In a whirl of cinnamon buns, waterfront gazing and chilled-out culture, we spent 24 hours in Sweden’s capital city
By Cheryl Caira. Opening image: Henrik Trygg
Once the haunt of Hollywood greats and native Swedes, Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, the recently refurbished Radisson Collection Hotel still has that feel of a great classic, with elegant design and the coveted ‘Sea Salon Suite’ with views over to the Royal Dramatic Theatre.
Part of the hotel’s renewal, The Strand restaurant, named after its city centre location, is an all-day brasserie with a high-end but relaxed feel. Nursing a glass of wine you can take in Nybrokajen Bay and sample some classic Swedish fare alongside more international options.
Ingredients are seasonal and deftly combined on a short but sweet menu, with herring and meatballs both making an appearance (but not together), along with a creamy, citrusy toast ‘skagen’ with prawns, roe and sunblushed tomatoes. A tasty Swedish chicken dish with pesto and an array of vegetable is also a winning option for those who are less seafood inclined. radissoncollection.com/en/strandhotel-stockholm
Bang in the centre of Stockholm on Norrmalmstorg Square, close to the luxury shopping street of Biblioteksgatan, the Nobis has some pretty unbeatable aesthetics. A Design Hotel housed in two historic buildings, the interiors are contemporary chic, with a lounge to gape at: the endless ceilings and comfy sofas attract Stockholm’s well-heeled for post-work drinks night after night. The sultry, mirrored Gold Bar is one for cocktails or a more intimate chit-chat.
The spacious guest rooms have been designed for effortless functionality, as you’d expect from top level Scandinavian design. The décor comes in muted, calming colours with quirky furniture pieces, oversized lighting, beds to sleep happy in and views – if you’re lucky – over Norrmalmstorg or Berzelii Park. The white Carrara marble bathrooms are a treat, with separate bathtub and shower, and toiletries from luxe Swedish fragrance house, Byredo. nobishotel.se
Johan & Nyström
Partake in the Swedish tradition of ‘fika’, the ritual of a coffee break, snack (a cinnamon Kanelbullar recommended) and socialising. This ‘concept shop’ is one for coffee connoisseurs, with a café and roastery in hip Södermalm.
Give yourself at least a few hours to stroll round the shops and sights of the capital’s impressive medieval Old Town. The official residence of the King of Sweden, the Italian baroque-style Royal Palace is one of Europe’s largest, with over 600 rooms, five museums and gloriously ornate interiors.
A peaceful green space with waterfront promenades, the city park and island of Djurgården is home to some superb museums and galleries, including the renowned Vasa Museum with its 400-year-old, amazingly preserved shipwreck. Be first in line and take a chance on the ABBA Museum, while the Spirit Museum is a cool little joint covering Sweden’s boozy traditions, with visiting exhibitions and a tasting room to boot.
A fantastic contemporary photography space, bar and eatery, the views across the water from the top floor, to the Old Town and Djurgården, are some of Stockholm’s best. The award-winning restaurant has an organic focus, with vegan and vegetarian dishes the highlight.
Stockholm’s trendy SoFo area gets a lot of airtime, but the hipster neighbourhood of Hornstull is also a haven for kooky independent shops and bars. Tjoget, named in ‘The World’s 50 Best Bars’ list, is an atmospheric restaurant and wine bar with a cocktail list that includes a famous – and delicious – beetroot-infused vodka concoction. Catch the Hornstull outdoor street market if you’re in the area on a Saturday or Sunday (April to October) – there are lots of vintage and artsy treasures to be discovered.
Grab a sightseeing city card (one-day pass, £55) if you’re keen to zip around as many sights as poss, as it’ll save you a bit of money. You get free entry to over 60 popular attractions, plus you can use the Hop On-Hop Off bus & boat to traverse the city.