Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, home to the second largest IKEA store in the world, smörgåsbord, fika and the birthplace of ABBA, Alexander Skarsgård and other gorgeous blond people. Most of those things are probably not an actual reason for visiting the city, but the architecture and the surrounding nature, like the Archipelago, certainly are! Spread out over 14 islands, it’s yet another city that can call itself ‘Venice of the North’, but quite deservedly so. The famous Stadshuset (City Hall) is home to some brilliant ceremonial halls, which is where the Nobel Prize banquet is held each year. And then there’s its vast metro network, another colorful attraction as it’s been called ‘the world’s longest art gallery’.
And even still, there’s much more to the city admits local Jonathan, “The possibilities here are endless. I’ve seen so much of this great city, but I know she has so much more to offer.”
So here we go, a 48 hour itinerary to introduce you to what the locals want to show you of their home town.
Day 1: 09:00 – 13:00
Pictured above is the historic center of the city, Gamla Stan, dating back to the 13th century. It’s a breathtaking area consisting of cobbled streets, medieval alleys and very old and impressive architecture. And that’s where we’ll start, with a top-notch cup of coffee at Café Stiernan. Or, if you’re a very early bird itching to start exploring the city, try Wayne’s Coffee close by, they start serving the black gold at 07:30! After kick-starting your day, take the chance to explore this touristy area the local way. Prästgatan, one of the very first streets of Stockholm, is often overlooked by tourists even though it has beautifully retained its original character of a medieval street. Also take a peek down Staffan Sasses gränd at the Rosenporten at number 8, according to local Joel it might just be the oldest door in town.
All that walking around is probably starting to get to you. Before you sit down for lunch though, head to Monteliusvagen for a spectacular view over the city. If you follow Natalia’s directions you’ll pass through the beautiful district of Bastugatan with its grand old houses and cobble stone streets.
Day 1: 13:00 – 19:00
Stay in the area for lunch at Falafelbaren or head back to Slussen for a serving of a Swedish traditional fare, the fried herring, which is a classic Stockholm experience that won’t break the bank. The locals recommend the herring cart at Strömmingsvagnen. However, if the weather is really cooperating head towards Mosebacke Torg. This square is home to Mosebacketerassen, an open air bar that’s a real must-visit in the summer. After lunch, calmly make your way to Fotografiska, and we do mean calmly as this photography museum is open until 23:00! It’s got plenty of great exhibitions to entertain you and an amazing view of Djurgåden across the water. If the weather is too good to stay indoors, head to the picturesque Katarina Kyrkogård. It’s safe to say that cemeteries are no longer a strange place to hang out in and this is no exception. Be respectful though and enjoy the peace and quiet this place offers. If it’s more views you’re after, and you certainly won’t find Stockholm lacking in this area, continue on towards Fåfängan, possibly the most astonishing view according to Camilla.
Day 1: 19:00 – 23:00
Wander back towards the famous Götgatan street (local Susanna’s favorite shopping street), perhaps via Vitabergsparken, where you can observe the locals in their natural habitat. Or join them with a bottle of wine! If you decide to skip the barbecue, leave the park to continue on for some delicious Indian at Rajdoot. It might not be fine dining, but it’ll definitely satisfy your hungry stomach. It’s got competition though, another one of our locals thinks Chili Masala is the best Indian restaurant in the city. It’s a bit further out though, in Hagalund, but should definitely be mentioned if we’re talking Indian cuisine in Stockholm.
Anyway, back to dining in the area you’re currently in. Thaiboat, down near the water, is also a great place for a few drinks and some food – keep in mind it’s a bit pricier. But considering their spot on the water, their great cocktails and its popularity, you probably will not regret this choice. If it’s the traditional kitchen you’re after, and you’re up for Husmanskost, then Pelikan is the place to be. Located in the same spot for over 80 years, the kitchen serves up great and plentiful Swedish husman such as cabbage pudding, herring and meatballs.
Day 1: 23:00 – …
Next up is Debaser Medis for a movie, some dancing or even a concert, be sure to check out their schedule. In any case you can have fun here till 03:00. If you’re not up for dancing, try Ljunggren (maybe even also for dinner) which is one of the liveliest and best cocktail bars in town. It’s not open as late as Debaser Medis, but the rooftop bar in summer and the wonderful DJs nonetheless make it a must visit during your stay in Stockholm.
Finally, we can’t end your first day without mentioning one of the coolest bars in the city, according to Natalia. Set in a very different atmosphere, Vampire Lounge serves up vampire-y drinks that are extremely delicious!
Oh wait, we really can’t finish this day without getting your midnight-cravings taken care of! A bold statement from local Joel: “Supposedly the world’s hottest hot dogs are manufactured and sold by Hell Dog in the Old Town.” ‘Nuff said.
Day 2: 09:00 – 13:00
Provided it’s not a Sunday, head to K25 to start your day. This food court is like a vibrant market place, filled with 11 different restaurants. Or get your morning caffeine dose at Konditori Valand, an institution in the Vasastan neighborhood that’s been around since 1954.
The recommendation for the rest of your morning could be short: Kulturhuset Stadsteatern. This is a place that is guaranteed to keep you entertained for hours on end with all the things going on here. A café with comfy sofas, cheap or even free exhibitions, an impressive library, theatre or music performances, you name it! But, you’re only here for two days so try to fit in as much as you can. Take a walk down Gamla Brogatan for some shopping, also possible if you’re here on a Sunday. There’s nothing ordinary about the boutiques located in this area!
Day 2: 13:00 – 19:00
Your lunch spot for today is Vigårda, a fast food restaurant with burgers of all kinds and you can tell the products they use are fresh, not greasy nor comparable to any other fast food places you most often want to leave in a haste. On the other hand, if you’re feeling fancy, make a reservation for Konstnärsbaren. The dining here is sublime, the Michelin Guide even listed them as Bib Gourmand (high quality meals at reasonable prices) and you might even run into some well known faces here!
Let’s walk off that lunch with a nice walk towards Skeppsholmen, along the way you cross the Skeppsholmsbron bridge, which offers (yes, you guessed it) more great views over the city. This beautiful island is home to the Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) a must-visit museum, the East-Asian Museum and several interesting sculptures in a park in the center of the island. Your evening is surely fully taken care of with a visit to this area.
Day 2: 19:00 – 23:00
It’s past 17:00 and that means Boqueria is open for business, and that’s good news for you! Boqueria serves delicious tapas, great wines and later at night the DJ turns up the volume and you can dance to your heart’s content. It’s turning into quite a hot spot and thanks to their closing time of either midnight or 02:00 (weekends) Boqueria can, and will, entertain you properly on your last night in the city.
If you fancy eating dinner in the touristy Old Town, but at a place the locals visit often; head to Brinken or Djuret. Both places are great local gems hidden among the tourist trinket shops. The former means simple, affordable local food, paired with great quality beers. While the latter really is meat-lovers only, it’s mostly organic or locally sourced ingredients with each month dedicated to one animal.
Those of you looking to wind these 48 hours in Stockholm down with a relaxed evening, and an early(ish) bedtime, we cannot leave out Stockholm’s take on prohibition: Melt Bar. Each night has a theme, from jazz to burlesque bingo and Wednesday’s Champagne night, with bartenders dressed in 1920s gear – serving delicious cocktails. A sure way of getting on that plane utterly content (and fresh, seeing as their latest closing time is 01:00).
Day 2: 23:00 – …
If you’re up for finishing your last night here a little later than 01:00, then you can choose to dance your shoes off at Fasching’s Club Soul and we mean it, you won’t be able to resist the Jazzy beats here. But, word of warning; only on Saturdays though. From Wednesday to Saturday go back to Mosebacke Torg, which is where you’ll find the popular Södra Teatern. It has 3 bars inside (Södra bar is only open on Fri & Sat), but you should take the elevator up to the 7th floor, to the Champagne Bar. With a glass of champagne in one hand, your other arm around your partner or friends, gaze out at the city, for yet another astonishing view. Sigh…what a way to finish off these 2 days in Stockholm.