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
Wonderfully whacky and very exclusive ladies boutique just opposite the opera with the most amazingly extravagant ballgowns, accessories and other 'must-haves'.
Kaertner Strasse 51, just near the Karlsplatz / Opera stop; www.popp-kretschmer.at
Myymala2 is a shop and a gallery, run by two guys. The gallery showcases work by young designers and artists, always fresh and fun. The shop has a very wide selection of small gifts and more expensive items such as non-sweatshop streetwear and the odd T-shirt with an original print.
Well worth a visit while in the area.
Not that easy to find as it is below street level and (last time I was there) is indicated only by a blackboard and chalk sign.
Uudenmaankatu 23 / 00100 HKI
Tired of those endless hours of sunbathing? If you are in the mood for reading and have run out of books look for something that suits your taste in the multi-storied Eleftheroudakis book store. English literature is on the mezzanine, most popular titles are displayed on the ground floor. And if you feel like leafing through glossy magazines without paying a cent you may do so in their wonderful sixth floor cafe over big cups of coffee and fresh croissants.
Panepistimiou street, Athens
Both stores are on Tsakalof Street in the elegant area of Kolonaki. High-heeled sandals that will capture your heart, boots of exquisite leather, fabulous loafers and flats, must-have bags. Prices range from reasonable to sky-high, but you will be unable to walk out of these stores without at least one pair of new shoes.
Tsakalof Street, Kolonaki
This creation of the Mastic Producers Union of Chios looks more like a jewellers than anything else, but the valuable products it sells are all made using the therapeutic and invigorating resin of the mastic tree from the island of Chios, birthplace of Homer.
Chios' Mastic is a unique product, granted a PDO (protected destination of origin) from the European Union.
For the best high street shopping experience, visit Athens' recent and state-of-the-art retail additions. Attica is Greece's largest department store with over 500 brand names on its eight levels. It opened last April. Very modern and upmarket environment, I spent an hour exploring it.
The other shopping experience is the very impressive The Mall, just north of the main Olympic complex, in the northern suburbs of Athens. It’s a massive shopping centre with 200 shops, a 15 screen multiplex cinema and numerous restaurants. It opened last November and it has already proved very popular with the locals. Very good public transport access.
Attica is on Panepistimiou Street between Panepistimio and Syntagma metro stations (line 2) (no website available)
The Mall Athens is off Neratziotissa station, where line 1 and the suburban rail line meet; www.themallathens.gr
This is a big covered market. It’s quite fun to watch the locals buying their fish and chickens but for visitors I recommend it for the fruit and nuts. I stocked up on pistachio nuts for munching while I was sightseeing and came home with bags of dried figs and pine nuts at bargain prices compared to England. You can also buy slabs of halva if you have a sweet tooth.
Athinas Street, between Omonia and Monastiraki metro stations
If you want to see something a bit different to the average high street stuff then go to the covered market on the Marszalskowska. There’s hundreds of little stalls selling clothes, food,fake perfumes, boots, hats, gloves etc.
An unmissable experience is the so-called Russian market in the
Get there early as it closes at 11am. The best way is by local train service from Srodmiescie station. You can buy tickets from any of
the many kiosks around the station. Don't walk as we did, as it took ages through the dangerously icy streets and it was closed by the time we got there.
Our second attempt the next morning was rewarded by the sight of countless stalls - mainly Vietnamese run - cheap clothing
This is the place to buy fur hats, Russian military badges, caps medals, leather gloves, caviar, fake designer labels, spirits, pirated CDs, DVDs, amber jewellery, fake perfume any sort
you'd care to think of.
The most impressive thing for me was those Vietnamese traders had
actually learned to speak Polish - what a linguistic achievement!
More up-market and elegant shops are on the Nowy Swiat. Lots of
hats and shoes.
Poles seem to read a lot and to spend a lot of time in bookshops
which is not surprising as most are warm, cosy and unhurried, often
combined with a cafe.
Anything and everything, in jaw droppping volume, themed in whole streets at a time...
having escaped the baby clothes avenue i got stuck in nail varnish boulevard for at least an hour, finally selecting some orange sparkly stuff (which i still have and love!) before exploring further wonders of market land. Also great food stalls, cafes and restaurants along many routes, this is where you will find ordinary people buying their (extra) ordinary stuff!
There are many markets in the city and obviously no contact number, but head to the area around the government buildings and square, and follow the sound in the streets...
The Voladores (Totonaca men from Papantla on the Gulf Coast who perfom ancient flying acts) are also your best bet for buying real vanilla pods and vanilla extract in Mexico City.
Just wait for their daily shows outside the Museo Nacional to finish, and ask them 'Tienes vanilla?' For a fraction of the price you'd pay at the tourist shops, you'll get real vanilla, not the essence, straight from the Gulf Coast source.
Los Voladores perform on a platform outside the Museo Nacional, Paseo de la Reforma, Polanco, Mexico City
Alongside the amazing array of food stalls you have a range of restaurants and tapas bar including an excellent sushi bar.
L'illa shopping centre (underneath it), on Diagonal although it's such a long street I can't remember where-head up near the hospital.
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