Spotlight :: Stockholm

[trip style = urban]

Stockholm is hands down one of the coolest—and most scenic—European capitals. Situated on the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is spread out across 14 islands. If you walk from historic Gamla Stan to upscale Östermalm to picturesque Djurgården you'll see that each island has its own identity and all are worth visiting. {Check out our Södermalm Guide.}

I traveled to Stockholm this summer with friends and it was a highlight of my Scandinavian vacation. With a historic yet modern feel and a hip yet friendly vibe, it's a city—like New York—that will no doubt have you—like me—saying "next time..." I'm already dreaming up my return.


Make no mistake: Stockholm is expensive. Cocktails are $30 each. A running joke during my trip was that we'd go out for cocktail—singular—because they were too expensive to order more than one. After an evening at the photography museum, my friend and I met up with our Swedish friend and host for late-night cocktail and tapas at AG, a meat-focused restaurant and bar tucked away on a side street in Kungsholmen inside an old silver factory.

Some popular and pricey eateries have smaller, casual restaurants attached to them called bakficka, which translates to back or hip pocket. One such restaurant combo that I'd love to visit is Oaxen Krog & Slip on Djurgården. Dine at Krog for a fine dining experience and Slip for casual fare, with both menus focused on seasonal Nordic cuisine.

Another money-saving tip, besides going out for cocktail and eating in bakfika, is to look for restaurants that serve dagens rätt, a daily lunch special that typically includes a main course, salad, bread and coffee. I met up for a $15 dagens lunch with friends at meat-centric Köttbaren in Vasastan. For additional affordable lunch options, try one of the stylish restaurants at Mood Stockholm.


Walk around the harbour and over to Djurgården, a beautiful island dedicated to the pursuit of recreation, culture and fun. The island is home to many of Stockholm's museums, as well as beautiful parkland. My favorite oasis in the middle of the city is Rosendals Trädgård, a garden and cafe in an idyllic setting. Buy a kanelbulle from the cafe and take it into the apple orchard for fika, where you can sit amongst locals sprawling out on blankets or picking wildflowers from the u-pick garden. Rent a bike at the entrance to Djurgården and cycle along the water's edge.

When the weather is warm, escape the city and spend a day or more on an island in the Stockholm Archipelago. It takes only 30 minutes to reach Fjaderholmarna, where you can visit a brewery and enjoy a meal of freshly caught fish.

Rub shoulders with stylish Swedes who could be mistaken for Alexander Skarsgård and Lykke Li at the Acne Studios flagship store. While you can buy Acne anywhere, what better place to pick up their famous Canada scarf than the flagship store housed in a former bank building that was the location of the 1973 bank robbery and hostage situation that gave rise to the term "Stockholm Syndrome"? For outlet pricing, visit Acne Archive in Vasastan.

More must-visit Swedish shops include Byredo for unique fragrances, Rodebjer for progressive women's fashion, Lotta Agaton for housewares {open thursdays only} and H&M-owned brands & Other Stories and COS.


Check in to one of the many stylish yet pricey hotels around the city. While I stayed in an apartment, I'd stay at any of the Design Hotels properties or either of the Story Hotels. {See our Södermalm Guide for more hotels.}


Fika in the orchard at Rosendals Trädgård

Café at Rosendals  Trädgård

Café at Rosendals Trädgård

Greenhouse seating area at Rosendals T rädgård

Greenhouse seating area at Rosendals Trädgård

Street cart liquorice on Djurgården

Street cart liquorice on Djurgården

Köttbaren restaurant

Köttbaren restaurant

Oaxen Slip restaurant

Oaxen Slip restaurant

Vintage café tram on the No 7 Djurgården Line

Vintage café tram on the No 7 Djurgården Line

When to Go

The city is at its best and brightest from May to September, and summer kicks off at Midsummer, when you can join locals in a dance around a maypole and wear a flower crown on your head at the bestand most bohemianparty of the year.

Getting There

Stockholm's Arlanda Airport is located about 40 kms from the city centre. The easiest ways into town include the Arlanda Express train {20 mins/$39} or the Flygbussarna bus {45 mins/$18}. Taxi fares are posted on the side of the cab, but vary according to the taxi company. Look for the best rate instead of the closest cab.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Stockholm :: Södermalm Guide
Spotlight :: Helsinki
Spotlight :: Copenhagen {Part 1}
Spotlight :: Copenhagen {Part 2}
Jetset Style :: Scandinavia-Inspired Jackets

[images by @heatherlovesit except oaxen slip via restaurant]