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Off to see Taylor Swift in Stockholm during her European leg of the Eras tour? You lucky lot. You’re not the only ones, either. Her record-breaking tour is set to bring hundreds of thousands of Swifties to Europe over the next few months, from France to Italy to Spain to Germany – literally all over the place.

The Swift fever is high in Stockholm, with the city even going so far as to call themselves ‘Swiftholm’ while she’s in town. We know Taylor’s the literal star of the show here, but we thought we’d rustle up some things for you to get up to before (and after!) the concert, because if you’re gonna be in Stockholm anyway, you may as well enjoy it! From cosy bookshops to where to enjoy the Swedish pastime of ‘fika’ (more on that later), here’s our quick guide to things to do in Stockholm.

The must do’s

The biggest city in Sweden, Stockholm’s known as a destination for art, design and fashion, but it’s also a fascinating spot for the history nerds.

Gamla Stan 

One of the best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe, Gamla Stan is pretty much the heart of Stockholm. It goes back to the 13th century, and is all narrow cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, and a rich, rich history. It was actually originally called “Staden mellan broarna” (The Town Between the Bridges, to you and me) because it’s located on several islands connected by, well, bridges.

One of the best places here is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm and home to the Nobel Museum,  the Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), the German Church (Tyska kyrkan), and plenty of nooks, crannies, and hidden courtyards to get lost in (but not too last, you do have a concert to get to.) Oh, and this part of town is also where you’ll find the Royal Palace (see more below), the official residence of the Swedish monarch, oo-er.

The Royal Canals

Stockholm’s a bit like Venice, in that it’s actually made up of a bunch of different islands, and one of these islands in particular, Djurgården, is connected by the waterway known as the Royal Canals. Known for its green spaces and museums, this island is a popular spot not just for tourists, but for locals too.

Dating back to the 17th century, the canals were originally used for transporting goods, but today, it’s all a bit more relaxed, with the waterways mainly used recreationally – think plenty of boating and kayaking. It’s one of the best ways to see the city, if you ask us. You’ll wind through lush greenery, historic buildings, and waterfront promenades. And during the warmer months, the canals are extra pretty with blooming flowers.

Loads of attractions wind this way too, including the ABBA Museum (of course Stockholm has one of those!)

The Royal Palace

Back over in Gamla Stan, the Royal Palace overlooks the waterfront and neighbouring islands. Whilst the official residence of the Swedish monarch, it’s primarily used for official state functions, ceremonies, and the like. The royal family’s actual casa (that’s ‘hem’ in Swedish, if you’re curious) is Drottningholm Palace, outside Stockholm.

Construction on this beauty began back in the 17th century, but it’s undergone loads of renovations and expansions since then. Today, its all about its impressive Baroque and Rococo architecture, with a facade adorned with sculptures, ornate balconies, and all sorts of intricate details. Proper swish stuff.

If you visit, you’ll be able to explore various parts of the complex, like the lavishly decorated rooms that make up the Royal Apartments, the Royal Chapel, the Treasury (that’s where you’ll find all the shiny shinies), and the Hall of State, the mahoosive room used for official receptions and state banquets. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guard!

Where to go for fika

Besides ABBA, the four most important letters to know in Sweden make up ‘fika’, the Swedish national pastime of stopping to have coffee, a snack (preferably a cinnamon bun), and a natter with a mate.

Kaffekoppen

In the heart of Gamla Stan, just around the corner from  the Royal Palace, this cosy cafe can be found in the Schantzska house, a red house built in 1648 on top of a medieval brick cellar – and you can still grab a drink and sit here today. Think less gloomy and more intimate with its wooden tables and candlelight.

They serve hot and cold drinks (don’t miss the their Cold Chocolate Drink With Ice Cream) and you can tuck into hearty portions of lasagne, traditional skagen sandwiches and salmon pie. Plus, the weather will be lovely enough in May for you to make full use of their pavement terrace.

Gast

Part of the strong speciality coffee scene in Stockholm, Gast is a firm fave. Found in a pretty area to the north of the city, loads of attention has been paid to the interior, think soft pink walls warm lights, and plants which create a cosy space to enjoy a fika in. They’ve got sweat treats aplenty, but they also do some pretty incredible salad bowls and more savoury options too. And it goes without saying that the coffee here is really good, so if you have taste for that thing you’re in for a right treat.

Vete-katten

A classic pastry and coffee shop, Vete-katten has a warm atmosphere and lovely staff. Food is served all day, more or less, and the menu runs the gamut from grilled sandwiches, to the soup of the day and sizey salads. One of their classics is their shrimp sandwich with mayo, so don’t miss that.

The original location was founded way back in 1928 by Ester Nordhammer – quite the thing in those days – but now they have multiple locations across the city. It’s now run by master pastry chef Johan Sandelin who’s got loads of gongs to his name, so you know the stuff here is top-notch.

Stockholm’s best bookshops

The fika culture here is strong, but if you’re travelling solo then we reckon there’s nothing wrong with coffee, a cake, and a good book. 

Gamla Stans Bokhandel

Right around the corner from all of the biggest attractions in the Old Town and on Stockholm’s oldest boulevard, Stora Nygatan, Gamla Stans Bokhandel is the perfect spot to catch a breather. If you’re a bit rusty with your Swedish, don’t worry because they’ve got plenty of English language titles here too.

If popular science is your thang then you’re in luck – this is their speciality genre. Fancy going old school? They’ve got some handy maps as well.

Kongst-ig

The largest independent bookstore in Scandinavia, Konst-ig is all about art. You’ll find most forms here, from graffiti to brutalist architecture, across books, magazines, and journals.

Rönnells Antikvariat

A staple of Stockholm’s literary scene since the 20s, Rönnells is home to loads of used books, out-of-print rarities, and general oddities. With its vintage shopfront and highly-knowledgeable staff, this is a proper bookshop. It specializes in fiction, art, and academic literature, and if you like your posters, they’ve got a massive selection of those too.

Vintage shopping

If you love a good rummage, you’ll love this city. There’s loads of vintage and secondhand shops here, from chains to cute independent boutiques.

Humana Second Hand

This one’s for those who like to dig. With a fresh restock a few times a week, there’s always a gem just waiting to be found here. With reasonable prices (especially for some of the loot they get in!), if you’re dogged enough in your searching you might just find some Prada, Versace, and more.

You can shop by subculture here too, so if it’s old rave clothes or frilly party dresses you’re after, you can make a beeline straight for them.

Pop Stockholm

Step in here and you’ll be taken right back to the 60s and 70s, so if you’re into your colours, this is definitely your place. Like any good vintage shop, you’ll find a little bit of everything from leather jackets to cute knits to all the psychedelic prints a gall (or guy) could dream of.

Modern Retro 

A Stockholm institution, this sprawling basement garage is a rail rummager’s dream. The stock is carefully chosen by owner, Thomas “Totte” Gabrielsson, and it spans decades, from houseware to flared jeans to cowboy shirts.

Stockholm’s hidden gems

Sure, the Royal Palace is (very) nice, but don’t forget to chuck a few of the more off the well-trodden path options into your itinerary too to get a proper feel for this city. 

Stockholm Tunnelbana

Yes, we’re including Stockholm’s metro as one of our hidden gems. 1., because it’s literally hidden, if you want to get technical, and 2., because most people don’t realise just how beautiful it is. It’s not just a subway system – it’s the world’s longest art exhibition. The artworks here cover a total of 68 miles! Since the 50s, artists have been displaying their works, from painting to sculpture, across the system’s stations.

Look out for Kungsträdgården, which features colourful murals and sculptures resembling ancient relics, and the busy T-Centralen station, with its giant blue vines. You’ll be using the metro anyway, so just make sure to look up from the metro map every now and again and you’ll be rewarded.

Skinnarviksberget

The highest natural point in the city centre, this hilltop offers perfect views of the Old Town, the Stockholm City Hall, and Kungsholmen Island below. Locals pop up here with some snacks and a bottle of vino or two, so we say when in Stockholm, do as the Swedes do!

But if you forget to bring supplies, the park beneath the hill has a small playground and an open-air café where you can enjoy a light lunch or an ice cream in one of the hammocks.

Skeppsholmen

Across the Old Town, Skeppsholmen is one of the city’s 14 islands, home to incredible natural landscapes and even a small forest. There’s a perfect view of the Royal Castle over on the mainland from here, as well as museums to wander through, like the Moderna Museet – one of Europe’s leading museums for modern and contemporary art.

To reach Skeppsholmen, you can take either a bus or ferry from the city centre, plus the island itself isn’t very big, so you can easily cover it on foot.

A Swifty and still need a ride? We’ve got enough flights to Stockholm to fill TTPD: The Anthology, and then some.

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