Stockholm. The second destination on the Northern European tour I went on for work in October of this year (yes, for work. I’m the luckiest!). I’d heard amazing things about Stockholm — the food, the people, the scenery. It did not disappoint (but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I loved Copenhagen a bit more).
Made up of 14 islands, Stockholm is truly beautiful. We did most of our exploration by walking from island to island (and man, did we get some serious steps in on our Fitbits).
We stayed on the island of Norrmalm, just a short walk from Stadhuset (City Hall). The first day in Stockholm was spent at the Adobe office training. The office is a decent drive outside of Stockholm proper, but it gave us a chance to take in the scenery and residential areas. So lush and green.
Naturally, my boss put me in charge of food and we ate pretty well (if I do say so myself). The first night, we went to dinner at Speceriet which is the sister restaurant of Gastrologik, a two Michelin starred restaurant. It was pretty incredible. Salmon sashimi, lamb, cloudberry pancake paired with a cold Swedish Saison. It was delicious. The best part of the evening was meeting two lovely ladies (it’s a community table-style restaurant) sitting next to us. We talked with them for ages and got a bunch of amazing recommendations on where to go, what to see, and where to eat!
Our first day exploring started with a trip to the stadshus. The City Hall is where the Nobel Awards Banquet takes place. it was pretty cool to think about all the Nobel Laureates who have walked the grounds. We didn’t go inside (tours weren’t starting as early as we arrived) so we walked over to the island of Gamla Stan (old town Stockholm) which was absolutely the highlight of the trip. Old European architecture, tiny cobblestone streets, cafes, shops. It was very cute.
I purchased an authentic Kanelbullar which is basically a cinnamon bun with cardamom. I must admit, the pastries in Denmark blew this one out of the water.
We walked around the streets of Gamla Stan for a bit before venturing over to De Kungliga Slotten (the Royal Palace) and took a tour. We saw the treasury, the Royal Apartments and the Tre kroner museum. It was beautiful, but I’ve learned quickly that once you’ve seen one European palace, you’ve kind of seen them all. Pretty amazing living quarters.
After the palace, we took a ferry over to Djurgarden. Let’s pause and talk about taking this ferry. I’d like to think my boss and I are fairly intelligent individuals. Having just come from Danish-speaking Copenhagen (in which we were completely fine), we could not for the life of us figure out how to purchase the right ticket for the ferry. It took us (and about half a dozen others!) over 20 minutes to figure out the ticketing system. We got our tickets and hoped for the best.
Our first stop on Djurgarden was at the Vasa Museet — the museum of a ship that sank in the Stockholm harbor in 1628. The ship was excavated (it hadn’t even left the harbor before it sank!) and is being preserved inside the museum. It was incredible to see a ship of its size. It was so ornately decorated and the story is pretty grueling (and only a teensy bit humorous that they built this gorgeous ship to have is sink before it even left the harbor).
After the museum, we walked over to Oaxen Krog & Slip, one of the recommendations from the ladies on our first night. I’m so glad we tried it because it was incredible. By far and away the best meal we had in Stockholm. Oaxen is divided into two restaurants. Slip is the casual Swedish bistro and Krog is the fine dining experience. Oaxen is hosted in a refurbished shed at a boatyard with interior design inspired by marine industries. Serving Scandinavian bistro food, the Slip was to die for.
After eating the biggest “lunch” we decided to walk it off a bit. We walked around Djurgarden and found a corner store to get some bottled water. Inside the corner store, there was bulk candy for sale. One Swedish candy that I was told I must try was the Salty Licorice. Now, I’m not a fan of regular licorice, so I couldn’t imagine I’d be fond of the salty variety. I just wanted one fish and the kind cashier just let me have it. Thank goodness I didn’t spend any money on that salty licorice because I immediately spit it out and was thankful I had water to wash my mouth out. Probably the most heinous thing I’ve ever tasted.
We got back on the ferry to Skeppsholmen and walked around the tiny neighboring island of Kastellholmen. Beautiful views of the islands and the eye sore that is Grona Lund (amusement part on Djurgarden). From Skeppsholmen, we took the ferry to Slussen and walked over the bridge to the island of Sodermalm to go to the Fotografiska (photography museum). There were some pretty powerful exhibits — and American one that focused on celebrities, one that chronicled images of suffering refugee children (which was incredibly intense and beautiful), and a contest off 24 photographers. It was really neat to see.
By the end of the day, my boss and I were totally wiped, but we decided to just see one more site before calling it a night. We went up to the Gondolen to see the view from the bridge and it was truly spectacular.
Our last day in Stockholm began with a “locals” walk along the water. It was very beautiful and very quiet. I think that’s how I would sum Stockholm up — beautiful and quiet. We ventured back to City Hall to take the tour and in 45 minutes, we saw the whole place — the Blue Room (which is actually red brick but was originally envisioned by the designer to be blue, but he loved the brick so much he kept it), the hall with beautiful chandeliers where people get married (60 marriages per week!), the Golden Room (which is actually covered in two kilos of real gold). City Hall is absolutely beautiful and I can completely see why the Nobel Banquet is held there. the architecture is incredible and each room has different charm.
We continued our walk all the way back to Djurgarden to visit Skansen, an open air museum and zoo. The museum part was a little meh, but we got to see real reindeer in real life! It was a great way to end the trip.
You can see all my photos from Stockholm here.