How Stockholm, Sweden Surprised Me (Foodies, Beware)

Gamla Stan City Center

Prior to this trip I had absolutely no prior knowledge of Stockholm, Sweden aside from the Swedish Chef from Sesame Street (lol, I’m sorry). In my mind I imagined it as a cold, old-fashioned, boring city.

But by the time I was leaving on the last day I had fallen head over heels in love with a city that I had found to be cheerful, modern, picturesque, and most importantly, delicious.

From my incoming flight to my very last day, I’ll take you on a walk through Stockholm through my eyes.

Entry to Sweden

Landing in Arlanda Airport at 10:45PM

If Sweden greets you like how it greeted me, you’re in trouble.

Like, really, this view isn’t fair.

Landing and navigating Arlanda Airport is simple and easy and the train ride on the Arlanda Express into Stockholm, which runs every few minutes, is quick and pleasant.

Depending on your age you can get a great deal on the Arlanda Express. My ticket as a college student was around $15, and it gets cheaper the bigger the group you ride with.

Stockholm Gamla Stan

On a walk through Gamla Stan, the “Old City” of Stockholm.

Taking the metro is your best choice once you’ve made it to T-Centralen, the central metrostation.

It’s so easy to use, trust me. If you’ll be there more than a few days, I would recommend buying an actual pass and reloading money onto it.

But, if you’re like me and don’t feel like figuring out the Stockholm metro system at midnight your first night there (sigh), your best bet is an Uber ride.

Taxis are outrageously priced, to a college student at least, and most taxis drivers double as Uber drivers anyway and actually charge less as an Uber, so it’s very worth the download.

You can get a free ride with Uber if you sign up and use my Uber code: gabby96!

As for accomodations, I stayed in a reasonably priced 6-person AirBnb on the island of Södermalm that I was very impressed with. Södermalm is the coolest little neighborhood with a ton of college students and little restaurants, and I was s happy I saved money and stayed there instead of Gamla Stan.

Either way, all of Stockholm is extremely walkable. And, adorably, a majority of people in the city can be seen riding rented city-bikes instead of driving.

Stockholm Food Österlånggatan17

Outdoor seating at restaurant in Gamla Stan called Österlånggatan 17! YUM, a total recommendation for authentic Swedish meatballs.

I was in Stockholm because of the TBEX Travel Blog Exchange Conference (which you can read about my tips for here), so I was fortunate enough to get a complimentary 72-hour Metro Card and Stockholm City Pass with my attendance.

Both were very useful for getting around the city and seeing tons of tourist attractions, and if it’s in your budget I recommend getting them both!

Stockholm Boat Tour

View of the city from the Hop-On-Hop-Off boat.

With the Hop On, Hop Off bus and boat tours at my disposal, I explored the furthest corners of Stockholm by riding the bus for a few minutes hopping off at a stop and exploring for a few hours, and repeating the cycle.

Taking photos, breathing in the surprisingly fresh city air. The smell of the open air restaurants mingling with the brackish water of the surrounding straits. Looking around to see locals and tourists alike all dressed nicely no matter the time of day.

All restaurants seemed to have an “open the doors and enjoy the amazing weather while we can” policy, and emphasized dining outside which I had no complaints about.

The Royal Chapel

The Royal Chapel, inside the Stockholm Royal Palace.

The Vasa Museum, Royal Palace, Storkyrkan Cathedral, ABBA Museum, Museum of Spirits (free booze, woo!), the Hop On Hop Off boat and bus tour, and a walking tour of Gamla Stan were all tours I attended while I was there.

Aside from those there are still many more tourist attractions including a boat tour of the Archipelago Islands of Stockholm, a multitude more of museums and galleries, castles, clubs and restaurants.

Oh, the restaurants—don’t get me started on the food.

österlånggatan 17

Traditional Swedish meal at Österlånggatan 17

The food in Stockholm is surprisingly some of the best I’ve ever had in my travels!

In Gamla Stan I ate at El Forno Italiano where I had some of the best ravioli I’ve ever had, and at Österlånggatan 17 where I had my favorite, traditional Swedish meal of my entire stay in Stockholm!

Though the Old Towne a glass of wine alone was $12, and I was sweating every time the bill came.

That being said, it was a cafe in Södermalm called Love Food Cafe where I had the best beet salad of my life for $5, and right across the street at Falafelbaren where they had deliciously, authentically seasoned falafel.

The Hairy Pig

Look at the spread! We went to The Hairy Pig in Gamla Stan and in addition to an amazing pulled pork sandwich I ordered, we all got this charcuterie plate to share.

I never would have guessed that Stockholm would be such a foodie-paradise, but then again I didn’t expect Stockholm to be so international of a city in itself. We met Italians running restaurants, Norwegian store owners, Egyptians working for the boat tours, and an even had an American waitress.

It was so relieving to see that even in Capitol of Scandinavia, the land of Kens and Barbies, there was a an obvious integration of cultures and history into the city.

Stockholm Boat Tour 2

Cruisin’ through Stockholm, literally. Can I get a group sigh for how picturesque this little city is?

Stockholm was a city I came to with no expectations and left crying to stay—which any traveler will tell you is the best thing that can happen.

At no point did I feel unsafe or unsatisfied in this beautiful city. In contrast to my earlier thought that this would be just another city to tick off the list, Stockholm shocked me with its food culture, history, attractions, alarmingly gorgeous population of locals, and overall… homey vibe.

A Walk Through Stockholms Old Towne

Walking the streets of Gamla Stan, feeling absolutely as European as possible.

And that’s what the biggest surprise about Stockholm was, really—this city that I knew nothing of, ended up feeling like home so fast.

I often try not to revisit cities because I’d rather take a trip to somewhere new, but Stockholm is a place I would jump at the chance to return to every single time!


 

Have you been to Stockholm? What were your thoughts on it? Have you never been, but heard things about it before? I’d love to chat in the comments!

Stockholm Sweden | Packs Light

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5 Discussion to this post

  1. Alex says:

    I haven’t been to Stockholm but after looking at this post I’m ready to book my ticket! I’ve heard so many great things about Sweden and I’m hoping to make a trip within the next year while I’m over here in Croatia. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  2. Punita says:

    Your photos…woww!! This post is truly inspiring ! Planning for 2017!!

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