Sightseeing and shopping
Kicking off our time in Stockholm, we took the cheaper Flygbussarna Bus from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Stockholm centre. The Arlanda Express also goes into the city from the airport in about 20 minutes, but costs considerably more with about €30 per person and ride. If you've got time, take the Flygbussarna that leaves from the terminal in about 12-minute intervals and only costs €10-12 per ride for a 1-hour drive.
We arrived at the main station and dragged our luggage to the Hotel Hötorget, a hostel/hotel close to Drottninggatan, the main shopping street and the centre. You can read a short feature on the hotel here.
After getting ready for the city, we left to explore Stockholm and soon fell in love with Gamla Stan, Stockholm's Old Town. In short, this oldest part of Stockholm looks like an ancient Italian city, almost reminiscent of places like Siena or San Gimignano. Crooked houses line the cobbled streets and little shops nestle among each other, selling Swedish and other goods. This part connects the City, where Drottinggatan is situated, and the hipster district Södermalm.
Tucked away in one of the many cobbled streets I found a fantastic shop called Hilda Hilda that sells hand-crafted Swedish pillows, linen, pencil cases and much more. I fell in love with a soft puppy pillow I simply had to buy, and which now adorns our flat.
My personal favourite was a visit to the Children's Museum, which is not only honouring the best of Swedish children's literature, but is also a heavenly playground for children. Nestled in various rooms, the settings from beloved children's books are accessible for children to play in, before you can go on a ride through lovely set-up miniature scenes from books that are simply mesmerising and also quite scary. The ride ends with a room that hosts a huge Villa Villekulla in which children (and adults like me alike) can live the Pippi dream. Fun interactive sets round off the experience, and the shop allows to buy souvenirs to remember it by.
Another museum that really impressed us was the Vasa Museum, just opposite the children's museum. In the 17th century, the Vasa ship was supposed to be the pride of the the Swedish army, which came to a quick end when it sunk only 25 minutes into its maiden voyage. In the 1960's the shipwreck was unearthed from the grounds and has since been exhibited.
We followed a 20-minute tour to learn more about the ship and then simply explored the rest ourselves. Though it is not permitted to go inside the wreck, you can see the skeletons of those who perished in the sinking, and many more artefacts connected to it, as well as the ship from pretty much any angle and height. We definitely deemed it a must-see during a trip to Stockholm.
Eating out in Sweden is really expensive. We'd heard the rumours beforehand, but it struck us off-guard. A meal in Stockholm under €15 per dish is impossible to find, and alcohol is at €7 per pint of beer. Nevertheless, we decided to indulge in going out and having drinks and stumbled upon some great places.
Our favourite restaurant was the DiWine on Drottninggatan where we had dinner the last evening of our honeymoon. The interior is tastefully decorated and with an Italian ambience. Our pizzas were very delicious and it was the perfect place to ease out of our trip.
The evening before we went to a pub called The King's Table on Sveavägen where we ate scrumptious meatballs and enjoyed a pleasant night, too. However, the ensuing evening we also considered going for a drink there and a weird atmosphere was present in the pub. There was no music anymore and very bright lights, so it could be hit or miss with this one. As it was ruled out for last night's drinks, we moved further down the road and ended having a nightcap in the Crazy Horse. More like an American pub, it had a fun atmosphere, but everyone inside seemed to be around twelve, which was awfully disconcerting because in reality they were surely late teens/early twenties. (#I'mold).
All in all, Stockholm was wonderful, though quite cold, and we went around with the Hop-on, Hop-off bus as well, which was in theory quite nice, but took over an hour to do the round, so we didn't hop on as often as we'd planned.
My absolute favourite, and I am repeating myself, was Gamla Stan the old town, where I could simply walk around all day and peruse the wonderful shops. Should you visit Stockholm in the near future, start at the top of Drottinggatan and walk all the way down to the bridge to cross over to Gamla Stan. It will take about 30 minutes to an hour and give you the perfect insight into this beautiful city.
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