Rachael Gradeen was born and raised in Calgary, Canada in a bilingual home. After majoring in Biology at the University of British Columbia, she decided to move to Sweden for a couple of years to take her Master’s in Sustainable Development at Uppsala University. Rachael’s always had a passion for innovations and initiatives that increase the longevity of our environment, particularly in urban development. She also has a strong affinity and love for European culture, design, food and art and was able to dive into it further while spending two years living in Stockholm. Along with her boyfriend Jordy, Rachael has traveled across most of Western Europe and hopes to return as often as she can!
Only have one day in Stockholm? Having spent the past two years living in and around this stunning city, I have compiled the ultimate guide to spending a day in this bustling Scandinavian capital. Nu går vi (let’s go)!
Start Off Your Morning With a Steaming Cup of Coffee
The Swedes really do run on coffee and cinnamon buns, so why not walk a mile in their shoes – prior to literally doing so? Fabrique is a local favourite that has a good number of locations throughout the city. Fuel up on a cappuccino and some freshly-baked pastries while taking in the white marble and warm wooden accents of the coffee shop – the minimalist Scandinavian décor will have you saying, “oh my Ikea!”
Get Around on a Voi Scooter
While the metro system in Stockholm is top-notch, there is a new mode of transport in town! Stockholm has a vast network of bike lanes, making the city easy to navigate aboard a speedy, electrified scooter. While you’re here, try out the Voi scooters – which are born out of Stockholm – and coast your way down to the old town, Gamla Stan.
Go On a Walking Tour of Gamla Stan
As with most capital cities, Stockholm is fortunate to be blessed with a rich history and impressive architecture to boot. Check out one of the city’s Free Walking Tours and discover Stockholm’s oldest neighbourhood: Gamla Stan. Hear about the gripping story of the Stockholm Bloodbath, where to find an ancient Viking runestone hiding in plain sight, give a small gift to one of the world’s smallest statues, and finish off with a claustrophobic sidestep down Mårten Trotzig’s Gränd, Stockholm’s narrowest street.
Lunch at Hermann’s in Södermalm
After working up an appetite on the walking tour, head across the canal and into the trendy Södermalm district. Make your way to Hermann’s Restaurant, a cozy local favourite with a stunning view overlooking the city and a buffet overloaded with vegetarian comfort food. Did you know that one in ten Swedes is vegetarian? Because of this, delicious vegetarian options are widespread throughout restaurants and supermarkets in the capital. Believe me, even if you are an avid carnivore, you will not be leaving this place hungry. As per the restaurant tagline, give peas a chance!
Thrift Shopping in Södermalm
Following a tasty lunch, roam the streets of Södermalm and dress as a Swede does! Step into some of the trendiest vintage and second-hand shops, some personal favourites being HUMANA second-hand, Siv & Åke, the upscale Judit’s Second-hand, and the oldy-but-goody Myrorna (meaning ants in English).
No trip to Sweden would be complete without the iconic Swedish fika! Fika is technically a kind of coffee break, but the Swedes see it as a daily ritual that allows for a cozy catch-up with friends or co-workers. And indulging in kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) or chokladbollar (chocolate balls) while doing so is never a bad idea! Head to one of Stockholm’s many cozy cafes to get your fika-fix.
Kayaking Along the Canals
Did you know that Stockholm county is built on a collection of over 30,000 islands? The city itself is criss-crossed with a patchwork of water, which makes for a beautiful summer afternoon of kayaking. Give your feet a break – head to a boat rental company and spend a couple of hours exploring the city by sea.
The Impressive Museums of Djurgården
If you are not keen on kayaking or if you are visiting in the winter, head over to Djurgården and check out the museums. Top favourites include the Vasa Museum, which showcases an almost fully-intact 17th century ship salvaged from the Stockholm seafloor, the Nordiska Museum – a marvel of a building dedicated to Swedish cultural and ethnographic history, or the fun (and self-explanatory) ABBA Museum!
A Swedish Dinner Under the Stars
To cap off your day, head over to Tak (meaning ceiling in English) in Norrmalm. This upscale rooftop fusion restaurant serves modern Scandinavian food inspired by Japanese cooking methods and flavours. For the more traditional Swedish dinner, head to the family-friendly Meatballs for the People and try out their traditional Swedish köttbullar (meatballs) of different varieties: ox, reindeer, wild boar, moose, veggie or even bear!
See the City By Night!
After a filling dinner, take a leisurely stroll (or Voi scooter) along the charming streets of Stockholm and climb up to Skinnarviksberget for a gorgeous view of the city by night. If you’re in the mood for more nightlife, check out the trendy clubs dotting the Norrmlam and Östermalm districts, or head over to Södermalm for some low-key and reasonably-priced bar-hopping.
After a packed day of roaming the city streets, I hope you see all the beauty and magic in this stunning Scandinavian capital that I do. Enjoy your time in Stockholm, and don’t forget to fika! Hej då alla (goodbye everyone)!
All content body photos are from Unsplash. Featured photo is from Canva.