Stockholm can get up to a balmy 23 degrees in the summer months, making it the warmest of all the Scandinavian countries. Mix this with its love of fresh fish, island archipelago status and a flight time of roughly 2.5 hours, it makes for a perfectly warming weekend escape.
Here is a tried and tested itinerary to get the most out of Sweden’s capital city in two days.
I stayed in the Courtyard Hotel by Marriott, Kungsholmen in Marieberg, a clean modern hotel some distance from the city centre but easily accessible by public transport and due to it’s out of town status, healthy enough on the budget (a double room for two nights over a weekend in August is just over £100 on Booking.com).
For a traditional salmon or herring-filled breakfast, head to Lisa Elmqvist, arguably Stockholm’s best fish restaurant. Situated in Ostermalms Saluhall, a food hall dating back to 1880s, with antique stalls selling produce, seafood & gourmet goods, plus several cafes, Lisa’s is atmospheric as well as delicious. Ostermalmstorg, the neighbourhood it is situated in, is the poshest part of the city with designer stores and Michelin-starred restaurants, the perfect place to walk off a light breakfast.
After taking in this area, head over to Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town to walk around its cobbled streets and alleyways and take in the quaint squares and old churches. Make sure to visit Stockholm Palace for a fix of European Royal living – palace tours are available, though I wanted to make the most of the sun and stay outside!
Heading down to the pier, hop on a municipal boat to take a trip around the archipelago. Used by locals, this is a much cheaper option than the tourist sight-seeing boats and includes plenty of stop-offs on the other smaller islands. I decided to take in the leafy island of Djurgarden.
The island has plenty of museums and cafes and is perfect on a summers’ day. Skansen, located on the island, is the first open-air museum and zoo in Sweden. It was opened in 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833–1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era. As such, it has bears, wolves, buffalo and even wolverine in large pens (so large I couldn’t actually see the wolves as they were off roaming away from the perimeter fence!) A great walk back in time to see and get a feel for Sweden’s traditional farming and fishing peoples.
Dinner was in the Ardbeg Embassy restaurant, back in Gamla Stan. A must do for whisky lovers, it also serves local delicacies including moose and elk which goes incredibly well with another local favourite, lingonberries (a bit like cranberry sauce). A delicious meal set in a large beer-hall style room.
After a long day exploring Sweden’s capital, Day 2 was much more of a leisurely affair. I started with a morning of Swedish massages and dips in the hot tub at the picturesque Njuta Spa which overlooks the water. A little out of town, it is easily accessible by taxi and one tick for the bucket list (a Swedish massage in Sweden!)
In the afternoon, it was time to take in the Fotografska museum – a must-see for photography lovers with excellently curated exhibits, it kept me entertained for at least two hours as I explored the work of amazing Brazilian photographer, Sebastian Salgado’s in his ‘Genesis’ collection.
Coming to the end of my short weekend away, I popped up to Stockholm’s tallest drinks venue, the Sky Bar to enjoy the view of the capital over the water from the floor to ceiling windows and toast the sunset on a great summer-time trip.