Stockholm: The Coolest City In Europe
03 Tuesday Sep 2013
ArlandaExpress Train, Berns Hotel, Best of Europe, bowling, Cafe Opera, Gamla stan, Ice Bar, Ice Bar Hotel, IceBar, Lake Mälaren, Lydmar Hotel, Marions Gastro Diner, Nosh and Chow, Royal Palace, Stockholm, Stockholm Palace, Sweden, Sweden's Royal Palace, Swedish, Vanessa Rivers
A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I headed to Stockholm for the weekend, for his friend’s surprise birthday party. It was my first time to Sweden and I didn’t really know what to expect besides lots of hot Swedish chicks! =) We flew from London Heathrow Airport on a Friday afternoon and in a little over two hours we arrived in Sweden and caught the ArlandaExpress train into the city. The ArlandaExpress was great, super clean with departures every 15 minutes, and it only takes 20 minutes to get to Stockholm. Riding the train is also a great way to see the beautiful countryside and they have free Wifi which is a big plus in my book.
We grab a cab from the train to the Berns Hotel where we are staying Friday night, and when we arrive I begin to understand why Stockholm is my boyfriend’s favorite city in Europe. Of course a search for pretty girls was probably the first reason he visited but besides the beautiful people (the men are extremely attractive too!), the city itself is also gorgeous, very clean, set across 14 islands on the coast in the south-east of Sweden, with water everywhere and an abundance of parks. Stockholm is known for its beauty, and captivating architecture and is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. I visited Venice a few weeks prior so I have to agree with this description except Stockholm is much cleaner and way more hip.
The Berns Hotel is a chic boutique hotel, with lavish chandeliers, plush, rich upholstery & contemporary art and furnishings, boasting old world glamour with an urban modern-day vibe. In short I loved it because it’s cool without trying too hard and is centrally located next to all the best restaurants and shops and after hours the gorgeous, two-level restaurant turns into a rocking club! NOSH AND CHOW, where we had dinner Friday night (and surprised the birthday boy!) is very hip and offers a delicious menu of fresh fish, vegetables, meats and a great wine list. After dinner we returned to Berns where we continued the surprise party at one of the 7 bars inside. We drank great cocktails, laughed and danced the night away, only stopping for a brief moment to notice the incredible sight of dozens of beautiful girls outside, waiting in line still at 2am. Girls take away message here is you’re just another pretty face in Sweden so this is the one place your good looks are probably not going to get you in anywhere faster than the guys.
The next morning we walked to meet some friends who were staying down the street at the Lydmar Hotel, another cool boutique hotel that embraces simple, modern design and a great location, looking out on the water. We had a delicious, boozy lunch on the terrace restaurant there, drinking Rose, telling stories and enjoying the sunshine & light summer breeze. After lunch we walked the pretty cobblestone streets of Gamla stan (The Old Town). Gamla stan, which consists primarily of the small island of Stadsholmen, is home to tons of great shops, restaurants and Stockholm Palace, which was built in the 18th century and is the actual residence of the Swedish Monarch, currently home to the present King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf.
We took pictures, went for coffee and gelato and then headed out to our friend’s house on Lake Mälaren for Saturday night. The countryside in Sweden is gorgeous with green rolling hills and trees everywhere, much like the central coast of California where I grew up. We had an amazing time at our friend’s house, and made sure to take a dip in the lake (a bit chilly but exhilarating!) before heading back to the city. We spent Sunday afternoon walking the streets again, stopping for a cocktail at the super cool IceBar, before heading back to London.
After the trip I now fully understand why Stockholm is my boyfriend’s favorite city in Europe. It’s clean and beautiful, the people are beautiful, the city has an amazing nightlife and so much to do during the day, the countryside is gorgeous, and the whole area is trendy and hip without trying too hard. I haven’t visited enough cities on this side of the pond to make that claim myself yet, but I can say Stockholm is very, very cool.