I recommend the city of Stockholm, not only for its beauty but also for the mix of great shopping.
The Swedes are totally into fashion, H&M, hipster trends or uniform (black, black, black). But it is a city to be inspired of.
Most of all, I recommend Sodermalm, the south part of Stockholm with is total mix of affordable vintage, design furniture, catwalk brands and top end trainer shops and amazing cafes.
Fun shopping. Cool things for women and children. Nice prices in nice local neighboorhood with lots of small shops, coffee shops and restaurants.
Think of Sweden and we inevitably think of IKEA and wrestling with flat-pack furniture. You can browse the flagship store near Stockholm – free buses from Regeringsgatan/Jakobsgatan in the centre depart every hour, Monday to Friday. Just try not to bring back too much Swedish design to fit in your backpack!
IKEA Kungens Kurva, Modulvägen 1
This tiny cafe in the old town does the most fantastic hot chocolate, served steaming in big bowls. Go in winter and see the Christmas market before cosying down in one of the corners of Chokladkoppen with a good book.
Norrmalm isn't the most interesting or pretty area, but it's the main shopping district and good department stores such as NK, PUB and Åhlens are here, and so is the Central Station. There's a nice bar/brasserie at the top end of the main shopping street, Drottninggatan, called Grill.
Designtorget is a great design shop at the bottom of Sergels Torg, which is a big square near the central station. Kulturhuset – called 'the living room in the city' - is here, with interesting exhibitions/plays, nice café/restaurant with great views, and a good shop downstairs.
Another good cafe is Vetekatten, which is on Kungsgatan. Hötorget has a good outdoor market selling lots of nice things including handicraft. Kungsgatan is a long long street with lots of shops, and leads down to Stureplan which is a major meeting place. Kungsträdgården has many cafes and restaurants, and leads up to the Opera, the Royal Castle and the Parliament.
A few good bars/restaurants:
KGB Bar and Restaurant on Malmskillnadsgatan – nice friendly bar with classic Soviet theme.
Halv Trappa plus Gård on Lästmakargatan – good food, good tunes, good cocktails.
Operakällaren/Bakfickan in Karl XII’s Torg near Kungsträdgården – food in the main restaurant is very expensive, but Bakfickan is good value with excellent food.
Sophies Bar on Biblioteksgatan – usually a good nightspot for some good cocktails, but sometimes full of people with way too much money, which tends to affect the atmosphere.
Fasching on Kungsgatan is a great night out - it's a jazz club that's been around for ages, and has a great soul night on Saturdays if you're up for some dancin'.
If you're after Asian food, a good bet is to check Luntmakargatan, which runs parallel to Sveavägen, which is like a mini-Chinatown. There are a couple of good Korean and Japanese restaurants there.
Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm, with narrow cobbled little streets. Lots of medieval history and the Royal Castle, Storkyrkan (oldest church in town), and Stortorget (where the bloodbath of Stockholm took place in the 16th century. Check out the red brick building with white stones on one side of the square - the white stones denote how many people got their head chopped off. Nice!).
There are plenty of medieval cafes to head into for lunch or fika (morning or afternoon tea/coffee break) - sitting sipping hot chocolate in a medieval stone cellar complete with arches and stuff is exciting for most people. Chokladkoppen on Stortorget is always good, and so is Kaffegillet on Trångsund.
Västerlånggatan is the main drag, but sadly quite touristy these days. But if you're in the business of getting some reindeer slippers or the like, this is where to go. Österlånggatan is nicer, with little antiques shops and galleries. Next to Gamla Stan is Riddarholmen, which also has lots of history. The Parliament and the beautiful Riddarholmskyrkan church are located here.
Good places for food/drink:
Pontus in the Green House on Österlånggatan (good for lunch) - traditional Swedish cuisine but with an exotic twist.
Pontus by the Sea on Skeppsbrokajen (good for lunch) - see above.
Grill Ruby on Österlånggatan (lunch) - brasserie.
Källaren Movitz on Tyska Brinken – doesn’t look that special, but the restaurant downstairs is good for Swedish food.
Järnet Matsal & Bar on Österlånggatan is cosy and does good food.
Engelen/Kolingen on Kornhamnstorg - a nice old-school type of place where you're pretty much guaranteed to get a good night out.
Walk from Norrmalm along Drottninggatan towards the Houses of Parliament, or northwards from Slussen.
Södermalm (normally just Söder) - old working class area that has seen a revival in the last 10-15 years or so and is now oh so trendy. It's a very expensive area to live, but a good place for going out. The district commonly known as SoFo (south of Folkungagatan/east of Götgatan, two of the main roads in Söder) has many funky shops, good bars and nice restaurants, especially close to Nytorget which is a cute little square.
Folkhemmet on Renstiernas Gata is a nice bar/restaurant and generally the streets around Bondegatan and Skånegatan are filled with shops and places to go out. Götgatsbacken (leading up from Slussen) also has good cafes, bars and shops. A nice walk is to start at Mosebacke Torg and walk along the waterfront to Fjällgatan for spectacular views and a bit of cultural heritage.
Or turn the other way (i.e. westwards) and walk along Söder Mälarstrand and end up in Skinnarviksparken which has one of the highest points in Stockholm from where you can take some great touristy photos of the view.
Also, a must! Gondolen is a very posh restaurant at the top of Slussen, which is between Söder and Gamla Stan. You take the Katarinahissen lift up to the restaurant from Slussen, and the views are spectacular. The food is excellent but quite pricey, but I normally take people there for a drink just to admire the view. Vinbaren, which is downstairs from Gondolen is a good little place offering a more reasonably priced menu, especially for lunch. At the top bit (i.e. where Gondolen is) there is a place called Mosebacke (in Mosebacke Torg), which is a great club/hang-out place. Most Saturdays, there's a club there called Blacknuss which is really good. Kind of jazzy/funky. Great views as well if you sit outside. They also do jazz brunches on Sundays.
Kvarnen on Tjärhovsgatan is a classic old beerhall with good food, and has two good bars/clubs at the back and downstairs.
Other good places:
Pelikan on Blekingegatan – reasonably priced Scandinavian food.
Hannas Krog on Skånegatan – good lunch menu and good DJs after dark.
La Cuccaracha on Bondegatan is a good Spanish restaurant with good atmosphere.
WC Bar & Diner on Skånegatan – good food and good drinks. Gets very busy so get here early.
Street Restaurant by Hornstulls Strand (Hornstull tube) - bit of a trek, but worth it. Street itself is 'Stockholm's version of Camden Lock' so there's lots of fun things going on. It's just by the water which is nice and the food is good too.
South of Gamla Stan/Old Town, above the Slussen area, or take the tube to Medborgarplatsen.
This weekend market showcases local talent in textiles, jewellery and furniture and is full of quirky stuff. A large indoor cafe provides a welcome opportunity to rest your legs and just watch people go by.
Hornstullsstrand, T Hornstull
This swanky area on the north island is really nice to walk around. From the bridge to Djursgaten island, walk or cycle north along Narvavagen. When you get to the roundabout turn left onto Karlavagen. The side streets along this route between Karlavagen and Narvavagen are beautiful, with several
boutiques and lovely cafes.
In its stock and atmosphere this vintage clothing store typifies the 'bohemian" nature of the surrounding area of this part of Sodermalm with its cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and green spaces where artists, writers and students hang out.
There are also free gigs on Sunday afternoons.
Asogatan 144, 116 24 Stockholm;
tel: 08 641 3642;
Access by tube line (Hasselby-Farsta/Hagsatra/Skarpnack) to
Vasastaden - nice area for a wander around in. Lots of nice old buildings, nice little independent shops and good for going out. Observatorielunden above the Stockholm City Library is a nice park with great views.
A nice walk is to start at Karlbergs Station, or the St Eriksplan tube stop nearby, and head down to the water, and follow Norr Mälarstrand along the north side of the Riddarfjärden canal. You'll pass through a park called Rålambshovsparken and eventually end up at the City Hall (with its three golden crowns), where the Nobel Prize dinner and ceremony takes place every December. Climb up it if you want, or head off to Gamla Stan for more.
Good places for going out around here are Tranan on Karlbergsvägen (just by Odenplan tube) which is a good hang-out place. Nice food and good music during the day, and a great bar at night.
Storstad on Odengatan (also Odenplan tube) is also a good bar, with good food for lunch and dinner. La Habana on Sveavägen (Odenplan/Rådmansgatan tube) is excellent for mojitos and all things Cuban and is a pretty good place to spend an evening. Paladar de Cuba is another cool Caribbean offering closeby, on Tegnergatan (also Rådmansgatan tube).
St Eriksplan/Odenplan tube
Östermalm - the classic posher areas of Stockholm. Lots of trendy clubs and restaurants where the rich and beautiful people hang out, mainly around Stureplan and Humlegården. It is also good for shopping - all the big designer names are around Birger Jarlsgatan/Biblioteksgatan, and the streets around Östermalmstorg.
There is a great indoor food market in Östermalmshallen. Sturegallerian is nice for little quirky shops and cafes, and Sturekatten is the classic old cafe around here.
East on Stureplan - very good Asian food if you get tired of herring and crispbread!
Eriks Bakficka on Fredrikshovsgatan - the dinner menu is expensive, but it has a great lunch menu.
Carpe Diem on Lutzengatan (Karlaplan tube) - simple and rustic but very good.
Lisa på Torget on Östermalmstorg - great cocktails and good food too.
Walk up from Stureplan, or catch the tube to Östermalmstorg
Stockholm's department stores are all within walking distance of each other
and near the Central Station.
PUB (on Hötorget) is the most old-fashioned
and is more of a mall than a department store - Greta Garbo reputedly once
NK is the oldest and considered a bit expensive by Stockholmers.
åhléns (pronounced ‘oh-lay-ons’) department store is the least expensive option with plenty of choice and even a day spa in which to
relax after a hard days shop.
This ugly building next to the Central Station is actually quite vibrant. There is a gallery, library, cafe, theatre and shops. My favourite area is the Lava Lounge where you can go to relax and enjoy whatever event has
Classic interior design store on Strandvagen, Sweden's elegant waterfront boulevard. Founded in 1924 by Estrid Ericson, an art teacher and pewter designer (Svenskt Tenn means Swedish pewter), it's home to an amazingly eclectic mix of classic furniture, lamps and porcelain.
Austere modernism clashes with Swedish bourgeois cosiness, often to startling effect.
Ericson collaborated for many years with Austrian designer Joseph Frank. His exuberant and sumptuous textiles are the highlight.
Bring home a Frank cushion, an Ericson pewter jug or a quirky candleholder.
In November 2005 a Svenskt Tenn shop opened in Liberty's in London - but don't miss the original.
Strandvagen 5, Stockholm
+46 8 670 1600
Following on the comment about not going at midsummer, watch out for the Scandinavian saturday - not so much of a big deal in Stockholm, but shops close early (from midday onwards), public transport links are worse than any other day and pack up early, and concerts are often held in the afternoon not evening. All good locals obviously go off to be with the family.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com