Absolutely fabulous! In the archipelago outside Stockholm you can either take a trip in a boat of your own, take a daytrip with Waxholmsbolaget for example or cruise around ("båtluffa") for a few days.
Easily reached by train, this beautiful seaside suburb south of Stockholm is an ideal place to visit for a day trip from the Swedish capital. The small sandy Baltic beaches are ideal for children and there are old-fashioned separate male and female nude swimming areas and saunas. You can go for walks in the woods, picking berries and mushrooms, or try one of the bars and fish restaurants.
Take the historic train ride from Slussen station in Stockholm to Saltsjöbaden.
Even if you only spend a few days in the "Venice of the North", I would still advise you to get on a boat and go out to the beautiful archipelago surrounding Stockholm.
The closer islands in the archipelago, such as Waxholm, Finnhamn and Fjäderholmarna, are only an hour or two away and are nice places to wander around for a couple of hours.
It's a lovely way to spend a nice day or half-day out, and if you go during summer, the archipelago is a great place for a summer picnic and swimming - that's what the locals do.
You can catch boats from the ferry terminals at Slussen and Strömkajen, below the Grand Hotell. www.stockholmtown.com/templates/substartpage____2409.aspx?epslanguage=EN; www.waxholmsbolaget.se/
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.
A very swanky bar which boasts a fantastic view over Stockholm. It is quite pricey and gets very busy in the evening, but go there for an afternoon drink and you can enjoy the magnificent view pretty much alone.
I stopped at Stockholm on my trip to the North Cape in 2001 (in a motorhome). The island of Djurgården is the best part - away from the city centre which, let's face it, is just like any city centre. Djurgården has great parklands and museums, the best of which is Skansen, the world's first open-air museum. With exhibits from all over the country, it gives a great taste of Swedish life.
A great restaurant-cum-bar-cum-gig venue overlooking the island of Gamla Stan and beyond. We visited on a Friday night and dined in a cosy alcove with a buzzy atmosphere and saw a Swedish blues band perform live in front of an arty/folky audience. The venue also plays host to comedians and magicians, which can make for an evening of random fun.
Walk up the hill from Slussen or take the Gondala lift for about £1 and walk accross the Mosebacke bridge;
Mosebacke torg 3, 116 46;
tel: 08 5560 9890
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
This cafe is attached to the modern museum and the architecture museum (Moderna Museet and Arkitekturmuseet respectively). It has reasonable food at OK prices, but the real reason to go is the fantastic view of Östermalm from the windows and the terrace. Go for sunset in the spring and see the light reflected from the windows of the smart hotels and apartment buildings opposite. Brunch at the weekends is also great.
Moderna Museet is 10 minutes away from Kungsträdgården, and 20 minutes from T-Centralen or Gamla Stan. Walk past Grand Hotel and Nationalmuseum on Blasieholmen, opposite the Royal Palace. After crossing the bridge to Skeppsholmen, continue up the hill. The entrance to Moderna Museet and Arkitekturmuseet is on the left-hand side
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