While Stockholm is beautiful any time of year, the Swedish capital feels especially enchanting during winter. Sometimes called the “Nordic Venice,” Stockholm is comprised of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, which makes getting around pretty easy. The design-forward city, colored with more blonde hair and blue eyes than you can imagine, offers a mix of old and new — from medieval, picturesque Old Town, known as Gamla Stan, to some of the hipper, more contemporary hoods like Sodermalm, where you’ll find the artists. Below, is your guide to two ideal days in Stockholm.
If you’ve caught the new Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design, then you may have seen the episode which featured interior designer Ilse Crawford. Aside from painting color into Soho Houses around the world, Crawford is responsible for Stockholm’s Ett Hem, a stunning boutique property in Ostermalm. The townhouse, built in the early 20th century, opened as a 12-room boutique hotel in 2012, with both luxury and comfort guiding design. For a slightly larger property in a unique part of town, try Hotel Skeppsholmen on Skeppsholmen Island in the center of the city. Management restored a series of buildings that date back more than three centuries ago with a clean, minimalist aesthetic and eco-friendly practices in mind.
If the French celebrate the croissant, than Swedes embrace the cinnamon bun, or kanelbullar, a common pastry that’s also sometimes flavored with cardamom. Whether you choose to begin your morning with one, or stop for a mid-day fika — the Swedish coffee break — local bakery chainlet Fabrique Stenugnsbageri makes an outstanding version of chewy dough hugging rolls of cinnamon sugar. I’d suggest dropping by the Sodermalm location, and then walking a couple blocks over to Drop Coffee for a pour-over. From there you can hang in the hood and check out some of the cool boutiques like Grandpa for independent labels, and vintage finds at Beyond Retro.
One of Stockholm’s most classic eateries is Sturehof, a pricey, sceney seafood spot beloved by locals. Classic Swedish ocean animals are prepped without pretense, such as the salted salmon with creamy dill potatoes and towering tiers of raw seafood. Sturehof is located adjacent to Sturegallerian, a small mall that houses awesome local skincare brand Bjork & Berries. Launched by the same family connected to Faviken up in Jarpen (the world’s 57th best restaurant according to San Pellegrino’s revered list), be sure to make time to scoop up some of the brand’s conditioner or body lotion, developed with eco-friendly local botanicals.
For dinner, I’d suggest a bang-bang meal of Café Nizza and Babette’s. Start with a glass of low-intervention vino and a couple seasonal French-Italian plates at this newcomer, then hop a cab over to, arguably, the city’s best pizzeria. Modeled after a Parisian wine bar though proffering an Italian menu, Babette’s is the quintessential neighborhood hang with a short list of ingredient-driven plates, from salad to Neapolitan-inspired pies.
Take a morning stroll around Old Town’s medieval city center of winding alleys and cobblestone streets. For that perfect Insta shot, Stortorget Square offers that picture perfect row of old townhouses in a catchy rainbow of colors.
Regardless whether you choose to stay at Ett Hem or not, don’t overlook the property’s lunch — and make sure to reserve in advance. Depending on the season in which you are visiting, Ett Hem offers several rooms to dine in, from the outdoor patio to a partially covered outdoor dining room to a long table in the kitchen – the latter of which I’d personally suggest. Ett Hem doesn’t offer a menu, but rather its three-course lunch fluctuates daily based on seasonal availability, focusing on the best local ingredients, simply prepared with that Scando touch.
Following lunch, check out the photography museum, or Fotografiska, which hosts big name shooters like Irving Penn. After a few hours there, trek over to Djurgarden Island for another unique dining situation. Here you have options: Oaxen Krog or Oaxen Slip, neighbors and both delicious. Helmed by Chef Magnus Ek, Oaxen Krog offers a 6 or 10 course fine dining Swedish tasting menu, while sister eatery Oaxen Slip delivers a more casual, nautical-themed bistro of unpretentious local flavor.