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Stockholm i mitt hjärta!

Ever since my first visit in 2015 I have a weak spot for the Swedish capital and many visits later that love is still growing strong. Strolling along the waterfront, visiting museums (tip: Vasa), shopping, have fika, take a boat tour or even take a dip in the water or go skating on the frozen lake, Stockholm has it all! The different districts Gamla Stan (the old town), Norrmalm, Östermalm, Södermalm, Djurgarden and Kungsholmen have very few secrets for me.

Stockholm is a city of contrasts. It is not just a trendy, leading place, the city also has a rich history. It is a cosmopolitan city and still has a very relaxed atmosphere. It is the city where fresh water (Mälaren) meets salt (Baltic Sea).

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to find all the blog posts about Stockholm.

Stockholm facts

Stockholm consists of 14 islands that are connected by 57 bridges. The city is very green. One third of the city is water, another third is green and another third of the area are buildings. In Stockholm you never have to take more than 300 steps to be surrounded by nature!

Strandvägen - Stockholm

One side of Stockholm is Lake Mälaren, the third largest lake in Sweden. On the opposite side you have the Baltic Sea with some 24,000 islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago. Other sources speak of 30,000 islands – I have no ambition to recount them ;-)

Stockholm city is home to approximately 850,000 people. In Greater Stockholm there are 2.4 million inhabitants. One fourth of the Swedish population lives in the capital.

History of Stockholm

In 1252 Stockholm shows up in literature for the first time. The city was probably founded by Birger Jarl. Stockholm’s name is a composition of ‘stock’ (piece of wood) and “holm” (island). Birger Jarl would have thrown a piece of wood in the water to see where it would wash up and what the best place would be to build a settlement.

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Does it snow in Stockholm?

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Does it snow in Stockholm in winter? A question that has no simple answer. Let me put the question differently: does it snow in England in winter? Sometimes yes, sometimes not – I hear you. Well, that’s the way it is in Stockholm. Stockholm is of course a lot more north and the average temperature in the winter months is usually lower than in most of the UK. The lower temperature also increases the chance of snow.

ice skating Vasastaden

Does it snow in Stockholm? Yes, but not always

Yes, it snows in Stockholm in winter, but not always. If you want to be sure to have a winter wonderland covered in snow, it is best to go a lot further north. Snow can fall in Stockholm from the end of October and I also had snow in Stockholm at the end of March / early April. Whether the snow will remain depends on the weather conditions. On this site you can check the weather forecast for Stockholm.

Pebbles

Just like here, it can get quite chaotic in Stockholm (/Sweden) when it has snowed. They do not sprinkle salt when it has frozen but use pebbles. Quite annoying if the small stones get stuck between the grooves of your shoes – but more environmentally friendly. After the last ice night, all pebbles are wiped up again.

Stockholm in winter

Slask

Snow in Stockholm is melting quite quickly. It then becomes a big slush, also called ‘slask’. That’s the reason you won’t make it with your sneakers. In the winter months I always bring waterproof shoes, preferably with an anti-slip sole and lined with wool. In my shoes I put a special sole that reflects the heat. Because even if it doesn’t snow, it can be damn cold. I also use those soles at home – I just don’t like cold feet.

Slask

“Vinterunderhållas ej”

In Sweden you will regularly see a sign with “Vinterunderhållas ej” on it during winter. This means that that road (sometimes a staircase or a slope) is not cleared of snow, ice, … during the winter. If you see such a sign, be extra careful. Ditto for the sign: “Svag is” at the edge of a pond, for example, which literally translates as “Weak ice”.

Riksdag in snow

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Does it snow in Stockholm?

My first time in Stockholm – citytrip

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In March 2015 I traveled to Stockholm for the first time. Sweden had been at the top of my wish list for some time, but it just didn’t happen. Life happened. It was ABBA – The Museum that gave me that last push. Although in the end it would take almost another 2 years before I set foot in Stockholm.

It wasn’t love at first sight. Absolutely not. That first day I was even a little disappointed. I was walking around Norrmalm and it was not the way I had imagined it. On second day, it happened. I walked along Strandvägen and suddenly felt completely relaxed. Just what I needed! The love would only grow during the following days (and years).

Wondering what was the first picture I took in Stockholm? It’s this one, with a view of Gamla Stan and Riddarholmen.

I hadn’t prepared anything in advance. I had booked my overnight stays at Motel L and I knew that I wanted to visit the Vasa Museum and ABBA – The Museum. Apart from that, I just let myself be surprised by the city. It was sunny every day. The last day it even snowed and I got to discover Stockholm under a white layer of snow.

And may I also talk about Swedish for a moment? I fell in love instantly! When I got home it didn’t take long before I downloaded a language app and started learning.

Below you will find tips and links for a successful first time visit to Stockholm:

What I would have liked to know in advance

  • The easiest way to get from the airport to the city center. In the airport it was clear: the airport bus (Flygbussarna) is the easiest way to get from Bromma to the city center. The bus only takes 20 minutes.
  • That the area around the station appears to consist of 2 levels. I kept turning in circles and was completely lost. Even now, I always have to be alert to take the right exit.
  • I would also have preferred to order my tickets for the ABBA museum in advance. This way you have the best price and you can skip the queues.
  • Where I could eat the best kanelbullar.
  • Motel L
  • Fotografiska Stockholm
  • Riksdag Stockholm in de sneeuw
  • B.A.R. Blasieholmens Akvarium och Restaurang

What I did/visited

Of course I visited the museums I came for: ABBA and Vasamuseet.
I also visited Fotografiska and Nordiska Museet, I went to the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace and got lost through the alleys of Gamla Stan. Of course I also had to go through the narrowest alley in town!
I took the boat to Djurgården, walked back via Strandvägen and went on past Skeppsbron. What a wonderful walk!
I discovered Lagerhaus, Lindex, Gina Tricot, Åhléns and NK. Oh and did I mention I visited one of the biggest Ikea shops of the world?

Where I ate

Why I wanted to return

  • Fika at even more nice addresses
  • Moderna Museet
  • Rosendals trädgården
  • Hermans (which was closed when I was there)
  • The atmosphere in the city, the relaxed people and the abundance of water
  • The language

Since then I like to return to Stockholm as often as possible and preferably for a little longer time. Every time I discover new places and visit my favorite places again. Yes, Stockholm really is my second home. And I can’t wait to be back!

Useful links

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First time in Stockholm

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Visit Riksdagen, the Swedish Parliament

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The Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) is based in Riksdagshuset, on Helgeandsholmen in Stockholm. This small island is close to the Royal Palace. The Swedish National Bank used to be in this building. The building, which dates from the late 19th century, was not built specifically for the parliament.

You can make a free guided visit (in Swedish or in English) to Riksdagen. I chose the tour in Swedish.

During your visit, you will enter both parliament and the rooms where working groups and committees work. You will receive an explanation about the works of art that are on display, such as the carpet ‘Minnet av ett Landskap’. It took no less than 3,500 hours of work to finish this piece of art.

  • Riksdag Stockholm in de sneeuw
  • Riksdagen Sverige

Visit Riksdagen: practical

Attention: due to the corona virus, it is currently not possible to take a tour in the Swedish Parliament. Check the website for the latest info.

If you would like to join the English spoken tours, you can do so between mid-September and June on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm (not during the Christmas holidays. From midsummer to mid-August the tours take place on weekdays, at 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm.

You can also take the tour in Swedish. Then you can join between midsummer and mid-August at 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm or 3:30 pm.

There are 28 places per tour. It is not possible to make a reservation in advance. It is advisable to arrive on time. Also keep in mind that there is a security check that takes place before the tour, so make sure you are there at least 10 minutes in advance.

When I visited Riksdagen, during a weekend in April, our tour still had some places available.

How do you reach Riksdagen?

The visitor’s entrance is located at Riksgatan 3, Stockholm. Bus 43 stops at Gustav Adolfs Torg.

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Read more about elections in Sweden.

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Visit the Swedish parliament