In the last few years instead of spending a 10 days in a holiday resort doing nothing and spending our days sleeping, swimming and sun bathing we opted for at least two shorter city trips. This way we could explore more and even though we are quite active on these trips, we return home rested because we break everyday stereotype.
Couple of years ago we fell in love with Oslo and this time we decided to check out the next Scandinavian capital, Stockholm.
I didn’t know much about Stockholm or Sweden. From childhood I remember the TV series Emil of Lönneberga and Pippi Longstocking. And based on them I imagined Sweden as a country full of green sceneries and red wooden houses. I know IKEA and I imagine all Sweden households as homes pictured in the IKEA catalog. And I’m sure the winters in Sweden are cold, dark and snowy and it would be difficult for me to survive it. I didn’t know anything about Stockholm and I imagined it similar to Oslo. I was convinced we will have a great time there.
Did the Stockholm met my expectation? Definitely! On our way from the airport we saw the countryside and it was green everywhere. Long stretches of fields interlaced with woods. In all this greenery we spotted few houses here and there, many of them red. We haven’t seen any Sweden households but in all the restaurants and cafés we visited we could see the typical Swedish style. Their design was clean, simple and plain with use of natural materials.
We spent two full days in the city of Stockholm. The weather was wonderful, food delicious and our walks endless. I always prefer walking to taking public transport. Especially if the weather is good there’s nothing better than to walk the streets of foreign city, watch people passing by, admire architecture, and fall in love with all the cafés and restaurants.
Before our trip I was gathering some information about Stockholm so I knew it is built on 14 islands. What surprised me was that some of them are quite hilly. But it was actually nice because from the top is a beautiful view over the city. We went to one of them early in the morning to watch the city to wake up to a new day. It always interests me to walk almost empty streets and watch mostly the locals, because around 6 am there are not many tourists wandering around.
We were staying in Södermalm island near Götgatan Street which is full of cafés, restaurants and shops. It is pedestrian area with coffee shop tables spread on the street. I got the impression that this street never sleeps. Early in the morning it was full of commuters passing by on their bikes, during the day tourists and locals were wandering around, shopping, having coffee breaks or enjoying lunch. And in the evening all the pubs were full and people were standing and talking on the street.
The old town (Gamla Stan) of the city is on its own small island. Streets here are narrow, paved with cobbled stones and lined with colorful houses on both sides. Almost every house here hosts a café, a restaurant or a small shop where you can buy everything from souvenirs to typical Swedish baked goods.
I had the impression that all the houses were yellow, orange, red or green. In the combination with sea all around and blue sky above the city seemed very optimistic and positively spirited. On island of Gamla Stan, the oldest square of Stockholm, is the Nobel museum. Close by is the Royal Palace and just as you cross the Stallbron bridge you will find yourself admiring the Parliament House.
We consulted TripAdvisor for the best köttbullar restaurant and decided to try Bakfickan near Opera house. It is very close to the old town and from the restaurant you look at the red building of Saint James’s Church.
Few years ago we visited first Scandinavian city, Oslo, and we fell deeply in love with it. This time we went to explore Stockholm and we were eager to compare these two Scandinavian capitals. There are some similarities and we liked Stockholm almost as much as Oslo. We had great food, enjoyed long walks, took many photos and loved every minute of our stay. Even though Oslo stays our number one, Stockholm is very close behind. We hope to visit it again in the future with more time for museum visits, to taste more of the Swedish cuisine and hopefully next time, we will have a chance to explore the country side as well.