Stockholm is an incredibly fun and ‘happening’ city to visit. Elegantly spread across 14 islands on a Baltic archipelago, the Swedish capital matches its natural beauty with architectural delight and an incredibly warm welcome.
Unlike the dreary winters we see in the UK, the darker part of the year in this corner of the world means crisp afternoons, beautiful sunsets and snow underfoot. You’ll certainly have to wrap up, but there’s no better winter city break – and there’s always plenty going on. Here’s where to head if you’re looking to make some memories in Stockholm.
Explore the Old Town
Flanked by water on all sides, the tiny island of Gamla Stan is where Stockholm began. Otherwise known as ‘Old Town’, this cluster of narrow winding streets is by far the city’s most picturesque area. Pastel-toned facades line cobbled lanes, while ornamental rooflines add a touch of drama and whimsy. By night, ornate lamps gleam off old walls and illuminated church towers linger in the distance; it couldn’t look more beautiful – except perhaps when it’s coated in snow.
Start a day exploring the Old Town by catching the changing of the guard outside the Royal Palace. Be sure to visit Mårten Trotzigs Grand, the narrowest street in Stockholm, then warm up with a hot chocolate at the cosy and adorable Caffellini at 60 Vaesterlaanggatan.
Get Festive at the Christmas Markets
Like most major European cities, Stockholm hosts some fantastic Christmas markets. One takes place on the museum-laden, parkland island of Djurgården each weekend in December, the other in the narrow streets and cobbled squares of the Old Town – and both serve up all your festive favourites with a distinct Scandi twist. Why not pick up some ‘polkagris’, the red-and-white Swedish candy sticks that have become an instantly recognisable symbol of the festive season? If you’re looking for a proper meal, sample the Swedish fare on offer; smoked sausage, salmon or – if you’re feeling brave – eel.
Dive into Downtown
Whether Christmas is fast approaching or you simply want to treat yourself – you’ll no doubt be fitting in some retail therapy during your stay in Stockholm. Once the lesser-visited corner of the city centre, Norrmalm now hosts one of Europe’s smartest, chicest and most diverse shopping districts. From high-end designer stores to your international fashion favourites and flagship stores for Swedish exports H&M, Cos and Fjällräven; you’ll find everything you could possibly need here.
After a day of spending, cocktails will be in order. We recommend the IceBar, where pretty much everything you could touch is made of ice and temperatures are even colder than outside (probably). If you’d rather warm up, try the Skybar at the Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel – where you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the city’s snow-capped skyline.
Skate in the King’s Garden
Not quite literally the King’s Garden (but near enough), Kungsträdgården is one of Stockholm’s most celebrated and appreciated public spaces. It’s famous for its spectacular cherry blossoms in spring, but during winter it’s all about the ice. Grab your skates and glide gracefully beneath a sea of twinkling lights, with Sweden’s Royal Palace looming over you. And if snow begins to fall, it’ll only add to the magic.
Ski Through the Middle of the City
Naturally, you’d expect snow-covered Sweden to be home to a ski resort or two. But you probably didn’t know there’s one smack-bang in the middle of Stockholm. Hammarbybacken serves its snow-slope thrills with an extra serving of city skyline views, offering visitors four different runs that are suited to all experience levels – whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or total expert. Super-easy to reach from central Stockholm, the slope offers equipment hire for a small fee. If you’re looking for fun in the snow in Stockholm, it doesn’t get much better than this.
If you’d love to brighten up your winter with an escape to spectacular Stockholm, we’ll get you there with flights to Stockholm from Manchester Airport.