What a City…
Stockholm is easily one of the easiest cities to visit, especially as an English speaker, there is no need to worry about language barrier here if you speak english you’ll be just fine. As a people the Swedish are polite, understanding and tolerant. Even when it comes to things like sharing the road, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians all share the space seemingly effortlessly, as if everyone just has a natural understanding of what is expected to happen. It’s magnificent.
The fusion of Swedish and English in Stockholm is incredible. What’s more fascinating is how the culture has managed to hold on to their language, and their ways while living intervened with the English language. They’ve done what other countries are striving to do, to keep their language pure while embracing the international acceptance of the English language.
The Scandic countries all receive their North American television and movies in English with subtitles in each respective language (Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish). This has created a culture that is entirely bilingual with a level of fluency in English so great, you may find yourself wondering which they learned first (both?).
Sights to See
Stockholm is an old city, and as such has some incredible architecture and some great streets that are dedicated to people only. Combine this with the Swedish love for Fika and you’re presented with a city with an incredible number of places to sit, have a coffee and a snack and people watch to your hearts content.
Gamla Stan (Old Town) – The old town of Stockholm is located on an separated peninsula from the rest of the city. Completely walkable from most places within Stockholm, it’s a great way to step back in time, enjoy Fika and shop for some one-off items for friends and family. Part of this old town is the royal castle and it’s accompanying gardens as well. You can’t go to Stockholm and not go to Gamla Stan. You’ll find a rich and vibrant Swedish culture here with cafes and restaurants filed with locals and visitors alike.
Skeppsholmen – Reachable by bridge this small island nestled next to Gamla Stan offers museums and architecture worth a look. You can walk around the perimeter of the two small islands and enjoy the sunshine and even take a look in the Moderna Museet (Modern Museum) it’s free!
Södermalm – Keep heading South and you’ll find yourself in the Södermalm area. With a bit more of a local “live like a Swede” vibe, you’ll find yourself at the centre of every day life. Access to trains is easy, there are grocery stores littered throughout the area and it’s where you’ll find the trendy SoFo Art district. For great views of the city take a stroll along Katarinavägen street at the north part of Södermalm. From here you can see all the old buildings of Skeppsholmen and Gamla Stan as well as a great overview of the city. Here are a few spots I found particutualry good: Here & Here.
Where to Stay
Scandic has more hotels than any other brand in the Nordic countries, and they have an award/point system. In addition to that standard stuff breakfast is always included (unless you’re in Germany or Poland). So staying at a Scandic hotel is a great way to take care of a place to sleep (comfortably) and the business of feeding yourself in the morning.
Recently Scandic has lounged a more boutique style brand called HTL Hotels, they’re a bit more fresh I’ve found and a aimed towards a young hip traveller. Their properties are limited, but if you have the option I’d suggest checking them out as well.
The effortless style of Scandinavia, from home decor to simple elegant clothes. The Swedish have a way of turning simple materials such as wood or stone into marvellous good looking goods. Don’t miss some of our favourite spots in Stockholm. This photo of the Volvo Showroom demonstrates perfectly the style and ease Swedish design brings.
E Torndahl – Get your fabulous Swedish Swag in this adorable shop in Gamla Stan (Old Town). With a collection of Swedish designed and made products from better known SANDQVIST to the fresh and new, you’ll find something for your self or the unlucky friend that couldn’t come!
Designtorget – Scattered throughout the city, Designtorget is similar to E Torndahl, but Designtorget has many more stores with a larger selection from home decor and outdoor items to furnishing your desk with wonderful wooden staplers and scissors (Granit).
SANDQVIST – Started by two brothers and their childhood friend, this iconically Swedish brand embodies nature, adventure, exploration and being one with nature. They’re passionate about creating a product that does the job and does the job well. The three family owned factories in India use the best materials and build products to last. See their Story.
TRIWA – Our favourite of the Swedish watch brands (there are a few). TRIWA offers a smaller variety of faces and sizes, but they’re clean and simple, the Swedish way. They also offer sunglasses and a small assortment of bracelets in acetate or metal. With watches starting at about 200Euro, it’s not a bad way to take him a piece of Sweden.
Weekday – A well known and affordable Swedish brand, offering items for daily wear from a variety of styles and functions. Prices are good, quality is great, and how can you say no to something that’s just so Swedish?
Eklund Stockholm New York – Fan of Million Dollar Listing: New York? Well then you’ll want to make a visit to Fredrik’s Stockholm office, if only to take a photo and look in the window. Their website and the available properties are a great place to get inspiration for your trips to the stores above so you can take home some of that Swedish goodness.