Beautiful old city….
4th to 6th August 2017, Stockholm, Sweden
I probably should have written this sooner but what the heck….here it goes now!
So, this summer vacation I went on a fantastic trip (that took a while to plan, not gonna lie) but was totally worth it. It went like this:
Stockholm (Sweden) — Cruise — Helsinki (Finland) — Train — St. Petersburg (Russia)
I’ll post about all these destinations separately, but I’ll try to link them together as I write about them.
For now, let me tell you how to enjoy Stockholm and take it all-in, in just two days…
Stop 1: Stockholm!
We arrived in Stockholm at night and went straight to the hotel, Scandic Klara. The hotel service was super nice and helpful, and the floor corridors and room doors made it seem like we were on a boat (at least for me it seemed like so) and it was just adorable. The rooms were super comfortable, but for me what I loved the most was the breakfast. It had two circular floors in the center of the hotel, and the one we always chose was the top one, where the hotel skylight and the buffet with lots of great food were. For me, there’s nothing more important than a good substantial breakfast to get you through the day when you’re travelling!
So, the night of arrival we went for a walk outside to find dinner and explore just a little bit. People had all gathered in bars for a drink and the streets were almost deserted, so we just grabbed a bite, and went back to the hotel to wake up early next day.
In the clarity of day light, we noticed every shop and every corner was prepared for Pride Week. Yup! And it is a damn big event in Stockholm for that matter! We had already noticed the decoration in the hotel and some shop around, but we didn’t think it was that big, like…every single shop, hotel, restaurant, bar, person, kid, dog, you name it, gets in the spirit of support for Pride (see more pictures on the official website here).
Most of the time we walked, only taking a train when distances where really impossible for us, but the fact that we walked was what made us stop for the view, take awesome pictures and get a more deep feeling of the city.
We went to the City Hall and Vasa Museum this day, also went to Gamla Stan, saw the theme park Gröna Lund, took a boat trip from one island to another, and wondered around the city.
The City Hall was amazing. You can only visit with a guided tour, and we got the best guide! He explained everything perfectly and was a talkative person which I love. I definitely recommend you take the most out of these kinds of tours. Standing in the same halls where the Nobel Prize banquet is held is fantastic, but the best is to learn more whilst you’re there.
The Blue Hall is huge, spacious, and there we learnt the building’s history and the Nobel Prize banquet’s curiosities (e.g. can you imagine that the “party” part of the ceremony doesn’t have an open bar?! And that only the Nobel Prize winners get free drinks?! Ahah)
Then, you go up the stairs from the Blue Hall, and get to the Golden Hall, and believe me you’re gonna want to go up those stairs. The hall is simply amazing, ALL golden, majestic, and filled with lots of details and meaningful symbols on the walls. I just stared in awe.
After visiting the City Hall, we chilled in the gardens by the sea, took incredible pictures, and then went to the City Hall Tower. It is worth all the steps! You get the most amazing view of the city (check my first picture), and can just sit up there under the bells ringing, admiring the cityscape (and taking some timelapse shots ahah).
After that, we went to the Vasa Museum (by foot, which gave us the opportunity to enjoy the Pride Parade, and then by tram). This museum is one of Scandinavia’s most visited museums and you get to learn the ship Vasa’s story (for me it’s a sad/hilarious one ahaha you’ll learn why), how it was discovered and recovered, how it could have had a different outcome, also learn more about the wars that demanded the construction of a bigger armada, and get an insight of life on board.
Vasa Museum is on another island, Djurgården, in the royal parkland and near the docks. It provides for beautiful pictures, because not only you see yourself surrounded by quaint wooden sailboats but also get a different view of the city’s buidings. It’s great to just stop and appreciate the scene, accompanied by the sound of those docks (inspirational me coming out ahah).
Also in Djurgården and not that far away from the Vasa museum, is Gröna Lund, Stockholm’s theme park. We took some time to inspected some rides and boy oh boy do they seem scary to me! They are absolutely freaky! But, hey if you’re one of those daredevils and love adrenaline, you will FOR SURE love these rides.
We then took a boat ride to another island, and got to Gamla Stan. This is the oldest town of Stockholm. The architecture is beautiful! Colourful, archaic buildings, cobbled streets and a feeling of peacefulness. Here you’ll see streets filled with restaurant after restaurant. We wondered around until we stopped for dinner at the Tradition restaurant.
It took a little while to get us sitted because the restaurant was completely packed, but we helped ourselves to the bar before going to our table. Then we ate the most wonderful combination of flavours! Swedish cuisine, at least the one we tried, has a thing for lingonberries either to accompany a dish or to taste on a drink, and it’s amazing. For dinner I went for the typical swedish meatballs with cream sauce, lingonberries and potato puree, and I can feel the saliva filling my mouth right now. Simple, but SOOO GOOD! I would say for you to try this restaurant if you ever go to Stockholm, because it has a good vibe, good music, great food and the price you pay is actually not that bad for all the quality service you get!
The days in Stockholm start early so we embraced their schedule and woke up super early, got an amazing breakfast and went on to Gamla Stan again.
This time we went to see the Royal Palace of Stockholm. The palace is still in use daily, as it is a combination of residence, workplace and culture-historical monument for the King, Queen and others from the Royal Court.
We bought the combination ticket, because it allows you to see the majority of the monument, which includes the Royal Apartments, the Treasury, the Church, the Tre Kronor Museum and Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities.
For me the Treasury and the Royal Apartments were definetely worth the visit. You get to know the history of the monument, lifestyle of the royal family, but also the political accomplishments they made throughout the years and the impact it had on Sweden and Europe. Plus….the rooms are fabulous!
In the afternoon, we headed to the cruise ship from Silja Line, Silja Symphony, that would take us through swedish islands and acroos the baltic sea, to Helsinki, our next destination. (check out the next post!)
The journey to reach open sea was beautiful! I wish one day I can be able to afford coming to one of their countryside houses, with their own dock, boat, and the most beautiful sight out of the window….being just one swim away from reaching one deserted little island near shore…..what a dream!
I sincerely hope you liked the post, and that this might be helpful for some readers planning their trip.
I simply loved Stockholm: beautiful, by the sea, pretty boats, pretty land/cityscapes, good food, lots of history, nice people and culture!
Feel free to check my next two posts about the other two stops on this fantastic trip of mine: Finland and Russia. (yeeey!)
Don’t forget: Be happy, explore the world, travel everywhere, take it all in!
Kiss Kiss, Joana