Weekend in Stockholm

As mentioned in my previous post Stockholm Basics, we spent a weekend in October in Stockholm to meet a friend from the US.

I had almost zero to no expectations of Stockholm, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I quite enjoyed the city. It’s not as wow as some other European cities, but it’s still got its charm.

We were only there for 2 full days so we didn’t cover that much attractions. We also were in super relaxed travel mode so we just did whatever we thought of at the moment that we wanted to.

Free Walking Tour – Old City

We started our first full day with a free walking tour of the old city with Free Tour Stockholm. If you don’t have a lot of time and want to make sure you get to see the most important attractions, I really recommend going to one of the free walking tours. Our guide Zenid was amazing and funny and he did a great job of introducing the most important parts of the old city. You also get to know more about the structures you visit rather than just walking around on your own.

Some of the places we went to with the Old City Tour:

We wanted to do the city tour the next day but as it was raining a bit, we didn’t want to spend the next 2 hours walking around in the rain.  

In any case I highly recommend this tour as it was well organized, informative and not at all boring. P.S. you can give a tip via card if you don’t have any kronas.

Changing of the guard

After the walking tour, we went back to the palace to see the changing of the guards. The tour ends right on time for this and the palace is quite near the end of the tour. I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen a changing of the guards event that made me think that yea standing in this crowd is worth it. The one in Stockholm is the same. New guards come and march and do the hand over ceremony. A marching band comes. It’s just a bit underwhelming considering all the effort and standing around you have to do just to be able to see something. Or well maybe I’m just bitter because my height is always a disadvantage at these things.

Hötorgshallen

Entrance

Giving up halfway on the guard tour, we went to find some lunch at Hotorgshallen. Hotorgshallen is one of the “traditional” food halls in Stockholm. It’s a great place to be able to find all kinds of cuisine (of course Swedish ones as well) and the prices aren’t that bad either. I was even able to find a stall selling Filipino items!

Filipino product amongst sliced moose

It was lunch time and the places that served more traditional Swedish food was quite full so we settled for a deli like place that sold soups, salads and sandwiches. Still quite good.

There’s a bunch of things to see and try so if you’re feeling hungry, definitely a good idea to check this place out.

Cafes in Stockholm

The only downside of Hotorgshallen was the lack of toilets. We ended up going to a café – primarily to use the toilet. Wally’s coffee is apparently a super popular place after lunch because we could barely find a place to sit. This is considering the fact that there is another coffee chain just beside it that was equally full. I guess Saturday in the center means everyone’s out.

P.S. didn’t see a Starbucks for those who are curious

Skansen

With our stomachs full and bladders empty, we took a tram from Sergels Torg to Skansen. I TOTALLY LOVED SKANSEN. It’s the best place we visited in Stockholm.

I was a bit hesitant at first about this open air museum, especially because it costs around 15 euros (I’m cheap) – but I’m so glad I decided to not be cheap for once! It’s more of a park/zoo kind of place actually, rather than a museum. There are some historical recreations of farms and structures (the museum part), but there’s also a lot of just greenery and animals that are common to the region.

I especially loved the reindeer as it was my first time to ever see one.

The park was also the perfect setting for fall foliage. Everywhere you look was just picture perfect (or rather Instagram perfect). Part of Skansen is also elevated so there are nice viewpoints from there of Stockholm city.

The place is quite big so expect to spend around an hour or 2 to be able to see almost everything. By the time we finished, almost everything was closed so we decided to just find somewhere to eat for dinner.

We ended up at this place called Lilla Djurgården Café that was right in front of Skansen. It’s not quite well rated but to us it was good enough. We tried some more “traditional” food of meatballs and I really can’t remember the name, but an open faced sandwich with some sort of mayo and shrimps. (I took a photo but sadly it was blurred)

Took a walk again in the old city and bought some souvenirs and called it a day.

Vasa Museum

The next morning was quite rainy. We went back to the area of Skansen and visited the Vasa museum. It’s one of the highest rated attractions of in Stockholm. The main point of the museum is to showcase a 17th century ship (like a Spanish galleon), that sunk 20 minutes after it was launched. It is impressively mostly intact so you can see pretty much almost all original ship as it was when it was built.

There is a free guide which I would recommend you take just to give more meaning to the ship that you see. There’s really less of an impact without the guide. Vasa museum was an interesting stop and a logical one because of the rain, but I would rate Skansen higher than Vasa and lower than our last stop, the city hall just because I like outdoor attractions better.

Skroten cafe

After a couple of hours, we went to try to see if we could have lunch at Skroten.

So the previous day while looking for a place to eat around, I found on google a highly rated café in a bit of a weird location nearby. The location of this restaurant is really quite odd and I would even say a bit hidden, but it’s super cool inside and the menu looked so enticing. It was a bit of a shame that there was just no place as everything was reserved (apparently it’s quite popular despite being hidden).

Anyway luckily, Sundays seem to be a bit slower as we were able to grab a table and eat. SO GLAD. I had their fish soup and it was just AMAZEBALLS. One of the best things I’ve eaten in a while to be honest. If you are ever in the area of Skansen/Vasa, try to eat at this amazing place.

The indoor décor and the food won’t let you down!

City Hall

Our last stop for Stockholm before leaving was the city hall. Honestly we kind of ran out of places to go that was a bit nearby and found the city hall at the last moment – but so glad we did. The only thing I knew about it is that they award the nobel prize from here, but that was it. We were a bit too late to take the city hall tour, but just the courtyard and the view of the arches and the river was already worth it. Such a picturesque place!

After the city hall, we walked back to our hotel, got our bags and headed back out to Skavsta airport.

Connect Hotel Skavsta Airport

We had an early flight so we decided to check in at the only hotel airport in Skavsta, Connect Hotel.

Didn’t expect it to be such a cool hotel. But much like the hotel we stayed in in the city (Hotel Micro), the bathroom was shared. But anyway this place was better and breakfast (which was a buffet) was free.

It was totally worth it as we could go to the airport straight to our gate in like 10 minutes.

Conclusions

So there are a number of things we missed in Stockholm like the metro stations, the library etc. but to be honest, unless someone I haven’t seen in a long time invites me to meet them there, I would not go back willingly. It’s a nice place, a bit expensive but I feel like there’s much more interesting places to see in Sweden other than Stockholm.

That said – I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Stockholm and in general, was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t end up broke after it.

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