Stockholm came at just the right time – Grieving the end of Broadchurch, and with our honeymoon whizzing towards becoming a distant memory, a Scandi break was the perfect antidote for lethargy.
We flew into Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport from London Heathrow in a speedy 2.5 hours. A weekend in Stockholm comes with the kind of price tag you’d usually rip off and hide from your other half, so to keep costs low we booked just 2 nights accommodation, maximising our time in the city with an early arrival, and a late departure 2 days later.
The Flygbussarna bus leaves the airport every 10-15 minutes and in 45 minutes you’ll emerge at the Cityterminalen in central Stockholm. A return transfer will cost you £20ish, compared to the £50ish Arlanda Express train transfer that’ll take 25 minutes off your journey time.
If you like a whimsical approach to interior design (think faux horse heads in bedrooms and a street lamp in reception), the kitsch Freys Hotel in Norrmalm fits the bill. Just 5 minute’s walk from Cityterminalen and the main train station, 20 minutes from Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town), and with handy check-in/out times of 3pm and midday, quirky Freys is a great place to rest your head.
Stockholm is a stunning archipelago, with heaps of islands, bridges and hidden places to discover. And we got really lucky – April 30th is Walpurgis Night in Sweden, celebrating the arrival of the spring, as well as being the King of Sweden’s birthday, and May 1st is both Walpurgis Day and May Day (International Workers Day), so it was the perfect time to visit! I’d love to say we planned it that way, but if I’m honest we aren’t that organised! Parades, a military brass band playing Swedish House Mafia, a giant bonfire (definitely the warmest I’d been in nearly 24 hours) and a folk band playing Elvis songs, add up to something special, and I would argue this is the best weekend to visit Stockholm.
Stockholm has plenty to offer all year round, and we squeezed all we could into our 2 and a bit days – Exploring Gamla Stan, a boat trip around the canals and waterways, a visit to the Vasa Museum (FYI the most visited museum in Scandinavia), a gimmicky 30 minutes in the ABBA Museum (worth visiting if you have plenty of time on your hands to queue clumsily for the interactive bits), and lots of super-chilled waterside café culture, complete with fleecy blankets. The vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet at Hermitage (Gamla Stan) is budget-friendly and completely yummy.
With more time I’d have loved a visit to the Ice Bar, and a belly full of Swedish food, but there’s always next time – and I know we’ll be back.
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