Exploring Stockholm, Sweden

From Copenhagen, we took a really nice train to Stockholm, Sweden. Since the weather was rainy & cold (low 50s) when we arrived, we were excited to see our hotel (the Radisson Blu) was literally next to the central train station!
The entire time we were in Stockholm, we had pretty dreary weather (mid 40s-50s, rainy), a stark contrast to Copenhagen. Despite the weather, we had a fantastic time exploring this gorgeous city! We owe a lot of this to Pete’s family, who were extremely gracious and generous hosts during our entire stay (read: Visiting Family in Sweden).
Here is a summary of our visit to Stockholm (excluding the Visiting Family parts). For highlights, see the bottom of this post.

Day 1: Gamla Stan

The train ride from Denmark was great; it was very peaceful and I slept pretty much the entire time 🙂
Someone else got some shut-eye too!

When we arrived at the Radisson Blu around 1pm, we got a welcome snack of nuts (almonds & macadamia) and berries that perfectly held us over until dinner. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm.

Our first impression of the city was very picturesque; it’s one of the European cities that can be referred to as the “Venice of the North” with its abundance of canals and bridges.

That night at dinner, when Pete & I expressed interest in the concept of “fika” to Pete’s family, they recommended a traditional Swedish coffee shop called Vete-Katten, since it was very close to our hotel. Fika is basically a coffee break that people take at various times throughout the day, usually involving coffee and some type of cake or pastry. Since this is right up our alley, we were enthusiastic to partake the next morning!

Day 2: Vete-Katten, Södermalm, Swedish Meatballs

We woke up and eagerly walked to Vete-Katten. It’s a gorgeous, 1920s-style cafe with glass doors and a beautiful interior. Pete and I were a bit overwhelmed when we got there, so we ordered coffees and asked the woman behind the counter for suggestions on sweets. She asked if we wanted the best, or the most Swedish; we said Swedish. She suggested the cinnamon bun & the princess cake; naturally we ordered both.
3 sweets: Princess cake, cinnamon bun, & Pete! (aww…)
The princess cake was absurdly good – we had never tasted anything like it! It was very light and fluffy with a marzipan coating that tasted like mochi and a raspberry layer on the bottom. I’m not usually a big fan of desserts with fruit in them (why health-up dessert, am I right?), but this was mind-blowingly delicious. The cinnamon bun was very average, but we were glad to try it once.
We didn’t have any plans for the rest of the day, so after a little google-ing, we decided to explore the Södermalm area. We considered going to museums (like Abba or Fotografiska), but when we saw the entrance fees, we thought – why? Neither of us really enjoys museums; we’d only be going because we thought it was “the right thing to do” as tourists. We decided to say, screw that – let’s go get Swedish meatballs & beer instead, an activity that sounded much more appealing to us. This is when we started to realize that food is a great gateway into being immersed a culture and can teach a lot about the local people and their lifestyle, sometimes even more than a museum could.
Pete found a great restaurant called Meatballs. The meatballs (and the local beers) were delicious! We especially loved the classic Swedish version of the dish, pictured above. Södermalm was great; we’d love to explore the area again if we get the chance to come back to Stockholm.
Beautiful graveyard on the walk back to our hotel

Day 3: Visited Pete’s Grandparents, long walk back from Mall of Scandinavia

After engorging on food at Pete’s grandparents’ house, his aunt graciously drove us to the Mall of Scandinavia. After walking around for a bit, we were still uncomfortably full, so we decided to walk the estimated hour & 15 minutes back to our hotel. This was the longest distance either of us had ever walked home that we could remember.
It ended up taking about 2 and a half hours, since we took some “long-cuts” through gorgeous parks. We definitely recommend getting lost in the Stockholm area – there are quite a few gems to be discovered!
Flower tunnel we may or may not had been allowed to walk through
Some girl making a weird pose on a Fun bridge over a major highway
Tall Pete meets Taller Trees
Finally made it back to civilization

Day 4: Drottingholm Palace

After having breakfast at Snickarbacken 7, I finally got to meet up with Sarah, one of my best friends from college! Sarah met us at the central train station and we all took a train & a bus to Pete’s family’s house. After the day was over, we took the subway back to downtown Stockholm. We really appreciated the great public transportation in Stockholm. Tickets are easy to buy for buses, trains and the subway; the vehicles & stations themselves were very clean and safe.

Highlights:

  • fika (break for coffee & pastry/cake) the general coffee obsession
  • Vete-Katten for an authentic, traditional Swedish fika experience; make sure you try the Swedish Princess cake!!
  • beautiful buildings & water everywhere
  • food slightly cheaper than Copenhagen (although the alcohol, except maybe the beer, was even more expensive)
  • walking the streets of Gamla Stan, the “Old Town” of Stockholm
  • our ideal hotel location right next to the central station
  • Swedish meatballs
  • getting to meet up with Sarah

What we missed, but you may want to see:

  • museums (Vasa, Fotografiska, Abba)
  • largest Ikea (try the Swedish meatballs!)
See the details of our expenses in Sweden here: Stockholm Expenses

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