The winding cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan, the hip and trendy neighbourhood of Södermalm, and the charming islands of the skärgård archipelago make a weekend in Stockholm wonderful at any time of the year. As autumn turns to winter a certain magic infuses the city, making the coffee shops more inviting, the art galleries more tempting – and the restaurant menus even more creative.
Scandinavian style has been the dominant aesthetic in interior design for years now and its reign looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. Stockholm is considered to be the capital of Scandinavian design, so schedule in some shopping time and prepare to be persuaded into shipping several large pieces back to your home.
10 Gruppen, translated as Ten Designers, is an institution in Stockholm with a well-earned stellar reputation. Still owned by three of the ten designers who founded it (Birgitta Hahn, Tom Hedqvist, and Ingela Hakansson) the store is a treasure chest of unique fabrics, textiles, and ceramics. Svenkst Tenn in Ostermalm takes a more lavish approach to design, with bold yet intricate patterns on everything from crockery to cabinets. By the waterfront, Malmsten has the ambience of a design museum: the showroom may be selective, but the furniture they do have is beautiful, simple, and well worth investing in.
Stockholm trips aren’t complete without at least one fika, a coffee break turned into an art form. Vete-Katten is a wonderfully cosy setting to enjoy a hot mug of coffee with a sticky cardamom bun and review all your purchases so far. The cafe opened in 1928 and has been owned by the same family for over four decades.
The city’s global influence isn’t just limited to design – Stockholm is also emerging as a culinary world leader thanks to its innovative take on Nordic cuisine. The city boasts eight Bib Gourmands and eight Michelin starred restaurants including Frantzén, an edgy establishment that picked up its second star in 2010. The restaurant has its own garden, but what it can’t grow it sources from a number of local farms. The 14-course tasting menu showcases exactly why chef Björn Frantzén enjoys unanimous international acclaim.
The National Museum is a treasure trove of classical artworks, with an extensive collection of Middle Age etchings and pieces by celebrated historic Dutch and Swedish artists. Just a short stroll away, the Moderna Museet provides the perfect contrast with its intriguing collection of 20th Century art, including works by Picasso, Pollock, and Dali.
The Vasastan neighbourhood is quickly gaining a reputation as Stockholm’s new bohemian quarter. The opening of the Brändström & Stene gallery heralded an influx of quirky, independent artists, but there are also some excellent antique stores in this part of town if your tastes tend towards the traditional.
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