SUNNY STOCKHOLMJune 10, 2014
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden is a Utopian city that epitomises Scandinavia, where living standards are considered to be some of the highest in the world. It's an efficient, clean city that seems comparatively calmer and more spacious than many other European cities. Stockholm's air of sophistication is reflected by its polite and smartly dressed people. There's a lot to love about this city.
Stockholm sprawls out across fourteen little islands, all interconnected by bridges. Clean open water surrounds the whole city so you are never far from a great sea view. There's an abundance of parks and green space within the city which aids its air quality. This goes for the whole of the country; when flying over Sweden you will notice that a lot of it is verdant with trees.
I was incredibly lucky with the fact that there was glorious sunshine and clear blue skies throughout my whole visit, in fact it was apparently the nicest weather that the city had experienced so far this year. Stockholm shines vibrantly in the sunshine and it's equally as picture perfect in the winter when it is covered in snow.
One of the most popular things to do in Stockholm is to hop on a boat tour to get a view of the city from the water. There's an abundance of boat tours to choose from; a popular voyage that many people take is the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki.
Statues of the author, artist and musician Evert Taube are scattered across the city as he is a significant figure in Swedish history. This statue of Taube is located just across the water from Stockholm City Hall.
Juts a heads up; Sweden, like all of the Scandinavian countries is considerably more expensive than most other European countries. For example, I reluctantly forked out the equivalent of £5 for a bottled soft drink in a cafe which is at least double the price of what you would typically pay in the UK. If you are planning on exploring Scandinavia, bear in mind that Norway is yet more expensive than Sweden, it's in fact the most expensive country in Scandinavia. Don't let this put you off visiting but it's something to bear in mind when budgeting for your trip.
Meatballs or 'köttbullar' as they are known in Swedish, is the most notable dish within Swedish cuisine. This ultimate Swedish dish is typically served with a creamy gravy, boiled potatoes, picked cucumber and lingonberry jam. If you are visiting Sweden, this is THE dish to try - I loved it!
The Semla Bun is another famous Swedish food. It's a cardamom spiced wheat bun filled with milk, almond paste and whipped cream and is sometimes served in a pool of hot milk. They are readily available during Christmastime and Shrove Tuesday, otherwise you might have to look around a bit to track one of these babies down but it's totally worth the search, they are delightful.
Choklad bollar or chocolate balls as you would call them in English, is another of Sweden's popular confectioneries. They are made with oatmeal, coca and butter, and are coated in shredded coconut and are readily available all over Sweden. If you’ve a sweet tooth like me, I highly recommend giving them a try - I couldn't get enough of them.
Kex chocolate bars are also worth a mention as they are my favourite Scandi-candy. They are available in a variety of flavours across the whole of Scandinavia - I wish they had them in the UK too.
When it comes to something a bit stronger, I recommend giving Xante a try. It's a premium sweet and syrupy cognac made from Belgian pears aged in oak and exported from Sweden. The clever maturation process of this unique liquor means that it is not necessary to add any sugar, unlike a lot of other liquors; all of its delicious sweetness is derived from the pears used to make it. This caramel coloured cognac goes particularly well with lemonade and a dash of freshly squeezed lime.
Västerbron, or the western bridge as it is also known, is one of Stockholm's major bridges. It has accumulated a collection of 'love locks', similar to the 'love lock' bridge in Paris. Across the other side of the western bridge are some of the best panoramic views of Stockholm city.
Gondolen bar and restaurant is another great place to go to get a great view of the city. It's located on Stadsgarden, at the top of the Katarina lift and offers a panoramic view across the city. Gondolen is the perfect place to go to watch the sunset over a drink.