Part 3 — Where to have coffee and other ideas for exploring the city
Our Top 10 places for “Fika” (Swedish for “coffee break”)
Did you know that Fika is coffee said backwards?
This café is located in the “oasis” in Gamla Stan, a little square called Brända Tomten. If it’s a hot day, the chestnut tree in the square will seem to call out to you to sit under the its shade-giving leaves. Under Kastanjen (Under the Chestnut Tree) serves all kinds of hot and warm drinks, pastries and light lunch. The lunch selections run from fresh salads to soup and sandwiches. They also service a daily lunch special.
Possibly the most famous bakery in Stockholm, the pastries and cakes here are just a little too tempting. It’s a dangerous place for the waistline! It was founded back in 1920, and has taken quite a few prizes in various pastry-chef competitions.
If you are really into beautifu, old-school kinds of pastry/coffe shops, you’ll love Vette-Katten on Kungsgatan. It was founded in 1928 and frequented by Grete Garbo. In addition to the delicious pastries, cakes, bread and biscuits, light lunches are served between 11.00 and 14.00.
Sture Katten is not at all like Vete-Katten and there is no connection, save for the word “katten” (the cat) in their names. Sture Katten is like going back to your great grandmother’s house. The pastry shop is laid out on three different floors of a building that dates back to the 1700s. Each former apartment in the building is a group of small dining rooms at Sture Katten. Each dining room is different and even the plates and glasses are different — it really feels like visiting three different apartments. It’s beyond cosy! I used to come here quite often for a dose of “hygge” when I lived in Stockholm.
Cafe Ektorpet (about 100 meters from the Navishamn Marina)
Café Ektorpet is an old coffee house hidden amongst the trees and flowers close to Print Eugens Waldemarsudde (a beautiful art museum). They are noted for their “våfflor”, a kind of waffle, lighter than then Belgium or American versions, heavier than the french one. In addition to pastries, cakes, våfflor, and ice cream, they serve a couple of daily lunch specials. “Simple, but delicious typical swedish food” is how we describe it. During the summer, the café moves outside, and you have a wonderful view of the sea leading in to Stockholm as well as of the Navishamn marina.
Rosendals Trädgårdscafé is well-loved by the locals and tourists alike. It’s placed right in the middle of a series of greenhouses selling plants and flowers. It’s wonderful for a fika, but you can eat a light lunch (between 11 and 14.00), a sandwich, or a bowl of soup if you’re hungry. All of the food, including the cakes and pastries are certified organic. All of the bread, biscuits, pies and cakes are baked in their own wood-burning oven. There’s even a little farm shop! It’s not far from the Navishamn — a 10-minute walk. If you’re staying at the Wasahamn marina, you can take the tram towards Waldemarsudde and get off at the “Bellmansro” stop. From there, it’s about 5 minutes’ walk.
Svenskt Tenn Tea Room (best ice cream in town!)
This is yet another of Stockholm’s elegant tearooms. Svenskt Tenn is a home decorating shop (Swedish Design!) with its own tearoom. The best thing about Svenkt Tenn is it’s mini side-walk café/ice cream shop during the summer. It really is the best ice cream in town! Each day, you can chose from 5 or 6 flavours in the ice cream cart and it’s served in either a cone or a bowl. We were told the ice cream is hand-made in small batches by a mom and pop-style company on the island of Kungsholmen. Since the weather was sunny and warm almost every day during the month we spent in Stockholm, we were there at least 15 times. That’s a lot of ice cream tasting.
Grillska Huset in the old town
This café/restaurant/bakery is housed in a building from the 1600s at Stortorget (The Big Square) in the Old Town. Skip all of the tourist trap cafés at the Stortorget and come here. The Grillska Huset serves organic, home-made food (you can buy bread, biscuits, pies and cakes in the bakery part of the building. We bought lots of their knäckebröd (for me) and cinnamon buns (for Jacques) to stock in our galley. In addition, the Grillska Huset is run by a official charity called Stockholms Stadsmission, so you’ll be doing good by eating or buying here.
For Stockholm’s best views, go to the Kaknästornet. After walking around the tower with your camera/phone in hand to take photos, you can relax in the Sky Bar. We had a glass of wine and then coffee (it was late afternoon) while enjoying the amazing view.
Roberts Coffee in the Östermalmshallen
If you’ve been shopping at the Östermalmshallen (and it’s really worth a visit), you can take a break at Robert’s Gourmet Coffee. We enjoyed cappuccinos and Jacques and our visitors some delicious cinnamon buns (called kanelbullar in Swedish).
Top 10 “other” things to do that are reasonably close to the either marina
Ride your bike (or rent a bike) around Djurgården.
We rode from the Navishamn out to the eastern end (Blockhusudden), then back along the canal.
The shortest tour would be to do a “tour de canal” ride and the longest would be to ride along the shoreline and come back on the “other” side (the Gärdet side) and back over the Djurgård’s bridge. You can rent a bike at the Durgård’s bridge.
For a really great tour of the city, ride your bike into the centre of town, then along Södra Mälarstrand. Continue over the “Västerbron” bridge and then back along the Norr Mälarstrand. You can ride over Slussen (the locks) and then catch the ferry to either Kastellholmen or Djurgården from Gamla Stan. You’ll pass lots of places for coffee or a meal along the way. And you’ll pass lots of photo opportunities, so pick a beautiful sunny day. I used to do this tour often when I lived on Södermalm, near Hornstull (minus the going to Djurgården part).
Go for drinks, perhaps even a meal and a wonderful sunset view over Stockholm. Mossebacken Terrassen is located high up on the cliffs of Södermalm, providing a great view of the city. It’s open during the summer only. Check the website for opening times (depends on the weather as it’s outdoors).
Rent a kayak and paddle Stockholm.
You can rent kayaks at the Djurgård’s bridge, so it’s just not far from the Vasahamn marina. It’s great fun to paddle the canal.
Drinks along the Strandvägen waterfront
Strandvägen has lots of cafés/bars along its waterfront. We tried a few during the warm summer evenings as we’re always up for a glass of wine. You really can’t go wrong when you have the beautiful view of the Stockholm waterfront right in front of you as you sip your favourite drink.
Go up to Fjällgatan for the view of the city
The area around Fjällgatan (means Fell or Mountain street) is a great place to visit. The low-slung row-houses lining the cobblestone streets were once housing for the working class back in the day. They are now some of the most expensive apartments on Södermalm. The view from Fjällgatan is so amazing all the tourist busses stop here on their site-seeing rounds. If you’re hungry or thirsty the famous (in Stockholm) Herman’s vegetarian restaurant is here. Otherwise, there’s a small café, Fjällgatan’s Kaffestuga.
Have Drinks at the Himlen Skybar
This is a relatively new restaurant and bar in a “skyscraper” that used to be where the tax authorities worked. The building is known to the locals as the Skatteskrapan (taxscraper). The restaurant and bar are located on the two top floors — the 25th and 26th respectively. Because the other buildings around it are much lower, the view is incredible. Have a look at the website for photos of the view.
Have a look at Stockholm with an “Under the Bridges of Stockholm” tour.
These are run by the Stromma Turism company. We took both of the couples who visited us (friends and family from Switzerland) on this tour and they all loved it. Even though we’ve done several times, we love as well. You’ll see a lot more of Stockholm by boat in an couple of hours than you will walking or riding your bike in a week. And you’ll see places that you probably would never have visited otherwise.
Go swimming like the locals at the beach called Smedsuddsbadet in Rålambhovs Park.
This is the most well-loved beach in town, and on hot sunny days it gets really crowded. It’s on the lake side of town so you’ll be swimming in fresh water — no need to rinse the salt off!
Take the ferry (or your own boat) to Fjäderholmarna (The Feather Islands)
This little group of islands hosts seven different cafés/restaurants, several different artisans (glass blowers, painters, potters, textile artists, etc.) a smoke house for smoking fish, and lots of choice picnic spots. If you do sail over to the Fjäderholmarna, be warned that the marina is small and there aren’t many berths, so call ahead to reserve or see if there’s space (+46 8 716 39 10).