Europe,  Travel Journal

A Fantastic Weekend in Beautiful Stockholm

Scandinavia has always been somewhere we have wanted to explore more but to be honest, having visited Copenhagen and Riga in the height of winter, I’ve discovered I’m not a huge fan of city breaks in the freezing cold. Stockholm seemed like the perfect place to explore when we were looking for somewhere to go in autumn, still cold (but definitely bearable) and you get the added bonus of those gorgeous autumn colours; golds, oranges and yellows setting the town ablaze.

Gluten free in Stockholm

We arrived into Stockholm quite late on Saturday so by the time we checked into our hotel we were getting peckish. We took a walk into Gamla Stan, the old town, where you can find a myriad of restaurants, shops and bars. As usual, we had already found some gluten free restaurants and saved their location so we headed straight to Under Kastangen.

Stockholm sure know how to cater for coeliacs and this restaurant did not disappoint. They even had a separate bakery to make gluten free bread! Naturally, when in Sweden do as the Swedes do, so we warmed ourselves up on a nice hearty meal of meatballs.

Indulging in some Fika

Saturday was a day for exploring. We woke up nice and early to join a walking tour exploring the more modern part of Stockholm, discovering many beautiful parks, seeing where the Nobel Prize is awarded annually and finding out the origins of Stockholm syndrome – turns out a bank robbery ended up taking hostages for six years!

Fika in stockholm
Delicious hot chocolate and cake for Fika

After the tour we were ready for a hot drink and a snack so decided to enjoy the Swedish tradition of Fika. Fika is often translated as taking a break out of your day and enjoying a coffee and cake, usually a cinnamon bun. However, it’s a ritual which extends much further than that. It’s about making time for friends and colleagues and enjoying meaningful conversation. This is definitely something I can get on board with so off we went to enjoy some Fika at Chokladkoppen in the old town of Gamla Stan.

Seeing Stockholm from the water

Believe it or not Stockholm is part of an archipelago made up of 30,000 islands! We thought it would be an absolute shame not to see more of it so we booked ourselves onto a boat tour run by Stromma which took us out into the archipelago. The trip was great, we grabbed some seats outside, huddled under some blankets whilst we took in the amazing scenery and listened to stories about the many islands we passed.

We had heard about a great view point to look over Stockholm’s old town and so on returning to dry land we decided to check it out. The Monteliusvägen cliff path, as it’s known, has some amazing views. We were hoping to enjoy a sunset from the cliff but we were a little too early for that. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy the views of lake Mälaren and apparently if you’re lucky you can sometimes see the northern lights from here!

Stockholm views
Stunning views of Stockholm from up high

Rooftop cockails and gluten free pizza!

If you’ve read any of our other Travel Journals you’ll know we love a roof top bar so naturally that was how we relax after a day of exploring. There are many Scandic Hotels in Stockholm (we stayed in one ourselves) and the one next to the station has a bar up top called The Capital. We ordered some cocktails to warm the cockles and settled in to watch the beautiful sunset.

Our final stop for the day was an amazing Italian restaurant which of course, does gluten free pizza. Giro, run by Italians from Napoli is the real deal with honestly the best gluten free pizza I have ever had. I actually had to double check it was gluten free because it was that good!!

sunset in stockholm
The perfect way to enjoy a sunset: from a roof-top bar with a cocktail in hand

Discovering the Old Town

We started day 2 with another walking tour – this time around Gamla Stan, the old town. We explored the narrow, winding streets of Gamla Stan taking in the beautiful autumnal colours set against the backdrop of the pastel coloured buildings. Autumn is truly a beautiful time to explore a new place!

The walking tour finished around lunch time so we stopped for some food in a pretty cool place – the oldest restaurant in the world, Den Gyldene Freden. Established in 1722, the interior still maintains a more authentic feel with dark wooden furniture and candle light creating a beautiful ambience. The food, a typical Swedish fare, is absolutely delicious and served in the most delectable of styles. Definitely worth checking out on your visit to Stockholm!

Exploring the Vasa museum

Fully fed and watered, we took the half hour walk over to the Vasa museum – a museum built around a war ship which sunk on her maiden voyage in 1628. The ship is somewhat fully intact and you can walk around the whole exterior of the ship, whilst also understanding what it would have been like to live aboard the ship. There’s also loads of information about how the ship managed to stay perfectly preserved for the 333 years before it was salvaged. It’s a museum like none I’ve visited before and it’s definitely worth a visit when in Stockholm.

vasa ship
The Vasa ship, preserved within the museum

The Vasa museum is located on the island of Djurgården, home to many of Stockholm’s museums, an amusement park and many beautiful gardens. We decided to spend some more time exploring this beautiful island and took a walk through the Royal Djurgården Park. I think I’ve said it once or twice already but those autumnal colours are just breathtaking!

According to our Fitbits we were nearing 20,000 steps so we thought we’d head back towards the centre of town for a drink and rest our feet for a bit. The sky was looking a lot clearer today so we headed to Tak, another roof top bar and the perfect location to watch a gorgeous sunset.

Ending in style

On our last day in Stockholm we only had a few hours before we needed to head to the airport to catch our flight. We headed back towards Gamla Stan for a walk though the meandering streets of the old town. Our final stop on our Swedish adventure was of course fika at a cozy little cafe. This is definitely a Swedish tradition I can see becoming a firm favourite in my life!

Sweden is truly a spectacular place to visit in the Autumn and Spring. Where have you been in the Autumn or Spring that’s taken your breath away? Let us know in the comments below.

The Rambling Travellers


Read More

A Weekend in Amsterdam

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How to Spend the Perfect 48 Hours in Paris

10 Tips for Travelling Around Europe

Where to go in Europe in Autumn?


 

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