I’VE ALWAYS been a big fan of Scandinavia and its cultural exports.
Whether it’s their minimalistic style and architecture, or the northern lights and the midnight sun, the region has always intrigued me.
For my birthday, I decided to take my burgeoning curiosity and pack a bag for an impromptu birthday trip to Stockholm – staying one night in the historic town of Gamla Stan to soak up the culture from food to music and so much more.
Making the most of this city in 36 hours is no easy feat, but with a bit of research, I managed to experience a lot during my time in Stockholm.
Below, I’ve listed some key places to visit while on a quick trip to the friendly city.
If you’re travelling from Stockholm Vasteras airport – one of the furthest from the centre of the city – then hiring a car is an absolute must.
Vasteras is a small town located 103.4km outside of the city, and with limited transport options, travelling efficiently and in style is something Blacklane provides.
As I arrived at the airport, I was greeted by the driver who kindly escorted me to the car. The journey time came to about 1 hour 15 minutes, and the drive was as pleasant as can be – especially on a rainy Stockholm Sunday morning.
With their service offered to more than 600 airports in 300 cities, Blacklane provided a reliable service which was a great start to my weekend trip.
Stay at…Sven Vintappare Hotel
As I arrived at Gamla Stan, I felt like I was transported back into a different time. I strolled along the cobbled pavements and gazed into the side streets in awe, as I took in the view of the historic town.
Sven Vintappare Hotel (hotelsvenvintappare.se) is located right in the heart of Gamla Stan, close by to notable attractions such as the Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum, making it a perfect spot for someone looking to see the key attractions in a short space of time.
If you’re looking for a boutique hotel with a Swedish feel, Sven Vintappare Hotel is perfect.
Tucked away on a quiet, narrow side street and overlooking a tiny square, Sven Vintappare is based in an early 17th century building and is full of charm. Complete with only seven rooms and an intimate little cafe, this wonderful hotel immerses you in Old Town Stockholm.
Eat at…Madam and Brinken
Stockholm is pretty large in scale with various neighbourhoods offering something different and over 14 islands and 57 bridges.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore much of the city, but I was able to access various neighbourhoods by taking the metro or even walking.
From Gamla Stan, you can take a 20-minute walk to Södermalm – which is known to be one of the cooler neighbourhoods in Stockholm.
Known for its trendy retail stores, restaurants and cafes, you can get away from the tourist feel of Gamla Stan and get a feel of how the locals socialise in this part of town.
During my visit, I took a trip to Korean restaurant Madam – a quaint little spot that served a variety of meat and veggie options.
The minimalist interior design and relaxed atmosphere made for the perfect spot on a drizzly Sunday afternoon and the selec- tion of food was amazing.
I dined on a mixture of Korean treats, ranging from tteokbokki – Korean stir-fried rice cakes – to dolsot bibimbap, a mixed rice bowl with marinated beef. Complete with great customer service, I’d recommend a visit to this Korean restaurant.
For dinner, I decided I wanted to try some traditional Swedish cuisine and ventured to the intimate Brinken restaurant in the heart of Gamla Stan.
The inviting atmosphere made you feel as though you were in a warm cabin deep in the mountains, and their hearty meals made it feel all the more real.
I had their traditional Swedish meatballs with potato purée and it felt as though I was eating a home-cooked meal!
Washed down with a Sleepy Bulldog Pale Ale and Creme Brulee for dessert, Brinken is the perfect spot for a traditional meal complete with local brews and a feel-good atmosphere.
Drink at…Temple Bar and Cocktails & Dreams
Finding a bar that is open until late in the morning on Sunday is pretty difficult. But if you’re looking for somewhere local with good drinks and fun – albeit a bit cheesy – music, then Temple Bar might be the place to go.
The bar is open until 3am, and really gets busy around 12.30am-1am. The atmosphere is buzzing with a young and older crowd, as they mingle and sing along to classic rock songs into the wee hours. With enough alcohol in your system, this makes for a pretty fun experience!
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated experience, Cocktails & Dreams is a great place to retreat to for a few hours to sip on their signature cocktails and enjoy a chilled atmosphere.
Do…Stockholm Walking Tour
Unsurprisingly, 36 hours in Sweden’s capital is not a long time to see everything. So to experience some of the key attractions of the city, a walking tour is a must.
During the ‘Must See Tour’, I walked around in awe as a group of us saw some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Vasa Museum, St George’s statue, Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral) and Skeppsbron 26 – a scenic public ferry offering the best views of the city from water.
For a quick trip abroad, Stockholm definitely provides a mix- ture of sightseeing, bar-hopping, good food and much more.