48 Hours in Stockholm

A city that is rich in history and packed with culture, explore what makes Stockholm, Sweden the perfect place to spend a weekend layover.

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Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Impression of Stockholm

While I only was able to spend a of couple days in the city, it left a pretty good impression on me. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and it was a good balance of historical and modern culture in the form of art, design, fashion and music. The heart of this maritime city is spread out over multiple islands and shorelines, so it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as other metropolitan areas.

Art on the Go: Stadion Station

Having what is said to be the longest art exhibit in the world at almost 70 miles (110km), the Stockholm subway system is a labyrinth of colorfully themed stations featuring an assortment of murals and sculptures unique to each stop.

Art on the Go: T-Centralen

It's around $13 (120 SEK) for an unlimited day pass, which not only allows you to explore the underground gallery but more easily navigate the spread-out districts that make up the city.

Make It Educational

You could dedicate an entire trip to simply exploring the museums scattered throughout the city, focusing on everything from art, history and science to the more culturally-inspired Vasa (maritime museum), Nobel Museu, or the Abba Museum which pays tribute to the famous '70s Swedish pop band. Two of my favorite stops were the Fotografiska, a contemporary photography gallery with a top floor cafe overlooking the water, and the Moderna Museet, which houses a substantial permanent collection of modern and contemporary art.

Foodies, Get Ready

If you’re a foodie, double your travel budget and enjoy! My first meal in Sweden was Reindeer Tartar, and it was amazing! The diet I had while visiting Stockholm was a drastic departure from the ordinary; it not only included reindeer but dishes like braised ox tongue, wild game meatballs and shepherd's pie with foie gras. Each meal seemed to be more delicious than the last. The catch? Eating out can be a bit costly here, so budget accordingly! There's a whole city full of restaurants that I was, unfortunately, unable to sample in my short visit, but I can give a personal recommendation to a few places including Pharmarium, The Flying Elk, Urban Deli Nytorget, Ardbeg Embassy, 800 Grader and Rolfs Kök.

Fika: Swedish Coffee Break

Fika is a concept akin to British tea time and is the perfect mid-day reset especially amidst a busy travel itinerary. It's more about slowing down for a moment to enjoy a drink and a treat than it is about slugging down caffeine to boost your energy.

Neighborhood: Gamla Stan

The Gamla Stan neighborhood is a necessary stop for any Stockholm first-timer but is definitely a more tourist-oriented part of the city.

Neighborhood: Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is the ‘Old Town’ of Stockholm and is the historic hub of the city.

Neighborhood: Gamla Stan

Home to landmarks like the Swedish Royal Palace, it's a quintessential labyrinth of cobblestone streets lined with vibrant 13th-17th-century buildings that house stores, restaurants and galleries.

Storkyrkan: The Stockholm Cathedral

If you're in central Stockholm, odds are the turquoise tower of the Storkyrkan will catch your eye on the skyline. Located in the heart of Gamla Stan, this ornate medieval church is definitely worth a visit.

Storkyrkan: The Stockholm Cathedral

The cathedral's resonate interior is packed with paintings and gilded sculptures that compete for attention with the magnificent gothic architecture.

Neighborhood: Södermalm (SoFo)

Södermalm is the island south of Gamla Stan and was my favorite part of the city. It's a developing ‘artistic’ neighborhood full of hip restaurants, cozy cafes and eclectic stores selling everything from vintage fashion to modern Scandinavian home goods.

Neighborhood: Nörrmalm

Each neighborhood seems to provide a different flavor to the city, and Nörrmalm is the bustling modern business and retail center. Home to the Central Station, huge shopping centers and towering office buildings, it's a hive of activity during the day. Crowds thin in the evening, but event centers like the Royal Opera keep the district alive after the shops close up.

Neighborhood: Nörrmalm

Walking along the harbour on Skeppsholmen, an island in the southeast part of Nörrmalm and home to the Moderna Museet.

Try This: Sleep on a Ship

For the budget-conscious travelers who prefer hostels to hotels, Stockholm has some really unique options for you. The first night I stayed on a ship! The STF af Chapman & Skeppsholmen is a docked ship turned hostel that's a one-of-a-kind lodging experience with great views of the city. I also spent an evening at the City Backpackers Hostel which was a lively and eclectic spot near the Central Station that I would definitely recommend to younger travelers looking for a more social atmosphere.

Try This: Sleep on a Ship

View of Gamla Stan at night from the STF af Chapman & Skeppsholmen.

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