We joined the Stockholm Free Walking tour around Old Town(Gamla Stan) after we arrived. The guide walked us through various landmarks in Gamla Stan and briefly went over the history of Stockholm. After the walking tour, we climbed up the Katarina Elevator and strolled along Monteliusvägen and Skinnarviksberget to admire the beautiful sunset over Stockholm. For dinner, we treated ourselves to some Swedish meatballs at Pelikan.
See & Do
- Gamla Stan(Old Town) Free Walking Tour: There’s a free English walking tour that meets up daily at Sergel’s Torg at 4pm sharp. We thought that we might be the only ones there on a chilly and slightly wet Thursday evening, but there were at least 30 people on the tour. Approximately 90 minutes and a great way to get acquainted with the city. A country as peaceful as Sweden has a pretty brutal history with lots of public executions carried out in the old town squares. Some of the sites we saw: Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet), Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan), German Church (Tyska Kyrkan), Riksdagen, the Parliament, Stortorget and Prime Minister’s Residence. Don’t forget to tip your guide! Rating: 5/5
- The Katarina Elevator: A very distinctive looking building extension just south of Gamla Stan in Sodermalm, climbing this platform gives you a great view of the city of Stockholm. There used to be an elevator that would take you up but for the past 4 years or so the only way to get up is to start climbing! Great views all the way up. Rating: 5/5
- Monteliusvägen: Personally, I think this view is even better than the one at Katarinahissen. A small walking path on the northern end of the island of Sodermalm that overlooks Gamla Stan and Norrmalm. Bonus: Crazy but harmless guy muttering angrily to himself while wandering around aimlessly–reminds me of the Twin Peaks viewpoint in San Francisco! Rating: 5/5
- Skinnarviksberget: The Monteliusvagen walk is fairly short, around 500m or so, and we were craving a bit more so we kept walking west and ended up in Skinnarviksberget. The highest point in Stockholm at 53m (ok, not too tall)–to get there you have to walk through what seems like an farming village with old red buildings, right in the middle of a developed urban area. Rating: 5/5
Eat & Drink
- Petrus: Just outside the Mariatorget subway stop, Petrus is a pastry shop. We were hungry from all the traveling and grabbed a cardamom bun and a ham & cheese mini-croissant. The official conclusion is that any random bakery in Europe will have superior bread to all but the best bakeries in North America. Rating: 4/5
- Chokladkoppen: This place was recommended by the tour guide for their hot chocolate, and seemed like the perfect antidote to the chilly rain. We had coffee (26 SEK), hot chocolate (41 SEK) and a chocolate cake (49 SEK). The hot chocolate had a rich chocolate flavor although it wasn’t too sweet. The serving size was gigantic, if you can finish this entire cup by yourself, then I would be quite impressed. Free refills on coffee as is standard in Stockholm. Rating: 4/5
- Pelikan: How better to end our first day in Stockholm than by having Swedish food? We ordered Swedish Meatballs (192 SEK), a Shrimp Sandwich with Egg & Mayo (270 SEK)- open faced , and one Amber Ale (87 SEK). Service was a bit grumpy as we seem to have arrived close to closing time, as they made known to us many times throughout the dinner (we arrived at 10:30pm while the kitchen closes at 12am, so maybe I’m missing something…). The food was good and filling, but you need to be prepared to spend a bit of money–you get four meatballs, so that means each individual one costs around 10 bucks.
- Airbnb near Mariatorget: Once again a great experience with AirBnb, we stayed just 2 minutes away from Mariatorget and just a few minutes walk from the Stockholm nightlife scene. Only minor problem was the tiny bathroom, but I think that’s fairly standard anywhere in Europe. I thought Swedish people were big! Rating: 4/5
- Arlanda Express: 20 minutes from the airport to city center. Special deal at 280 SEK for 2 people each way (costs less the more people travel). Worth it if you’re strapped for time, otherwise we hear the bus is also a convenient and much cheaper option, taking around 40 minutes from airport to city. Rating: 4/5
- Stockholm Metro: While a monthly pass is a great deal, they really don’t cut you a break on a single ride at 36 SEK (~$5.50 USD). The train itself is as standard as a metro gets in any city, but the real charm of the Stockholm Metro system is that each station has its own unique artwork commissioned by the city, with each one curated by a different local artist, combining to create the world’s largest museum! For you classic video game lovers, the Thorildsplan station features pixel art! Rating: 5/5