The Swedish capital is a fascinating mix of old-world charm and stylish modernity.
The first thing to consider before venturing to the Swedish capital is the time of year. Swedes will tell you they have two personalities – the light, bright, fun-loving one they display during the Summer months, and the darker, gloomier, less fun outlook they stay at home with during the Winter months.
Men’s Style visited Stockholm in pre-Christmas Winter and funnily enough, met none of these misanthropic Swedes. Instead, Stockholmers were chatty, social and apparently all ridiculously good-looking. Having said that, the sun didn’t come up until about 9.30am and disappeared again about 3pm – that’d get to you after a while.
Whatever season you visit in, Stockholm appeals on many levels, mixing old-world culture and tradition with a modern, affluent yet egalitarian society. It’s also drop-dead stylish, from the oversupply of cool interior design and decoration stores to the jaw-droppingly well appointed department stores and specialty stores. Add in some superb cultural attractions and small neighbourhoods full of Swede-centric delis, vintage clothing stores and cafes, and Stockholm is an eminently traveller-friendly destination. On our brief visit, Men’s Style’s pick of things to do…
OLD TOWN: Old buildings, cobblestoned streets, town squares, the Palace, the Parliament – yep, Stockholm Old Town is not dissimilar to the ‘old towns’ in other any self-respecting European or Scandinavian capitals. That doesn’t stop it from being a must-visit spot. Go late in the afternoon to walk around the original city centre, settled in the 13th Century but comprised mostly of 17th and 18th Century houses, then drop into a bar for pre-dinner drinks before a meal at one of the many restaurants in the precinct.
HAMNGATAN: Stockholm’s retail heart is to be found here and the surrounding streets, including the flagship store of Sweden’s international household fashion name, H&M, as well as the luxury department store NK. For standalone stores by luxury names as well as chic Swedish brands, stroll up Biblioteskgatan. A couple of Swedish brands in this area to check out include Acne Studio (Norrmalmstorg 2) and for denim, the Weekday concept store for Cheap Monday (Olofsgatan 1).
SODERMALM: Think the Stockholm equivalent of Fitzroy, Newtown or West End. The Sodermalm neighbourhood is where a lot of the city’s creatives live and work, catered to by a hip collection of shops, cafes, and restaurants. We particularly enjoyed: Herr Judit (Hornsgatan 65), vintage menswear store with coats, jackets, jeans, shirts, shoes, accessories and more on the pricey side but in impeccable condition; Nitty Gritty (Krukmakargatan 26; nittygrittystore.com), a simple, elegant store of beautifully curated pieces from multiple to-die-for brands, as well as a grooming/barber station; and Papercut (papercutshop.se; Krukmakargatan 24), a one-stop store for art books and every international fashion mag worth its salt.
CULTURE: Swedes are big on cultural institutions celebrating both their national identity and their world citizen credentials. Naturally enough, many of the biggest and best are in Stockholm. Try Museum of Modern Art (Skeppsholmen; modernamuseet.se) for both contemporary and retrospective exhibitions of international artists, as well as the restaurant with wonderful views over Stockholm; the Vasa Museum (Galärvarvsvägen 14; vasamuseet.se), housing the almost full preserved immense 17th century warship Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in Stockholm in 1628 and wasn’t salvaged until 1961 – it’s truly a sight; Fotografiska (Stadsgårdshamnen 22; fotografiska.eu), an independent museum celebrating the best in the world of photography, both Swedish and international, in a tremendous multi-story port-side location. A drink at the museum’s top-floor bar is well worth it.
EATS: Swedes love fish, in particular herring. The crowds at B.A.R. (Blasieholmsgatan 4a; restaurangbar.se) betray it as one of the best central Stockholm seafood restaurants – choose your type of fish, your cut and how you’d like it cooked and soon it arrives with delectable sides. For a very traditional Swedish cuisine experience, including herring 20 different ways and meatballs, head a little out of the city centre to Ulriksdals Wardhus (Ulriksdals Slottspark, Solna; ulriksdalswardshus.se) for the famous smorgasboard.
STAY: In the centre of town adjacent to Hamngatan, Nobis Hotel (Norsmalmstorg 2-4; nobishotel.se) offers a boutique vibe in a renovated late 19th Century building., The rooms are cosy yet modern and equipped with everything ‘connected’ traveller could need, while there’s also an Italian restaurant, evening bar and smaller bistro on the premises. The location is unbeatable.
For more www.visitsweden.com