stockholm, sweden


Stockholm, also known as the Venice of the North, is spread out over 14 islands. It is the furthest northern latitude point that we will go on our trip. The sun rose around 5am and didn’t set until 10pm. The summer season was just beginning and we were lucky to have beautiful, warm, sunny days!

We spent our first day exploring the city on foot and bike. Some people refer to Stockholm as the world’s biggest small town.  Here are the various neighborhoods we visited and what we liked about each of them...

  • Djurgarden - an awesome island where we had lunch at a farm and dinner by the water. There are museums, an amusement park and more on this island and we could easily spend a full day here. 
  • Sodermalm - as we were told, this is the hipster area of Stockholm. We really liked it. On a Sunday afternoon it was full of people eating al fresco and hanging out in the parks. MK found some really great shops and we loved exploring all of them.
    • There is a really cool viewpoint called Skinnarviksberget (impossible to spell or say) where you get a beautiful view of the entire city. In the evenings, locals take a picnic up to the top and enjoy with family and friends
  • Gamla Stan - Small Island that connects the city center with Sodermalm…it is very cool to walk through since cars aren’t really allowed
  • Norrmalm & Normalm - These are the two districts that makeup the city center and main business district. Our hotel was here so we spent a lot of time exploring this area. Lots of shops, restaurants and office space. 
  • Vasastan - Another really cool area just north of the city with a laid back vibe, outdoor restaurants and cool shops. We had our best three meals at restaurants in this area. 

The Stockholm Archipelago consists of 35,000 islands around the city. It is pretty crazy! And very common for locals to spend their summers on these islands. In the winter time, the waterways freeze, so most people that live there have to move to the mainland. We took a short one hour ferry to one of the more famous islands, Vaxholm, for a day trip  Even on the closest, most popular island, Vaxholm still felt charming and untouched this time of year! We had a beautiful day hiking around the island and were tempted to jump in the ice cold water a few times. Afterwards, we stopped for a local lunch and caught our ferry back to Stockholm. 


Before this trip, we only knew very high level things about Stockholm or Swedish culture. We took away a few really interesting tidbits…

  1. In Sweden, they work to live, whereas the rest of the world lives to work. 
  2. Sweden is a socially constructed society and we found it fascinating (if you are interested in more details: the Nordic Model). To start, every citizen has free healthcare, free education, and a pension fund for retirement. 
  3. As a society, they prioritize family above work. The best example of this is the guaranteed one year of maternity leave for the parents of a newborn. As we learned, couple like to have 2-3 kids in a short time span and then go back to work. We could not believe how many men we saw pushing strollers! 
  4. Swedes have the longest life expectancy of any European nation
  5. Body image is not a thing. When it is warm out, you will see parks full of old women stripping down to their underwear. We witnessed this multiple times and found it hilarious. Even funnier because MK said it reminded her of her grandma, Mama's modus operandi in Nantucket. 
  6. The biking culture is HUGE. Stockholm is a city of cyclists. They have over 500 miles of biking paths and 150,000 bikes. Yes, there is bike traffic, too. We noticed all of the bikers weren't wearing traditional helmets, but rather something that looked like a neck brace. We found a store that sold them and realized they were these cool inflatable neck helmets called hovding. Definitely something we will be investing in for our own bike riding! 

If we go back, we would plan to see more of the archipelago. We also kept hearing how beautiful the fjords of Norway are, so the next visit to Scandinavia would include that trip!


  • Hotel
    • Miss Clara by Nobis
  • Restaurants 
    • Lunch
      • Rosendals Tradgard - favorite lunch spot/garden located in a park
      • Broderna Svedmans
    • Dinner
      • Oaxen Slip
      • Babette
      • Lilla Ego
      • Agrikultur
  • Shopping
    • Acne Archive
    • Grandpa
    • HOPE
    • Stylein
    • Rodebgjer
    • Marimekko



  • Bike Tour with Patricia, our Scottish guide who moved to Sweden 16 years ago
  • Archipelago Island Day Trip