by Ellen Curham
Just being in Scandinavia feels pretty cool. After all, it’s a region that prides itself on contemporary design, liberal social policies, breath-taking landscapes, suspenseful thrillers, easy-on-the-ear pop and an achingly beautiful population.
Stockholm is the epicentre of all this with its 14 different islands showcasing a variety of stylish neighbourhoods. It’s hard not to feel on-trend being here but it can also be quite touristy as capital cities tend to be.
If you want to discover some truly cool places we’ve put together some of the best offbeat haunts to check out in this Swedish paradise.
Not your typical museum
Even museum sceptics will be impressed with the Museum of Spirits. No, this isn’t a museum dedicated to ghosts, but to all things alcohol, looking at the history and relationship Sweden has with the drink.
Based on the park island of Djurgården, it’s housed in two 18th—century naval buildings. The Museum of Spirits has ongoing and once-off exhibitions that revolve around anything to do with alcohol, from advertisement artworks to drinking songs to the science behind cocktails. It’s surprisingly insightful but the fun doesn’t stop there. Naturally, there are tasting tours as well where you can sample some of Sweden’s finest vodkas and wines. On-site is also an incredible restaurant run by revered chef Petter Nilsson, serving up traditional fare with a modern twist. Between the learning, drinking and fine dining, the Museum of Spirits is a unique attraction that’s not to be missed.
Picnic with a view
Stockholm is home to plenty of parks that visitors love to explore. From the Hagaparken where the Royals live to Vitabergsparken which hosts free dance and theatre performances throughout the summer, these are some of the first places that visitors in the city head to.
For something a little more off-the-beaten-track try Ivar Los Park on Södermalm Island – one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Stockholm. Sitting on the banks of the river, it’s where locals come to sip coffee, read and relax in the sun. It’s also got one of the best views in Stockholm so make sure to bring your camera.
The Swedes famously adore coffee and Stockholm is dotted with a myriad of trendy cafes where you can grab a cup. Södermalm, home to caffeine-fuelled hipsters is where you’ll find some of the best coffee in the city. Coffice is a shared space that’s filled with creatives working away throughout the day—bring a laptop or notebook so you don’t look like a lost tourist. Drop Coffee is another hit in the area that’s home to an award-winning roastery with coffee making and roasting courses too.
Scandinavian chefs are known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to all aspects of food from flavours to presentation and there are many world-class restaurants in the region. Naturally these cost a pretty penny to dine at but the general idea has trickled down to some of the more affordable restaurants in the region. Stockholm boasts plenty of quirky and trendy eateries in the less touristy parts of town that will satisfy any foodie.
STHLM RAW is a vegan cafe in the trendy Hornstull district that serves up healthy and innovative raw lunches. If you want something a little bit different for dinner go to Nook, a well-reviewed restaurant that serves up Swedish dishes with Korean influences.
Stay in Södermalm if you want to find fashionable bars without tourist-trap pricing. Morfar Ginko and Indigo are local favourites. Or if you’ve had enough of hipsters but still want something quirky, go to Melt Bar in the central district of Norrmalm. This is inspired by New York speakeasies and features burlesque and cabaret performances.
Make sure your accommodation is as offbeat as your experiences when you’re in Stockholm. For something seriously unique try the Rygerfjord Hostel. This floating hostel is a former cruise ship that stays docked in Södermalm. It has everything you need including a bar with unbeatable views of the coolest capital in Europe.