The park in Nytorget Square is a small city oasis at Sodermalm island. The benches all around are packed by young moms with their strollers and older people as well while many bohemians prefer lying on the grass. It’s like all of them have one common purpose: to enjoy the sunshine and live in the present moment. It’s magical to be able to pause for a little while, take a closer look at nature all around and embrace the universe while closing your eyes. It’s magical to be able to empower all your senses and feel how amazing a moment can be, without doing anything in particular. This is the scene I kept close to my soul from my latest summer excursion to my beloved Scandinavian capital, Stockholm.
Let me tell you a few more reasons for which I would go back to Stockholm during the summertime in a blink of an eye:
1) The tiny island of Skeppsholmen is also known as the “cultural island” due to the many museums which are present here. But you soon realise that this is a hotspot for sports activities as well. During lunchtime, you can see many locals running around and exercising in nature. It’s just next to the city centre and has kept its laid back identity, making it the perfect place to recharge.
2) On the same island, a historic building has been converted to the boutique, eco hotel Skeppsholmen (www.hotelskeppsholmen.se) with a lovely terrace for breakfast, lunch or your afternoon drink. Lying on a deck chair with your sunglasses on, you can feel the positive aura stemming from the Scandinavian design and style. Alternatively, you may visit the Contemporary Art Museum (www.modernamuseet.se ). Its courtyard is perfect for a fika break flipping through art and decoration magazines. What is fika break, I hear you asking. Fika is the Swedish concept of having a coffee break often accompanied with pastries and cookies.
3) Abba Museum: at first, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to visit this one as I thought it would be too “touristic” –and indeed the museum’s shop is extensively stocked – but I was impressed. There is a sign before entering which warns you that here “Walk in, dance out” and this is so true! The museum’s exhibits are perfectly conceptualized with various documents and memorabilia from the history of the well-known music group and very interactive as well: you get to film your own video clip (which you can then send out to your fans), you can record your favorite song, you will dance in a mini disco and you can even step your foot on scene with Abba. This is not a joke, I promise! www.abbathemuseum.com
4) I would go back for the boat tours. Honestly, don’t leave the city without getting on that boat. Stockholm is like a puzzle made up of numerous islands and unless you get to see the city from the water, you cannot fully realise its true nature. If there is no time –or money! –to visit and stay at one of the islands spread out in its archipelago, which is, by the way, one of the top things to do during summertime. Alternatively, you can pick one of the many available boat tours which lasts as little as an hour. During my last visit, we went to Fjäderholmarna islands which is just half an hour boat trip. You can walk around the whole island in about 30 minutes, eat at one of the café restaurants and buy some souvenirs from a handful of shops available on site. There is one very interesting shop, which also exhibits how they create glass objects.
5) Haven’t done it yet but would definitely go back to ride a bike or a Segway (a two-wheeled electric vehicle) around the streets of Stockholm. Stockholmers absolutely love their bikes and the city is very bike-friendly.
6) For picnic at the magnificent, green parks of Stockholm. Prepare your picnic while shopping from its open markets which are everywhere and simply irresistible with all the mouth-watering berries. Have I told you how much I love berries? Don’t leave Stockholm without passing by Saluhall; Although it is a covered food market, it’s a great foodie experience you don’t want to miss.
7) Chokladfabriken’s ice-cream and Cupcake Stockholm’s delicious cupcakes are a hit anytime of the year, so why would summer be an exception?
I feel there is a strong connection between caramels and this city, so it’s only fitting to walk into the fairy-tale caramel shop Polkagris (www.gamlastanspolkagriskokeri.se ) at the Old Town or the more vintage one PÄRLANS KONFEKTYR at Sodermalm (https://parlanskonfektyr.se ).
8) There is always a new neighbourhood to discover or re-discover. This time I enjoyed so much walking around the aristocratic Ostermalm while discovering cute little and tourist-free corners: like Broms which is a bistro-bakery-delicatessen (http://bromskarlaplan.se ) or the Cafe Foam where I sat and had a delicious latte all by myself (www.cafefoam.com ).
9) Find the tiny square outside the bistro-bakery-wine bar “Under Kastanjen” in Gamla Stan (the Old Town), sit on the benches under the huge chestnut tree and relax. This square makes me happy every single time. (Kindstugatan 1, Gamla Stan)
10) Lastly, I would go back instantly just to sunbathe in the parks while the sun is out and enjoy life.
Have you visited Stockholm in summer already? What are your favourite things to do in the city?