20 Dec 2017

Postcards from Stockholm | Travel Guide

The city that made me sad to leave before I'd even got there. It's been a long time coming that I've wanted to visit Sweden and finally jetted off last month to Stockholm. Naturally, the desirability of the Scandi culture and effortlessly on-point style has played a part, of course, in its lure, but it's also films like The Danish Girl and a whole list of crime thrillers (aka Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) that makes Scandinavian so intriguing and count for my obsession with the place. Safe to say it didn't disappoint on any level...

It's a city to soak up culture (there's copious museums, exhibitions and galleries), or simply a place to act out your alter-ego life as a chic, got-it-together Scandinavian resident (we opted for the latter); there is a piece of the city for all. The spacious streets, grand buildings and architecture makes it a calm but grand place to explore (the contrast against London traffic is jaw-dropping), and what they say is true, the people in Sweden are beautiful. There really must be something in the water. There's definitely no shortage of over-sized coats, designer clothes or the blonde-haired elite there. It's also not a place to go unless you're prepared to forget the value of money and pretend you're not paying just shy of ten pounds for a single glass of wine (yep, it's a pretty expensive place to lavish in)... As you'd expect with a Scandanavian winter, hours of light were scarce and come 3pm it felt like bedtime (especially combined with a 6am flight), so making the most of the sun was what finally got us up in the mornings. Getting over the initial more-than-early start took a lot of concealer and caffeine to get over (read my travel-beauty saviours post here), but it only got better. With only a couple of days to get into the Scandi spirit, these are some of the things we did and places we went that made the trip as good as it was. 

To eat:
Meatballs for the People | The classic Swedish meatballs in the heart of Södermalm; a hip and laid back lunchtime spot to fuel up before shopping around the area. 
Tavern Brillo | We stumbled upon this Italian goldmine. Vibrant, glamorous and delicious food, it's definitely one for an occasion and to turn to when you've overdone it on the meatballs...
Hermans | A vegetarian/vegan buffet on the harbour that could keep anyone happy. Cosy, familiar and does half price student discount (which makes all the difference in Scandanavia...). Vegetarian food options were hard to come by so this is a hidden gem. 
Riche | A frivolous, lively and hip bistro (the equivalent of Chelsea's The Bluebird) that's right for either coffee or cocktails; a people-watching hotspot. It's one to book in advance for food. 

To do: 

Fotograzia | There are a lot of museums and exhibitions to visit in the city, and this one is a photography exhibition that gets you thinking, something different and makes you want to bring out the camera just a little bit more (oh, and the gift shop is amazing from prints to postcards, but you can only pay on card in there). 
Charity shopping in Södermalm | Not only is it the coolest of areas for cafes, a portion of the undeniably strong fashion etiquette in Stockholm finds its way into charity shops along the streets of Södermalm. *cue scrambling for Acne jeans* 
Södermalm | Wandering around the Södermalm district is an activity in itself and the best places to find are the ones you just stumble upon (pottery barns, clothes boutiques, health stores...)

To drink:
The Grand | A sophisticated caffeine-fix to break up walking around the city is a coffee in The Grand (pretending you're a guest). The bathrooms are literally bigger than my entire house. 
Nobis Hotel | Late night cocktails and an old-school ambience, ending with a nightcap in the lounge of the Nobis is the right way to do it. 

To stay:
Story Hotel Riddargatan | If you're not sold by the mosaic sinks alone, the hotel itself ticks pretty much every box you could want from a city break stay. L:A Brucket amenities, quirky room decor (our headboard was an old door turned on its side) and placed just behind the Ostermalm district with most parts of the city just a walk away, it's one of those hotels that you really want to make the most of. Dark mornings and comfy beds made time-off-work lie ins give you that rested feel, and an atmospheric, socialite vibe come evening. 

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