Travelogue - 72 hours in Stockholm, Sweden
From Malmo, we took a SJ train to Stockholm! We really wanted to try the overnight train, but couldn't book it on the SJ website. I called them and they said that the only way was to book on the website. We tried and tried again but to no avail so we decided to purchase the late afternoon tickets. BUT... a few days later, I found out that they finally release the overnight train tickets... We couldn't cancel the current booking and get a refund as we bought discounted tickets unless we forfeit it. Seeing that it costs 630 SEK (about 103 sgd) and booking the overnight ticket costs way more... We decided to go along with the day train trip!
We arrived almost at midnight in Stockholm and hurried to our hotel!
Stay - Scandic No 53
We must say that this was the one of the best hotels we have stayed in in Scandinavia! The location of Scandic No 53 was great! It was a short walk from Stockholm Central Station and Hötorget metro station. It is also about two streets away from Drottninggatan shopping street!
Scandic No 53 Interior
The Scandic Hotels has chains all over Sweden, and I was awed by the lobby when we first entered. Look at its high ceilings!
And the best part about Scandic No 53 has got to be its breakfast! There's a buffet breakfast that guests can enjoy every morning. The spread is wide. You'll have a variety of ham and cheese, scrambled eggs, soft-boiled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, and sunny-side-ups. There's also your standard breakfast items like bacon, sausages, baked beans, various cereals, salads. They also had assorted fruits and yoghurt. It was really delicious and we ensured that we filled our stomachs before leaving the hotel, often getting multiple servings!
At the rate of 920 SEK per night, it is definitely worth every penny.
920 SEK per night
Kungsgatan 53, 111 22 Stockholm, Sweden
Day 1: Exploring Gamla Stan
Drottninggatan shopping street
We absolutely loved Stockholm's streets. It is so beautiful! :) We set out to explore Gamla Stan on the first day. Do check for opening hours of the palace and museums. All of these weren't open on the day we visited.. :(
On top of Riksbron Bridge
To get to Gamla Stan, walk along Drottninggatan and you'll reach the Riksbron bridge at the end. We took some time to soak in the warmth of the sun rays and admire the scenery from the bridge.
Entering Gamla Stan
You know that you're entering the old town when you see this arch! In Gamla Stan, it is possible to embark on a self-walking tour. We went through the streets and explored the souvenir stores and restaurants. Some of the walkways are quite narrow and there will be some uphill walking involved. So do put on a pair of good walking shoes!
On the right, you'll see the parliament house. There is an entrance which you can take if you would like to watch the parliamentary debates. Even though the parliamentary debate that was happening at the moment was in Swedish. We wanted to check out the parliament house so we went ahead with it.
You'll have to go through some security checks and you're not allowed to bring in your bags. There is a coat / locker room that you can use!
Interior of the Parliament House
This was the only area opened to us. The staff did explain that they do hold Parliament House tours when there are no debates ongoing, so those who would like to learn more about the Parliament House can check those tours out!
Streets of Gamla Stan
We continued our journey into Gamla Stan. We really enjoyed looking at the quaint, rustic buildings.
The Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
The Royal Palace was unfortunately closed when we were there. But when it is opened, you can enjoy a guided tour as part of your admission fee.
Exterior of the Royal Palace, Punto De Encuebtro
Sunset outside the Royal Palace. We also visited the Storkyrkan which had a little market right outside. It was, however, very cramped and crowded with school children and tourists.
One must definitely FIKA when in Sweden! Fika is a culture in Sweden where one must have coffee (or tea, or juice) with Swedish pastries. We tried this cake and coffee in a random cafe and it was yummy. The Swedish do have a very sweet tooth though. We thought that the sugar from all the pastries and cakes made us more sleepy instead of invigorating us.
After filling our tummies, we went over to the Royal Swedish Opera Building, walked along Kungsträdgården and window shopped at Gallerian Shopping Mall. Window-shopped as the items there were expensive! Sweden's H&M was about the same price as the ones we have in Singapore. Thereafter, you must definitely take the metro from Kungstradgarden. The station was interestingly decorated!
Östermalm is one of the main high-end shopping street in Stockholm. Head over to Biblioteksgatan to shop for global brands like Prada, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and more! Though it was interesting to see the lighted up streets, we decided to head back to Kungsgatan for dinner and back to our hotel.
Wings and Sticks!
We had wings and sweet potato fries! It was a restaurant close to Hötorget and Hötorgshallen. It was very yummy, and thankfully was able to fill us up!
Day 2 - Skansen Open Air Museum
To get to Skansen, you can either take a local bus or a ferry from Stockholm Slussen kajen. We chose the latter as a ferry ride definitely seems more fun than the bus! The easier way to get to the ferry terminal is to take a metro to Slussen.
After exiting the metro, we walked to Katarina Elevator. It looks similar to Lisbon's Santa Justa lift. I think we're quite unlikely with such lifts. We didn't manage to take Santa Justa when we were in Lisbon, and we sure didn't manage to take the Katarina Elevator. It is now permanently closed though!
Thereafter, you can walk towards the ferry terminal. Grab tickets that will take you to Allmänna gränd ferry terminal. Here, you can also find the Grona Lund theme park (which was closed when we were there! :(). It was a short ferry ride that gave us great views of Grona Lund - of which the entire time we were feeling so sad that it is not open for winter!
Picturesque Grona Lund from the Ferry
When you arrive at the ferry terminal, you can either take a bus to Skansen, or walk! We walked to Skansen as we also wanted to check out the area.
Entrance of Skansen
Skansen is the world's oldest open-air museum, which showcases the different landscape and cultures of the whole of Sweden. This open-air museum is huge and also acts as a zoo housing different animals. There is also a petting zoo for children! Definitely worth a day out!
Farmhouses in Skansen
Houses in Skansen
Skansen was one of the highlights of our trip to Stockholm as it was relatively quiet and we did manage to walk around, seeing many animals up close! Some of the lakes in Skansen were also frozen over and we watched some daredevils try to stand on it! =/
Admission fees: 120 kr (~20 sgd)
We surprisingly spent almost the entire day there, leaving only in the evening. We returned for more shopping in the city. One of the shops that you must visit is Weekday! They sell inexpensive Cheap Monday jeans as well as other brands.
Weekday Drottninggatan 63, 111 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Thai food at K25: Khao Soi, and Mammasan Red Curry
While shopping and looking for dinner places, we stumbled across K25 dinner hall which was a memorable experience for us! At K25, you can buy whatever that you want from all the stores that they had (a bit like the foodcourts that we have in Singapore), and choose anywhere to sit. They hold eleven restaurants ranging from Thai, Chinese, Burgers and Chips. It was a very fun place to hangout as there were even theatre-like sitting where you could sit and people watch. Definitely a must visit if you are in Stockholm!
The Asian in us chose to eat Thai food and it was DELICIOUS! It is quite difficult to find Khao Soi in Singapore, which is a rich coconut curry with egg noodles. We were really excited to try it and it came in a disposable brown bowl with a thick creamy broth. We also had their Mammasan Red Curry with rice (finally having rice!). We later also tried the Gyozas from the Chinese stall but it was nothing to shout about.
You must visit this place when you are there! We left with out bellies full and I'm seriously missing that place right now..
K25 KUNGSGATAN 25
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10-22, Sun 11-22
Day 3 - Visiting IKEA!
IKEA Kungens Kurva
We had to make a trip to Ikea when in Sweden! We chose to go to IKEA Kungens Kurva. To get to Ikea, you can either take the T-bahn to Skärholmen T-bana, or grab a free ride straight to its doorstep.
Ikea's free shuttle bus picks passenger at the bus stop at Vasagatan 10, right outside the Stockholm Central Station. If you're unsure where the bus stop is, there will be a signage that tells you where to wait for the bus opposite Stockholm Central Station. If in doubt, follow the line. The bus leaves every hour.
Headed straight for the restaurant and ordered a feast! Also because the prices were significantly cheaper than the prices of food in Stockholm City Centre. We finally see round meatballs (Singaporeans will know what we mean). They also had this grain salad for the salmon which was so good we hoped Singapore's Ikea had them too! Even though we had a full dinner, we finished every grain on our plates! =)
Went to window shop around Ikea and it was huge! They had levels of furniture and accessories. Unfortunately we couldn't possibly ship any of the furniture home and we weren't preparing to decorate a home anytime soon, we left empty handed. We initially wanted to wait for the shuttle bus back to the city, but saw that there was a huge Heron City shopping mall next to Ikea.
It actually looked really close by, but it was such a treacherous walk there! We had to walk across a really slippery piece of ice (was supposed a field of grass we believe) and had to really hold each other to prevent ourselves from falling. Nonetheless we made it there and back in one piece. Phew!
Interior of Heron City
There was a Media Markt in Heron City which is an electronics store. We had fun browsing the selection of electronics they had there. Headed back to Ikea and walked to the metro station.
This was where our misadventure happened! We took a wrong turn and walked way longer than we expected to the metro station. By then, even though it was barely 5pm, the sky was becoming dark. We were so afraid of anyone who walked past us as it was so quiet. We walked past highways and when we arrived at the metro, we were extremely exhausted! I think we walked about 3km or so? Headed straight back for some much needed rest!
Day 4 - Leaving Stockholm
Kajsas Fisk's Fish and Chips
Kajsas Fisk's Fish Soup
Last pit stop before leaving Stockholm! After our filling breakfast, we went to explore this famous fish soup that our friend recommended. Located in Hotorgshalle, Kajsas Fisk, serves fresh and filling fish soup that had a long queue when we were there. Fortunately as we went just minutes past the opening hour, we got a seat in no time! We initially wanted to share the fish soup, but we had to order two mains as we were two. Ordered the fish and chips.
Verdict? The fish soup was splendid! Perfect for cold days in Stockholm. If I'm not wrong, you can get them to refill your soup, and have more bread. Since we just had breakfast, we barely managed to finish our own portion. Skip the fish and chips though, it was nice but very average. Save your tummies for more fish soup!
So that's it! We didn't do that much in Stockholm as it was winter and days were short. All the walking also drained our energies and we returned back to our wonderful hotel quite early each night!
We definitely have much more to visit and do in Stockholm and hopefully there'll be a chance for us to do so someday! :)