Where to shop, eat, stay and sightsee in the spectacular Swedish capital
With temperatures falling as low as -13°C degrees, only the bravest tourists make it to Stockholm in winter. Those that do, however, are rewarded with hundreds of museums and galleries, a creative culinary scene and a cockle-warming café culture. Set across 14 picturesque islands, this diverse city has all interests covered; high end fashion in Ostermalm, cobbled streets and cafés in the Old Town and bohemian bars in Sodermalm’s trendy Sofo area.
Shopping and style Sweden is famous for its practical, stylish design ethic, so it’s no surprise that Stockholm is a treasure trove for fashion fans. The city is awash with pop-up shops, vintage stores and high-end boutiques. Norrmalm has fantastic department stores: NK (Hamngatan 18, +46 8 762 83 65) is the Harrods of Stockholm and dates back to 1902. It offers a mass of Swedish brands and sells everything from hosiery to homewares. Meanwhile, the misleadingly named PUB (Hötorget Stockholm, +46 8 789 19 30) is a good choice for eclectic fashion and vintage items.
For a true vintage experience, head south to Sodermalm, where the streets are lined with independent shops selling unusual jewellery, fashion and all manner of trinkets. Don’t miss Grandpa (Södermannagatan 21, +46 8 643 60 80), where you can listen to local DJs while you shop. Vintage boutique Lisa Larsson (Bondegatan, +46 8 643 61 53) specialises in select pieces from the ’30s to the ’70s. And if the muted Swedish palette leaves you craving colour, head to Odd Molly (Kornhamnstorg 6, +46 8 30 36 28) where bright hues and floral patterns provide a playful twist. Eating out Stockholm is fast becoming one of Europe’s hottest culinary capitals, with an ever-growing stable of Michelin-recognised venues and innovative, home-grown chefs. The latest talked-about opening is Taverna Brillo (Sturegatan 6, +46 8 519 77 800), a lively deli and restaurant that serves inventive Italian fare.
Another restaurant grabbing the headlines is Gastrologik (Artillerigatan 14, +46 8 662 30 60); a fine-dining restaurant with a frustratingly lengthy waiting list. Proprietors Anton Bjuhr and Jacob Holmstrom build their ever-changing menus around the finest available ingredients. Their new bookings-free restaurant, Speceriet, is next door and offers a less formal (and more affordable) opportunity to experience their cooking.
Alternatively, head to one of the city’s food halls to sample local produce and street food. Ostermalm’s Saluhall was established more than 130 years ago and is the city’s oldest food hall, offering delicacies such as reindeer and moose, but arrive early – the crowds are often shoulder-to-shoulder come midday.
Galleries and museums If culture is high on your agenda, invest in a Stockholm Card, which grants free entry to 80 museums and attractions around the city.
Djurgarden is home to more than 20 of Stockholm’s best museums and attractions. If you only visit one museum, make it Vasa Museum (Galärvarvsvägen 14, + 46 851 95 48 00), dedicated to a Swedish war ship that sank in Stockholm on its maiden voyage in 1628, and was salvaged 333 years later. After a painstaking restoration project lasting almost half a century, the 69-metre-long beast has been returned to its former glory.
Also on the island is Skansen (Djurgårdsslätten 49-51,+46 8 442 80 00), the world’s first open-air museum, which allows visitors a chance to explore historic Sweden in miniature. Wander around the tiny town and you’ll stumble across glass-blowers, pottery shops and even an 18th-century wooden church.
The island of Skeppsholmen – lovingly referred to as ‘museum island’ by locals – feels like a peaceful retreat from the city and has great views across the water. The Museum of Modern Art (Exercisplan 21, +46 851 95 52 00) has an impressive collection of Swedish art, plus pieces by the likes of Picasso and Dali.
Stay As well as museums, Skeppsholmen is also home to a fashionable eco hotel, ideal for those looking to appreciate Swedish hospitality and design away from the crowds. Located in the old Naval offices, the minimalist rooms and candlelit communal areas at Hotel Skeppsholmen (Gröna gången 1, +46 8 407 23 00) feel decidedly boutique. Rates start at Dhs850 a night, representing great value in what can be an expensive city.
Need to know
Getting there Emirates flies to Stockholm via either Vienna or Copenhagen, with return flights from about Dhs5,830 including tax. www.emirates.com.
Dubai to Stockholm
Flight time: Approximately eight hours, excluding stopovers. Time difference: Three hours behind Dubai. Dhs1= 1.75 Swedish krona.