Have you also heard that Stockholm is one the most hyped destinations in the world right now? When it comes to fashion, creativity and trends – this city Has. It. All. If you have wondered if the city is as awesome as its reputation, we want to share some of our favourites with you that will show a really good (if not the best!) side of Stockholm. Alright, here we go.
Nytorget, Södermalm. Oh Yes. This is the part of town where Lauren and I lived for the first two years of being together. Södermalm is a fairly big neighbourhood and it consists of trendy, fancy parts but also more laid back hipster parts (still also pretty trendy). We used to live by Nytorget and we loved it! Urban Deli is a gay friendly bar and restaurant, located right on Nytorget. Worth mentioning is that almost all of Stockholm is gay friendly, but this place has probably half the staff in the LGBTQ community. (Fyi, the gay women are very attractive here!). At Urban Deli you’ll find uh-mazing seafood and cocktails. Friday or Saturday nights are usually packed. Perfect for eye-candying, mingling and enjoying good drinks. Three of our favourite shops are located here is well; Dr Denim, Nudie and Twist & Tango. These stores are not, but beware of ridiculously expensive shopping in these quarters.
The area Mariatorget on Södermalm is pretty. Really pretty. The vibe is more authentic here than around Nytorget. It feels more like a real world, where real people live. Nytorget has exploded over this past decade and it looks like a haut couture magazine with tall, blonde fashionistas strutting around. When living there, we used to wonder if these strutters even had a job or did any type of real-life-things. Mariatorget however, is more of a mix between quality, trendy design and everyday folk life. We specifically love the bars at Hotel Rival and Folkbaren. Great for drinks and mingle. No wild clubbing but all the soft, sweet feels. If you want a more upbeat experience, you got Marie Laveau in the same area and they run cool clubs in their basement on a regular basis.
Gamla Stan!!!!! Watch out for the tourist traps here though. Seriously, don’t eat in these quarters unless you know based on reviews and recommendations that the place is legit. You can end up paying 25 bucks a watery pasta dish or dry pizza. So do your research on restaurants here. There are some fantastic ones in the neighbourhood. This part of town is insanely cute and picturesque. The buildings are some of the oldest in Stockholm, dating back to 1500’s. Gamla Stan is directly translated to Old Town. This is where the royal palace is located, and as the history nerd I am (Lisa writing!) I love the museums and exhibits you find in the cellars of the royal palace, showing clothes, armour, carriages and personal belongings from our kings and queens since the 1500’s. This whole area is romantic and perfect for getting lost in. Try the little alleyways left and right – tons of photo ops against the colourful walls and cobble stones. There is a nice gay café called Chokladkoppen with fantastic hot chocolate if you feel like you need a break. One of the best places to eat here is Bistro Pastis. It’s a real authentic Parisian bistro with french classics and a menu that changes every day. Jaw-dropping wine list. Other than that, just walk around and enjoy.
Djurgården – the old royal hunting grounds. This is a big island right in the middle of Stockholm. It used to be the King’s hunting grounds but is today a bustling island with tons of museums and parks. The best time to hang out here is during the day. You might want to grab a drink after dinner but after 9-ish things really slow down here. The island of Djurgården indeed makes for a fabulous all day adventure! Check out Skansen, an open air museum and wild animal park, where I proposed to Lauren. It’s Lauren’s favourite place in Stockholm. Wait! Did you ever watch our proposal video? If not, here it is. While you’re there, check out ABBA- The Museum. It’s an interactive super fun music house, dedicated to pop music and ABBA. Very colourful and warm. In their bar and patio you can often find great live music acts in the widest possible range of genres.
Where to stay:
Airbnb is a good option in Stockholm. Hotels are expensive… In our relationship, Lauren usually wants to go for a cool Airbnb place, and I’m more drawn to a nice hotel. We love both options for different reasons. With Airbnb you have your own kitchen where you can cook up meals with local ingredients and you can live in a residential area with other locals. Subsequently you’ll have a stay more similar to how the locals of the area live, as opposed to a touristy stay. On the other hand, if you want to spend a little extra on accommodation, there are charming boutique hotels that will spoil you and make you feel like royalty for the weekend. Personally, I like to be a little spoiled on my trips and love the service high quality hotels provide. For Airbnb options, search in the neighbourhood of Södermalm. If you are into nice hotels, you should check out the quality boutique hotels Hotel Rival, Pop House Hotel and Hotel Kungsträdgården. Lauren wanted to add here, that if you’re traveling on a tighter budget, Stockholm has a lot of solid hostels. You can find them on any booking site, like hotels.com and they are usually clean, reliable and affordable with good locations. Not a bad option at all for a traveler on a budget.
Good to know:
Public transportation works great in this city. You can download the SL App before your trip and it will find your locations and help you get smoothly from point A to point B. Ubers are cheaper than regular taxis by a lot. Actually, avoid taxis if possible. They are expensive.
Tipping is not necessary in bars and restaurants. But if you feel like you’ve been well taken care of or if you’re a extra happy with your food and drinks, round up to closest even number. For example, your check is 630 sek, give them 700. Or if your check is 890, maybe put 950 sek. There is no exact way here. We just round up to whatever feels best based on the total experience and it usually ends up being 5-10%.
Don’t worry about getting around without knowing Swedish. Almost all Scandinavians are pretty much fluent in English so if you ever need any help, just ask away!
Best time to go is hard to say exactly. There is a charm with every season. I would say, that if possible, avoid mid June to mid August. The prices sky rockets this time a year and it’s much more touristy than going mid May – mid June, or mid August – mid October. Avoid November, February, March and April. Those months are usually grey and pretty boring. December is freezing but super cozy. Leading up to Christmas there are markets everywhere and it’s so picturesque. Plus it gets even cosier to snuggle up, sipping on red wine infront of a fire place with a snowy, cold Stockholm outside your window. If you go late in the summer, the waters surrounding Stockholm will be nice and warm and you can actually go swimming right in the middle of Stockholm by any of the numerous beaches or better yet; smooth cliffs by the clear water.
All and all, Stockholm is a friendly (and gay-friendly!) clean city with tons to do and see. Since it consists of several islands, there are a lot of connecting bridges that makes for a great walking city. Both pedestrian friendly and romantic. Hope you’ll have a fantastic stay in Stockholm. We would love to hear about your visit! Feel free to tag @thiscolorfulworld or hashtag #thiscolorfulworld on Instagram in your posts from Stockholm so we can get a sneak peak of your stay in our beloved city!