Autumn is my favourite time of year to travel, I love seeing the leaves turn and feeling the temperature drop. I find I enjoy travelling more when it’s not too hot, so I asked my boyfriend if we could go to Stockholm during his holiday, as I knew it would be my ideal temperature at this time of year.
I also chose Stockholm because one of my favourite countries in the World is Norway and I was hoping to find the same Scandinavian magic in Sweden, which I certainly did. Even though my visit was very short, Sweden impressed me enough to join my top five favourite countries in the World [alongside the UK, Norway, the Republic of Ireland and Canada] and Stockholm also now ranks in my top five favourite cities [along with London, Zurich, Krakow and Cork if anybody’s interested.]
If I could sum up Stockholm in three words they would be: cool, sophisticated, beautiful. I’m so glad I visited!
Where we stayed
Hotel with Urban Deli – This was one of the most interesting hotels I’ve ever stayed in, as it didn’t have any windows – each room was underground! My boyfriend felt a little claustrophobic at first, but he got used to it after a day. On the other hand, I was in my element, as I like shutting out the world when I’m in a hotel room [find it more relaxing somehow] and I loved feeling like I was in a private, secret bunker.
What we did
Hop off, hop off sightseeing bus tour
My boyfriend and I enjoy sightseeing buses as they give a better overview of a city than any map could. By taking one of these buses, you get to learn a lot about a city, how it connects together and how it feels overall. The bus was a little on the expensive side, but I think it’s worth it as you can get a lot further than you would by foot. It’s also valid for 24 hours, so you can use it again the next day.
I grew up listening to Abba – we had a tape of one of their albums which would come out frequently on family car journeys, which I knew all the words to, so I insisted we visited the museum. If you’re an Abba fan like me, I would very much recommend it, the museum goes into great detail and is very interactive [you can sing on stage along Abba holograms, record your own version of their famous hits, mix one of their songs and read the diary from their Eurovision period]. I found it interesting, but it was so extensive that even I got tired after two hours, so if you only have a passing interest in this band, it might not be for you – my boyfriend probably wouldn’t had visited it, if it hadn’t been for me…
A visit to Stockholm’s archipelago
On the Saturday we took a boat to one of Stockholm’s many islands [many is an under statement, there are estimated to be over 3,000 islands in the archipelago] to see a bit more of Stockholm’s nature. The tourist ferry season runs during the summer until November, although some boats stop running in September, with only a handful of boats making journeys during the winter. The island we visited was called Svartsö. It was very pretty, and whilst it was inhabited, it wasn’t overly populated. It made the ideal place for a crisp Autumn walk, and I found myself imaging staying there for a few days, instead of just a few hours.
Wandering around Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town.
On the Sunday, we took it easy and just wandered around Stockholm’s beautiful old town, Gamla Stan. We had visited the old town briefly before deciding to do the bus tour, and we had had a coffee there [Swedes drink a lot of very strong coffee!], but we wanted to explore it in more detail, so went back for a proper look. I was also keen to try some traditional Swedish food, since everywhere we went in Stockholm, there were American burger joints. Now, I love burgers, and was happy to have one at Stockholm’s Hard Rock Cafe on the first night of the trip [I know, I know – I’m such a tourist] but I also wanted to sample some Swedish cooking, so I sought out some Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes [I don’t know whether the restaurant we picked was authentic – it felt designed for tourists as well, but I was pleased to finally get the food I had been craving!]
Overall I really liked Stockholm, and I wish I had been able to go for a bit longer than just a few days – it definitely left me wanting more!