I went to Stockholm Sweden in February 2015. Sweden was the first Northern European and Scandinavian country I visited.
How long I stayed
I stayed for 4 days and 3 nights, I arrived on a Friday afternoon and left Monday afternoon.
Cost of Trip
My flight from London Stanstead to Stockholm Skavsta cost £32.35 return. I then paid approximately £22 for a return coach using the Flygbusssarna service to get from Skavsta to Stockholm City centre. The cost for a 3 days and 4 nights stay at a hostel cost £44, so in all I paid £98.35 for my flight and accommodation.
February was very cold whilst I was there the weather was no more than 4 degrees but it was sunny and dry so it was pleasant to walk about. I wore my thickest coat, I need a hat, gloves and two pairs of socks. Sweden is cold during winter, very cold.
How I got around
Even though it was winter and snow was everywhere, I walked all over the place mostly. I enjoy walking as it is a good way to find new places and things that may otherwise be missed. I did also take the metro and local bus which was relatively cheap. For £6 you could buy a pass that allowed you 4 single journeys on the buses, tram and metro.
Where I stayed
I stayed at the City Backpackers Hostel, this hostel was very good, it was clean and the amenity spaces were fantastic. The hostel is centrally located and situated at the end of Drottninggatan (Queen Street), the longest shopping street in Stockholm.
There is one quirky rule in the hostel; no outside shoes can be worn past the reception areas, but it is really safe to leave your shoes in lobby area or simply take of your shoes and carry them to your room.
Lest I forget there is also a sauna in the hostel that is free to use, so I recommend you pack swimwear if you are going to stay here. After a long day walking in the cold it was very nice to unwind in the sauna.
What I did
Stockholm Walking Tour
I went on three city walking tours, with the Free Tour Stockholm group. They offer three tours a day on specified days of the week. No booking is required and no fee is paid, just turn up and walk and listen to the tour guides. At the end of the tour, there is an opportunity to give a tip. The tour lasts between 1.5 hours to 2 hours dependant on which tour you go on. I really enjoyed the tours and found them a great way to learn about Stockholm.
Stockholm Moderna Museet/ Museum of Modern Art
Moderna Museet/Museum of Modern Art holds modern and contemporary art, it is located on the island of Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm. The Entrance fee to the museum was £9.50. I saw pieces by artist such as Michael Elmgreen, Louise Bourgeois, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder.
Without a doubt my favourite piece was Louise Bourgeois’s spider, that took pride and place at the main entrance. I spent nearly 4 hours in this museum, it is not a large museum but it is filled with amazing pieces of art that require time to be studied.
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts/Konstakademien
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts or Konstakademien, is in central Stockholm and is located in the former Sparreska palace. Entrance to the museum costs £8. It is well worth the visit, especially if you like sculptures.
The Kaknas Tower/Kaknastornet
The Kaknas Tower/Kaknastornet is the hub of all TV and radio transmission in Sweden. The 155-metre tower offers fantastic views of Stockholm and the city’s surroundings. There is a viewing gallery, café, restaurant, sky bar and a gift shop in the tower. The entrance fee to go up to the viewing tower is relatively inexpensive at £4.50. It took about 45 minutes to get from the city centre to the tower using both buses and the metro.
A visit to the tower was well worth the trip, however it was very cold and windy on the viewing platform that standing was even a problem. I had to psyche myself up to take my gloves off to take pictures as the wind chill made my fingers feel like they where going to fall off if left exposed. The views of Stockholm were lovely, white blankets of snow complimented the clear blue sky.
Gamla stan (The Old Town), until 1980 was officially Staden mellan broarna (The Town between the Bridges), it is the old town of Stockholm, Sweden.
Gamla stan is a lovely area and my favourite part of Stockholm, I loved the old richly painted unique north German architecture. Gamla stan is home to the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, the narrowest street in Stockholm, Riddarholm Church, and The Nobel Museum.
City Hall/ Stadshuset
The City Hall/ Stadshuset is one of Sweden’s most famous buildings, and one of the Stockholm’s most visited tourist attractions. The City Hall/ Statshuset is also the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet held on 10th of December each year.
I spent about an hour or so just walking around the area, it was peaceful and I wished I had brought lunch with me, for it was a great location for sitting and reflecting.
I enjoy walking around in order to find new things and I am not deterred by the weather. Luckily for me Stockholm was cold but dry; see below for some pictures of my discoveries.
What I ate
Eating out in Stockholm can be expensive, however there are several restaurants and places you can eat at inexpensively. I didn’t try any Swedish food, also as I had recently given up eating meat I couldn’t try Swedish meatballs.
I had breakfast at the hostel which was reasonably priced at £5.50, breakfast consisted of a cereal, a waffle or a sandwich roll, yoghurt and fresh fruit orange juice, tea or coffee.
I had a meal at Vapianos, for a pizza and a drink I spent £9, which is really good in my book.
Cupcake STHLM sell really good cupcakes, what I really liked was that the cupcakes were not too sweet, I am assuming this is due to the high tax on sugar in Sweden. The cupcake shop I went to was in the Skrapan mall in the Gotgatan shopping district.
Kungshallen/ Kings Hall is a food court to get good quality inexpensive food. I visited twice and had two meals, one meal was Turkish and the other was Mexican, both meals cost £7 each, the meals were good and value for money.
Thai and Sushi
I found a little Sushi and Thai restaurant that was on the same road as the hostel I stayed in. The restaurant is a small family run restaurant but the food was very good, so good that I ate there thrice during my trip. A meal consisting of a sushi selection and a Thai green curry and rice cost £7, excellent value for money. Sweden was the first country I came across where Thai and Japanese food were being sold together but it really works.
My Ratings of Stockholm
My ratings are out of ten and are my own personal views therefore feel free to disagree.
Culture = 7/10
Stockholm is a beautiful city with so much to offer, the museums and galleries even though they require an entrance fee are worth visiting.
People/Friendliness = 5.5/10
Swedish people are very attractive but I found them to be a little cold generally.
Attractiveness = 8/10
Stockholm is most definitely an attractive city and is ideal for photography enthusiasts. Everything felt very clean and fresh except for Gamla stan of course that had a more rustic lived in feel.
Food = 7/10
I ate loads of good food in Stockholm, I really liked the cup cakes from Cupcake STHLM, I wish they would open a branch in London and The food from Sushi and Thai was also superb.
Affordability = 5/10
Compared to London, Stockholm is expensive, I found it an anomaly that I had to pay to get into galleries and museum. Stockholm is expensive but with careful planning you can have an inexpensive trip.
Vibe = 7.5/10
Stockholm’s vibe is very functional and clean. The Swedes have a very good lifestyle, they are practical and it reflects in the city and resonates all round in the air. It is very hipster and cool.
Overall = 8/10
I had a very good time is Stockholm, it was the first trip in 2015 and it really inspired me to keep on traveling. I would definitely go back to Stockholm but during the summer, I am curious to see what the city is like during summer. All in all a great city and a wonderful experience.
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