Growing up my grandfather always found every moment possible to remind me of my Swedish background. Especially around the holiday times when he would always make his famous ‘Swedish Meatballs’. For years and years I never thought I would get the opportunity to actually visit Sweden, it was just an oblogned shape on a map that was thousands of kilometers away. But as life throws unexpected curveballs, I have ended up living within only a boat ride from Sweden and well I finally got the opportunity to visit the land of meatballs and Swedish fish!
Getting to Stockholm from Tallinn is rather simple, and there are many different options. Direct flights which can cost about 100€ roundtrip, cruises, and ferry rides. A group of friends and myself opted for the cheapest option (#studentlife) which was the ferry boat. A cabin for four passengers, with 4 pull out beds, a toilet and a shower, costed us each about 75€ roundtrip. Despite the long trip (about 12 hours) there are lots of advantages of taking the ferry: you leave and arrive near the center of town, it is overnight so you get a full night’s sleep, there are multiple restaurants and bars for entertainment, there is a show (singers, dancers…) for more entertainment, a nightclub for those who want, and a duty free store to buy cheap everything!!
Despite the miserable weather, upon arrival I skipped down the metro tunnels due to my excitement to finally be in Sweden! Too much excitement to be contained!
The city offers not only a variety shopping options (thank you Mathias for keeping us girls from spending all our money), promenades, public parks, cafés, bars and of course museums. Unfortunately, due to weather we weren’t able to explore Stockholm the Swedish way (by bike), but we still got to do and see lots! Here is a recap of the weekend, hopefully it will give you ideas if you are ever planning on going!
This museum is free and is located within the Royal Palace. The royal palace is grand and one of the largest in the world. Despite its ‘gray’ appearance, the interior has different museums that are worth seeing. We didn’t tour the palace itself, but we did enjoy visiting the royal armory which contains royal garments, royal carriages, and other accessories that were precious to the Swedish royalty (crowns, jewels…). I definitely recommend this museum if you have the chance. Everything is so shiny and pretty!
A beautiful church located near the royal palace. Free entrance (although a donation is requested). It is said to be that there are tunnels that lead to and from the church that are no longer in use, however as a local told us, there are rumors that during the last royal wedding the two newlyweds fled the church using these tunnels.
Sinister Old town tour
This tour meets up at 5pm on Saturdays and a local guides you through the old town and shares sinister stories about Stockholm’s’ past. Deaths, executions, treasure finds, myths… information that I would have never seeked out on my own but was happy to learn. The most interesting, and gruesome story was that which took place in the main square of Gamla Stan, Stortorget, where about 93 people (i may have the number wrong) were executed oin one single evening.
Initially we had not planned to visit this museum because of our packed schedule and lack of time. However, when we learned that it is open until 1 am we decided we should give it a go!! Thank goodness we did, because it ended up being one of best museums of the weekend. The entrance is about 9€, but 100% worth it, especially since many other museums are free. The museum consists of collections from different photographers. When we went there was __ who is known for photographing famous rock figures such as U2, Nirvana and others. The photos were mostly in black and white, but the few that were in color really brought the exposition to life.
Another featured photographer was Helen Schmitz with her exposition called “Transitions”, here is the description of her expo:
“In the vain belief that we can benefit from and enjoy nature’s superior vigour and beauty, we sometimes invite our own destruction. This kind of irony is dauntingly clear in Helene Schmitz’s Kudzu Project.”
After visiting the museum you can enjoy a drink and/or meal in the upstairs bistro that offers a beautiful view over the city.
A museum with a big boat, sounds a little bland right? Uninteresting maybe? Well the Vasa museum is all but that. The museum features the original (98% original, and 2% reconstructed) Vasa boat that spent 333 years under water. The ship is enormous, and the museum teaches you about the history of the ship, from the initial plans to the resurrection from its deep underwater grave. Another must do for your Stockholm trip.
The Swedish History Museum
This is probably one of the largest museums in the city and also has the largest collection of Viking artifacts in the world. The museum also offers a walk through Sweden’s history and other small expositions that are a nice addition to the museum. A great way to kill time on a rainy day. (Free)
Overall, Stockholm was wonderful. Expensive, but wonderful. The entire weekend cost us each about 150€ (transport, hostel, food, cafés…) but could have easily costed much more if we had not found budget options. Don’t let the reputation of Sweden being expensive deter you from visiting, there are budget options!! The city is gorgeous, there are many things to do, and I wish I could have done more while I was there! I am definitely planning on returning and venturing outside of Stockholm (possibly to the south!).
P.S. Sweden is not the land of Swedish fish… Disappointed to not have been able to find them…