In other articles on Länder und Leute about Sweden you can learn a lot about Stockholm. Blue skies, enjoying warm evenings with a glass of wine by the water, strolling through the different districts of the town and enjoying the sun. In summer Stockholm is a dream come true. But what can you do if the weather doesn’t play along?
Especially in the dark season and in the change from winter to spring, the weather can often turn out to be treacherous. Rainy days and dense clouds make it difficult to discover the town’s beautiful nature. My name is Vanessa Freytag and I experienced Stockholm from a slightly different, less sunny side.
My friends and I unfortunately weren’t lucky enough to experience Sweden in sunshine during our weekend trip. For the two days of our visit it was rainy, cold and the sky was covered with a dreary grey blanket of clouds. But that didn’t stop us from exploring the town. We just had to change our plans a little. The long walks through town and the standard sightseeing routes were interrupted by many coffee stops and a visit to the Fotografiska, the museum for contemporary photography.
The Fotografiska is located in the quarter Södermalm, the hipster quarter of Stockholm. Here you can find countless small shops, cool bars, cafés and restaurants all next to each other. If the weather is bad, you can also visit one of the other museums on the island. Apart from the Fotografiska, these are the Dansmuseet for dance and movement and the Judiska museet i Stockholm (Jewish Museum). While we were in Stockholm, the Fotografiska hosted an exhibition worth seeing by Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjörk, who displayed impressive photographs of his life.
Right next to the Fotografiska is my favourite café of the weekend: Hermans Trädgârdscafé. The restaurant was originally founded and named after Herman Ottosson, who made vegetarian cuisine popular in Stockholm in the early 90s. As you would expect in hip Södermalm, the restaurant is decorated and furnished very cosily, making you feel straight at home. As in many Swedish restaurants, dinner is served in the form of a buffet, so you can try the many different dishes individually. From the tables in the conservatory you have a wonderful view of Södermalm and the canal. After our visit to the Fotografiska we wanted to warm up in a cosy and relaxed little place. The choice of hot drinks and traditional Swedish pastries was immense. From filter coffee to Cold Brews to Golden Milk there was something for each and every one of us.
Stroll through the alleys of Södermalm afterwards, to discover great view points and beautiful shop windows at every turn.
Another highlight was the Café Sturekatten in the Östermalm quarter, known for its cosy vintage atmosphere. Stockholm is generally regarded as a very stylish and young town, which continuously brings forward trends in interior design through its plain Scandinavian style. The Sturekatten forms a very strong contrast to this. A small courtyard leads to the very narrow house. Over several floors you can explore small snug rooms where you can enjoy a coffee and the obligatory cinnamon bun (“Kanelbullar”). Candles and dimmed lights create a very cosy atmosphere, so that you can sit back and relax after a rainy morning in the streets of Östermalm.
My tip: Instead of a cinnamon bun, why not try a “Kardemummabullar”, the Swedish cardamom bun. The pastry tastes of sugar and cinnamon, but also has a slightly spicy note.
You should plan enough time to explore the numerous shops at the “Östermalms saluhall” at Östermalmstorg, one of three market halls in Stockholm. The building from 1888 alone is an eye-catcher. Red brick and an impressive entrance characterise the façade. In addition to fruit, vegetables, various types of meat and cheese, you will also find a large selection of fresh and smoked fish. From typical Swedish specialities to unusual foreign delicacies, you can fulfil every food related wish here. If you can’t wait to dig into some of the specialities on offer, you can eat them directly in the market hall at one of the tables.
On the way back to the main station, you should also stop at Slöjdgatan to pick up some sweet souvenirs from Caramella. In this small shop wedged between big clothing brands you will find everything you sweet tooth can possibly desire. I can particularly recommend the numerous sorts of liquorice for which Scandinavia is known. Unlike here in Germany, the liquorice has a very strong and spicy taste. This is an excellent contrast to the sweets, chocolate beans and wine gums of any shape and size that you can find in the shop otherwise.
Before we headed back to Germany the next morning, we made a last stop on the corner of the Slöjdgatan. We had our final dinner of the trip in a restaurant of the chain Tacobar. You may ask yourself: Why tacos and not Köttbullar or another typical Swedish dish? Quite simply: Mexican tacos are among the favourite food of the Swedes. Taco-Friday (“Taco-Fredag”) has established itself in many households and can also be found on the shelves in supermarkets. That’s why we wanted to try out the taco culture in Stockholm and decided against the classic Köttbullar.
There is self-service in Tacobar. You can place your order at the counter, which will then be served to you at the table. The menu offers the choice between soft tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, salads and much more. The fillings are mostly quite unusual and taste incredibly delicious. For a fast food restaurant I can highly recommend it!
Despite the bad weather I adored Stockholm! A short window shopping tour at Gamla Stan or in Östermalm are enough to make you fall in love with the town. Although it is the capital of Sweden you don’t get the feeling of a major city. The many small and hip shops and cafés that can be found next to big chains, stylish department stores and bars have a decelerating effect on the whole cityscape. I would love to visit Stockholm again in the sunshine, so I can explore the different green oases of the town in full splendour. If you have any insider tips and know of small cosy corners in town, let me know in the comments!