Just 3 days left for my birthday! Well.. I’m usually not the type to do a count down for my birthday! (And besides I am too old for that 😉 But I wanted to celebrate it by going on a trip! Last year (2016), we went on a day trip to Goslar, Germany and had a really nice time. I was checking the Wizzair website and found an awesome deal for Stockholm for the weekend. Oh Wow! I have never been to any of the Scandinavian countries yet. This would be a perfect time, I thought and booked the flight and hotel :)!!
We didn’t have a lot of time in Stockholm but decided to make the best use of it!
We arrived in Stockholm Skavsta Airport which is 1.5 hour bus ride from the city center. The moment we sat in the Airport Shuttle and connected to WiFi, I got a notification saying “Police in Stockholm ask people not to go near city center”. Oh Damn! Yes, I was there when the unfortunate truck attack happened in Stockholm. Surprisingly, none of our plans got disrupted due to this, except that the bus stopped far from the city center and the metro was not running for a few hours.
Gamla Stan and Fotografiska:
First, we walked around Gamla Stan, the famous Pedestrian area, where the Nobel Museum, the Royal Palace are located. It was a pleasant stroll and the old buildings reminded me a little bit of the old town squares in Belgium or Netherlands. After this, we went to Fotografiska, which is one of the renowned photography museums. I was really excited to visit as I had never visited a Photography museum. This museum is open till late in the night like, 11pm or 2am, which is amazing I think.
There were several exhibits by a fashion photographer, photo journalist, scientific photography and another very creative photography by Cooper and Gorfer. I really liked their work ” I know not these my hands” and spent most of my time admiring their work.
After an eventful day, and also a bit sad, reflecting on why there is so much violence etc. we went to bed.
Day 2: Archipelago Cruise, Vasa museum, View point, self guided subway tour.
Stockholm is a city of islands! The city of Stockholm consists of 14 islands and is part of one of the biggest archipelago with more than 13,000 islands in total!
We took a 3 hour cruise (without any stops) around some of the islands. There was a guide who gave useful info. About Stockholm and Sweden’s history, culture etc. Overall, it
was a good experience and I would recommend it. If I had time, I would have done a full day cruise with a few stops on some of the islands but we wanted to fit in a lot of things on this day, so couldn’t do this.
Stockholm in many ways reminded me of Hamburg and Venice. But it has a unique charm to it. After the cruise, we walked to the Vasa museum which is really a must do when you are in Stockholm! Even if you are not a big fan of museums, I would still recommend you to go here as this is a unique museum. Vasa was a 17th Century war ship which was built in Stockholm. This ship sank within 5 minutes of it’s maiden voyage. (Perhaps, the reason why the ship is still there in the museum). The entire ship is completely intact and the story of how they got the ship from the Baltic Sea is amazing. It is the oldest known completely intact ship in the world! It is extremely well preserved.
One can view the ship from 4 floors! The information about the ship and the life in 17th century Stockholm was very interesting for me. There are audio guides, guided tours (20 minutes) in different languages which is a good starting point to know about Vasa. This was one of the best museums I have ever visited! I think we spent a 3.5-4 hours here, including lunch.
Once we were out of the museum, we walked to Monteliusvagen which is a place from where you get really good views of the old part of Stockholm. It was a nice uphill walk, and the view from here is really beautiful. When the sun is out, the Baltic Sea is so blue and lovely.
Stockholm is surrounded by the Baltic Sea and there is water everywhere. The sail boats, the old town and the sea really define the cityscape which is so pretty!
After this, we decided it was time to see the beautiful subways of Stockholm. There is such amazing and colourful artwork in the subways of Stockholm! There are around 9 subway stations we visited and they are all so beautiful! Check my next blog for all photos and description of the subway tour.
Day 3: City Hall, Walking around the Parliament and shopping centre.
In the morning, we took a guided tour of the City Hall which lasts around 45-50 minutes. The Ciy Hall can be visited only via a guided tour. The City Hall hosts the Nobel Dinner in
the Blue Hall (not blue at all!) and after the dinner, the Nobel Laureates dance in the Gold Room (Yes, it has 10 kgs of Gold tiles in this room). There were other rooms and hallways but the Blue room and the Golden Room were the best ones.
The weather was amazing today! The sun was out and the skies were clear. The sea was at it’s best colour. We decided to walk around Stockholm one last time before we took the bus back to the Airport. We walked around the Parliament, the Court Houses, and went to the main shopping areas. It was crowded with tourists and locals, the atmosphere was really nice. But then, suddenly, there were so many police cars and police everywhere and there was a section which was cordoned off and then I realized that we walked past the area where the truck attack happened just a couple of days back. There was a memorial where many people gathered and laid down flowers for the victims. We paid our respect to the victims and hoped that such incidents would not happen and no one has to face such sorrow and grief.
We just about made it to the bus which starts from the central station and said bye to Stockholm! I am sure I will visit again, this time in winter! 🙂
Some Practical Information:
Stockholm is a really expensive city! There are 2 airports in Stockholm. Arlanda Airport is connected via the public transport and closest to the city. Skavsta Airport is used by all the low cost airlines like Wizzair and Ryanair and is 90 km from the city. There is a regular Shuttle service.
We stayed in ParkInn Solna which was really good and I would recommend this hotel. It has good breakfast as well. It is well connected by public transport and not far from the city center.
There are plenty of interesting stay options, like staying on a boat listed on Airbnb etc as well.
The public transport is really good but you have to buy an access card for 20 SEK and charge it.
The currency in Sweden is Swedish Krona. 1 EUR is approx. Equal to 10 SEK.
We spent EUR 350/person for a 2 day, 2 night stay including flight tickets and everything else.
A basic meal (drink, main course, dessert) could easily cost 20-25 EUR per person.