Culture Focus: Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden, a city built on 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges surely earns the Swedish capital the nickname “Beauty on the Water.” Whether you are interested in food, scenery, shopping or architecture Stockholm has it all!

First off, a few things to know about the city. The Swedish Krona is the official currency, the city is very expensive, the public transportation is easy to navigate and traveling there in mid-October is going to be cold but the changing autumn leaves will reward you with great scenery. My travelling companion and I are both from the Minnesota in the United States and very use to chilly weather. Maybe living in the UK for the past two months had made us soft, but we were not prepared for the cold and wind that Stockholm brought.

Day 1: On our first day we started our journey by heading to Gamla Stan, definitely a touristy area but well worth it. Founded in 1252, it is one of the best preserved and largest medieval city centres. The area is like a pedestrian-friendly open-air museum, loaded with winding alleys, attractions, cafes, bars, restaurants and places to shop for souvenirs. Since we were so cold and unprepared for the weather our first stop was a tourist shop to buy hats. Once warmed up we made our way to the Nobel Museum. A very manageable and informative museum filled with some of the brightest minds, ideas and acts dating back to 1901. During our journey to another island we walked past but didn’t enter the Royal Palace (which is one of the city’s greatest attractions), we did happen to be passing by at the right time to witness a unique changing of the guard. That evening we finished or day by visiting Fotografiska, a centre for contemporary photography with a wide variety of exhibits.

Day 2: Our accommodation in Stockholm was with Airbnb, located about 20 minutes by train outside of the city. Our host gave my friend and I a list of activities she thought we would like. She recommended taking a tour of the Archipelago Islands via boat. We started our second morning off by having an outrageously expensive £25 breakfast, (apple, tea, orange juice, porridge, mini sandwich) and then boarded the boat the Vaxholm, the capital of the Archipelago islands. Made up of around 24,000 islands, some have inhabitants, some are still left to nature. After the boat tour and an hour spent walking around the quaint town of Vaxholm, my friend and I decided the tour would be even more amazing during the spring or summer months! Upon arriving back in Stockholm we decided to check out the Vasastan area of the city. It’s known as an area with some great coffee and pastry shops. We closed our evening by climbing to an overlook point giving us amazing views of Stockholm as the sun was setting.

Day 3: On our third day we spent the late morning at the Vasa Museum. In the year 1628 the mighty warship Vasa embarked on her maiden voyage. In only 10 minutes the impressive ship was sinking to the floor of the Saltsjon. Due to the lack of salt and cold temperatures of water the ship stayed very well preserved until it was rediscovered in 1956. Many salvaged objects are on display, including cannonballs, shoes, pillboxes and other artefacts that offer a vivid glimpse at 17th-century sea life. After leaving the impressive Vasa Museum we took one last stroll through Gamla Stan for some souvenirs before heading back to the UK.

There are many other things to see in Stockholm and three days was definitely not enough to experience the city. We chose our activities based on the duration of our trip, finances and location. Upon departing Sweden that evening my friend and I were both glad that we had stumbled across  a cheap flight and decided to spend our 3 days in Stockholm.

 

By Alexa Klos

5th December 2017

 

Image Credit: Alexa Klos