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Stockholm, the ultimate guide

stockholm

I’ve lived two years in Swedish capital and here are my favourite bars, restaurants and activities. Whether you are planning to visit or live in Stockholm, you will find something interesting.

Norrmalm

Business center

Centre of Stockholm, most busy part of town, with a lot international shops on Drottninggatan. Nothing worth your time on that street, except CentralBadet, a nice spa with an Art Deco style. I used to work in this area and Kungsträdgården and T-Centralen (blue line) are my two favourites metro stations with beautiful paintings and decorations. Have a walk towards Skeppsholmen and stop at the recently renovated Nationalmuseum and at Moderna Museet. The rooftop Tak has a nice view on the city in the summer, for food go to Vigårda and if you want a coffee Vete-Katten is the Swedish experience you have been looking for, with series of little cute rooms, perfect for long cozy winter evenings. The mall centre NK will give you “I only drive a Porsche” feeling while K25 (food court) and Bar Central Birger Jarlsgatan are two good places if you want to eat something quick but good.

Östermalm

djurgarden The Royal parc Djurgården, covered by snow.

The rich quarter

Beautiful but very much dead, full of chicks with fake boobs and plastic lips wearing wide and black sunglasses. If you came with your rari, get something to eat in the recently renovated food court Östermalmshallen or simply go to Bap to get a nice burger. If you come around December, there is a chance that you can see the Royal stables (Konungens Hovstall) opened for the Christmas market. If you want to see Swedish interiors, have a look to the Svenskt Tenn, a furniture shop just in front of the Cinderellaboats Terminal, where you can get a ferry to the crazy beautiful archipelago. Then, have a walk on Strandvägen, a long avenue by the water towards Djurgården, a big park with a lot of nature. Once you arrive on Djurgården, go to Rosendals Trädgård to have a coffee in the charming greenhouse, loose yourself in the forest or take the ferry in Allmänna gränd to go to Slussen/Södermalm. It’s also nice to walk around Djurgården, especially if you don’t have time to go to the archipelago.

Södermalm

katarina-sofia The gorgeous Katarina church.

The hipster island

Katarina-Sofia is my favourite area, I never miss a chance to see the beautiful Katarina Kyrka church or go to the Fotografiska museum; it’s one of the most alive and vibrant part of the city. On Mosebacketerrassen, you will find a nice point of view but also in De Herman where you can eat something vegan. Have a walk in Cornelisparken or in Anna Lindhagens garden plot, two very small green areas surrounded by some old colourful wooden houses. Then head to Skånegatan, one of the most iconic hipster street of the city, with several shops (Grandpa, Urban Deli Nytorget…), coffee places (Café & Bageri Pascal), bars and restaurants. A bit further, Pélican is a really good place if you to eat something traditional, but if you simply want a good pizza and beer, go to Omnipollos.

sodermalm Södermalm view from an SJ high speed train.

Stockholm isn’t a great place to party, but there are few places in Stockholm I can recommend: Trädgården in the summer and Häktet in the winter, but you might want to enjoy an excellent cocktail at Hornstulls Bodega. Besides that, Mariaberget has a nice view over the city hall and once there go to Papercut to get an indie magazine, get a coffee at Kaffe (cash only) and get a pizza at Morfar Ginko on the lively Swedenborgsgatan street. I would also recommend walking around Långholmen, it’s full of nature and the perfect place to have a swim (Långholmsbadet) or admire some old boats in Heleneborgs båtklubb, a club with only wooden boat. Oh and the best burger in town is Bun Meat Bun and you can get the best falafel at Falafel Bar.

Other nice places : Drop Coffee, Johan & Nyström, Barrels Burgers & Beer, Greasy Spoon, Tantolunden to see some DiskGolf and Barnängens koloniträdgårdsförening if you want to see old workers cabin surrounded by flowers and plants in the summer, Sofia Kyrka for the view but also for the old houses on Bergsprängargränd.

Kungsholmen

kungsholmen Frosen Kungsholmen

The boring island

I lived there two years, full of families and old people, therefore isn’t so much to see except the city hall and walk on Norr Mälarstrands for the view on Södermalm. If you feel very cold Thelins or Petite France are the best place to stay a long time inside but Les Petits Boudins is the best place for Kanelbulle (I recommend the vanilla version). Meno Male is a good place for pizza but if you aren’t on budget, AG is the best restaurant of the island; once you done with food, go to the Lemon bar, it’s the most crazy place of the island during the night.

Vasastan

vasastan Kungsholms strand with a view on Vasastan.

Once you are done with Kungsholmen, take the bridge Sankt Eriksbron to get back to main land to enjoy the sunset on the Västermalms Båtklubb. From there, you can have the best ramen in town at Totemo Ramen or the best pizza in town at 800 Grader but make sure to get the nice atmosphere of Rörstrandsgatan where the nice bakery Lillebrors bageri is located. If you want an American experience and a milkshake with your burger, go to Flippin’ Burgers while Snö will serve you the best ice cream in town. A nice place afterwork is Lådan and my favourite coffee in the area is Café Gast but Kafe Himlavalvet will give you the best view of the area.

Gamla Stan

gamla-stan The main square of Gamla Stan, Stortorget

The tourist island

Full of old and beautiful buildings, make sure to have a walk in the little paved streets like Västerlånggatan but be careful, it’s full of tourist traps. From Stockholm Slussen kajen you can take the ferry to Gröna Lund / Djurgården for the price of a normal metro ticket, so nice.

Chains worth mentioning, scattered a bit everywhere in town

  • ilcaffè (hipster coffee place)
  • Fabrique (breakfast, bred)
  • Cajsa Warg (shop with very good products)
  • Ai Ramen (my favourite is the one in Södermalm)
  • La Neta (Mexican tortillas)
  • EatNam (Asian food, good and cheap)
  • Jureskogs (burger)

Outside the city

archipelago

  • Artipelag Museum (bus from T-centralen) : perfect if you want to see the archipelago and a museum at the same time.
  • Vaxholms is one of the most famous archipelago but I also enjoyed Muskö & Grinda a lot. I would recommend Vaxholms since it is closer plus you get the ferry experience plus Hembygdsgårds Café is a very Swedish experience.
  • Millesgården Museum, great but no easy access
  • Yasuragi if you want a nice Japanese spa experience
  • Djursholm if you want to see some embassy and fancy mansions
  • Rosenhills Trädgård

Bonus : Go to Skogskyrkogården or Katarina-Sofia during the evening of the first Saturday of November; it will be cold but do it anyway, All Saints’ is an unforgivable experience. If you are in Stockholm during the winter, try to see a free game of bandy game any Saturday afternoon at Zinkendamms Idrottsplats.