Stockholm guide, part one: Södermalm
"What should i do in Stockholm?" is a question we get a lot. luckily for anyone asking, we have a lot of tips, but Stockholm is huge and there is so much to see, so we decided to cover one area per blog post. Here's part one, and our favourite place in stockholm - Södermalm!
Stockholm is the best. It's versatile, it's complex, it's "lagom". The city has just about everything you're looking for in a weekend getaway; great food, tasty drinks, cool bars, interesting shopping, beautiful scenery, and fantastic coffee. So after living here for a while we want to give you the best tips we have. Lets start with Södermalm!
(Oh, and there will be a lot of pictures that are a bit -- ehh -- old. All taken by yours truly.)
A lot has been written about Södermalm, and for good reason -- it's Berlin, New York and London all crammed up on one small island. If you're visiting Stockholm for the first time I really suggest that you spend several hours on Söder (that's the nickname for Södermalm, or just, you know, the first part of the name).
Södermalm has many different areas inside an already not that geographically large area, and all of these have their own unique flavour to them, so there's bound to be something for everyone.
Here's a quick rundown of the different parts of Södermalm:
...is as hipster as it gets, it so cool (is cool still a word cool people use?) and trendy that you'll feel trendier just by being there. If you're here in the summer (because who are we kidding, you're not coming to Scandinavia in the winter) don't miss Hornstulls marknad which is a big flea-market every weekend by the water, where you can eat a great vegetarian burger that you bought from one of the countless food-trucks and sit on the docks and enjoy the view.
After that you can walk over to Hornhuset and enjoy the view from their rooftop terrace with crazy cool decorations and interior, or lie in one of their beds while you're sipping on a drink. Yeah. That's an actual thing you can do.
When your drunk and impressed enough, run down to the local cinema Bio Rio that shows indie and art films (we went there a few months ago to see a back-to-back screening of Alien and Aliens!), soak in the last sun on their terrace and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the movie. After the movie you might be a bit hungry, so for dinner I recommend the super hip Bar Bro (they have a cinema downstairs, how cool is that?), or if you prefer great Mexican food try Cantina Real, or go to the ever present, the one, the only, Linje Tio (also called Tjoget, confusing for out-of-towners), which has been selected as one of the best in the world. If you want to eat, don't forget to make an reservation a few days (weeks) in advance, which also goes for all popular restaurants in Stockholm. The Swedes love to dine out, especially on the 25th of every month, which is when everyone gets their salary. It's a circus out there. So book a table. Always.
...is probably one of the most famous places on Södermalm, and if you've googled Stockholm you've probably seen pictures from it. It's hip and trendy, very pretty and also - very cool. Nytorget is a small park in the middle of the now famous SoFo-district (South of Folkungagatan).
You can eats lots of instagram worthy avo-toasts at Pom och Flora, you can drink expensive Rosé and watch people walk by at Nytorget 6 and end the night with some theatre outdoors. But as always in Sweden, first things first: Fika!
As you're walking down to Nytorget you're probably starting to get a bit sluggish, so why not take a short break and pop into the funky Cafe String that has an amazingly creative interior and super comfy chairs. Or if you're more into a laid back, trendy, and minimalistic style go to Il Caffè. After getting jacked up on caffeine it's time to shop!
There are so many nice small shops in this neighbourhood that I recommend to go into everyone that looks even remotely interesting, because odds are that they will live up to your expectations. But here are a few of our favourites: First off, Grandpa, they sell everything you didn't know you wanted, then after you've decided that maybe you don't actually need all of that cool new stuff from Grandpa you can go to Stockholms Stadsmission, which is one of the coolest second hand stores in town. And finally, you end the shopping tour at Urban Deli, which is a grocery store, a cafe, a restaurant and hotel (well, technically their other location in downtown Stockholm is also a hotel, the one by Nytorget is not). It's very Swedish and hip, definitely worth a stroll. Also a perfect place to find a last-minute house-warming gift, or a souvenir for your mother-in-law.
End the day with a casual dinner at Shanti Gossip, where you'll have the best (and surprisingly cheap!) bengali food ever.
...is one of the first places in Stockholm we visited with Anton, when we were on a weekend getaway a few years ago. That's also when we decided we wanted to live in Stockholm. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Rival which is owned by Benny Andersson, of ABBA fame, and is an old theatre where you should definitely try and catch a standup show.
Start the day by walking by the old houses up on Mariaberget, the view is amazing but the houses are even prettier. Walk down to Hornsgatan where you can start your shopping spree. Go to Judits and then Herr Judit for high quality vintage shopping, pop into Paradiset which is an inspirational grocery store that only sells organic food, and end your shopping with the must see Brandstationen, a vintage interior design store (Antons favourite store in Stockholm).
If you're feeling hungry, don't worry, you have some really great options to choose from -- Marie Laveau is a busy and popular restaurant favoured by the young locals, across the street you'll find Kalf and Hansen who prepare dishes only by what's in season. They have a dish called Stockholm (all of their dishes are named after the Nordic capitals) with some bean-meatballs which tasted so much like meat (in a good way) that I had to ask if it truly was vegetarian. It was.
...is the most central place on Södermalm and the busiest by far. It's where, what feels like all the bus and subway lines cross over from Södermalm into central and northern Stockholm. It's a very narrow crossing, so it get's messy, from a purely traffic based view. But that shouldn't put you off, because there are some treasures here, despite all the tourists and stressed people.
Start by walking to the best museum in Stockholm Fotografiska, the museum is usually very full and popular but don't let that stop you, it's worth the trip. It has probably the best curated photography exhibitions we've ever been to.
After you feel cultured enough walk up to Katarinavägen (I'm warning you, it's a really high climb of stairs, but you'll work up an appetite) and have lunch at the entirely vegetarian Hermans, or walk over to Greasy Spoon and have breakfast food around the clock (they have the best avocado-poached egg toast!).
But heads up, there are a lot of people on the weekend and you can't book a table, so be early. If you're feeling fancy have one of the best brunches I've ever had at Söder Teatern where they play live jazz music during the brunch (!!).
After your dinner walk over to their terrace, where you get an amazing view of Stockholm. During the summer their terrace is a super popular spot for after-work drinks, since it's in the sun pretty much all day long.
Afterwards just stroll around the ancient streets and just let it all sink in. Stockholm, why would you want to be anywhere else?
...is not a place I would recommend visiting for fun, there are so much more exciting places to see in Stockholm and Södermalm - but it does have two gems. Trädgården which is this random, super cool, hip, weird, funky bar under a bridge in central Stockholm. I've been there twice, but I'm not sure I've seen the whole place yet. It has a ping-pong table with a small concrete stand for people to sit and watch whoever is playing. A small hidden "park" with large swings and a simple wooden bar. And a whole lot more! It's not massive, it's just filled with small rooms, hideaways and stuff. You have to see it to understand!
Tip - Go before 23, the queues get longer as the night gets darker (poetic!). Tip number 2 - eat their amazing veggie burger, it's out of this world (or then I was just really drunk).
They also have an amazing vegan restaurant on their premises called Växthuset, where they serve amazingly delicious vegan tasting menus in a nice but very casual setting. It'll make your most meat-loving friends love vegan food. We really can't recommend it enough!
The second place in Skanstull I want to recommend is this amazing little thing I never seen before anywhere else - Thaibåten! It's a real boat that only serves Thai food, but it has a deck that's filled with white sand, and you can sit on these amazing beach-chairs with your toes in the sand, sipping a drink while you wait for your table. Genius!
So I hope you enjoyed this guide, I'm sure there are a lot of amazing places I forgot, or chose to forget, and many more places that we have yet to visit! If you have any comments please don't hesitate to comment below, and if you feel we've forgotten a place, let us know, we love to go to new places!
Here's to waiting for summer!
Love / Lotta