My guide to Stockholm

Stockholm is an amazing city, and one that I get asked about a lot, having spent so much time there (and got hitched there too, no-less!) I really should be on commission from the tourist board…just kidding, I’m more than happy to share my favourite discoveries.

My first very practical tip for visitors is that you should consider hiring a bike through city bikes, or similar schemes. Stockholm is a pretty compact city, especially in comparison to the sprawl of London, and its also really easy to navigate, so make the most of it’s dedicated cycle paths and get exploring on two wheels.

For other journeys, the SL card, which is equivalent to an Oyster Card in London, is worth investing in as well. With the SL card you can travel on the tunnelbana, buses, pendeltåg (commuter trains), and some commuter ferries. You can take boats and buses out to the archipelago, and it’s included in the price, and while you’re in Stockholm, visiting the surrounding islands and soaking up some gorgeous nature is a must.

Here are some of my other top tips that you should check out if you find yourself in my favourite city!

Food & drink // Mat och dryck

Söder is probably my favourite area of Stockholm, and also somewhere that I have investigated most thoroughly. I have enjoyed sitting for hours in cosy cafes, eating cinnamon buns, and watching the cool and trendy Stockholmers going about their business. There are also some really nice little indie design and clothes shops there, so it’s good for a spot of mooching and shopping for a few little gifts for friends. Two of my most cherished activities!  

I’m a vegetarian, and have been for as long as I can remember, so you’ll notice a theme among my food recommendations – no meat. There are of course lots of meaty and fishy places to eat in Stockholm, so check out Lonely Planet if you’re a dead-set carnivore as they have lots of tips for where to get your fill of that sort of food. 

Fabrique Stenugnsbageri Rosenlundsgatan 28, 118 53 Stockholm, Sweden.
As with their branches in London, Fabrique do a good line in cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla buns. They also make a mean hallongrottor – which, if you get inspired, you can make as well, following my recipe. They have a laid back vibe and usually open locations, meaning you can people-watch or read a book for a few hours, while you nurse a hot drink and a pastry.

Drop Coffee – Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10, 118 50 Stockholm, Sweden
Drop is a must for coffee aficionados, a category that I most certainly do not fall into. My husband Tristan enjoyed his coffee here though, so I’m including it on that basis. Get your coffee fix here, and then swiftly pop around the corner to get your buns at Petrus 🙂

Bageri PetrusSwedenborgsgatan 4B, 118 48 Stockholm, Sweden
A serious contender for the best cinnamon buns – kanelbullar – in Stockholm, and yes, we have tried a lot to reach that conclusion. I love visiting Petrus because they also have incredible breads, such as their Wollmar Yxkulls rye (so named after a nearby street), and also their pastéis de nata. Just off the Mariatorget Square, you can either sit outside the bakery (if you can get a seat as they are very popular), or take your goodies to the nearby leafy park and eat them by the fountain.

Cafe PascalNorrtullsgatan 4, 113 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Near to Odenplan tunnelbanna this cosy corner is worth a visit for their lunch menu, kanelbullar, and coffee. Again, a really popular destination for lunching Swedes, this place can get pretty packed out, so go early to avoid the rush and get yourself a table outside.

Johan & Nyström –  Swedenborgsgatan 7, 118 48 Stockholm, Sweden
This store, based in Söder, and relatively near to Drop, is another specialist coffee place where you can purchase your beans of choice from their extensive and curated range, while stopping in for a quick fika break and some lunch. It was here that I tried my first raw cake, and it was delicious!

Rosendals trädgårdRosendalsvägen 38, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Any guide would be entirely lacking without mentioning the absolute JOY that is a visit to Rosendals on the island of Djurgården. A drop of calmness and quiet in the midst of the Swedish capital, and a locals’ favourite, sitting in the orchard of Rosendals you feel like your troubles are a million miles away. More than just an organic cafe, Rosendals is also a garden centre where you can buy different seasonal plants, such as fresh flowers in spring, and bulbs in autumn, a bakery where you can buy bread, honey, various flavoured oils, and juice from their apple trees, and a zero-waste community, where any leftovers from the cafe are recycled into compost to spread on their allotments. It’s an absolute must when you visit Stockholm, and you simply have to get a slice of their carrot cake because it’s probably the best that I’ve ever eaten.

Blooms BageriSankt Paulsgatan 24, 118 48 Stockholm, Sweden
This was the first Swedish bakery that I really fell in love with, all those years ago. Blooms was arguably the catalyst for me wanting to start baking my own cinnamon buns, and the bar that I measured my success by! It’s changed a lot since I first started going there, but I still think it’s worth a visit as I haven’t been anywhere else that does such amazing cardamom buns. Kardemummabullar are actually my favourite thing to have at a bakery, and you have to try one while you’re in Sweden as they are outrageously tasty.

Pärlans Konfektyr Nytorgsgatan 38, 116 40 Stockholm, Sweden
Another Söder treasure, this dinky caramel shop is like a portal back to Sweden in the swinging 1930s, where jazz music tootles softly in the background and the staff look like Hollywood starlets of silent movie fame. And the caramels, oh the caramels! Soft, salty, and buttery…they are the kind that dreams are made of. The vanilla and sea salt is out of this world, but my actual favourite is the chocolate and sea salt. You should probably try both and make up your own mind which is best.

Chokladfabriken – Renstiernas gata 12, 116 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Question: Want to sample cloudberry, lingonberry, and rosehip truffles, all dipped in delicious Swedish chocolate? Answer: YES! Of course you do, in which case Chokladfabriken (literally chocolate factory in English) is your place! For the even more adventurous taster, there are salt licorice truffles too, which is a quintessentially Scandinavian flavour combination, and not, shall we say, for everyone! At Chokladfabriken you can sit in and savour one of their decadent chocolate cake or brioche creations, or a hot chocolate, and then load up on truffles to take away for later.

Hermans trädgårdscafé – Fjällgatan 23B, 116 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Hermans is an all-you-can-eat buffet with a difference – it is entirely vegetarian and vegan. Above the door as you enter is a big sign emblazoned with “Give peas a chance”. The food at Hermans is always of an amazing standard, with a great variety of different dishes made fresh daily by their somewhat hippy staff (it sits underneath a yoga studio). In addition to delicious and nutritious grub, the location, sat on cliffs overlooking Gröna Lund theme park (info below) and the island of Djurgården is a treat of an evening. In the summer you can hear the screams from the roller coasters drifting over the water, as you enjoy your healthy food in their lovely shady garden. Blissful!

Fosch – Löjtnantsgatan 8, 115 50 Stockholm, Sweden
Based in the University district, Fosch is a heavily French-influenced bakery selling incredible Freedish / Swench (not sure which of those titles is best!) patisserie, including their Paris-Stockholm – a take on the iconic Paris-Brest choux pastry, filled with hazelnut praline and creme mousseline. One word: NOM. Also available are raspberry brioches and cinnamon rolls, as well as french breads and homemade chocolate slabs. It’s worth the trip to sample baked goods as fine as these.

Ulriksdals trädgårdscafe – Slottsträdgårdsvägen 8, 170 79 Solna, Sweden
A bus ride out of central Stockholm, this beautiful 17th century Swedish palace has extensive English-style landscaped gardens, and in those grounds can be found an unbelievably good vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet and garden centre.

Lao Wai – 74 Luntmakargatan, 113 51, Stockholm
Wikipedia reliably informs me that Lao Wai translates as foreigner or outsider from Mandarin Chinese, which I guess makes sense as you wouldn’t typically expect a mind-blowing vegan Chinese restaurant to be nestled down a quiet street in central Stockholm. Your assumptions would, however, be mistaken, as Lao Wai is incredible! The place where I first tried both vegan prawns and vegan caviar (yes, both of those things exist) is a tiny, one room paradise for your taste buds. Like the restaurant, the menu is small but perfectly formed and will see you leaving cradling your very full belly. Don’t forget to leave room for pudding though, as their soy milk based ice creams (available in such flavour bombs as pistachio, cardamom, and bergamot, or orange, chilli, and ginger) have to be tasted to be believed.

See & buy // Se och köpa

As a frequent visitor to Stockholm, I rarely venture into Gamla Stan, the old heart of the city, very often these days, but if you’re going for the first time then wandering the narrow, cobbled streets is a must. Beware though, it’s a very touristy area so the restaurants are expensive (even by Swedish standards) and usually there are tour parties so you can start to feel a bit lost in the crowd. I prefer to take a more leisurely approach, and my favourite places to while away the hours are Djurgården and Skeppsholmen, both little islands with very distinct characters.

Stockholm shopping

Djurgården – literally this translates to ‘animal garden’ in English, and was once upon a time the King of Sweden’s hunting ground, therefore it was never really built up, although there are a few houses scattered around. On Djurgården you can enjoy the leafy canopy of Rosendals (as above) or visit several cultural attractions, from the Abba Museum, where you can enjoy posing as the famous four at the height of their fame, to Junibacken (the Swedish Museum of Childhood) where you can revel with the Moomins and Pippi Longstocking.

Skeppsholmen – this super tiny island (don’t believe me? Check a map!) is somewhere that I’ve got a very soft spot for, as it was here that I first stayed by myself in the STF Af Chapman Vandrahem, an English sail boat moored permanently in its Swedish home since 1949. It has the most incredible views back to Södermalm and Norrmalm, and at night all of the lights twinkle in the water. Even if you don’t stay here, it’s worth taking in Skeppsholmen during an evening constitutional to drink in the city and the atmosphere. Beautiful!

Gröna Lund – Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Worth its own post, just for its bizarre Irish leprechaun theme, Gröna Lund is Stockholm’s island-based amusement park. With several rollercoasters, and rides that fling screaming Swedes high into the air over the water, and live musical entertainment, it’s got to be seen to be understood. At Gröna Lund there is also a packed bill of high profile Swedish acts through the year. We saw The Hives play here the night before our wedding (in the rain, no less) and it was quite an experience.

Moderna museet – Exercisplan 4, 111 49 Stockholm, Sweden
At the Moderna museet you can fill your eyeballs with the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse, as well as work by wonderful artists you may not have heard of yet.

Skansen – Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
If you were pondering at this stage “this is all wonderful Rose, but where can I see a goat in the middle of the city?” fear not. Skansen has you covered, friend. Home not only to relocated and restored wooden buildings, but also to a selection of Swedish wildlife, this open air folk park is a treasure to visit all year round. Often at the changing of seasons they will have traditional celebrations, such as their autumn and Christmas markets. I recommend giving yourself the best part of a day to enjoy Skansen to its fullest, and try to pick one with good weather as you’ll be outside for the most part!

House of Rym118 49, Hornsgatan 73, 118 49 Stockholm, Sweden
This design shop is one of my favourites, as I’m pretty obsessed with their yellow arbour harbour cups, plates, and saucers as they have more than a nod to the iconic 1960s Stig Lindberg Berså pattern. In their shop, you can get your paws on everything, as well as prints, fabric throws, tiles, and more.

Design TorgetGötgatan 31, 116 21 Stockholm, Sweden
One of my favourite shops to pop into and get myself a little sumpin’ sumpin’ or gifts for friends at home. DT has a fantastic range of Swedish classics from Nils Strinning’s String Shelving, to Iris Hantverk brushes, as well as more affordable smaller items like cups, trays, and cards. I have also bought books from DT in the past, as they often have a little selection (sometimes in English) of the latest cookbooks or Swedish books.

Granit – Götgatan 31, 116 21 Stockholm, Sweden
At Granit, you can get your paws on a lovely array of simple and classic Scandinavian homewares, as well as great design items that typify Swedish style. They have stationary, kitchenware, storage containers, plants, and much more, all for affordable prices. My advice: you have to consider how much you can fit in your suitcase before you step foot in this shop.

Lagerhaus – Drottninggatan 31, 111 51 Stockholm, Sweden
Another awesome, and very affordable shop is Lagerhaus. Nothing to do with lager or beer, this is in fact a great colourful homewares and trinkets shop. They have really cheap (especially for Sweden) prices, and fun designs that change on a regular basis. Similar to the IKEA market place, it’s the sort of store where you charge in with purpose to get one little thing, and then emerge much later with several bags of booty. LH is also great for simple things like butter knives, cork mats, and drinking glasses.

Stadshuset – Hantverkargatan 1, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
A must-mention for this guide for very personal reasons…Tristan and I got married here! The City Hall is a super place to be a visitor, as for a very small fee you can climb the 365 steps, walk up narrow and gently sloping corridors, and get yourself a fantastic panoramic view out across the cityscape, and beyond into the archipelago. What a way to see the most beautiful city in the world!

Last updated 18/05/2017.