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An elegant harbour, pretty parks, effortless fashion, unbeatable museums, great shopping, gastronomic excellence and outstanding contemporary design — with a capital city like Stockholm it’s easy to see why the Swedes are among the happiest people on the planet
‘Lagom’ — this single word encapsulates the entire Swedish philosophy on life: that everyone should have enough but not too much. Yet you’ll find an abundance of everything you could possibly want from a city break in Stockholm. With more than 50 bridges intricately connecting its trendy districts, it’s easy to see why it’s been called the Venice of the North. The old town, Gamla Stan, is one of Europe’s most arresting historic hubs with impressive palaces and a labyrinth of cobblestone streets. Just a few metres from this time capsule, the modern city centre shines bright.
Stockholm is internationally renowned for its inventive cuisine and the popular restaurant Djuret, meaning ‘animal’ in Swedish, typifies its creativity. It serves up the meat of only one animal at any time. The ideology behind this is to respect the animal and produce food in a sustainable way. The restaurants theme tracks through to its decor with quirky features such as butcher mincers used as lighting stands, meat themed artworks and table covers with anatomic images of the different cuts on cattle.
The Swedish government commissions public art from some of the country’s leading artists, so you never know what you might find around the next corner. Travel on the subway and you’ll experience sections of the world’s longest art gallery, with over 90 of the 100 stations transformed through sculptures, mosaics, etchings, paintings and installations. For the price of a single ticket you can explore all day.
Another must-see is the installation Morgondagens Väder Stockholms Centralstation (Tomorrow’s Weather Central Station) by artists Bigert & Bergström. It’s an eye-catching collection of internet connected globes that change from shades of blue to red depending on the weather forecast.
For astonishing views of the City Hall, Riddarholmen and Lake Mälaren follow Monteliusvägen, a quarter mile long path lined with quaint cottages. There’s a tiny park with benches at the end of it where you can rest your legs and drink in the sights. It’s got to be Stockholm’s most romantic walk.
Kayaking is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. Guided trips begin at Djurgårdsbrunn, just at the mouth of Djurgården, or you can hire your own kayak and paddle from island to island. Be careful if you go unguided as boat traffic can be heavy in the centre of the city.
This charming Art Nouveau building in the heart of Stockholm opened in 1904. Take a dip in the pool, relax in the sauna or treat yourself to a massage before a drink in the luscious garden courtyard.
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