City Spotlight: Stockholm (Sweden)

26 Apr

Stockholm is somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a while. I admit, my interest with Sweden originally started due to my love of Swedish cider. However, after visiting Copenhagen last year, I was utterly charmed by Northern Europe, and after my trip to Stockholm I continue to be so.

First tip: don’t go to Stockholm between October – March. My friend went in January and it seemed from her tales to be too cold to actually do a lot. I went for a long weekend in April and the weather was lovely – so much so I even managed to get a hint of sunburn (I know, in a Scandinavian country, what the hell).

So, if you’re planning a trip to Stockholm then have a read of what I got up to. If you think I missed anything then comment below and fill me in. I admit, the hostel I stayed in (City Lodge, Stockholm) fucked up my plans a bit by letting a guy into my room who proceeded to rob me of my spending money and camera. They told me when I reported him that they only had his first name and he’d wandered off the street with no pre-arranged booking. If you want a secure hostel, don’t choose City Lodge. That’s my first piece of advice. Then again, I’m sure most readers are a little better off than me…

EAT: I always do a bit of research before I go travelling to find the best burger in the city I’m visiting (blog research mainly) and it seemed that Flippin Burgers in the Northern part of Stockholm won hands down. So, I tried it out.

It’s not a secret that these burgers are good – in fact, none of the waitresses were Swedish and there was a queue out the door. So if you’re expecting a hipster-y underground burger joint then this isn’t for you.

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Flippin Burger is as close as you can get in Stockholm to the London burger scene. Brioche bun, not many options and very, very good. And, in true Scandinavian style, rather expensive. Be prepared to pay around 270KR (over £25) for a drink, burger and small portion of fries. However, that’s standard for Stockholm and the burgers are gooood.

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I went for the veggie burger, made from Cassava flour, kidney beans and chipotle chillis. I got it with cream cheese and pickled jalapeños and pickled red onions, and it was topped it off with caramelized onions. The burger was nice but served a little bit overcooked. The brioche bun was perfect. Squishy but firm and held the burger together perfectly. Just the right size, lovely texture and the patty held together well too.

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The fries were actually VERY good. I’m always really let down by the fries on offer in burger joints, but these ones were actually very good. I think they were triple cooked, but whatever they were they were better than most fries you get. Worth a shot.

All in all I’d definitely recommend Flippin Burger. It’s doing what the best London burger joints are doing, and just as well too. Really quick, nice servers, great choice of craft ale and ciders (milkshakes too, they looked good although I didn’t have one) and great burgers. Give Flippin Burger a try.

SEE: Ok, so I managed to cram a LOT into 2.5 days, so I’m going to give a brief, but hopefully insightful, summary of each of the things I got up to.

Vasa Museum: The Vasa Museum is amazing (‘Vasa’ being the name of a shipwrecked boat). Basically, in the 1620s the Swedish King hired two guys to build a ship. Not a regular ship – a double-decker ship. They’d never build a double-decker ship before so they had a stab and basically they fucked up. Because, on its maiden voyage, the ship sank after only 20 minutes afloat. It took 20 minutes to sink and lay underwater for over 300 years. However, when it was brought above water it was in wonderful condition and you can now go and see a shipwrecked war ship from the 1600s in all its glory. It’s quite a sight to behold and the guided tour the museum offers is great too. They have history of ship building, films about how the boat was restored and loads of information about what life on board would have been like. WELL worth a visit.

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Nobel Museum: We all know about the Nobel Prize, but do you have any idea who Alfred Nobel was, how the prize came about and how the winners are selected? Well I do and it’s really interesting. The museum offers a guided tour and it’s fascinating. Alfred Nobel made a lot of money off the invention of dynamite (he was actually making nitro-glycerine safer) and when he died he asked that the Nobel Foundation be created and the prizes given out. Absolutely visit the Nobel Museum. You can also learn about some of the winners and how they’re picked.

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Old Town (Gamla Stan): The Nobel Museum is in Gamla Stan – the Old Town in Stockholm. It’s narrow and cobbled streets date back to the 1300’s and I spent hours wandering around. There are parts which are very touristy but other, beautiful areas, which have lovely buildings and cute cafes. The pub below is beautiful and does really nice sweet cider. You can overlook both the water and the cobbled streets – it’s a great place.

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Sodermalm/SoFo: Sofo is the trendy area of Stockholm where the workers used to live but it’s since become gentrified and it’s pretty much Sotckholm’s equivalent to Soho. There’s a Thai themed bar there which is worth a visit. The food is really good and the inside is awesome – fairy lights, toy tigers (two of my favourite things). There are a lot of other places in the area which are a little more off the beaten track and I’d say it’s worth taking a few hours to stroll around Sofo and Sodermalm (the island Sofo is on).

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View from the Globe: I basically did the equivalent of the London Eye. The Globe is the big entertainment centre in Stockholm and you can ride to the top and get great shots of Stockholm. It’s actually not too expensive – about £13 – and the whole thing takes around 15 minutes. It’s a nice family thing to do, but I felt it was a little too far out of the city to really get some good sights in view.

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Canal Tour: There are two main boat tours you can do. The under the bridges tour or the Royal Canal tour. I did the Royal tour because I’d actually explored and walked over a hell of a lot of bridges and the Royal Tour takes you through Stockholm’s biggest park and around the harbour which was nice. The tour was good however if you happen to be on the wrong side of the boat you point-blank can’t see half of the stuff that’s being described. Do what I did and try to get to the outside of the boat so you can see everything.

Below are some choice shots of Stockholm, just to showcase the best of the rest!

IMG_3369Beautiful blossom in Kungstradgarden (park).

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Beautiful bridges on the walk to and from City Hall.

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IMG_3572Moose and Koppaberg. Obviously.

LISTEN/LOVE: No Listen or Love this time around folks. There’s an Abba museum in Stockholm and I got my stuff stolen by a guy in my dorm room. So music and hooking up weren’t top of my agenda in Stockholm.

However, I will pass on a few tips for the single, female travellers. Remember these – they sound simple enough but you’d be amazed how much you forget when travelling alone.

1. Take copies of your passport, just in case. If staying in a dorm room, or a hotel, lock everything valuable in a safe.

2. Make sure you know where in the city your country’s embassy is.

3. Wifi is your friend. Just because you’re in a restaurant or bar and there’s no open Wifi, doesn’t mean there isn’t actually Wifi. Always ask. If you’re on your own and you’re female they bloody love helping you out.

4. Stay near people. Even in daylight hours I got followed and nearly mugged before. Luckily I knew a park full of families close by and my I got away from the guy. Always be aware. Don’t pull your money and passport out on the street. Just be sensible.
5. Always look for somewhere central to stay with good reviews from single travellers. Duh.

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