When Stockholm gets cold the city heats up! Make the most of your visit with some hot tips for visiting Stockholm In Winter.
Stockholm is a city for every season and as the weather changes, so too does its culture. While a lot of spots are year-round attractions, certain places have a completely different vibe during the winter months. The chill really does bring out a certain charm, especially around Christmas time!
After visiting Stockholm late last November, I’ve compiled a list of my tips for visiting Stockholm in Winter. I’ve broken them up into what to pack (because, let’s face it, packing is a completely different story when visiting Stockholm between early October and April *insert bitterly cold emoji here*), cosy restaurants and bars to visit, boutique hotels to stay, how to get around using public transport, where to shop and the coolest neighbourhoods to get lost in (with puffer jacket zipped up all the way, of course).
Tips for Visiting Stockholm In Winter
A thick, long woolen coat or puffer jacket – as a rule, us Aussies tend to under-pack when it comes to traversing the globe from our Summer up to the northern hemisphere winter. I’m here to tell you that in Stockholm, there is no. such. thing. as. under-packing.
Your most comfy walking shoes – everything in the city is so compact, so walking is a natural way to explore. It’s also the best way to see the cities’ cute cobblestone streets in the old town.
Plenty of layers – and then one more layer, just in case.
Gloves, Socks and something to cover your head – because you’re going to need it, even in October.
Clothes that don’t expose – don’t make the same mistake I did and leave your ankles exposed in the name of faaaarshon. Go outside in the Stockholm winter baring skin for even 2 minutes and you’ll be sorry you did.
You can leave your sunglasses at home; the sun never gets high enough to need them.
Get To Stockholm…
Via Singapore – if you’re coming from Australia or New Zealand, Singapore Airlines has direct flights from Singapore (via Moscow) to Stockholm a couple of times a week.
Via London – you know what to do. Easyjet. Enough Said.
Get Around Stockholm in Winter…
By purchasing a Metro Card – you can use it on the subway, trams and ferries. You’ll save a bunch of cash and it’ll be the best investment you’ll make.
By using the train – the subway is renowned for its cutting-edge artworks and instillations created by famous Scandinavian creators. Visiting subway stations in the inner city is such a feast for the senses it’s like being inside a proper art gallery. The subway is also super clean. Winning.
While we’re here, it might also be worth investing in a Museum Card if you’re a bit of an artsy type and plan to visit more than a museum or two… or if you plan on using them as a respite from the cold.
FYI – You can find the latest timetables and get discounts on travel cards on the Visit Sweden website.
Stay in Stockholm…
At Downtown Camper – the achingly-hip lifestyle hotel in the city-centre. The indoor hammock meditation session melted my heart. The “nest” sauna melted my limbs, in a good way.
At Hotel Hobo – a sleek, urban hotel that’s easy on the wallet.
The Victoria Tower – located in high-tech Kista, this architectural triumph is one of the tallest buildings in Stockholm. It’s wrapped in a mind-bending arrangement of metal-coloured triangular glass panes and has a weirdly-wonderful top-heavy rectangular peak.
Strömkajen Ferry Terminals – on my way to the Stockholm Archipelago ferry terminal, I didn’t expect to literally run-into an architecturally-designed ticket office. But then again, this is Stockholm – even catching a ferry is a designers-delight!
Fotografinska – please don’t leave Stockholm without visiting this contemporary museum of photography. Oh, and the friggin’ amazing restaurant too.
National Museum – Sweden’s grand-dame of art and design coincidentally re-opened after renovations when I was visiting. Prepare to be overwhelmed and in awe with the sheer amount of works inside. You’ll need a day and maybe a fold-out seat for rests (it gets busy).
The Vasa Museum – home to the impressive wooden war-ship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628, I found the story behind this ship simply fascinating, as was the intricacies of the ships actual design. It’s so huge you can get right up close to the relic. Try to go just before sunset (they deliberately leave the lights low anyway so as not to speed-up deterioration of the ship) when the crowds dissipate, and you can really take in the enormity of this national treasure.
The Stockholm Archipelago – equally as breathtaking in Winter as it is in Summer, these thousands of islands dotted right out to the Baltic Sea have quaint holiday cabins for rent if you feel like some solitude.
The Christmas Markets – a winter trip to Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without visiting the gorgeous fairy lights and snow-flakes of the magical Christmas markets in the old town.
The Old-Town – otherwise known as Gamla Stan, is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Take an afternoon stroll around the narrow cobble-stoned streets and take in the history. Don’t miss the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace (god knows how they stay there for an hour in Winter without turning into a popsicle).
Sodermalm – Stockholm’s hippest neighbourhood is littered with vintage stores and cool eateries.
ArkDes – on the island of Skeppsholmen, this new and experimental museum is full of quirky design and architecture.
The ABBA Museum – get a video of yourself singing with the legends of Pop!
The Stockholm Ski Slopes – yep, you can go skiing in central Stockholm! With four slopes and two lifts, Hammarbybacken has a quick hour of downhill skiing sorted.
Town Hall – go Ice Skating on the frozen harbour!
At Urban Deli – a hip mix of grocery store, market hall, bar and restaurant. A cult cafe not to be missed.
At Oaxen Restaurant – a marine-inspired fine-dining experience like no other. Located on the harbour in an old shipping yard, sustainability runs through the owners’ veins – from the building and its furnishings right through to the food. Oaxen even has an immaculately furnished mid-century vessel across the inlet with cabins for overnight stays.
At the Fotografinska Restaurant – this award-winning restaurant located inside Fotografiska museum is run by the well-known chef Paul Svensson. The concept focuses on green seasonal dishes, ecological and sustainability.
At Pärlans Konfektyr – located in Sodermalm, this shop is code for best. caramels. ever!
At Restaurant Pelikan – also located in hipster Sodermalm, this joint serves a traditional fix of Swedish dishes with a grand, wood-panelled interior.
At Meatballs for the People – Meatballs, like, Swedish Meatballs. These are around 24853 times better than the IKEA ones.
At Haktet – this sophisticated venue inside a former eighteenth century prison offers inventive seasonal cocktails in the main bar area, while artisanal locally-sourced beers are the top draw in the more industrial buzzing back room (Ölbaren), tucked behind Häktet’s restaurant and kitchen areas.
At Tak – in such a beautiful city there’s bound to be one good sky-bar?! Well, right you are, Tak’s pièce de résistance is its outdoor terrace, the largest in the city and one which boasts 14th floor views that include Stockholm’s impressive City Hall, the iconic Gröna Lund theme park and the Royal Palace. Don’t worry, it’s heated.
At Grandpa Store – branded as a “Scandinavian Life Store”, it sells a charmingly curated mix of clothes, shoes, accessories, jewellery and vintage finds.
And Other Stories – the Stockholm Atelier of this cult store is the coolest of the bunch (but don’t tell Los Angeles and Paris stores I said that).
At Mini Rodini – has the CUTEST clothes for kids! While the styles aren’t so easy on the wallet, the brand creates super high-quality, extremely sustainable (notice a pattern happening here) and fun slogan tees.
At Hope Store – leading the way in Sustainable and gender-neutral fashion. If you’re keen to find some edgy, fashion forward styles then this brand is for you!
Stefanie was a guest of Visit Stockholm and Singapore Airlines in November 2018. All opinions are her own.