15 Things To Love About Stockholm

After colorful Copenhagen and magnificent Munich, we arrived at the last stop on our whirlwind gay European adventure: Stockholm. The self-professed capital of Scandinavia, it's a work of beauty. The fashionably city holds one of the world's most progressive societies—here are a few of the reasons we didn't want to say goodbye:

Water: Set across 14 islands, Stockholm is a city of endless water and bridges. No trip to the Swedish capital would be complete without seeing it by boat and, in fact, water taxis and ferries are often the most practical means of transportation! (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


The Royal Palace: The 1,430-room royal palace of Sweden’s ruling family is one of the largest palaces in Europe. Set in Gamla Stan (the Old City), hours of exploration await history buffs. The official residence of King Carl XVI Gustaf, it is also used to house visiting dignitaries and host official events. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Gamla Stan: There’s far more to see than just the palace in the Old City. With narrow lanes and cobblestone streets, it’s like stepping back in time. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars, making it just as exciting in the evening as it is during the day. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Urban Deli: While there are a ton of markets in Stockholm—including Hötorshallen, an indoor international food market and hall—Urban Deli is a local favorite. Adjoining the very popular bar and restaurant of the same name, a wide array of delectables are available. And, because it's Sweden, there's a special focus on local and seasonal produce. There's even a great selection of local beer!  (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Baked goods: Not to be outdone by their southern neighbors, Swedes know how to bake. Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) are a favorite, but for a less conventional taste of Scandinavia, you can’t go wrong with a kardemummabullar (cardamom bun). (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Balloon Rides: On a clear evening, there’s bound to be a hot-air balloon or two in the sky. Without a doubt, the most magical way to view the city. (Photo: Jeppe Wikström/VisitStockholm)


Fashion: Scandinavian fashion, minimalist and slim, is world renown, and Stockholm is its capital. With a refreshingly modern take on classic design, menswear by Fillipa K, Tiger of Sweden, and J Lindeberg are the staples of a Swedish wardrobe. Those brands and many many more can all be found at Nordiska Kompaniet, the city’s oldest and most luxurious department store. Paul & Friends (pictured) is a great place to start—in the '90s, they were the first store in the world to sell Acne! (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


King Gustav III: King of Sweden in the late 18th century, Gustav III is the nation’s most celebrated gay icon. An unrivalled patron of the arts, he founded the Swedish Academy and built the Royal Opera House. Every year during Stockholm Pride, the largest in Scandinavia, marchers lay flowers at the foot of his statue. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Greenery: Stockholm is famously a city divided—one-third city, one-third, water, and one-third green space. You’re never far from a park in the Swedish city. One of our favorites was Djurgården, where you’ll also find The Thiel Gallery. (Photo: Ola Ericson/VisitStockholm)


Fika: In Sweden, there’s a fourth meal of the day: fika. It’s a uniquely Swedish term for enjoying a cup of strong coffee or tea alongside a baked good. Chokladkoppen, located in Gamla Stan, is Stockholm’s most popular gay café—a great place to learn about what’s happening in the city’s gay scene, and they make a point of employing LGBT youth. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Mälarpaviljongen: The floating restaurant and bar is one of Stockholm’s most popular spots. Named on of the “Best neighborhood restaurants in the world” by Condé Nast Traveller, it’s a rosé drinkers paradise in the summer – they even have their own brand, of which a portion goes to an LGBT charity. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Eco-friendly: Like Copenhagen, the Swedes are firm believers in being environmentally friendly, not least because it so often tastes delicious. The Green Queen offers organic street food and everything, right down to the silverware, is recyclable or compostable. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Beer: While perhaps less internationally celebrated than Denmark, the Swedish brewing scene is top notch. For a glass of speciality beer, there are options from Gamla Stan to Södermalm. Södra Teatern (right), however, is without a doubt the place to be. With dozens of varieties of international beer, it also boasts incredible views of the city. (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)


Subway Art: Over 90 out of Stockholm’s 100 subway stations are adorned with unique artwork and architecture, leading many to refer to it as the longest art gallery in the world. This rainbow fixture is in Stadion Station, the stop used to get to Stockholm Pride Park. (Photo: Kevin Kee Pil Cho/imagebank.sweden.se)


Progressive Gender: Sweden is one of the most progressive countries in terms of gender. Just this year, a gender neutral pronoun was officially inducted into the Swedish language, and it is already widely being used in media and television. Byredo, a Swedish fragrance company, is a perfect example of this. Founded in 2006, all its perfumes are unisex, blending flowery with musky, and not geared towards one sex in particular. In fact, our male guide said that he started wearing his scent after first buying it as a gift for his sister! (Photo: Przemek Czaicki)

 

Explore more things to love about this beautiful city on the water over at the Stockholm Gay & Lesbian Network.

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