Sweden is truly one of those countries where I could move to without thinking it twice. Alexis and I were lucky enough to travel with local friends. We stayed at their summer house in Arild, in the countryside, which is absolutely beautiful. We took day trips to the beach and to the micronation of Ladonia to see the controversial Nimis sculptures, built in 1980 by Lars Vilks. Then the four of us headed to Stockholm by train for 3 more days of fun.
Here are my favorite things to do in Sweden:
1. Visit Sweden’s country side
Many people just stay in Stockholm when visiting Sweden.There is nothing wrong with that, but when going in the right season (a.k.a. summer), it’s fun to venture outside the capital and check out the country side. It looks very flat, but the vast green spaces adorned with red houses make it a really nice off-the-beaten-path experience.
2. Buy Swedish berries* from the side of the road (strawberries, raspberries, all of them!) (*seasonal only)
When in the country side, look out for street vendors selling berries. These are often found on the side of the road sold by kids or home owners selling products directly from their farms. I kid you not, the strawberries and raspberries I had in Sweden are by far the sweetest, juiciest and most delicious ones I ever had anywhere… ever… period!
3. Vasa Museum in Stockholm
Because where else can you see a massive 17th century ship from that spent 333 years under water and now is featured in a museum that was designed and built specifically to house it? Guided tours in English available. Get ready to make a long line.
4. Ice bar in Stockholm
This is probably one of the cheesiest and touristy things to do in Stockholm, but hey, when in Rome! I told Alexis, if we are going to pay 20eur to freeze our a** off we might as well do it in Stockholm. The entry fee includes one drink served in a glass made with ice and the use of the eskimo-like robe. It is a bit cheaper if pre-booked online. Heads up, do not try to be funny and ask the bartender for a hot coffee. Apparently everyone asks this question so they are tired of hearing this all day long (guilty!).
5. Sail to one of the islands on the Swedish archipelago
We went to Vaxholm. It was the closest to Stockholm which made it the perfect island for a day trip. Strolling along the main shopping street, eating fresh salmon and baked goodies at one of the many eateries and shop fresh fruits at the market are some of the things to do to spend a relaxing day in Vaxholm.
6. The Change of the Guard at the Royal Palace
Not quite like the change of the guards at Buckingham Palace. This one feels more intimate and less flamboyant. Also, you don’t have to get there 2 hours before in order to secure a place to see it.
7. Surstromming, anyone?
Surströmming has been a Swedish traditional dish since the 16th century. It is basically fermented Baltic Sea herring which comes in a bulging can. The fish has a slimy consistency and smells like rotten eggs. I have seen all kind of videos in YouTube from people trying Surstromming and almost dying from the experience. Since we were in Sweden, it was the perfect time and place to try this dish. Our friend, who is a native Swedish explained that the can shall alway be opened outdoors and submerging it in water while opening helps to avoid being sprayed with the liquid. I got to say it wasn’t as bad as some people makes it look.
8. Indulge in kanelbullar Like cinnamon rolls but not quite. This delicious pastry is best enjoyed straight from the oven with a coup of java.