Guided | My Stockholm

view from Monteliusvägen 

It was just over a year ago now that I boarded a one way flight to Sweden, and Swedish life already feels like a lifetime ago...or that it never even happened. I spent most of my time in Sweden in the city of Stockholm and a few months in Lund, located in the south near Malmö. Yes, Stockholm is as beautiful as the rumour mill claims. The main parts of the city run over three islands in the archipelago, the streets are immaculate, the people are beautiful and the architecture is dreamy. Don’t get me started on the fika…

The thought of summer being in full swing for the sun-loving Swedes puts a smile on my face. All the way from Surry Hills, where winter has definitely struck, I can feel the excitedness of being able to pop outside at lunch time and basque in the sun against warm brick walls. I can imagine groups of Swedes stripping those layers and flocking to parks, sandwiches packed and coffee brewed. Summer in Sweden is an event and a lovely time of year. I arrived just in time to enjoy the the lead up to the warm months, being able to feel everyones spirits lifting with the sunshine. 

Being back home I've had some time to reflect on the wonderful city, and here are some of my favourite and most-missed spots of Stockholm. 


For weekend brunch
Let’s be honest, Australian’s know how to brunch and we are definitely home to some of the world’s most extraordinary cafe’s. The brunch culture may not be as strong in Sweden but Stockholm has done a damn good job of providing it’s people with cafe’s to drag them out of bed on one of those cold (and sometimes rather dark) mornings. Pom och Flora is a small cafe located on Södermalm - Stockholm’s hipster area. The cafe is packed full of Instagram-friendly marble tables.
The great thing about this place is that the menu is full of small dishes all of which cost around $AU7 so you don’t have to experience that often traumatising dilemma of what to order. Avocado on toast with dukkah and feta on rye bread, granola with stewed rhubarb and chia pudding, yoghurt and fruit or opt for one of their platters with a variety of breads, meats, pickles and cheese which comes with a small bowl of yoghurt and fruit on the side. The coffee here goes down rather nicely too. 

Bondegaten 64

For an afterwork drink
Mosebacke, an outdoor bar, overlooks the city of Stockholm and is often buzzing on a summer night with live music and people of all ages. It's a great spot that you can easily spend hours at as you chat away the night with a group of friends as you admire the beautiful city and its people.

Alternatively, on those cooler nights, which let’s face it are rather likely through summer as well as winter, Bar Hommage is your place. It’s decorated by Brandstationen, the incredible vintage/homewear shop I rave about below, which adds a lot to its buzzing atmosphere and attracts a very cool clientele. It’s on the smaller side as far as bars come but the waiters are very quick to find you spot and set you up with their creative cocktail menu which is constantly being added to and played around with. 

Moseback Torg 1-3
Krukmakargatan 22, Södermalm


I like my coffee from
Sweden’s coffee culture is very different to that of Australia and it came to grow on me. Swedes are known for drinking large amounts of coffee but this is most often drip filter coffee which people drink constantly throughout the day. Espresso style coffee is becoming more common but is still considered speciality coffee. This popular corner cafe in Södermalm, Johan & Nystrom, was set up by a group of friends with a mission to provide quality coffee with a strong focus on sustainability. This includes direct trading which ensures the money reaches all the way to the farmer of the coffee plantation. During summer, the street that the cafe is on is blocked off to road traffic and the cafe sets up couches and chairs that spill out onto the road. Inside, you are always welcomed by the friendly staff who obviously thoroughly enjoying providing the city with coffee. On the lower level, the cafe has bleacher style seats where people are welcomed to sit for hours with their laptops while they sip the consistently delicious coffee. Across from this is an area set up for coffee courses which are held regularly. This became my go-to coffee spot whilst in Stockholm - great coffee, welcoming and relaxed staff and the best cardamom buns in town. 

Hamringevägen 1, Södermalm


When I have a free afternoon up my sleeve
Stockholm is incredible in how diverse each area of the city is despite it not being a very big city. Södermalm, or Söder as they say, is the hipster area of Stockholm and is definitely worth a wander. Yes, of course, this is where you will find the best coffee in the city (Johan and Nyström and Drop Coffee to name a few) and is also home to many great eateries, shops worth your while and op shops (Grandpa, Christoffer Bloomer, Brandsattionen(!!) and Humana Second Hand are all great). Like the rest of Stockholm, it’s streets are lined with beautiful old apartments and filled with people with perfect fitting jeans, sneakers and a great jacket. 

For a special occasion
I know that for some of you regular jet-setters, the thought of going to another hotel for breakfast might seem a little odd but this hotel breakfast buffet is something else - the breakfast buffet at Grand Hôtel is indeed grand. Built in 1874, this beautiful 5-star hotel overlooks Stockholm harbour and offers an incredible breakfast spread to the public as well as to guests. The white marble, light filled restaurant opens at 7am and for four hours the friendly staff continuously restock the incredible variety of goods. Five types of fresh juice, a range of cheeses and meats, the very Swedish knäckebröd, yoghurt with toppings from goji berries to nuts to, fruit, porridge with warmed stewed fruit, I could go on… 

For a warm summer night
Östermalm’s Saluhall, or Östermalm’s food hall has been providing the city with delicicies since 1888 so they have had some time to figure out what’s what when it comes to food markets. The hall is full of various stalls supplying top quality food from seafood to Danish smørbrød (open sandwiches) to pastries and chocolates. A lot of the stalls sell traditional Swedish food but there are a few other cultures mixed in such as the Beirut cafe deli. The original hall is currently undergoing renovation until 2018 but a temporary hall has been built which screams beautiful Swedish design. Just a walk around the food hall is an event in itself and definitely worth doing but on a sunny summer night it’s wonderful to walk through the food hall and pick up a few goodies then wander over to the stunning Humlegården. This park, located in central Stockholm, would have to be one of the most beualtful parks in the world. It’s lush trees are neatly lining the paths through the park and the grass is just screaming for you to take your shoes off and run around. Take a blanket and enjoy your treats while you watch Stockholmer’s zip through on their bikes or run around with their children. 


For a casual dinner out
Now, Swedes are known to be early eaters especially by European standards but that’s not always such a bad thing. The best falafel in the city and also one of the best falafels I have ever had the pleasure of eating (and considering I got recently got back from Jerusalem, a falafel eating nation, that’s a rather serious call) is Falfelbaren, located in Södermalm. Everything is handmade and made freshly everyday. You can choose from a range of falafel variations and there are plenty of extras to be added if you wish. I always went for the eggplant and labne falafel which was incredible - oven baked pita bread made with sourdough served with tomato, cucumber salad with fresh mint, pickled red cabbage, hummus, tahini, pickles, parsley, eggplant and 5 falafel balls smothered in labne. The flavours and textures are incredible. We would often grab a falafel and head up to Monteliusvägen to enjoy one of the best views of the city while we ate. Definitely a must do when in Stockholm.

Hornsgatan 39

For a culture injection 
Stockholm is lucky to have many museums and galleries and it’s definitely not only tourists that you’ll find walking through their doors. My two favourites are Moderna Museet and Fotografiska.

Moderna Museet has free entry so is perfect for when you find yourself with a few free spare hours. Their exhibitions change every few months and there is always something interesting on. Like many museums and galleries around the world, their shop is really great. Their poster collection is rather large and includes a number of Andy Warhol quote posters as Moderna Museet was where Andy Warhol had his first ever exhibit.

Fotografiska’s entry fee is worth every penny, and krona for that matter. Occupying a beautiful old industrial warehouse on the side of the river, Fotografiska is the perfect size. Wander up and down the stairs through the varying exhibitions - from the eye-opening Inherit in the Dust exhibition by Nick Brandt to Exposed by Bryan Adams to an eye-opening exhibition by a Syrian refugee on his journey over to Sweden. The restaurant is known as one of Stockholm’s best. Customers sit on long tables under exposed beams looking out onto the river through large, round windows. 

Exercisplan 4
Stadsårdshamnen 22

A city secret
Unfortunately this is a bit of a seasonal location, but if you are lucky enough to be there when it's open, enjoy the wander over the bridge and down the tree-lined path to this beautiful cafe come, greenhouse, come nursery, come orchard; Rosendals Trågård. An ultimate combination, I came to realise. Grab a slice of (what will remind you of your Grandmother's cooking) cardamom and coconut cake or a cardamom bun and a coffee and find a spot inside the greenhouse, on a picnic table in the courtyard or on the grass under the apple trees. 

In winter, Rosendals is open over Christmas for various celebrations such as St Lucia. I haven’t been there in winter but my mind has created an image of sitting in a cosy greenhouse, candles lit and snow covering the glass roof while I grip a mug of coffee. 

This green oasis is about a 10 minute walk from the busy city centre so was always a lovely escape and gives you a great view of Stockholm. 

Rosendalsterrassen 12

When meeting a friend for lunch
These two cafe’s, owned by the same hospitality geniuses, are rather different but both are an ideal lunch catch-up spot. Snickarbacken 7, located in an old warehouse, has tall arched ceilings and a long windowless dining area illuminated by candles, making it perfect for one of Stockholm’s (many) cooler days. Soups, salads and sandwiches fill the lunch menu, all using interesting and fresh ingredients. And yes, there is a cabinet full of fika options available all day. 

About 20 minutes walk away, behind a wall of large glass windows is Kaffeverket, dangerously across the road from Acne’s archive store. Grab a spot on a sheep-skin covered seat while you look over the menu, scribbled on a ceiling-touching blackboard behind the teal coloured counter. The menu is similar to Snickarbacken 7 and also features a cabinet full of what Swede’s do so well - cakes and sweet treats. 

The breakfast menu is also a good option at these venues, with simple dishes like avo on toast, a boiled egg served with a mini tube of caviar or a pot of yoghurt and berries. The coffee goes down very well too. 

Snickarbacken 7
Sankt Eriksgatan 88

Let’s FIKA 
Fika is a strong part of Swedish culture, and a very good one at that. Often said to be hard to define, from what I gathered it’s a ritual every Swede gets amongst. It involves taking the time out of your day to enjoy a cup (or two) of coffee and a baked good, whether it be a sandwich using freshly baked bread, or a cardamom bun. Apart from the fact that it often involves cake, I really admire the acknowledgement of the need to take a moment out of life to enjoy the small things with the people around you. 

A few of my favourite fika locations

A couple of other things to note

When you’ve walked miles and are needing a quick pick-me-up, pop into almost any supermarket around the city to put together a bag of ‘natural goodis’ such as chocolate covered almonds or muesli clusters or a bag of Sweden’s famously huge candy assortment (liquorice features large)

The tunnelbana, or subway, is super easy to navigate and costs 25KR a trip (about $4.50AUD) which you can purchase at the station 

Hello is her (hay), yes is ja (ya), no is nej (nay) and thank you is tack

Shout out to Stockholm for giving me a fika-filled year away with the chance to meet great people, discover new places, devour delicious meals, soak in culture and sip on endless cups of coffee

Bigger shout out to my girl Klara for being Swedish and for being the glorious human you are

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