This was a trip where Joe was not going to let us get away with doing something low key on Friday night. He had heard a lot of good things about Stockholm’s nightlife and was highly anticipating our big debut there. One slightly delayed flight later, and we arrived at Rose Club around 1am. This place was absolutely insane – lots of great people watching and also lots of velvet. There was also some crazy birdcage contraption that was used to transport magnum bottles of champagne from the bar to the tables. Every time they did it they would stop playing the music and put a spotlight on this bottle of bubbly moving across the ceiling and being delivered to eager customers at their table. I wish I had a video to share! They played every throw back 90’s jam you could imagine, and everyone went nuts for it. They really love our music over here… And don’t let me forget to mention how damn expensive the drinks were, 2 shots and 2 drinks was 60 euro. People warned us about how pricey things are here, and we quickly realized how true this was.
Saturday morning we woke up to snow flurries! We were starving, so we quickly got ready and ventured to the hipster neighborhood Sodermalm. We had breakfast at a place called Bakverket where we dined on a typical Swedish breakfast served with different types of bread, cheese, and meat. It also came with a small salad, some yogurt (which was very scary), and some fresh lemon drink with herbs. It was a lot of food and most of it pretty tasty! We usually like to try the native food of wherever we’re visiting and this was certainly the most interesting we’ve attempted.
There were lots of vintage shops and unique stores in this area. Some I loved were Fat Cat – which was a home store that had so much cool stuff and the whole place was covered in plants. I also spent a long time in Sara Clausin – not only to warm up but also because I wanted everything.
While wandering about we came across this random house in the middle of the city. It was set back off the road and had a path lined with snow topped Christmas trees leading up to it. We saw people going in and out of the house so decided to peek in. We found out that it is a place called Malmgarden Vita Bergen and is an old house converted into a shop that sells lots of handmade dishes and pottery, but also is home to a small restaurant upstairs. Such a cool spot to stumble upon.
Stockholm was the one city we didn’t find easy to walk. Maybe because it was really cold and snowy, but also because the different areas are pretty spread out. We were planning to walk back towards Ostermalm, the central hub of the city, but by the time we got to the main highway, we were over it. It was brutally cold and just taking too much time. We did manage to catch some cool views of the city while waiting for our Uber. So it wasn’t all that bad. But oh yeah, Uber…. it was such a rip off here. Whether your trip was 5 minutes for 15 minutes they would charge you €20! Nothing like throwing away your money….
We were dropped off at Stureplan which is a plaza that is home to many restaurants and nightclubs. This area of Ostermalm is full of everything from designer shops to Zara and Starbucks. It was so lovely to be here during Christmas time – they had a big tree in the middle of the square and all of the shopping streets were decorated with lights and even playing Christmas music! All of this combined with the snow really helped us get in the spirit.
The next stop was Saluhall, which is a historic food market that has been around since the 1880’s. Unfortunately the real thing was under construction while we were there, but they have a temporary location just beside it which we were able to squeeze our way in to. This placed was packed with locals doing shopping for their fresh produce and gourmet goods, but also so many tourists stopping in for a quick coffee or some traditional smorgas. Joe was on the hunt for some Swedish meatballs and we hit the jackpot at Husmans Deli. They came on top of a mound of mashed potatoes and were covered with the most decadent, buttery sauce. Literally the perfect meal to defrost.
We then made our way over to Gamla Stan, also known as the Old Town. This part of the city is a small island nestled in between Ostermalm/Norrmalm and Sodermalm, and is super historic. Lots of the medieval architecture here is still in tact and all of the cobbled alleyways and colourful buildings truly make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. We roamed all over the area checking out the different stores and and ooo-ing and aaaah-ing at all of the Christmas decorations. I tried to ignore the fact that I was absolutely freezing with my gloves soaked through and damp socks…. but when 3pm rolls around and it’s pitch dark out, you don’t have much choice but to go inside. We found a tiny cafe to hole up in and ordered some cappuccinos to warm us up.
Pretty much as soon as we regained feeling in our fingers, we had to head back out for our Swedish Christmas Tour. What better way to catapult us in to the Christmas season then this?! The tour took us all around Old Town and taught us about all of the Swedish Christmas traditions. We learned about St.Lucia Day, December 13th, which marks the kick off to the holiday season. Lucia was a martyr who was accused of practicing witchcraft but was ultimately bringing food to Christians in hiding. Young girls pay tribute to Lucia by wearing white robes and candles in their hair while singing to their families or an audience. They also serve Lucia buns, which are made with saffron and only available this time of year. The tour ended at Polkagris Kokeri, a famous Swedish candy store known for it’s licorice. We tasted some delicious flavours including their popular Turkish Pepper. We ended with some glögg aka mulled wine, our new go-to winter time alcoholic bev!
After the tour we wanted to go back to Gamla Stan’s main square, known as Stortorget. They had a Christmas market going on so we wanted to peruse the different stalls and enjoy the Christmasy atmosphere. And why not have some more glögg while we’re at it?! We had been drinking it recently in London, but the traditional way to serve it in Sweden is with slivered almonds and raisins and a gingerbread cookie on the side – YUM! Finding the local treats is always one of my favourite parts about going to new countries.
At this point we were in desperate need of a hot shower and dry clothes. We headed back to our hotel, Scandic Upplandsgatan, which was a Scandi-design lovers dream. Super snug and very tidy! A great stay and super centrally located.
We decided to walk to Ostermalm for dinner to really take in our last night in Stockholm. It was the perfect, snowy evening to stroll the city. Our first stop was Sturehof, a beautiful bar & restaurant with quirky design touches including funky art and crazy light fixtures. Although we only stopped in for a couple glasses of wine, we were really tempted to stay for dinner because this place had the best vibe. We then hopped to East for a quick cocktail before heading to our dinner reservation.
Our dinner was at Taverna Brillo, a vibrant Italian restaurant filled with tons of young people. I had read that this place often serves as the starting off point for the night, and because of it’s close location to many of Stockholm’s most popular bars & clubs. They played great music and the food was SO good. We started with scallops with artichoke, apple and chilli and I had a huge bowl of gnocchi with brown butter & broccoli. OMG I missed gnocchi. I could repeat that meal over and over. The music in the back of the restaurant was bumping by the time we left, so we headed back for a nightcap and check out the scene.
The next morning we had a bit of a lie in since we had a later flight and the airport was nearby. Or so we thought…. When Joe went to ask our receptionist the best way to get there, she explained there was only 1 bus a day to that airport and it leaves at 11:40am. Apparently Stockholm has about 3 “local” airports, and turns out the one we were leaving from was about 2 hours away. So instead of enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast, we quickly headed to a buffet at the Teaterbrasseriet so we could shoot over to the bus station in time to board.
We jumped on our bus and went on a snowy 2 hour ride through the country. It was soooo pretty seeing the completely snow covered trees, but the further away we got from the city, the more nervous we got that our flight would actually take off… Luckily when we arrived everything was on time and we took off without a hitch.
Add Stockholm to the list of beautiful Scandi-cities that I would definitely go back to in a heartbeat. But in the summer! There were a bunch of things we missed that I would suggest to anyone visiting: