Last month I took a weekend trip to visit the Swedish capital of Stockholm. This was my third time travelling solo and unlike my other solo adventures, this time I did very little planning beforehand.
My other voyages had distinct purposes; Paris for siteseeing and Seville to attend Spanish classes. But with Stockholm, all I knew was that I wanted to visit the ABBA Museum (something I’m not ashamed to say has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember). And so, with little more than Waterloo humming in my mind, I set off to the Swedish capital…
As I mentioned in my tips for seeing a city on a budget, I find museums are a good way to discover a city and fill time whilst keeping costs down. I managed to fit in 3 museums whilst in Stockholm:
MODERNA MUSEET (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART)
With Sweden’s famed reputation for cutting edge design, I was especially looking forward to visiting the MoMA. That said, I wasn’t expecting to spend nearly 4 hours here! Much of that time was spent in the Marina Abramović exhibition which I thoroughly enjoyed. The temporary exhibition is a retrospective of Abramović’s most poignant work, including The Artist Is Present. It’s running until May 21st 2017 and I would definitely recommend making time for it if you happen to be in Stockholm!
As well as the temporary exhibitions, the museum also houses an impressive permanent collection of modern art; from Warhol to Dalí and beyond. The giftshop sold some equally cool wares, however I was reluctant to spend 90 Swedish Krona (nearly £8) on a pencil!
THE NOBEL MUSEUM
Here I learnt about Alfred Nobel, the Swedish founder of the eponymous Prize as well as some of its recipients. Interesting as it was, I was more interested in learning about the Nobel Peace Prize, however this museum focuses on the science Laureates (there’s another Nobel Museum in Oslo dedicated to the Peace Prize as it’s awarded there).
ABBA: THE MUSEUM
As I mentioned already, this was one of the things I was looking forward to most about Stockholm so expectations were high. Having musicians for parents, ABBA was a big part of my introduction to pop music growing up. Once, when asked what I wanted to go as for fancy dress at school I said ABBA (needless to say my mum made me the sickest outfit complete with flares)!
ABBA: The Museum tells the story of the Swedish band; from their humble beginnings to winning Eurovision and their subsequent rocketry to superstardom. Throughout the museum are anecdotes from the band members themselves which really brings it all to life. I liked that the overall tone was very lighthearted – it didn’t take itself too seriously. Unsurprisingly, seeing all ABBA’s stage outfits was a real highlight for me and I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance of the lilac silk suits below to recent Gucci collections! All in all, I thought it was a very thoughtfully curated museum and a truly memorable and unique experience.
Right: the best (and most expensive!) meatballs, mash + lingonberry jam I’ve tasted at Under Kastanjen.
Below: picturesque coffee shop in the Old Town
Above: sunsets over the palace
THE OLD TOWN
If you’re visiting Stockholm, devoting some time to just getting lost in the Old Town of Gamla Stan is a must! The little winding streets of patchwork coloured buildings captured my heart, with something new to discover around every corner. There’s plenty of little boutiques & eateries here too, like Under Kastanjen I mentioned earlier.
I used this self-guided, free National Geographic walking tour which is a nice way to explore the Old Town, but I still think there were a few things I missed. Next time, I think it would be worth joining a walking tour guided by a local.
Above: the narrowest street in the Old Town!
Though I managed to fit in quite a lot considering this was just a weekend trip, I would still return to see the City Hall, Vasa Museum and for shopping because those Swedes have impeccable taste when it comes to interiors/fashion!
Do you have a favourite Scandi city?