I spent 48 hours in Stockholm and learned that the capital of Sweden is gorgeous, its inhabitants are the most stylish and beautiful people that I’ve seen in my life ( they truly turn the streets into catwalks) and Fika should be a thing in every country. Stockholm definitely captured my heart and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it too. Here’s how you can spend 48 hours in the Venice of the North.
The hostel life
Not all hostels are grubby and noisy. The Generator Hostel Stockholm was hands down the best hostel I have ever stayed at. From the interior design to the location (so close to everything!), to the friendly staff – it was always a treat to come back after a day of exploring the city. The hostel was just a fifteen-minute walk away from the old town and the main shopping area.
Our spacious bedroom with private bathroom was basic, but had everything that we needed and was most of all clean. A big thumbs up for the individual lights and power sockets in the headboard. The hostel also has a cool café and restaurant that turns into a bar in the late hours.
Stockholm can be easily explored on foot. Everywhere you look there is beautiful architecture and the views along the water are absolutely stunning. Here are some of my favorite things I did during my trip:
- Gamla Stan: Gamla Stan, or Stockholm’s old town, is the most picturesque part of the city. This section of Stockholm is full of winding streets and historic buildings in rich colors. Wandering through the old cobbled streets is the best thing to do. Make sure not to miss Stortorget which is a really cute square in the middle of Gamla Stan. Here you’ll find Stockholm’s most photographed buildings.
- Södermalm: After you’re done exploring the old town cross the bridge to this hip neighborhood. The district south of the street Folkungagatan is called SoFo and is Stockholm’s Shoreditch. It is home to the trendiest fashion boutiques, vintage stores, cool restaurants, and hip coffee bars. From this island, you also have a stunning view of the entire Stockholm skyline. Two viewpoints are Fjällgatan and Monteliusvägen. Make sure to visit the terrace of restaurant Gondolen. Here you have a magnificent panoramic view over Stockholm. And it’s free!
- Skeppsholmen: Skeppsholmen is a wonderful island to just take a hike around and admire the scenery.
- Fotografiska: If you’re into museums then Stockholm is the place to be. One museum that you have to visit is Fotografiska. The museum typically features 4 exhibitions that change over time and there’s usually something on display for every taste.
Fika is an important word to know when you visit Sweden. Fika means coffee break and the Swedes definitely take their coffee seriously. You can have coffee virtually anywhere around the city. You’ll walk down a street with a row of cute coffee shops and turn the corner only to be greeted by a dozen more.
For the Swedes, drinking coffee is more than a quick trip to your local coffee shop before work. Fika is about taking a break from your busy daily schedule and socializing with family and friends. ‘Fika’ generally includes a cup of coffee and a sandwich or pastry. Of course, I had a fika of my own in these few spots:
- Vetekatten: Vetekatten along with Sturekatten are true Stockholm institutions. Vetekatten is elegantly decorated and its delicious pastries baked onsite are irresistible. Here you’ll find a mix of old local ladies, tourists, and businessmen.
- Johan& Nyström: This wonderful coffee shop was founded by a group of friends who shared a love for coffee. Here they only roast the best fair trade beans. The coffee shop itself is an excellent example of Scandinavian design with its big, bright windows and impeccable interior design.
- Drop Coffee: This is a coffee lover’s paradise. This award-winning coffee shop serves some of the best brews in town.
How much I would like to live off fika breaks, sometimes you just need a proper meal after all those delicious pastries and walking. These places serve food (and drinks) that will make your taste buds happy:
- Flippin’ Burgers: Queues are a common sight at this place and for good reason. Here they have the best burgers in town. I have never had such a juicy burger in my life and you can all wash it down with a delicious milkshake.
- Matgatan 22: While hunting for some food in Gamla Stan I stumbled upon this cute little restaurant. This place is great for lunch. Although the menu doesn’t give you many options, the food is wonderful. The interior has a Scandinavian feel to it and the staff is super friendly.
- Pharmarium: Even though alcohol can be pricey in Sweden, it shouldn’t stop you from visiting this great cocktail bar. In this dimly-lit former pharmacy they create interesting flavors using ingredients that range from herbs and spices. The drinks here aren’t like anything I’ve ever tried before.