July is one of my favorite months of the year due to the (very special) fact that I celebrate my birthday. I know some of you don’t get excited about birthdays as much as I do, but how can one not impatiently wait for it every year when you have an awesome husband that surprises you with dreamy trips to places like Stockholm?
I really like this guy.
And now that you’ve all wished me a happy birthday in your heart (you did, didn’t you?), we can move on to talking about Stockholm. I didn’t know what to expect from this place, but I definitely enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, the food is delicious, the old city (‘Gamla Stan’) is beautiful, and there are some great attractions.
While I mostly talk about food in my posts, I’m going to share more experiences from this trip, just because they’re worth mentioning.
One thing I’ve noticed about Swedish food is that it’s salty and all the flavors are strong—something I actually really enjoyed. As with anything in Sweden, food can get pricy. Even just a coffee will probably cost more than you’re used to.
Regarding sweets, there are two traditional baked goods in Sweden I kept coming across:
Swedish Semlor (semla in singular) – Cardamom spiced buns filled with almond paste and topped with whipped cream.
Swedish Cardamom Rolls (Kardemummabullar) – Uniquely shaped buns flavored with cardamom. I’ve tried a few of them, but the cardamom flavor is too strong for me. I like the cinnamon buns better.
Another traditional cake is the Swedish princess cake, but I didn’t get a chance to try it.
Restaurants I tried and loved are Lilla Ego and The Flying Elk. We were lucky to get a spot at Lille Ego because they’re usually packed with reservations 2 month in advance. Flippin’ Burgers is a great casual place for burgers.
Coffee places that I loved for breakfast or just coffee are Pom and Flora, Snickarbacken 7, and Café Pascal.
Home Decor Shops
You already know my ridiculous obsession with food, but another obsession I have that you might not know about yet is home decor, and for that, Scandinavia is a dream come true. Scandinavian decor is minimalist, monochrome, beautiful, and elegant, and there’s a large variety of shops specially dedicated to home design—more than I’ve ever seen in any other place around the world. It’s pricy, but great even just for window shopping.
There were many beautiful stores I visited, but I’ll name a few of my favorites:
Design House Stockholm
AB Nordiska Galleriet
Grnadpa (mostly clothes but some home accessories)
One well-known museum in Stockholm that I loved is the Fotografiska, which contains exhibitions of contemporary photography. It isn’t big, but it’s worth seeing. Then there’s Vasa, the most visited museum in Scandinavia. This museum tells the story of the only preserved 17th century ship Vasa, who sank and was salvaged 333 years later.
I usually don’t find the time to spend at a day spa while traveling, but this was supposed to be a relaxing trip and I’d heard that the Nordic Spa & Fitness at Grand Hotel has won awards as one of the best in the world, so I was really excited to try it.
The verdict: too good to be true. It’s hard to explain how incredible and relaxing this small place is. Everything is perfect and not like any other spa I’ve ever tried before. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain with words; you just have to be there to fully understand.
We had the ‘head start’ package that included breakfast, a relaxing massage, and full access to the spa and pools, and I would highly recommend it for a half day. The breakfast isn’t the hotel buffet, but rather in another area of the hotel with nice views and plenty of delicious food. Don’t miss out!