Stockholm was wonderful; I have a major good time hangover. I’ll be doing lots of detailed posts, but I wanted to do an overview post of my 6 days in Stockholm.
Day one: fly out
We woke up at 02:30 to get down to London Heathrow for our morning flight. Surprisingly, Heathrow wasn’t as stressful as we feared, and we got through security pretty fast and were on the plane before we knew it.
It was the first time my Mum or I had flown with British Airways and we were really impressed. The service was great, we were on time, the flight was smooth, no complaints at all. I don’t think my Mum is going to settle for anything less than British Airways from now on though.
We landed at Arlanda Airport around 1 in the afternoon, and got the bus into Stockholm Central Station, which took about 45 minutes.
Obviously the beds looked nicer than this when they were made – I forgot to take a photo of them all made. Rookie mistake!
We stayed in Hotel Hellsten, which was really easy to find from the bus terminal and was a 15 – 20-minute walk. The staff were really friendly and helped me break into my suitcase because I left my keys in the padlock. Somewhere, there is a set of suitcase keys working their way through Heathrow’s baggage system.
By the time we’d broken into my suitcase, our room was ready. It was small, comfy and spotless. The bathroom was immaculate – believe me, I spent 10 minutes trying to get one of my earrings from behind the back of the toilet one evening, and it was super clean.
If you’re thinking about staying in Stockholm, I recommend Hotel Hellsten. It’s 15-20 from the city centre, it’s in a quiet location, there are loads of restaurants near by (including the Hard Rock Cafe), the staff are friendly, and it was a great price for a 4 star hotel.
After dropping our bags off, we walked into Stockholm city centre and into the old town (Gamla Stan) which was a 15 – 20 minute walk away, where we had Italian for dinner. The amount of Italian restaurants in Stockholm is surprising – excellent for vegetarians as there’s always something vegetarian at an Italian restaurant.
Day 2 – a day of exploring and dodging the rain
We did so much walking on day 2; I think we walked about 15 miles. It rained on and off in the morning so we explored Gamla Stan (the old town), dashing in and out of shops and cafes full of the most delicious cakes and pastries I’ve ever tasted.
In the afternoon, the weather cleared up and we walked to the photography museum, Fotografiska. It wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be. Don’t get be wrong, the images were stunning, but there are only three rooms and it felt like there should have been more.
We were super cultural and went to Pizza Hut for dinner, where I had a cheese and honey pizza. I’ve never seen that on the UK Pizza Hut menus; I’ve not idea why because it was delicious.
Day 3 – Vaxholm
On Wednesday, we got a boat over to Vaxholm, which is called the capital of the Archipelago. The boat took around 45 minutes to get over there and cost 75SEK for an adult each way, which is £5.50 at today’s exchange rates.
We followed a coastal path from the port down to Erikso, where we found a place to hire canoes. Canoeing in the Archipelago is something we’d all been looking forward to since we booked our trip to Stockholm, so we reserved our canoes for Monday.
Erikso has a tiny beach. And of course when you’re at the beach, you have to eat ice cream. We chomped an ice cream, and a bar of Swedish Oreo chocolate and headed back to Stockholm.
Day 4 – Stockholm Palace
In the morning, we visited Stockholm Palace and watched the changing of the guards. The changing of the guards ended just as my sister and her friend got into Stockholm city centre, so we found them and took them to the hotel.
After they’d dropped their bags off and freshened up, we took them on a tour of the city and around Gamla Stan.
In the evening, we went on the Ocean Bus, which takes you around Stockholm on the roads and the water! It was seriously cool and well worth it – A BUS THAT TURNS INTO A BOAT! How can that not be cool?
As we walked back to the hotel in the evening, we noticed loads of old American cars blocking up Sveavagan, which was the main road near our hotel. We discovered that there’s a group of American car enthusiasts who meet up once a month on Sveavagan and show off their cars.
It’s obviously a popular event because people had bought deckchairs and were sat on the sidewalk watching. The streets were teeming with people enjoying the cars and having a good time; I can’t imagine something like that happening in the UK.
Day 5 – Drottningholm Palace, the Ice Bar, and Hard Rock Cafe
In the morning, we headed down to the port by City Hall to catch a boat over to Drottningholm Palace, as it was too far to walk. The boat took around 40 minutes, which gave me time to read a chunk of Magonia.
Drottningholm Palace is where the Swedish Royal Family actually live, so you only get to go around half of it. The rooms are so extravagant and beautiful, and it has the most amazing library I’ve ever seen.
I wish they could have showed a few photos of what the part where the Royal Family lives looked like, just to see what kind of decor they have. Is it fancier than the part you get to walk around? My Mum thinks they just have loads of IKEA furniture.
We had a spot of lunch before exploring the gardens, which are just as fancy as the inside of the palace, and provide a stunning view of the palace.
In the evening, we visited the Ice Bar, which I was a bit skeptical of. I don’t drink, and I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it, but I loved it. You get to wear big, warm, capes and have a drink at -7C.
We headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, where I accepted the server’s challenge of ‘the deserts are big’ and failed miserably trying to eat their brownie and ice cream.
Day 6 – Canoeing in the Archipelago
We caught a boat over to Vaxholm again, and arrived at the canoe hire place just after 1 in the afternoon. The chap at the canoe hire place got us in our canoes and we went on our way for four hours, exploring the area around Vaxholm. It was so stunning and peaceful, I could have done it for days and days. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
My Mum and I were pros in our canoe, but I have no idea what my sister and her friend were doing. Every time I looked at them, they were zig-zagging. They were incapable of going in a straight line. My sister blamed the canoe; I don’t think it was the canoe that was broken…
If you ever go to Stockholm, I cannot recommend canoeing enough. It’s a wonderful way to see the Archipelago.
Day 7 – home 🙁
Yes, I know, that’s day 7 but we didn’t do anything other than go to the airport and fly home, so it doesn’t count as a day in Stockholm as far as I’m concerned.
We really packed a lot into the 6 days we were in Stockholm, and we came away with plenty of things we simply didn’t have time for.
All four of us had an absolutely wonderful time, and I think we’d all go back in a heartbeat.
I have plenty of posts planned, including a post about how expensive Stockholm is / isn’t for visitors as everyone I spoke to about going to Stockholm wanted to know how expensive it was. More detailed posts will begin next week, but if you want to see more photos right now then take a peek at my Instagram page.
If you want to visit somewhere clean (the city is spotless), hassle free, safe (I felt safer in Stockholm than in my home town and there was barely any Police presence – unless they’re all plainclothes), with plenty to do, and beautiful scenery, I cannot recommend Stockholm enough.
To help myself get over my major good time hangover, I’m planning next summer’s adventure. I’m feeling Norway – any recommendations?