Stockholm – the perfect place to feel the Christmas atmosphere of northern Europe: markets with fairy decorations, Christmas trees in every corner and a million more luminous garlands.
Stockholm is called the Venice of the North because the capital of Sweden is located on the fourteen islands, surrounded by the waters of the Baltic Sea.
Gamla Stan, or Old Town – this is the most touristy place in Stockholm, but everyone should visit – the narrow streets are fascinating, and you do not even notice the fast-flowing stream of tourists with cameras.
While taking a walk through the Old Town, do not be afraid to turn into a dark alley – there are plenty of hidden places where the locals go, and few tourists do.
At the cross of Drottninggatan and Strömgatan you can stumble upon a sculpture called Hemlös räv (Homeless fox), which you will not be able to refuse to donate a few coins for. It was the work of author Laura Ford: the sculpture is designed to draw people’s attention to the negative impact of human activities on the life of the forests and their inhabitants.
About places for locals:
Cafe Grillska Huset offers lunches for special prices even on the weekend, but few people know about the cafe. Not far from the cafe, there is a showroom of Swedish fashion and interior designers called Edblad; they make everything using natural materials, as is common in Sweden. Moreover, Stockholm boasts a huge range of shops worth visiting, with an impressive selection of vinyl records.
It is essential to visit the fabulous Museum of Astrid Lindgren. It is called Junibacken and is located on the island of Djurgården. This is a portal to the world of childhood: the train goes to the magical land of fairy tales all the seasons. It was built by skilled craftsmen following the illustrations by the artist Marit Tёrnkvist who worked with Astrid Lindgren. At the end of the trip you can find a myriad of goodies in the cafe at the museum.
Tip: The museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is better to go there in the evening, when it is possible to avoid a large stream of kids.
Another museum worth seeing is the Nobel Museum. Inspired by the ideas that changed the world, the Nobel Museum contains all the necessary information about the most prestigious prize in the world, its creator, and the award-winners.
Quay Skeppsbron overlooks a breathtaking panorama of the city. You can eat in a cafe called Albert and Jack’s, which is famous for its locally produced bread. However, the café is only open till 5 pm.
In December, there are Christmas markets at every step: the most famous is the Christmas Market in the Old City.
As for places to skate, perhaps the most popular ice rink is located in the city center and is called Kungsträdgården. It is a space in the open air, where a ticket costs about 60 SEK per hour of skating and skate rental. The rink opens in early November and is open from 10 am to 9 pm.
Hotel: Colonial Hostel offers low prices, breakfast, a memorable interior and excellent views of the Stockholm roofs.
Currency: SEK. Sample prices for food:
Eat at the cafe in Stockholm for two: 300 – 350 SEK
Hot chocolate, cappuccino and dessert in a tourist cafe in the central square: SEK 100
Free: In Stockholm, you can take free walking tours. The company Free Tour Of Stockholm gives 1.5-hour tours in English, showing you the secrets of each section of the city.
Stockholm is an incredibly cozy town, and in the Christmas atmosphere, it is even more so. In every window a Christmas star or a candle is lit, the shelves are full of gingerbread men and chocolate, (which has a particularly nice taste in Sweden), and the Christmas trees are on every street. Escaping into the Stockholm fairy tale is worth it, even for just a couple of days.