I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Stockholm after watching Million Dollar Listing New York. Yeah, Stockholm tops many lists including Most Beautiful Cities in Europe, and Happiest Countries in the World, but I wasn’t reeled in yet. I was attracted to Stockholm after watching Frederick Eklund return to his home country. He spoke about his love for Stockholm with a deep glistening passion in his eyes. What was so great about it? I needed to find out.
1. Take the Arlanda Express: The Arlanda Express is one of the best airport to city center transportations I’ve taken. It comes in right before the Heathrow Express for a few reasons (1): It’s cheaper. The Arlanda Express even lowers prices from Thursday to Sunday for group travel. (2) You can see the countryside of Sweden as you’re heading into the city center. (3) Impeccably clean, and sleekly designed- perfect after a 7 hour redeye. My friend got a kick out of the little red “study” area nestled in between the seats.
2. Cat Cafe: I was utterly confused when we stumbled into this Victorian Dollhouse. With whimsical winding stairs, mismatched furniture, and colorful patterned wallpaper, the cafe reminded me of a grandmother’s home more so than a coffee shop. But it absolutely works. After ordering a coffee and pastry on the second floor, you’ll realize finding a seat in one of the many rooms is the real delight in this place. Try the Princess Cake with a good latte to start your day off right.
3. See a shipwreck at the Vasa Museum: The fascinating museum features the actual Vasa shipwreck recovered in the 1960s. Built in 1627, the viking ship is now a major tourist attraction. I can totally see why. It’s an awe-inspiring sight, and the museum is very well done. There are lively graphics, detailed descriptions, and preserved artifacts from the sunken ship on display. This museum is sure to amuse both the young and old alike.
4. Make a trip to Skansen to see the first outdoor museum:. Skansen is accessible through public transport, just a little outside city center. It’s an eclectic mix of farm animals, art work, and whimsical facts blended into one playground. Does it make sense? Not really. Does it work? Absolutely! The museum took us half a day to explore. It wasn’t spectacular, nor was it trying to be, but I loved the simplicity of its amusement. The three of us, all in our mid 20s, spent half the day reliving our trips to the petting zoo while grabbing hot chocolate in between. Favorite moment? Placing logs in the fire pit while watching the Scandinavian sunset.
5. Cocktails? Yes, and reserve early at Pharmarium: Hands down, some of the best cocktails I have had in Europe. We stumbled into the bar, which could have easily been mistaken for a science lab, without a reservation. The host politely asked if we would consider returning the next day, but to his dismay, learned we would be on a flight back to New York City. One pity look later and we were in. I’m so grateful because the drinks were top notch. Don’t miss out, and be sure to book a table in
6. Hunt for the best Swedish meatball! Swedes scoffed when we asked about Ikea meatballs, and were quick to recommend their favorite place. During our 48 hour stay, we opted to try the traditional version at Pelikan. Pelikan, resembling a large German beer hall, also featured reindeer. While the meatballs were good, I wasn’t a fan of the slightly gamey taste. Meatballs for the People was more up my alley with modern decor and a fun take on the traditional version.
7. Explore the Royal Palace… but don’t expect too much. I was quite disappointed at the Royal Palace. Perhaps it was the construction surrounding the Palace? Or the lack of excitement in the air from fellow tourists? The Palace, while beautiful inside with fine details and rich fabrics, underwhelmed me. If you’re like me and an utterly stubborn individual that needs to see things for themselves, sign up for a guided tour to hear about the history of the Royal Palace. It’ll provide a deeper perspective and appreciation that I didn’t achieve on my own.
8. End the night with some chocolate mousse at the Lydmar hotel. Our group did a bit too much partying the night before, and wanted to end Stockholm on a quiet note. The Lydmar is a gorgeous boutique hotel that caters to the fashion industry. Their lobby bar has a warm and inviting feeling without the stiffness that one would expect from such a hotel. And at their bar is a hidden gem. The chocolate mousse is absolutely divine and warmed my heart. Full disclosure: I ate two.