If you haven’t visited Stockholm yet, you must! Sweden’s capital is not only famous for the 2nd place with most Eurovision contest winners (as Stockholm was many times in focus for pop-music lovers), but for much more – and you will read in this post about my first time experience in Stockholm.
Stockholm is so far the only city in Scandinavia I’ve been. I had a chance to visit one of my best friends, who used to live there for many years, and so had a pretty good guide around the city. In relation to that, I must admit I didn’t really pay attention to the names of streets and places so much while I was there, so I sat now down to write and refresh my memory for those of you who would go to this cool city on their own there. And my final verdict is that Stockholm is awesome and you need to see it!
My short-pointed explanation of Stockholm would be:
- clean, structured and organized
- with high security and control by the state – everything done by the book
- expensive in general
- hype, cool
- cold-ish for my taste – in May when I was there it was either freezing due to cold wind or it was sunny but not so warm (although the locals were in flip-flops and shirts).
Stockholm is built on islands. When I visited Hamburg last year as well, I immediately said it reminded me of Stockholm, because of the similar style of buildings architecture and lots of bridges connecting different parts of the city.
I was walking along the main shopping street a lot, called Drottninggatan and I could not miss visiting H&M stores, as Sweden is its “home” base. There were also some other Swedish brands though most of the stuff seemed much more expensive than in the rest if the Europe I traveled to – so I passed on some real shopping.
The tourist area which also can not be missed when in Stockholm is the old town called Gamla Stan and its oldest square Stortorget. This is where you can see the once Stock Exchange Building – which houses the Swedish Academy, The Nobel Museum and Nobel Library.
Nobel museum is a place with all the information about Nobel prize, its winners and its founder Alfred Nobel etc. I liked this square since you can see here some very interesting and colorful buildings -famous from Swedish history, and of course lots of cafes in front to enjoy the views – especially if there is even a slight of sun. And Swedes do like to sit outside even if it is cold, just as long as it is sunny. Most of the local people are out during the lunch breaks and it is very hard to find free tables at those times.
Furthermore in Gamla Stan, must see is the the Parliament and Royal Palace – Sveriges Kungahus– one of the largest palaces in Europe. It is the residence of the Majesty the King of Sweden (since Sweden is monarchy), and it has over 600 rooms. I didn’t go inside, but the exterior was quite nice to walk around.
From my experience of meeting some Swedes before and those that I now saw on the streets of Stockholm, I noticed that they are quite trendy and cool, but also uniformed a bit – meaning I saw a lot of young people dressed in similar styles of clothing (H&M style), or men had similar haircuts ( hair partition on the side), with black Wayfarer sunglasses…
Many times I heard actually how Swedes look socially kind (they really offer a lot of state social programs for refugees for example – like they did to people from Bosnia, now from Syria etc) ). But when talking to the locals or those who live there, I learnt that they are in general kind on the surface but are not really happy about having so many foreigners. Now, probably they will not admit it at first, but I do understand if they feel like it.
What is more, Swedes are very relaxed and outgoing. They like to sit on the ground, or in parks… talk to each other, have picnics, drink after work, exercise… Me and my friend also used the chance to act a bit crazy, surrounded with all that relaxed feeling 🙂
Lots of cafes in Stockholm offer healthy/fitness meals and drinks… They are quite conscious about food – eating lots of salmon, salads, avocados etc. I liked that I could enter a coffee-shop and just sit and drink water with lime which is for free at the bar (of course value is added in the service or other stuff you order).
I loved the area called Söder, which is something like Swedish Soho – where you can find a lot of alternative, artistic bars, cafes and shops. I was there even on a house party with some Swedish friends, singing karaoke all night (oh, they do like to sing :-)).
Funny thing for me was also when you go out at night in Stockholm, to a bar let’s say, everyone is of course very friendly (being under alcohol influence mostly :-)). Guys and girls both are really approaching, flirting and you have in general a good vibe going on when being out in Stockholm. Like there is something in the air that makes people in good mood! Even women and men of 50+ go out there and find themselves a date. So it is never too late to go partying , just go to Stockholm. 😉