A Swedish Christmas: Top 10 Things to Do in Stockholm
Yesterday, I returned home for Christmas after a week away in Stockholm, and I thought its definitely worth a blog post, as it was truly one of my favourite ever travel experiences, and certainly the most chic and design-fuelled. Jack and I hopped over to Sweden via Amsterdam to visit his sister and explore a new city, with a proper white Christmas! Read on to find out my Top Ten things to do in Stockholm.
1. Embrace Hygge
On the plane I read The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking, and was totally engrossed in this newly fashionable but long-worshipped Scandinavian tradition of Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). Its all about living in the moment, sharing special memories with loved ones, lighting candles and getting cosy by the fire after a day out in the cold.
2. Feast on Fica
Now this is my favourite Swedish pastime- fica means to take coffee and cake (usually a cinnamon or cardamon bun, or saffron bun at Christmas) at regular breaks throughout the day, even in the office at work! Every little cafe in the city serves fresh buns and super-strong coffee, its practically a necessity.
3. Explore the Nature
Whats really fab about Stockholm is that breathtaking natural landscapes are just minutes away from the bustling city. We visited a gorgeous nature reserve with a solid frozen lake, and a world heritage site cemetery full of the tallest trees I've ever seen. Plus, huge expanses of water are only ever round the corner, as the city actually consists of several little islands connected by beautiful bridges.
4. Use Public Transport
A seemingly boring one, but for around £30 you get a weeks worth of seamless bus, train, subway and tram travel loaded onto an easy access card, and that'll take you to every corner of Stockholm. The added bonus is, each metro station has some kind of art installation to keep commuters entertained, its a really nice touch.
5. Enjoy the Architecture
Some recommendations for you if you're an architecture nerd like me: The city hall and the royal palace; simply stunning and totally instagram-ready. Many of the buildings are super-sleek and modern, while in contrast residential homes are adorable like little dolls houses, and in the old town Gamla Stan, its like going back in a time machine!
6. Indulge in Minimalist Design
Wearing my fluffy leopard print coat the whole wee with my bright blue hair, I totally stood out amongst the immaculately well-dressed minimalist locals. Check out the chic street style in SoFo and shop at Weekday, Monki and Acne.
7. Play in the Snow
Nuff said! Bring out your inner child :)
8. Learn the Language
I've become totally obsessed with the free mobile app Duolingo, which is a great resource for beginners wanting to learn any language. Swedish is pretty hard to pick up on but if you learn the basics everything starts to make sense! I like that 'tack' is both please and thank you!
9. Visit the Museums
If I'd had more time I would have visited all of the wonderful museums in Stockholm, clearly a design-led city, but only had time for two. I would definitely recommend ArkDes at the Modern Museet, with reliant exhibitions about architecture and contemporary design, and The Swedish History Museum, which is totally mind-blowing; I learnt so much that I didn't know about the past of this really fascinating nation.
10. Make a Gingerbread house
Speaking of the modern museum, while we were there a gingerbread house, or 'Pepparkakshus' making competition took place, with insane creations made from all things edible. Totally inspired me to get home and get baking, although I know my attempts would never match up to these wonders! If you have any good recipes/instructions for gingerbread houses, do let me know in the comments! Have a wonderful Christmas!