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sweden

it isn’t a secret that Stockholm is traditionally considered a summer city. With long sun-filled days, colourful facades, and mild temperatures that are suitable for roaming the city streets well into the bright evenings. In contrast winter is cold, it’s dark. So why would anyone want to visit Stockholm in the winter? 

Well, I happen to think that Stockholm is a great winter city – and I am going to tell you exactly why. The chilly temperatures provide the perfect atmosphere to get cozy. It is significantly less busy compared to summer months, which means you likely won’t be dodging other tourists. And there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy in the event that weather isn’t cooperating. 

Bundle up & strap on your most comfortable boots. here's a complete city guide to visiting Stockholm in the winter.

Things to do in stockholm in the winter

(Or in any season, really!)
Visit Stockholm's old town: Gamla Stan

Let’s start with the most obvious spot first: Gamla Stan. Aka, the city’s old town.

Gamla Stan is a beautiful district right in the heart of Stockholm where you can get lost in the maze of streets. Venture away from the main streets and you’ll find the coziest narrow alleyways and beautiful warm-toned facades. 

Tucked away in the middle of Gamla Stan you’ll find Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, which is a very narrow staircase alleyway filled with graffiti, and it is worth checking out.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Stortorget, or “Big Square,” which is the old town’s main square. It is lined with beautiful buildings (and patios in the summer months). 

And  if you happen to be there around the holidays (like me), Stortorget is home to a charming Christmas market. It is definitely one of the smaller markets I’ve been to, but worth checking out and grabbing a cup of glögg (mulled wine). It is absolutely beautiful see, backed by the colourful buildings around the square.

Explore my favourite neighbourhood: Södermalm

Södermalm, also commonly (and affectionately) known as the “hipster” area of Stockholm, is just plain cool. Think of it as the Brooklyn of Stockholm, hosting all the best restaurants, bars, trendy stores, and coffee shops.

I’d recommend getting off at Medborgarplasen Station, with Götgatan as your starting point, and explore from there. Along Götgatan, you’ll find all kinds of cool shops to browse, which also serve as the perfect escape from the cold if it happens to be chilly outside.

After that, venture through the pretty streets of Katarina-Sofia, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the city (more on that below). Another cool stop is Soda Nation, a boutique soda shop with all kinds of unique sodas from all over the world (where I indulged in a “Jul” or “Christmas” soda).

Museum Hop

Okay, so you’ve spent plenty of time roaming around outside and it’s starting to get a bit chilly. Why not take it indoors to one of Stockholm’s many museums.

My personal favourite museum was Fotografiska, a museum that features various photograph exhibits throughout the year. The work we saw was so unique and creative, and this was easily a highlight of my time in Stockholm. It costs 135 SEK (roughly 13 EUR or 14 USD) per person, and is worth every penny. I highly suggest visiting at nighttime (the museum is opened until 11PM on weekdays and 1AM on weekends) and take some time to visit the on-site bar for a drink. They often also host live music and other events – you can find out more details on their event calendar.

Stockholm is filled with many other museums, such as Moderna Museet, the popular Vasa Museet, and the ABBA The Museum for all the Abba lovers out there. We didn’t have time to visit any of these this time, but I guess that just means we’ll need to go back and visit again soon.

step back in time at Skansen

Skansen is the worlds largest open-air museum, home to homesteads, animals, and shops that are supposed to represent the whole of Sweden. Here, you’ll be transported back in time as you walk the grounds of this museum. My personal favourite part: Watching the wolves play! They wrestled around with each other and looked just like the most adorable little pups, and I was just left wishing I could hop in the pen and play with them (even though that is obviously a VERY bad idea).

We visited Skansen during December for their annual Christmas market, which was easily the best Christmas market in Stockholm. There was live Swedish music, glögg, and tons of stalls to browse. They even had a stall where they were brewing beer over an open fire next the the stall – and the beer was delicious (you can see a picture of them stirring the malt below).

Visit Stadsbiblioteket

Stadsbiblioteket, or the Stockholm city library, is a stunning library. In the centre, you’ll find a large round room with a dome-shaped roof and floor-to-ceiling books. It is seriously breathtaking, and I felt like I was living out my childhood dream pretending I am Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Explore the famous Stockholm Tunnelbana (metro) art

The Stockholm Tunnelbana – the city’s metro system – has gained notoriety all over the world for it’s famed art installations. Since 1957, artists have been commissioned to revitalize many of Stockholm’s oldest metro stations. The results are SO COOL and have become a tourist attraction themselves.

We visited five different stations during our time in Stockholm and my only regret is we didn’t have time to see more. Here’s the five we visited:

T-Centralen

Arguably my favourite, I loved the design of the artwork at T-Centralen (the central station). The station is full of trains and metro lines, and is quite overwhelming. But, just keep your eyes peeled for the Blue Line and make your way toward that to find this masterpiece. 

T-Centralen art Stockholm
Stadion

Stadion is also on the Blue Line and features a huge rainbow over the metro station, and lots of bright colours. I found this was the most difficult spot to photograph because it happened to be the most busy with other tourists. But can you blame them? Look at it! 

Solna Centrum

Solna Centrum was another easy Blue Line favourite for me, with bright red walls and green tree drawings scattered throughout the metro station.

Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården was the most unique station we visited. The main colour of this station is green, but it also has really unique checkered/pixelated patterns throughout. Similar to the others, this can also be found  on the Blue Line.

Rådhuset

Rådhuset was our final Blue Line stop and it dominates with a bright orange cave-like interior. 

You’ll notice all of our stops were along the Blue Line, which makes it easy to hope from one to another. If you were to venture off on other lines, it would take a bit more time. So, if you’re in a time crunch like me, you could hit up these five stations in a short amount of time.

Additional Tips for Exploring The Tunnelbana

When should you visit the Tunnelbana to get the best pictures? Honestly, when I saw everyone posting empty pictures of these spots online, I assumed they were visiting during the early hours of the morning. However, we were taking the metro at all times of the day (morning, evening, mid-afternoon) and there were always breaks in traffic and opportunities to take photos. Just have a little bit of patience, and the opportunity will arise (although I never had to be patient for more than a couple minutes to snag the shot).

Is it difficult to shoot in the dark metro stations? YES. You’ll notice many of my photos are quite grainy. I’ve done my best to edit to remove the grain, but in some cases it was super difficult.

If you’re looking for even more stations to discover, Visit Stockholm highlights fourteen of the most beautiful stations in this article.

Where to Eat in Stockholm

There is not shortage of amazing restaurants in Stockholm. When researching where to eat, and polling friends, the result was a massive list of recommendations, ranging from cheap eats, to traditional Swedish cuisine, to international eats, and everything in between. Below you’ll find where I’ve ate so far. But stay tuned, because this list is bound to keep growing.

Best Affordable Eats in Stockholm: Lådan

Lådan is a quirky little beer and small plates joint close to Stadsbiblioteket. It features really unique craft beers (I had a Cola-flavoured one) and affordable small plate food options that range from sliders to tacos to mac ‘n cheese. It’s the perfect spot to grab a quick bite for lunch.

Best Meatballs in Stockholm: Meatballs for the People

If your looking for a spot to try Sweden’s arguably most famous dish, Meatballs for the People is a great spot to do it. They offer all kinds of meatball dishes, ranging from classic with lingonberries and cucumber (which I opted for), to more trendy dishes like “The Hipster” moose meatballs (that Sebastian ordered).

Best Italian in Stockholm: Café Nizza

A cozy Italian joint in Södermalm, Café Nizza offers tasty dishes and a really nice atmosphere. I particularly loved their homemade pastas and mussel appetizer.

Best Unique Dinner in Stockholm: Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessen

If you’re looking for a unique spot to have a mid-range dinner in Stockholm, this is the place. Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessen is the tiniest (and I mean TINY with only five tables), coziest little restaurant with a menu inspired by New York Jewish delis. If you want to eat here, make a reservation because it’s popular.

Best Fika in Stockholm: Kaffe

I know what you’re thinking – a coffeeshop called “Kaffe” (which translates to “coffee” in English)… how original. BUT, hear me out. Kaffe is a coffeeshop in Södermalm that offers exceptional coffee and treats. The atmosphere is welcoming and offers the perfect atmosphere to grab a window spot, people watch, and enjoy fika. I loved this spot and I am confident that if I lived in Stockholm, I would be a regular here.

Best Cocktail Bar in Stockholm: Tjoget

Tjoget was named to the “2019 Best Bars in the World” list – and I can understand why. I indulged in their award-winning cocktail, affectionately referred to by the bartender as a “Nordic pina colada” with beetroot, ginger, and coconut flavours. It was DELICIOUS.

Best Hotel in Stockholm

Hotel Tegnérlunden

I had the absolute pleasure of staying at this perfect Stockholm city centre hotel and I could not recommend it more. You can find my full Hotel Tegnérlunden review in my blog post here.

Getting Around Stockholm

Typically I prefer to walk everywhere on vacation. I am a firm believer that this is how you see and experience the city in the best way. I’ve walked all over Stockholm (in fact, on my most recent trip I walked over 40,000 steps in two days). And I came across so many hidden gems. 

However, if the weather isn’t cooperating during the winter months, Stockholm and extremely well connected by Tunnelbana – Stockholm’s metro system. Despite walking all over the city, we used the metro a lot while visiting in December because it gave us an opportunity to see more in a short 48 hour window (plus, escaping the cold temperatures was an added bonus!). A 24-hour metro pass sets you back 130 SEK per person (roughly 27 USD or 25 EUR). This may seen a bit pricey, but in my experience, it is worth every penny (especially because it gives you the opportunity to see the Tunnelbana art installations that I mentioned above).

If you’re coming into Stockholm via Arlanda airport, you can reach the city centre by Arlanda Express in a quick 20 minutes. The price point is a bit alarming at 579 SEK round-trip per person (that’s roughly 60 USD or 55 EUR), but it is easily the most efficient way to get to/from the city. Plus it uses green energy, which makes it eco-friendly. This is Sweden, after all – which means nothing is cheap. 

It's time channel your inner Swede and embrace Stockholm in the Winter

Pack your thermals, and you’ll be all set! There really is a never-ending amount of things to do in Stockholm in the winter,  and I very much recommend visiting this time of year (especially in December when the city is lit up with Christmas lights!).

If you’re travelling around Scandinavia, check out my Denmark and Sweden content. And read about all the best things about Sweden while you’re at it to help you get excited for your Scandinavian adventure.

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The Best Things to do in Stockholm in the Winter.
Things to Do in Stockholm
The Best Christmas Markets in Stockholm
The Best Subway Stations in Stockholm
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Kronovalls slott in October

Autumn in Skåne is beautiful.

The cool, crisp temperatures. The changing colours. The prettiest little towns that look like they are straight out of an Astrid Lindgren fairytale (in case you’re like WHO? … she’s the famous Swedish author of Pippi Longstocking).

Over the past few weeks, I have spent my weekends exploring the Skåne region, which is the southernmost Swedish county that Malmö resides in. And it’s safe to say I’ve seen some of the prettiest landscapes since I moved to Sweden.


Here are some of my favourite autumn in Skåne photos.


ARILD

If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was walking around a movie set in Arild. It is so charming, that Travel & Leisure named this quaint fishing village it one of their “Top 25 Secret European Villages.” And for good reason – just look at how perfect it is.

Can’t Miss: If you’re in Arild, make sure to make a pitstop at Flickorna Lundgren. This spot is located in the countryside outside of Arild and was named Sweden’s best fika by Vogue. Here, you’ll be served their famous sweets and coffee while you sit in the most perfect garden setting. However, keep in mind that this spot typically closes for the season at the end of September, so make sure you check out their opening hours on their website.

After fika, don’t forget to head into the town of Arild to roam around the narrow cobblestone streets and admire the cutest little houses.


MÖLLE

Another picturesque fishing village, Mölle is a popular summer destination for both locals and Europeans, but it quiets down in the autumn months. This makes it the perfect time to visit, when you can enjoy the crisp fall weather without any crowds.


HÖGANÄS

Höganäs is home to Sweden’s famous BBQ spot: Holy Smoke. Situated again in middle-of-nowhere Swedish countryside, this BBQ spot is very popular amongst locals. They serve authentic southern BBQ that will surely make you feel like you’ve been transported to the American south, in the cosiest outdoor setting. At the end of the meal, you can even sit campfire-side and roast marshmallows.

Similar to many other places in this region, Holy Smoke isn’t open all autumn. Take a look at their website for their seasonal hours.

See Also: My guide to where to eat and drink in Malmö.


ÖSTERLEN

Österlen is a region in southwest corner of Skåne, comprised of all kinds of charming country villages. One Saturday during autumn in Skåne, we took a little trip around Österlen. We didn’t really have an itinerary, and we stumbled across some of the coolest sights.

First, was this Österlenchocklad, a little chocolate factory located in the middle of one of Österlen’s small towns. As we were driving by, we noticed the sign and made a split second decision to pull into the parking lot. And let’s just say, I am so happy we did because in this little award-winning chocolate shop, I had the best hot chocolate of my life (and lots of tasty chocolate, too!).

Österlenchocklad: The best chocolate store in Skane

Another stumble-upon location we made a quick decision to pull into was Kronovall Castle. This spot was tucked into the woods, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It featured the most beautiful castle, including acres of grounds with hiking trails and historic buildings, like a blacksmiths shop! And with the leaves being the perfect shade of orange, this place was purely magical.


KIVIK

Kivik, the famous apple region of Skåne, is home to acres and acres of apple orchards. The most famous spple orchard is Kiviksmusteri. Kiviksmusteri produces all kinds of different apple juice and cider, and other apple goods. We loved roaming around the groups, visiting the apple trees, and taking home lots of apple goodies.


SIMRISHAMN

Simrishamn is another community in Österlen. It is located on the water and home to the most beautiful beach (with sand that a really unique shade of orange). The town itself is charming and quaint, with zig-zagging cobblestone alleyways lined with beautiful historical homes.

My only regret is that we didn’t come here in the summer to take a dip at the beautiful beach.


MALMÖ

If you haven’t caught on yet, I love living in Malmö. And Malmö during the autumn season is no exception. As the colours of the seasons continue to change, I find myself non-stop snapping pictures. And can you blame me?

See Also: My full guide to Malmö Sweden.


I told you that autumn in Skåne is beautiful. I’m feeling pretty darn thankful to be living in this picturesque county, where these quaint towns and incredible views are only a short drive away.

Travelling the world is wonderful. But with all these special spots in my very own backyard, I’m feeling really content with staying home for a while. And with so much more to discover, stay tuned for more Swedish road trips coming at ya soon!


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And if you’re living in, or visiting, Skåne, make sure you check out my Malmö Sweden City Guide.

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Lilla torg, Malmö

Canadian Expat // Canadian Expat in Sweden // Life in Sweden as a Canadian Expat

Hey everyone! I’ve been getting a lot of requests for a week one update. How have I been settling in? What have I been up to? How is Screech (my cat) adjusting? I’m officially unpacked, caught up on sleep, and I’m dishing all the details with my week one update about life in Malmö, Sweden.

How’s Life in Sweden?

Simply put: GREAT. I’m finding my bearings in this new city and so far I’m really enjoying it. From a cultural perspective, life Canada and Sweden is similar.

Malmö
Exploring my new neighbourhood

Perhaps the biggest difference from home is that Malmö is a fairly densely populated city which means I can get virtually anywhere I need to go by foot within 20-30 minutes. It is also an extremely bike-friendly city and I’m planning to get my own bike soon so I can REALLY fit in with the locals. I absolutely love that driving is discouraged, and that between public transit and shared pathways, getting around this city is a breeze.

We’re also settling into our brand new apartment. Although we’ll be living in the midst of a construction zone for a bit as the new neighbourood develops, the apartment itself is beautifully modern and the location is central. Being brand new, the developers really thought of it all. And after living in a 100 year old (very charming) apartment, the small luxuries of a brand new space are so exciting. We’ve been to Ikea three times so far, as well as antique shops and local stores, and are having so much fun decorating the space. I can’t wait to share with you our little Scandinavian oasis in the next few weeks!

Day to day life has been great. I’m spending my unemployed days searching for work (leads, anyone?), writing, wandering, and unpacking/getting organized. As someone who has always had a job, I was admittedly a bit worried about unemployment but so far, I have kept very busy. I’ve even been going to classes at an international yoga studio right around the corner from my apartment called Yoga Roots.

Yoga Studio
Yoga Roots Yoga Studio

Finally, my cat Screech is doing great and has officially adjusted to her new life in Sweden. The overseas move went way better than I could have ever hoped for [I truly was prepared for the absolute worst]. I’m going to post more about this in a separate post, providing guidance on how to move a cat overseas. I realize that this doesn’t apply to many of my readers, but it is a resource that seemed to be lacking when I was doing my own research, so I want to share some of my tips with others.

What Have I Been Up To?

I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Malmö this past week. Here are a few highlights.

Swedish Coffee

Everyone has told me that Sweden has an incredible coffee culture. And while most days I’ve tried to make coffee at home to save money, I have definitely had my fair share of fika time. Verdict: the coffee definitely lives up to the hype.

Noir Coffee, Malmö
Noir Coffee, Malmö

Food Culture

I’ve also spent some time getting to know the food culture in Malmö. Aside from ordering sushi (twice), we’ve ventured out to explore a few different restaurants and bars. My favourite experience was at Malmö Saluhall, an indoor marketplace with food vendors and restaurants. We picked up a few take-home goodies [including a traditional Sweden dessert called Semla] and ate ramen at Pink Head Noodle Bar – it was fantastic.

Pink Head Noodle Bar Malmö Saluhall
Pink Head Noodle Bar, Malmö Saluhall

Stay tuned for more on the food culture, I’m going to have so much more to share soon including some highlights from Copenhagen this upcoming weekend!

Shopping

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to shop. I’ve been lusting over Scandinavian-inspired clothes at so many local shops, but I’m resisting the urge to buy until I have a job. So window shopping it is!

Another thing I’m obsessing over: Scandi-inspired interior design. I fell in love with a local store called AB Småland this past weekend. I honestly wanted to buy everything in the store for our apartment, so thankfully I had Sebastian with me to be the practical voice of reason. We settled on a couple rugs for the bedroom, and I can’t wait to go back and buy lots of little plants once we have some shelving in place.

AB Småland, Malmö
AB Småland, Malmö

That’s it for my one week update on life in Sweden!

We’re spending this Saturday in Copenhagen, and have a couple upcoming trips planned that I can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, in case you missed it, check out some of my other city guides here.

xx,

Madeline

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