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Fun things to do in Stockholm—where to go for the most delicious food & dreamy cocktails, plus the prettiest hotel in the city

There's something about waterways in Stockholm that have a calming effect; the reflections, the glimmer of sun on shimmering ripples and the way the light changes so beautifully throughout the day. 

icy river running through stockholm city centre
The icy waters of Stockholm 

The city is made up of 14 islands connected by bridges, so it came as no surprise that Stockholm is one of those places that installs a feeling of tranquility throughout your whole sense of being as soon as you arrive. It's a place that once you come away from, leaves you feeling serene and rested, and I think it's for the most part, because of these numerous waterways that surround and cut through the colourful place.

green doorway in stockholm city centre
Stockholm streets 

The people are friendly too, in that satisfied, content kind of way. And why wouldn't you be when you live in a place with some of best coffee shops in Europe, surrounded by the prettiest buildings and hip hotels. There's so many fun things to do in Stockholm and it's the perfect size to explore over a weekend. Yes, it is as pricey as people like to tell you, but if you can't spend a bit of money exploring a new country, what can you do?!

What fun things can you do in Stockholm?

I stayed at Hotel Birger Jarl in the Vasastan area of town, the hotel itself is modern with bright rooms and a great breakfast that includes everything you could think of, from pancakes and waffles to cheese and cured meats. There's also a chilled bar in the hotel’s lobby which knocks up a pretty good G&T. If I were to return to Stockholm however, I would book a stay at the Haymarket by Scandic on Hotorget Square. I noticed it one day while exploring and the outside facade wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson movie. Once inside the interiors are all dusky pink, geometric tiling, plush furnishings, leafy plants and monochrome accessories. The art-deco 1920's aesthetic of the place is so pleasing on the eye you could easily lose an hour just taking photos of the glam interiors.

marble stairs and pink drawers inside the haymarket by scandic hotel in stockholm
Dreamy interiors of Stockholm's Haymarket by Scandic

Being in such a pretty city, wandering the cobbled streets is enough to keep anyone interested for a couple of days at least but there are so many other fun things to do in Stockholm. Hip area Södermalm is the place to go for vintage shopping and pop-up flea markets as well as cool coffee shop hangouts. This area is also home to Fotografiska; a gallery showing contemporary Swedish photography and interesting ever-changing exhibitions.

Where to get the best coffee in Stockholm

Johan & Nystrom is an absolute must, the coffee is beautiful and add into the mix their cinamon and cardamom buns and you'll be in heaven. Swedes adore their coffee and always take a sweet pastry with it, the sophisticated Scandi aesthetic of the coffee shops in Stockholm will make you want to check them all out before you leave.

Cinnamon & cardamom buns & coffee at Stockholm's Johan & Nystrom
Cinnamon & cardamom buns & coffee at Johan & Nystrom

Where to find the best meatballs in Stockholm

Operabaren, next to Cafe Opera is great for lunch, the opulent surroundings make it feel like you've stepped into a film set complete with ornate stained glass ceiling, patterned carpet and eclectic crowd. The meatballs are deliciously moresish, served with lingonberries, pickled cucumber, creamed potatoes and cream sauce. Swedish classics such as pickled herring, lightly salted salmon and 'Isterband' sausage also feature on the menu.

Meatballs with lingonberries at Operabaren, Stockholm
Meatballs with lingonberries at Operabaren

Where to book the best dinner in Stockholm

Local spot Rolfs Kok serves seasonal and simple, yet delicious meals. For dinner the red wine braised ox cheeks with swedish truffle and potato puree is highly recommended. This is also the place to come for good wine, staff are extremely knowledgeable and they have a well-stocked cellar of over 450 different wines.

Where to try the most incredible cocktails in Stockholm

Svartengrens is my favourite place to go for cocktails, the award winning cocktail bar is cute and cosy with interesting concoctions. The menu is small but features blends totally different to anything you may have tried before, their homemade syrups are expertly mixed to ensure everything you sip is a true one off. Svartengens is also a restaurant with a focus on good meat and locally sourced vegetables, they make everything from scratch and the menu changes daily so definitely one to check out when you're in town.

Cocktails at Svartengrens
Cocktails at Svartengrens

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