This time last year my other half and I spent a few days staying with friends in Stockholm. Despite the bitter temperatures, it was a beautiful time to visit – the air was crisp and clear, and the early sunsets meant the city was often swathed in a luminous rosy light.
Stockholm is spread over several islands, so it’s perfect for exploring on foot or by ferry. Wrapped up in thick layers, we spent hours hopping from shore to shore, stumbling across wonderful watery views wherever we went.
Perhaps most striking was Gamla Stan, the historic heart of the city. After getting pleasantly lost in its tangle of medieval alleys, we warmed up with bowls of lip-smackingly good hot chocolate at Kaffekoppen, set in one of the multi-coloured houses lining the main square, Stortorget.
We were also wowed by Djurgården, a leafy island where many of Sweden’s top museums are located. We couldn’t resist a peek inside the fantastically cheesy ABBA Museum (karaoke heaven!) and the rambling Gothic spires of Nordiska Museet (the Nordic Museum), but our favourite was Vasamuseet, which houses the ghostly hulk of the Vasa warship. The best-preserved example of its kind in the world, it sank in Stockholm harbour in 1628 and lay beneath the waves for centuries, before being returned to the surface in 1958.
Our final day was spent ambling around the trendy neighbourhood of Södermalm, home to great boutiques and funky vintage elevators like the one below (sadly no longer in operation). It’s also the setting for Fotografiska, a world-renowned photography museum in a converted warehouse. The exhibitions feature many famous names (including Robert Frank when we visited), and the top-floor café-bar has walls of windows gazing out over the Baltic. We lazed there for hours, watching the sky turn pink over steaming mugs of coffee and hot cinnamon buns – not a bad way to end our trip!
We’re off to Stockholm again this summer, and I can’t wait to see a different side of the city. If you have any tips on exploring in warmer weather, please post a comment below!
All photography by Abi Dare