It has been less than 2 months since I moved away from Stockholm and I already look forward to coming back to visit. After only living there for a year and a half, it has become one of my hometowns. Stockholm feels like home, and while living there I found my favourite secret gems.
While I am not able to explore new destinations during the corona lockdown (read more about that here), I will instead share my favourite secret gems of Stockholm. Also, there are already tons of sightseeing must-see guides available online for you to read.
What I love about Stockholm
I am really a tropical-kinda-person, I loove the sun and warm weather (I even prefer sleeping in 25℃ plus). Everyone around me wondered, why would I ever move further north?! Good question… I had been on business trips to Stockholm before, and I just liked the city vibe and being surrounded by raw nature. Then I received a job offer I couldn’t turn down.
Stockholm is unique in being so spacious, and since it’s based on 14 islands, water runs through the city centre. The architecture and nature come together and coexist harmoniously. You don’t feel like you’re living with pollution, although you see the traffic and feel the city-pulse.
I need to say, I absolutely prefer Stockholm during the summer season! The city turns green, all the cafés have tables and flowers on the street and everyone is smiling. It’s stunning!
My favourite secret gems
The most secret and my absolute favourite gem. Even most of my Stockholmer friends haven’t heard of the lake. It takes around 30-40 minutes to walk from Tekniska Högskola station to reach it. You can choose to walk through the beautiful Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH) university area and then through the forest.
Next to Laduviken lake, you’ll find two old ski jump hills! Actually, the skiers would land on the lake when it was frozen during the winter. The smaller jumping hill was built in 1990, and the large hill was built in 1904. Both are closed now, but it’s a good challenge to walk up a hill and it’s possible to walk up into the oldest tower and be rewarded with a view over the lake.
Stockholm is known for clean and clear water, but also for not having a lot of sandy beaches. Instead, it’s mostly cliffs, rocks, grass and floating piers. My favourite bathing spot is Brunnsviksbadet lake, it’s a hidden gem a bit outside the city centre. There’s a small grassy/sandy area, but I always go further to the cliffs. Due to the nature of the cliffs, it’s possible to find a spot at its individual level and it feels less crowded. Best of all, it’s fresh water!
When you visit Gamla Stan, make sure to visit the small island, Kastellholmen, too. There’s a perfect view to Grönalund Tivoli and a rock/cliff area where you can enjoy the sun if the Swedish weather allows it.
It is super popular to climb in Stockholm! Gasverket Climbing is 1000 square metres and opened in summer 2019, in an old gas distribution house. My favourite place to climb, especially because the origins of the building is a part of the decor.
Snösätra graffiti exhibition // Springbeast festival
Family-friendly and urban graffiti festival in Snösätragrand Hall of Fame in Rågsved. Information about when and where is found here. Although the festival is only once a year, you can always drop by for the open exhibition. 160 Swedish and European graffiti artists have showcased their works on walls in an outdoor area.
Två små svin “Two small pigs”
Två små svin is a cosy little restaurant for all the Danes and everyone else who wants to try a national Danish dish! Here you’ll find proper smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches; usually a piece of rye bread topped with cold cuts). Make sure to make a booking in advance, as it’s small and quite popular.
Romme Alpin is not really a secret gem, but highly recommendable if you are in Stockholm during the winter. Great skiing resort only 3-4 hours drive from the city centre. I’ll argue it isn’t a tourist trap, as most people going there are Swedes who want to do some proper skiing and only have a day/weekend to dedicate. It is possible to take a direct bus from the city station and you can rent all the necessary gear. Make sure to book in advance!
Hammarby Sjöstad – Sickla kanal
Simply stunning nature combined with an option to rent kayaks at Sjöstad Kajak and sail through Sickla kanal (or do a course). I took my “Green open ocean kayak” certificate here.
You can’t avoid spotting Hammarbybacken, a tiny skiing resort. I haven’t been there myself, but it provides an opportunity to go skiing during the winter.
Overall, definitely not a secret gem. But the Stockholm Archipelagos is the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea with nearly 30,000 islands – You can find thousands of secret gems there! I can recommend a kayaking trip to the Archipelagos incl. sleep-over. When I did that, I didn’t meet any tourists, instead, I enjoyed the silence and the rugged nature.