You know the stereotype. Tall. Blonde. Immaculately dressed. Beautiful. They are all true. The Sweeds are the perfect race blessed with slender, long limbs, blond hair and taste that surpasses any other countries inherent style (well, aside from Denmark). I arrived here knowing I was going to feel something for Sweden, it has long been on my radar as a must visit.
Flying in, my plane glided above the famous Swedish archipelago; captivating, dense islands of green scattered, hugging the coastline as if fighting the currents, not to be washed away by the dark, broody blue..
Touching down, you are greeted by crisp air and endless green.
Stockholm itself is comprised of larger islands. There is something about a water soaked city that gives it soul, like the currents are breaths to the concrete. Stockholm certainly holds that ‘Je ne sais quoi’, that only a select few do (Sydney being my other top pick).
Aside from the jaw-dropping views over the harbour on my way in from the airport my first experience of Stockholm was in the evening. Picture historical lampposts lining far too old bridges, cobblestone lanes and lights reminiscent of Christmas strung between century old buildings. The shop fronts teasing with the perfectly designed wares behind, lit just enough to tease you in when morning comes.
We were, naturally, making our way to the nightlife that Stockholm might offer. Walking the old town streets at this later hour showing of the streets in full glory and ending up in the most charming Viking Bar, how Swedish.
The lifestyle of this city is my favourite part, pretend to be a Sweed, not a tourist.
This is a way of life in Swedish culture. Think brunch, but any time of the day, and somewhat mandatory. It’s the Swedish way of catching up over coffee and cake, whenever, and work expects you to partake. Amazing. The coffee here is bloody decent, the cafes incredible trendy (Scandi design can do no wrong), and the cinnamon buns, or my tip, the cardamon buns are one of the best things that will pass your sweet lips in a long time. Fika is a ritual for the Sweeds, it should be for you too.
Be cashed up. And have some extra (a tonne of) baggage space. The shopping here is the best in the world, fact. Hit up Södermalm, translating literally as the south island. Here is where all you find the smaller designers, perfectly curated lifestyle and bookstores, (and can also grab a damn good fika). It’s every minimalist, monochrome, and clean Scandi dream you could hope for. You will also find some great weekend vintage markets, which are perfect if you’re on a tight budget.
The old town is the tourist area, so expect to find endless souvenir shops. Sweden souvenirs are thankfully quite decent, and you will find some great little nick naks. You can grab some quality, Swedish designed and made mementos too. I picked up a stunning watch that admittedly put a dent in the funds but was worth every cent.
If you are after the basics, there is of course the high street. Amazingly H & M here isn’t the credit fuelled female blood bath of its Aussie sister, with much higher quality and design. Aside from that you’ll find all the usual suspects for your shopping pleasure. Believe you me it’s impossible to resist splashing out if only slightly. Don’t try and out dress though, it’s a sad fact that we simply don’t have that natural style.
Stockholm packs quite a few decent galleries and museums in for such a small city.
A must see is the Fotografskia museum, housing a changing collection of contemporary photography in a building that is just as stunning. My hopeless adoration of the light captured form saw me mesmerised for a half day. There is also a fantastic café/restaurant upstairs with arguably the best harbour views around, and an amazing buffet spread.
Another on point gallery is the Moderna Museet. Again perfectly curated with painting hung just so, sculptures placed perfectly. You find this treasure on Skeppsholmen, a small, central island. It’s best to end up here on the weekend, to catch the food truck market.
It’s the islands sans tropical. Although is you find your way here in summer expect to be bathing in the deep blue from an island of your choice. Personally, as the season ticked from light to dark, I adored the colours of the deep green flora against the menacing, choppy waters. Take ferry, summer or winter to an island and enjoy a swim or hot chocolate, dependant on the season.
Aside from that, wrap yourself in black, pound the pavement and do your best to seduce a Scandi.