Sweden

P1020996P1020946IMG_50531. Karl Johans Torg, 2. Stortorget, 3. Skyline of Stockholm

A brief history:

I am just going to give a brief run-down of Sweden starting from the 20th Century, otherwise is becomes too long and extensive. So basically, in 1905 Norway broke away from Sweden and Sweden remained neutral during both the World Wars.

The 1930s were a bad time for Sweden as unemployment rose to 24.9%, as they were affected by the depression. By 1939, the Swedish economy had begun to recover.

In the late 1940s and 1950s reforms swept through Sweden, including generous old age pensions, child allowances and health insurance. In 1974 a new constitution was introduced and the minimum age for voting was reduced to 18.

The 1950s and 1960s were years of prosperity for Sweden, with full employment.  Today Sweden is a rich and wealthy country and the people have a high standard of living. Sweden joined the EU on 1 January 1995. Information gathered from here.

 IMG_4904IMG_4867IMG_51174. Gamla Stan, 5. Gamla Stan, 6. Me

Things to do:

  • Gamla Stan: this is the city centre and where all the beautiful photos of the alley ways and colourful buildings belong to. Feel the magic and let your mind wander as you walk through the cobbled stoned streets filled with boutique stores, restaurants and delicious ice-creameries. This was probably my favourite part of visiting Stockholm. It was truly something special. I recommend allowing yourself half a day  of exploring the streets and seeing where that leads you!
  • Stortorget: this is a small public square in Gamla Stan, and also the oldest square in Stockholm. A perfect insta op lies ahead with the three rust coloured buildings! The Nobel Museum is also located in this square.
  • Free walking tour: walking tours are great, and I always recommend them. The walking tour I went on took us around the most iconic sites in the Gamla Stan, and told us lots of interesting historical facts. I definitely recommend to do this when you first arrive so you can get your bearings. It’s a big city!
  • Djurgården: travel to Djurgården, which is a small island close to central Stockholm, if you are interested in seeing the museums Stockholm has to offer. We got to Djurgården by the Djurgården ferry boat from Gamla Stan/Slussen. Check out this site on how to book tickets and prices.
  • Vasa museum: the Vasa museum was one of the two museums we chose to visit whilst out at Djurgården.  This is a maritime museum and displays the only fully intact ship that survived from the 17th century. I can’t say I love ships, but this was an interesting museum and you get a free short tour around the museum! We spent about 2 hours here. An adult ticket will cost you SEK 130, students are SEK 100 (make sure you bring your ID), and children under 18 are free.
  • Skansen: this was the first open-air museum and zoo in Sweden, also located on Djurgården. I was really lucky and visited this museum on the Swedish Midsummer holiday, which meant there were people dressed up in traditional Swedish costumes, dances and singing all around the museum. There were also Swedish animals such as bears, moose, and reindeer. This took around 4-5 hours and I still don’t think we managed to see everything.
  • Fotografiska: is a centre for contemporary photography in Stockholm. This was THE ultimate hipster, trends-ville scene which I admittedly enjoyed very much. You can also catch an impeccable view out onto Stockholm from the top of the building, complete with a trendy cafe and bar. Located at Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm. An adult ticket will cost you SEK 120, SEK 90 for students and seniors and children under 12 are free. This took about 1 hour to peruse.
  • Södermalm: this is a district in Stockholm, and where I stayed when I visited. It was very a trendy area filled with restaurants and shops, so if you want to check out other areas besides the Gamla Stan in Stockholm I recommend stopping here. It’s about 10-15 minutes walk from the town.
  • Östermalm: this is a district in central Stockholm or as I like to refer to it, shopping heaven. It was raining on our last day in Stockholm and we had seen all the main attractions we had wanted to see, so we dedicated the day to do some serious shopping. While it wasn’t cheap, it had everything I desired. I had searched 6 previous countries to find a simple white linen shirt, and it was Stockholm that produced the goods. I purchased my first pair of Acne jeans at the flagship store that I have wanted for years, along with a few other special purchases. I can say that thanks to Östermalm I walked away with a lighter wallet, but a happier heart.
  • Vaxholm: is an archipelago town filled with beautiful, pastel wooden houses! It dons great views of a fortress and harbour, and simply enjoy the town by walking around. We caught the ferry over, which was half the fun! If you want, you can get a bus over to the archipelago. Check out this site to see prices for the ferry. It was about an hour there, and back again so this trip took up majority of the day!
P1020924IMG_4861P1030108IMG_4928P10209207. Stockholm Parliament House (Riksdag), 8. Gamla Stan, 9. Vaxholm, 10. Traditional Swedish meatballs, 11. Changing of the guard at the Royal Palace,

Accommodation:

I stayed here, in an airBnB in Södermalm. The apartment was on the 6th floor with a balcony and seating area. The apartment was newly furnished and I honestly wished I could move in. Check out the view in the photo below. We decided to eat in two nights while in Stockholm because we wanted to utilise the balcony! I think out of all the wonderful places I did stay, this one stole the show because of the wonderful view and atmosphere Stockholm provided.

IMG_4755IMG_4946P1030117P1030106P102093012. View from apartment in Södermalm, 13. Skansen, 14. Me, 16. Vaxholm, 17. Stockholm,

Travel tips:

  • Swedish meatballs: make sure you try Sweden’s most iconic meal.
  • Walk everywhere: the best part about Stockholm is the beautiful hidden alleyways and gems you find within them. All the little cafes, shops and restaurants you stumble upon when you’re aimlessly walking around is half the fun of travelling!
  • Bring a packed lunch: as I said in my post on Oslo, Scandinavian countries are very expensive. So if you’re looking to save some money and time in your day, bring a packed lunch with you. The grocery store that we went to in Södermalm was delicious. The bread was the tastiest bread I had ever eaten, I literally ate a whole loaf to myself one night!
  • Enjoy yourself: it’s a tough call, but I think Stockholm, Sweden was my absolute favourite destination I travelled to on my first European adventure. It was truly breathtaking and we had magnificent weather, which definitely enhances a places true beauty!
P1020929P1020906P102094318. Stockholm Palace,19. Garden in Södermalm, 20. Gamla Stan

General cost:

Not as expensive as Norway, which was a bonus. I’d say Sweden’s prices were very similar to Sydney, Australia’s (where I live). You could get a nice dinner for around $25AUD per person.

P1020938P1030111P1030120IMG_494221. View to Stockholm, 22. Vaxholm, 23. Stockholm Palace archway, 24. Djurgården
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