When my muggle husband booked a weekend trip to Stockholm as my Christmas present, I was excited to tick off another must-visit city from my bucket list. We loved our trip to Copenhagen in January 2017, and were looking forward to experiencing some more Scandinavian delights.
We arrived late Saturday afternoon to Arlanda airport and made our way by coach to the city centre. There was significantly more snow on the ground than we had anticipated, with a fresh covering having just fallen earlier that day. A 15 minute walk from the bus stop and we were soon checking in to the very funky Downtown Camper by Scandic. After dropping our luggage, we decided to head for a stroll around the Old Town.
The Swedish capital sits across fourteen islands on Lake Mälaren, which flows in to the Baltic Sea. This means walking anywhere usually involves crossing bridges. We were fascinated by the sheets of ice floating along the water, in some parts at high speed.
We passed the parliament building (Riksdag) and the Royal Palace on our way to the Old town, with royal guards marching the perimeter of the Swedish royal family’s home. The Old Town, or Gamla Stan, is a maze of medieval streets, dotted with cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops to peruse.
On Sunday, following an unsuccessful attempt at finding a somewhat important geocache in a suburb of Stockholm, our next stop when we were back in the city was the ABBA Museum. I am a huge fan of the Swedish pop sensations and was really excited to visit. We had not booked in advance and discovered when we arrived that they only accept card payments: both to buy tickets and also for gift shop purchases.
The museum is located in the Pop House Hotel, less than a 10 minute tram ride from central Stockholm. The exhibition has a plethora of ABBA memorabilia, including gold discs, awards, outfits and even the phones featured in the music video for Ring Ring. The best part of the experience is the interactive exhibitions, where visitors can try their hand at mixing an ABBA hit, singing along in the karaoke booth, trying on (virtually) some famous outfits and even featuring in a music video.
It was very cheesy and just fantastic! Let’s face it, if you’re a fan of ABBA, you’re a fan of cheesy music, so you will love it!
Entry Fee: 250 SEK/adult, 95 SEK/child
The Coolest Bar in Town?
Possibly the highlight of our trip was a visit to ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL. As the name suggests, the entire place is made of ice: from the seats, to the walls, to the glasses for cocktails. Stockholm’s ICEBAR is the first permanent bar made of ice, built in 2002. The entrance cost includes one drink – either alcoholic or not, depending on what you choose in advance – and you can stay as long as you like, although the website states visits last about 40 minutes.
The bar has a constant temperature of -7 degrees Celsius, and despite the fleece-lined cape and gloves provided, you probably won’t want to stick around for any substantial length of time. The ice is transported from the Torne River in the north of Sweden and masterfully sculpted in to benches, walls, glasses and even an impressive icy throne.
Entry fee: Adult: SEK 215 / Adult non alcoholic drink: SEK 175 / Child: SEK 99 (prices for drop-ins; discounted prices available by booking online)
Our time in Stockholm was all too short but we really enjoyed experiencing just a small sample of what the city had to offer. We are already planning a return visit – probably for a bit longer and most likely in the summer months next year.
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