My Stockholm Guide 2009

Somehow the Stockholm guide I wrote two summers ago seems to have disappeared. Very strange. I found the post in my archives, and updated it a bit, and now I’m posting it again, and hopefully it will stay put this time! While rereading it, I realized their are a whole bunch of cafés in the guide, but you know how we are, us Swedes with our fika, right?
Ok, here we go again:

First I’d like to recommend Skansen on Djurgården, the oldest open-air museum in the world, with lots of old houses and Scandinavian animals.


It is a really nice place, I take my children there several times every year and we never get tired of it. Our favourite part is the tiny town, where there are a bunch of small shops, a café, bakery, glass blowing hut, pharmacy etc. looking just like they did in the old days. All of them are open and fully functioning!

Old style food store at Skansen

To get to Skansen, take a ferry from Slussen, it is a nice way to get to see Stockholm from the water. On the way back, get off at Skeppsholmen for a nice walk into town, and a visit at the Modern Museum. The museum has a great shop with lots of contemporary Swedish design, and a fantastic lunch restaurant that you really shouldn’t miss! It has a great view of Stockholm, lovely food, in the weekends they are serving brunch, and on Sundays even a special brunch for the kids.

The restaurant and the museum shop at the Modern Museum

Also on Djurgården is Junibacken, an entertainment park for kids, based on the books by Astrid Lindgren. You can visit the houses of some of her characters (and a few characters from other Swedish childrens books), ride a little train through a fairytale setting, have pancakes in the cute café and of course play, play and play some more.


Speaking of brunch earlier, I just remembered I had one of my greatest brunches ever at restaurant Grill, but the restaurant is also a popular choice for lunch or dinner. Run by Swedish star chef Melker Andersson, the food is always excellent! The restaurant is decorated like a huge livingroom, with different seating options in several styles all over the place. Very nice! Grill is also a good option if you have kids with you, since it is quite a lively place, and no one will mind if your children run among the tables.

Interior of restaurant Grill

And if you have kids you will probably want to do some shopping in Stockholm’s coolest kids clothes and toy shops! These are the best ones I know:
Matador, lots of colourful clothes in soft cotton from mostly Danish brands like Molo, Ej sikke lej, Silke og Sus and Katvig.


Under, handpicked retro clothes and toys from the sixties and seventies, along with brand new stuff from young indie designers.

UNI, unisex clothing in strong colours and cool patterns with inspiration from the seventies. I love their collaboration with Swedish design group De Fyra.

One of the patterns by UNI and De Fyra

Haven, great clothes and small interior details for both you and your baby.

Kalikå, plush animals and real tools and kitchen stuff in miniature versions, free from stuffy old thoughts on gender roles.

If you are visiting in the summer, a swim in the middle of the city is a nice break from the shopping, walking and museum visits. My favourite is Långholmen, a small island between Södermalm and Kungsholmen with a sandy beach and some nice cliffs to jump into the water from.

Take a bath at Långholmen

When you have cooled off, perhaps a coffee and some cake sounds nice? If so, walk a few hundred meters to Lasse i Parken (Lasse is a Swedish men’s name, and the rest means "in the park"), a café in a red little house from the 18th century that lies in a small garden, just off the busy streets. Old fashioned, cute and often crowded. You won’t find the latest trends in coffee shop culture here, but you can get ordinary coffee, lemonade, little short bread cookies and home made cinnamon rolls.

Lasse i parken café

A short walk from there you will find Strand, a bar, restaurant, concert arena, café and all in all happening place. This is a place where you can play ping pong and flipper while you enjoy the food and/or beer, and park your kids in the kid’s corner.

Strand is right by the water, and has a small café which is totally ok, but don’t pause here. Instead you should go for a walk by the water, past the marina, the park and the little red cottages, to Café Tubby! This is a very relaxed outdoors café, with reggae music in the loudspeakers, hammocks suspended amongst the trees and blankets and rugs scattered on the grass where people chill out, gaze at the sea, eat blueberry pie and drink lattes. I love the atmosphere here, it feels like I’m on a backpacker’s beach in Thailand!

Café Tubby

Another café you shouldn’t miss is Vurma (very loosely translated: to have a passion for something). This is my absolute favourite café in Stockholm, and I don’t mind travelling all over town just to get a cup of tea here! I love everything about it, the staff are so friendly, the sandwiches are amazing, the cinnamon rolls are enormous and sooo delicious, the interior decoration is totally inspiring (retro flowered cushions, fantastic wallpapers, simple wooden furniture, high ceilings and exotic little details) and the whole mood of the place is just so encouraging and happy! Actuallly there are four Vurmas, they are all equally nice, but I think I like the one on Gästrikegatan just a little bit more.

Vurma’s baker, and a statue outside the café

If you like indie shopping and are curious about the latest Swedish trends in fashion, head to the SoFo area on eastern Södermalm. It is crowded with cool little shops like Grandpa, TjallaMalla, Nudie Jeans, Kunigunda, Lisa Larsson Second Hand, Under, Coctail, Acne Jeans, UNI and Nakkna.


My favourite café in the neighbourhood is Svart Kaffe. They have great sandwiches, nice interiors, and always the coolest music in town! Their outdoor seats are a great place to sit and watch the hippest people in Stockholm walking by… Or try café/vintage record shop Louie Louie, just half a block away, for some delicious chocolate cake!

The owners of Louie Louie

If you fancy something more substantial to eat, the area is full of nice restaurants, but one of my favourites is Berlin – Sthlm, where you get to choose from around twenty small dishes to combine your own meal. The waiter will happily help you if you get confused with all the choices, and will also recommend one of their excellent wines to go with the food you have chosen. Other good restaurants in these blocks are Snotty (just across the street from Berlin), Pet Sounds Bar, Matkultur and Mosebacke.

If you would rather buy your own food and cook it yourself, Cajsa Warg is a good choice for organic groceries. They also sell readymade picnicbags that you can take with you to the park Vitabergsparken next to the store.

Cajsa Warg’s interior, styled to look like an old village shop

For modern Swedish furniture and decorating details, go to Asplund, they sell products from the greatest designers of the moment. The store is very fresh and cleanlined, and apart from the minimalistic furniture there are some really cute and surprising little things for sale.


Other good shops with modern design are Granit, Designtorget, Åhléns, Lagerhaus and Stockhome.


If you are looking for place to stay, these are the hotels I’d recommend for a sleep in modern Scandinavian style:

Rival, a chic boutique hotel in one of Stockholm’s trendiest neighbourhoods on western Södermalm, owned by former ABBA member Benny Andersson. In addition to the hotel they also boast a cinema, bars, a bistro, a cafe and a bakery. All rooms are decorated with an old-fashioned movie print over the bed, and are equipped with a plasma screen tv, egyptian cotton sheets, a selection of different pillows, DVD/CD player with a selection of CDs (movies and video games can be rented in the reception), wireless internet access and bathroom products from Crabtree & Evelyn.

Hotel Rival

Birger Jarl, a hotel in one of Stockholm’s most busy areas, took it’s name from the City’s founder. The hotel is totally decorated by the most talented Swedish designers of today. Exept for one room, the Forgotten Room, looking exactly as it did in 1974. This room, situated at the end of a corridor, was simply forgotten by the builders during the renovation, and is now kept as a reminder of the old days. It is super cool though, with teak furniture all over, black leather chairs and brass wall lights! Some of the sources of inspiration in the renovation process were Sweden’s tall, slender birch trees, the traditional copper-red paint of wooden houses and good old-fashioned thoughtfulness and consideration.

Hotel Birger Jarl

Clarion claims to be "Stockholm’s art hotel no 1", which means that contemporary Nordic art can be seen in all rooms and in the public areas of the hotel, the two bars and the restaurant. The hotel also arranges live concerts with popular artists. Clarion is built on top of Söderleden, one of the largest freeways into Stockholm, and distinguishes itself with it’s spectacular architecture featuring a large expanse of glass. The unifying feature of the hotel’s interior – it’s light background, dark base and accent colours – continues into the guest rooms, where white contrasts with dark wenge wood.

Clarion Hotel

I hope you will find this guide useful, or perhaps just interesting if you are not planning to come here. I’ve only mentioned my personal favourites, so of course there is so much more worth writing about, but you will find that stuff in any travel guide… If you have any questions about Stockholm or this guide, just leave a comment or feel free to email me at emmas DOT blogg AT hotmail DOT com.

Welcome to Stockholm!