Stockholm which cares about the quality of handcrafted products made in Sweden. From couches to chairs, from pillows to curtains, from lamps to tables, everything in this store has still the taste for colors and elegance initially found in the sketches and patterns realized by Josef Frank and Estrid Ericson.
How to get to Stockholm
By plane: Several companies offer flights from Italy to the capital of Sweden. The airport of Stockholm-Arlanda is at 46 km from the city and is well connected with the centre by buses almost every 10 minutes.