Having lived in Stockholm for some time and having been there for countless short-time visits, I think that I can righteously claim that I know this wonderful town quite well. And so I have composed my very own guide for the Swedish capital, which I will share with you now. Hazaa!
Hotel & Hostel Zinkensdamm
My favourite of Stockholm hotels. It's located on Södermalm, my favourite part of Stockholm, it's quite close to a tube stop and it's also really, really cozy. They have a hostel part, with a great kitchen, clean rooms and a sweet patio garden and a little pricier hotel part, with even greater rooms and a small restaurant.
Hotel Anno 1647
A bit more pricey but about 2 seconds away from Slussen tube stop, with an unbeatable breakfast buffet and small and cozy rooms. For people who have definitely outgrown hostel 12-bed dorms.
The Red Boat
If you like to sleep somewhere a bit more "special", you could also sleep on one of the hotel houseboats that Stockholm has to offer. I stayed at this one in 2007, and it was quite nice. Not exactly spacious, but nice.
Unsurprisingly, Stockholm is a great place to get some eating done. Since Sweden is quite an expensive country, I usually eat in cafés and bistros rather than go to fancy restaurants. But even if you don't have endless amounts of gold coins in your pocket, you will be well able to fetch something awesome to put into your mouth in this lovely town.
This is my favourite, favourite, favourite place in this entire town. In the middle of the hipster borough "SoFo" (short for "South of Folkungagatan") on Södermalm, you will find this oasis of awesomeness. Don't get me wrong, there are enough hipsters here to make any vegan East London pub look bleak in comparison, but it's a bit more relaxed, a bit more "who gives a fuck?!", so you don't want to shoot yourself in the head after 2 minutes. They also have the best Halloumi salad in Stockholm and their kladdkaka (sticky chocolate cake) is the best possible thing to put into your mouth. Ever. In the history of the world.
Just 5 minutes away from Louie Louie you will find this amazing establishment. Half deli, half restaurant, you can get ridiculously overprized Italian gourmet food but also have a nice, long breakfast or get yourself a glass of champagne for under 5 Euro. It's a bit more pricey (and pretentious), but the breakfast buffet is affordable and delicious and we actually all love a bit of pretentiousness, right?!
Hipster Central. They make their own bread, which is unbelievably good (and I'm German, so I know what I'm talking about!). You can also just sit around, sip your organic, fairtrade dragonfruit lemonade and watch beautiful bearded men in skinny jeans walk past.
They have the best sandwiches, great coffee and really good macarons which you can eat whilst listening to Edith Piaf, which they play constantly.
My best and favourite destination if I want to go for a fun adventure on a sunny day. It's on one of Stockholms greenest islands, Djurgården, in the middle of the forest. You can walk there, along the coastline and through the woods. Rosendals is an organic farm, arboretum and restaurant. You can get tasty salads and soups and sandwiches and eat them in their giant gardens, while you sit under an apple tree and watch geese waddle past. It's like Eden, only with ice lollys and cinnamon buns. They also have a shop, where you can buy homemade bread and toffee.
We ended up there one night by accident, and ended up being very, very full! They have really good burgers and cheap wine. Win win!
If you want to have the best burger in Stockholm however, you need to go to Flippin' Burgers on Kungsholmen. It's a bit tricky to get there, and you should get there early, because you can't book a table and they are overcrowded every night of the week! But they do have the best burgers, the best milkshakes, it looks like you're somewhere in Tennessee and to top it all off - they have the most handsome men in the world working there! Which is unfortunate - when you sit at the bar stuffing a burger into your mouth, while grease runs down your chin and you're involuntarily making sex noises...
Well, here we go. The sole purpose of my stays in Stockholm: shopping. Stockholm is not only the capital of Sweden, but also the vintage capital of the North. It has taught me to love Second Hand clothing. It has also taught me to wear comfortable shoes when I go on a shopping spree!
This is one of my all-time favourites. Or rather three of my favourites, because Beyond Retro is a chain and they have three shops in Stockholm. They import second hand clothes from the US and Canada, so you will definitely find stuff that nobody else has. They have everything from old vintage wedding dresses to Bill-Cosby-jumpers to Lady Gaga-worthy undergarments. You can get lost in these shops. And you should, too.
If you like your vintage to be a bit more well-chosen and dainty, this is the shop for you. In this tiny, crammed store you will find lace gloves from the 20s, ivory brooches and crisp linnen children's dresses from the 19th century. It's all reasonably priced and eminently lovely.
Also a chain, but a charity one, which sells second hand clothes and household appliances. Their stuff is usually 50% jumble and 50% useable, but sometimes you find real treasures. My favourite is on Skånegatan (corner of Nytorget) in SoFo and they usually have new stuff every day. I found my favourite jacket there.
They have the really classy stuff, the vintage designer stuff and the unaffordable fashion items that you can see in Vogue. I can't afford any of it, but it's nice to go and have a look. And sometimes you find smaller items that you can actually afford.
Small second hand shop which is so unbelievably jammed full with clothes that you have to be very careful when you walk around to have a look. But the owner - Lisa Larsson herself - is really lovely and will help you if you look for something specific.
Yeah, so this one's not second hand and it's a chain, but it's one of my favourites nonetheless. It's in Östermalm, which is the fancy rich quarter of town.
Also a chain, but the no.1 place I go to every time I'm in Stockholm. Their sale is especially awesome, since you can get great dresses for a tenner, if you're lucky.
This is not a store for clothes, but it's my favourite store in Stockholm. It's the kind of place you go to when you are in need of fake dog poo or an Elvis-wig. Yay!
Best. Macarons. Ever. They cost approximately 5000 Euro each, but: hey ho, you only live once, right?!
If you want to buy something for your loved ones at home, you should come here. It's a shop where they make and sell butterscotch toffee and it's divine! The shop is run by four awesome ladies, who all dress like they all lived in the 1930s and the shop looks like Don Draper's office. It's unbeliavably pretty! And the toffee is amazing!
My go-to record store whenever I'm in Stockholm. They have vinyl and cd's and a vast mass of music magazines and books. It's like the record store from High Fidelity only not as depressing.
Granted, I am not the party animal I used to be when I was 21 (cough, cough), but sometimes even an old grandma like me likes to go out. The most popular spot to go out in Stockholm is Stureplan, a square in the middle of Östermalm (remember, the rich and fancy part of town?!) where Stockholm's rich kids go to spend their daddy's money and throw up over the pavement at 3am in the morning. I prefer to go out to any place as far from there as possible.
My favourite. It's an outdoor club, located under one of Stockholm's giant bridges. It's like a playground for grown-ups. They have everything! Ping-pong tables and swings and burger bars and giant wooden steps on which you can sit to drink your beer. On Saturday afternoons during the summer they also have a flee market. Check out their website for further info.
Nice little indie club, where you can sometimes see amazing artists play on a relatively small stage.
Pet Sounds Bar
The above mentioned record shop of the same name has a bar just across the street. They serve really strong gin tonics and have dj's who can play northern soul and motown that will knock your socks right off.
Maybe it's my German-ness, but as soon as the thermometer goes above zero, I want to sit outside in the sun and drink beer. Luckily, Swedish people often feel the same way. So you can go and do that at one of Stockholms most beautiful places. Sometimes they also have live music.
I'm actually not big on museums, but Stockholm has really nice ones. So if it's rainy or cold or both, you can just go there and have a lovely day.
Is a giant outdoor museum with moose and dear and other lovely animals that you can feed. It also has original houses from all parts of the country that were ripped down and then rebuilt in Skansen. In all the years I never went to see it, but I heard it is a must.
I went there this summer and I loved it. They have a massive exhibition about Sweden's history, culture and basically everything else. It's huge and the building looks like Hogwarts, so that's pretty awesome.
Yeah, I'm not actually big on modern art. When you sprinkle a canvas with blue paint and then expect me to pay 15 quid to see it, that is not going to happen. But for those of you who are big on weird, sprinkly paintings - you will love this place. The building is beautiful and it's located on a fairly small island in the middle of town.
Favourite museum in Stockholm. I love photography and they have exhibitions that will take your breath away! Personal favourite: the museum shop, where I usually spend unreasonable amounts of money on artsy fartsy photography books.
You can get to the funny little amusement park by ferry, which is the funnest part for me. I suffer from serious vertigo and get sick in all the rides, but for those of you who enjoy such hellish rides - this is your place!
This massive building is in the very centre of town, right next to the main shopping street Drottninggatan. There is a cinema in it, as well as two cafés and a restaurant and the basement is partly a shopping mall. But they also have some art exhibitions, and they are usually awesome and free. So if you feel like you could use a few minutes of culture between your shopping excesses, just pop in for a cappuchino and a breather.
Free Tour Stockholm
My friend Jessi works as a guide for this brilliant organisation which organises free city tours for tourists. Usually you have to pay quite a bit of money to get a tour through town, so this is an incredibly great offer. Donations are optional. I can only highly recommend to do one of their tours. I learned a lot and met some nice people. The tours are in English.