Cobbled streets, ochre coloured buildings, historic bridges and a waterside setting are some of our favourite features of Sweden’s friendly, walkable capital. Add twinkling lights at dusk and a thriving café, restaurant and market culture, and Stockholm makes for a memorable winter escape.
Known for its classic design credentials as well as its laid-back nightlife, this is a city that thrives on elegant understatement while keeping its finger on the pulse. Connection to nature is paramount: if you visit in the run-up to the festive season, you’ll find street decorations that celebrate the natural world: foraged greenery, organic shapes and simple candlelight create a pared-back but magical atmosphere.
Head to Djurgården, an island in central Stockholm, where amid its famed parks and gardens, you’ll find the world’s oldest open-air museum, Skansen (skansen.se), a fascinating insight into the traditions, culture, architecture and everyday life of Swedes through the ages. Nearby, Rosendals Garden (rosendalstradgard.se) offers more opportunity to reconnect to nature, with its extensive gardens – often snow-covered during the winter months – artisanal bakery and greenhouse café.
The pedestrian-friendly Old Town, Gamla Stan, and the adjacent island of Riddarholmen are full of restaurants, cafés, bars, historic architecture and places to shop. Characterised by its narrow winding streets and buildings in shades of mellow gold, the area also houses The Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral.
The city’s contemporary side is equally fascinating: we love photography museum Fotografiska (fotografiska.com) which hosts exhibitions from the world’s most famous photographers, including documentarians and staged photographic artists. With a cool vibe, plenty of airy, exposed brick spaces, a restaurant and a late-night top floor bar with DJ, it’s a vibrant weekend hangout. Another must-have is the city’s Dansmuseet (dansmuseet.se), dedicated to dance, theatre and art.
Of course, no trip to this city is complete without browsing design classics from its renowned makers. Some of our favourites include the Svenskt Tenn store (svenskttenn.se), with its array of lighting, textiles, furniture and wallpaper, while Carl Malmsten (malmsten.se) showcases contemporary pieces in addition to the eponymous designer’s classically crafted pieces.