I made a vow to visit at least ten countries this year and I am pleased to say I have now met this goal…and had a lot of fun along the way!
A couple of weeks ago I set off on a mini Scandi adventure with Ian and one of my best friends Lucie. We boarded a ship which visited Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Helsinki and today I wanted to write about the two days we spent in the Swedish capital.
I feel like I am quite well-travelled in Europe but have not really visited Scandinavia so I was very excited about discovering some new places, Stockholm being very near the top of the list.
We arrived early one Wednesday morning (having woken up at about 3:45am in a Travelodge) with a few hours to spare before our ship set sail. After hopping on the wonderfully efficient Arlanda Express from the airport into the city centre, we bought a travel ticket and set off to explore.
We had our suitcases with us and didn’t want to do too much walking so headed to the Vasa Musuem, a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården. This impressive building is dedicated to a salvaged and fully-restored 17th century ship which sank in Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage. I found this place really interesting and it is well worth a visit.
Whilst at the museum, we had a spot of lunch outside overlooking the harbour. I decided to go for the most Swedish lunch I could find: a local craft beer, an open prawn and egg sandwich followed by a cinnamon bun! It was a glorious day to sit outside and people watch.
My first impressions of Stockholm were good – clean, modern and the people were so friendly and helpful. I like any city that’s near water too, especially on a sunny day.
We caught another two buses down to the port to board our ship and after dinner enjoyed the most beautiful sunset sailing along Sweden’s islands and picking out which summer house we would like to own one day! I really would like to return and see a bit more of the country soon.
Fast-forward four days and we were back in Stockholm having left our boat with a full day to kill before our evening flight back to London. We dropped off our bags at the train station and bought a ticket for the hop-on/ hop-ff bus tour to see as much of the city as we could. I know they’re a bit ‘touristy’ but I do love a bus tour to get your bearings and also to find out a little bit more history about a place.
Being a big fan of the Millennium trilogy books, predominantly set in Stockholm, I loved seeing the old town, Gamla Stan, and wandering along the narrow, cobbled streets. We stopped off for more cinnamon buns, saw the city’s narrowest street, visited our share of beautiful interior shops, avoided the Abba museum (sorry – not a fan!) before squeezing in a delicious Max Burger at the airport (highly recommended!)
I always know I like a place if I could see myself living there and Stockholm definitely ticks that box. It has a good mixture of old and new and is quaint yet modern. I won’t deny it’s pretty pricy but there is a real quality there too. There are lots of museums I would love to see on a return visit as well as some great-looking restaurants to try out…I guess I need to book a return flight!