A Complete Guide to Stockholm & Swedish Lapland

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Advisor - Kay Hart
Curated By

Kay Hart

  • Sweden

  • Adventure Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Boutique Travel

  • International Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Outdoors

  • Bucket-List

  • Northern Lights

view of the green northern lights over a snow landscape at night
Curator’s statement

Sweden was ranked one of the top ten happiest countries in the world, and after a visit there it is without question why. Stockholm is full of history, culture and sustainable architecture, not to mention the brilliant food scene. The shopping is unreal; from vintage to designer to home decor, the only issue is how to get it all home. After walking around Stockholm from island to island, it's time for nature! From Stockholm, you take an easy flight to the airport of Luleå which is a 90-minute drive to Harads, Sweden. A stay at Arctic Bath, Loggers Lodge or Tree Hotel are all ideal locations to experience the spirit of Swedish Lapland. Remote luxury among pine tree forests, with a river running nearby (or frozen nearby depending on the time of year), and a star-filled sky make it an ideal place to watch the Northern Lights dance on clear nights. To see the beauty of the Northern Lights, head to Swedish Lapland between early September and late March (but of course, the lights are no guarantee).

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Where to stay in Sweden

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Things to do in Sweden

snowy ground with bright green northern lights in the sky

Things to do in Stockholm

You can accomplish a lot in a day in Stockholm - it is such a walkable city and you cross bridges which makes it extra spectacular. The city is made up of so many islands all of which offer different experiences, but here are a few recommendations not to miss if you have 24 -36 hours in Stockholm before heading North for outdoor adventures. Truly I don't recommend over-planning here - just walk and walk and walk!

Gamla Stan - The Old Town of Stockholm that began back in 1252. Personally, I would skip the museums here as it's the streets where you can feel the history. Explore the old streets, the narrow streets, you’ll find the national cathedral and the colorful historical buildings. Grab a pastry to fuel all the walking!

Södermalm – Widely recognized as Söder or Sofo. This is like the European Silverlake meets Williamsburg but sustained by its architectural historic buildings. Soooo many fun vintage shops, boutique stores, wine bars and chic restaurants. The parks are astonishingly clean for city parks and so family-friendly.

Östermalm - No visit to Stockholm would be complete without crossing thru Östermalm to visit the mecca of design stores and designer shops a'la Acne Store (in the historic bank) and of course H&M and &OtherStories and Toteme to name a few. Also, be sure to stop in the food haul Östermalm Saluhall for an overwhelming amount of food options - they say to try the hot dogs!

Fotografiska Museum - I love that it's open late *until 23:00 some nights* making it a fun night out with wine carts strolling around the museum. The brick-built building lines the water with awesome views and inside is constantly evolving contemporary photography exhibitions.

Things to do in Swedish Lapland

Where the sky lights up and your heart lights up too! Where your breath will be taken by beauty but also be restored to breathe in the complete freshness. I would recommend staying at two different hotels for a range of experiences but if budget and time are limited you can't go wrong with any of my recommendations; we will work together to figure out the stay right for you or you and your crew.

Arctic Bath Hotel Spa Day - The spa is the community area of the hotel and it's not a traditional spa, it's a nature-induced spa. One that combines a polar plunge in the river with an array of products that will heal your sore bones. Follow the instructions they provide to partake in their recommended arctic ritual.

Lapland Husky Sledding - This can be arranged for you with locals (from Arctic Bath it's just a 25-minute drive). Kim (a local to Lapland) and Marcos (a Madrid transplant) have a beautiful range of huskies to offer self-drive or guided-driven tours.

Arctic Adventure - In the winter go snowmobiling for a night under the stars and Northern Lights with guide Robert (also a National Geographic photographer and local). Or, if traveling in the summer then let him take you fishing - it's his passion and you are bound to catch something delicious with his guidance.

Sami Village Visit - his can be arranged for you to visit locals and have a glimpse of the Sami culture (including lunch with a reindeer herder).

Places to eat & drink in Sweden

cinnamon buns in the window

Places to eat & drink in Stockholm, Sweden

Cinnamon Buns - Fan of Cinnabon? Fan of pastries? Well. you are in luck. Cinnamon buns are everywhere and you can't go wrong grabbing one on the go!

Drop Coffee - Coffee shops are everywhere in Stockholm as in most cities but Drop Coffee is so legit. It's a great place to unwind, work remotely or just people watch.

Cafe Nizza - In the neighborhood of Södermalm; this is an unpretentious really adorable and warm restaurant and wine bar. The food is delicious and the chilled reds are incredible. French without the fuss and Italian without the heavy sauces. After dinner, you can walk next door for more wine!

Omnipollos Hatt - In the neighborhood of Södermalm; this is a delicious (yes legit) pizza spot. Personal pizzas and beers on tap (or wine). You can even sit outside in the dead of winter because they have heat lamps and the street and people-watching are adorable.

Places to eat & drink in Harads, Sweden

9-Course Tasting Dinner at Arctic Bath Hotel - You heard it here first. The food is off the charts, truly Michelin star status without the pretentious fuss at Arctic Bath Hotel. The special touch to each dish and a custom menu each night make their tasting dinner one not to miss. It's the perfect culinary experience after a day of adventure and a night ahead of star gazing or Northern Lights viewing.

Need to Know

There is such a range of experiences in Sweden, so we will work together to customize a vacation that matches your vibe, your travel desires and your budget.

Yearning for warmer weather? Check out A Sustainable Guide to Sumba, Indonesia.

Advisor - Kay Hart

Travel Advisor

Kay Hart

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Sweden, and our continuing series on nature escapes.