City Visit: Stockholm — Where to eat, where to shop
Our top 10 favourite restaurants
The “decoration” at Oaxen Slip. Impressive!
Oaxen is two restaurants – one is an upscale gastronomic experience with 2 Michelin stars (Krog). The other, called Oaxen Slip, is a more relaxed version of the Oaxen Krog , with the same localvore, organic philosophy. We had dinner at the Oaxen Slip. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for our wallets) the Oaxen Krog was closed for the summer holidays. It was a beautiful sunny evening, we were seated at the best table on the terrace and we were with friends, so we ordered the entire gamut from snacks and wine to first course and main course, and finally dessert. If we were to label the type of food it serves it would be “upgraded and revisited Scandinavian”. Everything was outstanding, including the service! A warning: since both of these restaurants are so popular, you’ll need to reserve a table — for weekend evenings, a couple of weeks in advance. They have on-line reservations.
The Strandbryggen is a hip and friendly outdoor restaurant and bar, built upon a pontoon at one end of the Djurgårdsbron(Bridge of Djurgården). As we had non-stop sunny days in Stockholm, we had both lunch and dinner there several times. It’s a great place to have a glass of rosé in the late afternoon as well. It can be really full on Thursday and Friday evenings when they have their “after-work” parties, though. If you’re there in July, there won’t be any after work parties as everyone’s on holiday, but if the weather is sunny, it will be full, especially the bar area. The lunch menu is usually composed of 4 or 5 items as main courses. You order at the counter and are given a beeper when your dish is ready. You then fetch your lunch from the kitchen window. In the evening you can chose between the “self-service area on the left, and the table service area (slightly more expensive) on the right.
While Cultur is a “normal” restaurant at lunchtime, in the evening it really impresses with its fantastic mouth-watering tapas dishes. It has a fun, bohemian atmosphere. Order four or five tapas dishes and you’ll have had a wonderful dinner. The wine list (many wines available by the glass) is equally impressive.
A view of Gamla Stan (St. George and the dragon, just a stone’s throw from Cultur Restaurant and Bar.
This fish and seafood restaurant is part of Östermalmshallen, an upscale food market just a few tram stops and a short walk from Djurgården’s marinas. The quality is impeccable, the service is friendly and the wine list is interesting. You’re starting to understand that wine is important for us! Our favorite dishes are the typical Swedish “rimmad lax” and their version of “Toast Skagen” (open-face shrimp salad and caviar sandwich).
The restaurant at the Fotografiska moves to the outdoor terrace during the summer. It’s a restaurant that puts the vegetables in center stage, not the meat or fish. When you chose your dish, you chose a couple of vegetable “creations” (we’re not talking about a helping of broccoli or spinach just dumped on your plate) and then chose a meat or fish to go with them. A nice change of pace, we thought. And it’s a festival for the eyes and palate.
Restaurant at the Fotografiska, under the pergola.
Restaurant “Terassen” at the Grand Hotel
We had lunch here twice during our stay in Stockholm. If the weather is nice, meals are served on the patio with a lovely view of the old town and the Royal Castle across the water. The setting and the look of the restaurant is what attracted us to the restaurant in the first place. At quick look at the menu and we were asking for a table. I figured that if it was managed by the Grand Hotel (the Grand Dame of all of Stockholm’s hotels), it can’t be that bad. The price level at this bistro-style restaurant was far below one would pay for a meal at the Grand Hotel itself (2 Michelin Stars). Towards the late afternoon, the place turns into one of the “in” places to have a drink.
Blå Porten (next to Liljevalchs Art Museum on Djurgården)
This restaurant is possibly the most zen of all the restaurants in Stockholm. The change in vibe when you walk through the entrance is immediate. Outside, you have the noisy, crowded area around the Abba Museum with crowds of people walking towards the various attractions on Djurgården. Inside, the tranquility will almost startle you. The courtyard, with it’s huge trees provides shade on sunny, hot days and various plants and flowers placed all around the restaurant provide a lovely backdrop.
Mälarpaviljongen (outdoor floating restaurant/bar on lake Mälären)
The atmosphere at Mälarpaviljongen is similar to that of Strandbryggan – hip, fun, and on the water. The food is simple, but good. Go for the atmosphere and beautiful views of the lake and Södermalm island. Come early for lunch or dinner, as it tends to be packed on warm summer days and evenings!
View of the “North Beach” of Lake Mälaren (Norr Mälarstrand), not far from the Mälarpaviljongen
Tradition – typical Swedish food in the old town
Tradition serves typical Swedish food — the sort of grandmother’s recipe food —but seriously upgraded to a gastronomic level. Most of the old swedish dishes can be labelled “comfort food” — think dairy, potatoes, cabbage, onions and other vegetables that can grown in northern climates, local varieties of fish and meat. For dessert, blueberries, strawberries, cloudberries and apples. That makes sense if you reflect on what was available here before food began to be shipped all over the world. Tradition is a wonderful experience, especially if the weather is grey or cold.
Part of the Old Town near Tradition Restaurant
For one of the best views of the city, combined with excellent food (Erik Lallerstedt has a Michelin star under his belt) and great wine, you can’t miss with Gondolen. The restaurant is suspended high above the ground on the north side of Södermalm, next to Slussen (the locks between the sea and the lake). The menu is a blend of traditional swedish and “new nordic” gastronomy
Our Top 10 shops
Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) on Hamngatan
This is Stockholms best and possible biggest department store. We found lots of small things “for the boat” – mostly for the galley. Here are some of them: some Eva Solo thermos coffee mugs, a gorgeous Holmegaard candle lantern, a few kitchen utensils. Clothing was on sale, and Jacques found a great pair of sailing pants from Pelle P. Note that the sales in Stockholm run during July and August. It’s a great place to find small “typically swedish” gifts for family and friends.
Illums Bolighus on Hamngatan
This is a smaller version of the Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen. We found two Muuto baskets that fit perfectly in the boat, behind the sofa. I found a wonderful pair of black mesh slip-on sneakers by Ilse Jacobsen, one of Denmark’s most well-known fashion designers. An on sale for 50% off! Have you seen those granite “ice” cubes for drinks? Bought those here as well. The advantage of putting granite “ice” cubes in your drink is that it doesn’t melt and water down your drink. You keep them in your freezer and when introduced into your glass of white wine, it keeps the drink cold for about 20 minutes.
Sail Racing Flagship Store on Hamngatan
We love the Swedish brand Sail Racing! The problem is that it’s expensive. Solution: visit Sweden in late July-early August and everything’s on sale. Including Sail Racing. It also helps to suggest an “early birthday gift”. We both walked out with a SR down jacket, bought on sale for 40% off, both as late and early birthday gifts.
Gamla Stans Cykel
This is a bicycle shop for those of us who cycle for transportation, not for competition. It has a vintage, hip and cosy atmosphere. Best of all — for us — it has a Brompton department! Jacques had a slow puncture in his front tire and had it repaired during our afternoon stroll through the Old Town. We also picked up a few Brompton accessories like rain covers for our shopping baskets. It’s amazing how many other cruisers we’ve met so far who have Bromptons. They do fit into very small places.
Lisa Elmqvist (Östermalmshallen)
We bought tons of Skagen Röra here (a Swedish shrimp salad) during our month-long stay. As you may know, everyone make their own version of this, and Lisa Elmqvist takes the silver medal in the Skagen Röra competition ( in our humble opinion). Larsson’s Fisk in Mollösund takes the Gold. Also warmly recommended: their quiches (especially the chanterelle and the shrimp), the smoked eel, the flounder and all of the variations of salmon (gravad, rimmad, smoked).
Different sorts of herring at Lisa Elmqvist
Smoked fish and eel at Lisa Elmqvist
Variation of Salmon at Lisa Elmqvist
Hand-churned butter anyone? How about some good Parma ham or even Pata Negra from Spain? This deli has so many mouth-watering foods it’s difficult to chose. We bought some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sauces, and Swedish reindeer and Elk sausages.
M Seger Meat and Cheese (Östermalmshallen)
We bought some well-aged steaks here for each time we had visitors. So delicious! And they almost melt in your mouth. The service is fantastic!
This is a wonderful place to buy some unique, inexpensive, yet not at all kitchy gifts for family and friends at home. They have a range of hand-woven and hand-sewn textiles. We picked up some table mats and table runners for future Christmas gifts for friends.
This is the closest chandlery to both marinas. They have two stories of boat supplies, parts, charts and clothing. The service is excellent! We had to order part of a bow ladder that we lost to the sea. It arrived in just 2 days.
Bonus 1: grocery shops for your daily needs
- ICA Esplanaden on Karlavägen – not far from the marinas if you have a bicycle – they have a great selection.
- ICA Quantum Värtahamnen – this is a really big ICA. You have the biggest selection here, but it’s a 5-kilometer bicycle ride away. It’s really only for those with a bike or who are willing to take a taxi/Über to get groceries. We were groaning under the load of backpacks and overfilled bicycle baskets.
- ICA in the basement level of NK – this ICA has an excellent of selection of gourmet food, but doesn’t have a great choice of some ordinary things like toilet paper and cleaning products. The advantage is that the tram stops right in front of the store — so you won’t have to lug your heavy grocery bags too far.
- Hemköp in the basement level at Åhléns. The Hemköp chain of grocery stores is just as good as the ICA, its just not as easy to find. The one at Åhléns has a good selection of just about everything you’d need.
Bonus 2: Wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages
As you may know, Sweden, like Norway and Finland has a monopoly on the sale of alcoholic drinks. You need to go the “System Bolaget” (green sign with yellow lettering). There are many retail outlets in Stockholm but the one closest to the marinas is at Karlavägen 100. If you have a bike with a large basket, it’s perhaps a 10 minute ride. If you don’t have a bike, a better alternative is the System Bolaget next to the NK, since the tram will take you door-to-door — something you’ll want if you’ve purchased a case of wine or beer!
You can’t taste anything at the System Bolaget, but there are written descriptions (at least on the wine — but only in Swedish). When in doubt, ask the personnel — they seem to love giving advice (at least about the wines).
Stockholm – our top 10 places (attractions) to visit
I hate using the word “attraction”. It sounds like I’m referring to a theme park like Disneyland. But the places that I cover in the post are attractions because they attract enormous amounts of visitors. So think of them that way and not the “Disneyland” way.
If you’ve never been to Stockholm, you can buy a “Stockholm Pass” that gives you entry to 60 top attractions, including most of the ones on the list below. It also includes rides on the sightseeing buses and boats.
Getting There: Public Transportation in the Stockholm Area
If you think you’ll be using a lot of public transportation (no bikes oboard or don’t think biking is much fun), you can also buy a travel card for 24-72 hours. See this site for all of the ways to pay for public transportation. There’s even an app for that! Please be aware that you can’t buy tickets with cash or credit card, so have a look at the site. Jacques and I bought the SL Access Cards that you charge with money at special charging stations (like an automatic teller machine).
Nr. 1: The Vasa Museum.
I won’t go into excruciating detail on the Vasa Museum (you’ll find pages of descriptions on various websites including their own). But you just cannot miss this museum if you come to Stockholm. It is Scandinavia’s most-visited museum and the only preserved 17th-century ship in the world. The best part about the museum, besides the ship itself, are the exhibits showing you the lifestyle of Stockholm in the 17th century – how people worked and lived — with dioramas and special effects.
A view of the Vasa Museum from the water. In the foreground you see the old lighthouse ship “Finngrundet”.
Nr. 2: Skansen
One of the antique houses at the Skansen Open-Air Museum
Ring-tailed Lemurs having their afternoon siesta at Skansen Aquarium
The open-air museum of Skansen shows you, in real life, the swedish lifestyle throughout five centuries. It was founded back in 1891 and consists of real buildings and houses that were found all over Sweden and moved to the site of Skansen. You see working glass-blowers, millers, bakers, carpenters, etc. from the time period of the building they occupy. Skansen also has a small zoo featuring the animals native to Sweden as well as a small aquarium. We love it!
Nr. 3 : The Medieval Museum (free entry!)
The Medeltidsmuseet (Medieval museum) is similar to the Wasa Museum in that it features a series of buildings and rooms depicting life (in this case, life during the middle ages in Stockholm). It’s not just a series of glass cases with artefacts — it’s an almost real-life exhibition. The museum is built around an actual excavation and began with the discovery of the ancient town wall of Stockholm, built in the 1500’s.
Tuesday, Thursday–Sunday 12.00-17.00
Free guided tours in English: Tuesday–Sunday at 2–2.30pm (July–August).
Nr. 4: The Museum of Modern Art — Moderna Museet (free entrance to the permanent collection)
If you enjoy modern art, you’ll have to visit the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art. It has one of the biggest collections of modern art in Europe. It’s located on beautiful Skeppsholmen, worth a stroll or bike ride in itself. If you’re hungry while you’re there, the restaurant/café is quite good.
Tuesday & Friday 10.00 – 20.00,
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00
View of the Museum of Modern Art from the water.
Nr. 5: The Photography Museum (Fotografiska)
Housed in a beautiful former maritime customs building, the Photography Museum (Fotografiska) is a must-visit if you are at all interested in photography. Some of the world’s most respected photographers and photojournalists have exhibited here. Some names you may recognise are Annie Lebowitz, Herb Ritts, Bryan Adams, and Lennart Nilsson.
The restaurant is fabulous here. We really enjoyed the summer terrace as it was a hot and sunny day. It’s an ecological restaurant that put the vegetables and fruits into focus, rather than the meat. In other words, you chose your vegetables first and then the meat or fish you think would go with them. It’s amazing how delicious vegetables can be when you add a bit of creativity!
Restaurant at the Fotografiska, under the pergola.
Nr. 6: The Kaknäs Tower (Kaknästornet)
The Kaknäs Tower is a television/radio tower located on Djurgården. I assume it’s not really used for TV and radio anymore as we now have satellite and internet radio and TV. A new restaurant has opened on the 38th floor and there’s now a Sky bar on the top floor (41st). The Sky bar has the best view of Stockholm — it’s 150 meters up. You can see all the way to Lake Mälar towards the west and far out to the archipelago towards the east from here. If you want to take some good photos, you can ask for the key to open small “photography covers” in the protection barrier around the tower.
Nr. 7: The Drottningholm Royal Palace
The Drottningholm Palace is where the king and queen really live (the royal castle in the old town is now a museum). As the royal family are housed in the south wing only, the rest of the palace is open to the public as a museum. If you’re a history buff or castle enthusiast , you’ll appreciate the well-preserved paintings, furniture, sculptures and architecture of the era. The palace was built during the 1600s by the renowned architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, and was subsequently renovated throughout its history.
View of the front side of Drottningholm Palace from lake Mälaren
The gardens behind the Palace are huge. The central part is more a french style, quite stylised. The exterior parts were designed as an english park — a romantic countryside with ancient oak trees and small brooks and ponds. It makes you think of Jane Austen and it’s a lovely place for a champagne picnic!
The most pleasant way to get to the Palace is by steamboat (Ströma Kanalbolaget boats leave from the City Hall Quai). If you’re in good shape, it’s also a pleasant bike ride. Otherwise, you can take the subway to Brommaplan and then the bus to Drottningholm. See the public transport planner here.
Nr. 8: The Royal Castle in the Old Town
The royal castle in the Old Town, is not the most beautiful castle in Europe, but with it’s 600 rooms and several floors, it’s full of things to see. Start with the royal treasury to see crowns, sceptres, swords, ancient coins and the jewels sometimes worn by the queen or the princesses.
Then go through the Royal apartments to seen the staterooms used for official events, meetings, banquets and balls. Continue to the The Kronor Museum, when you’ll see models of the original (and more beautiful) original castle. This castle, called “Tre Kronor” (Three Crowns), burned down in a voracious fire in 1697.
Nr. 9 : The Nordic Museum (Nordiska Museet)
The Nordic Museum is a stone’s through from the Wasa Marina and the Wasa Museum and is well worth a visit. Its exhibitions cover various aspects of the nordic countries’ histories and lifestyles. Exhibitions cover things like clothing styles throughout the ages, arts and crafts, what kinds of food was eaten, housing and the birth of the “peoples’ home” (modern and well-equipped housing for the working class Swedes). There’s also a permanent exhibition covering the history and culture of the Sami people of the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The Nordic Museum seen from the water.
Nr. 10 : Aquaria
Jacques and I love to visit aquaria around the world. Though the Aquaria Water Museum isn’t the largest one we’ve ever seen, it’s interesting in that the waters around Sweden are well-covered. You’ll see what lives under your boat! The various marine environments you’ll see here are “the Rainforest”, “the Mangrove”, “Tropical Seas” and the “Nordic Seas”.
Bonus if you have children — Nr. 11: Gröna Lund and Nr. 12: Junibacken
View of Gröna Lund from the water
Gröna Lund is a classic park of attractions with rides you see in just about any western country. We are not big fans of this sort of thing, but if you have children or teenagers onboard, they’ll probably want to check it out. There are sometimes great concerts here.
Junibacken is the fairytale and folk story world of Astrid Lindgren brought to life for small children. Your kids can visit Pippi Longstocking and Emil from Lönneberga. Perhaps the best way to describe it is “a children’s cultural centre”. There are different play areas and a Story Train, when you get on a train and go through different parts of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s stories, like you would at Disneyland. Have a look at this video if you’re wondering if a visit is a good idea for your children.
Marinas in Stockholm
The city of Stockholm is situated between the sea and a large lake called Mälaren. You’ll find two marinas for visiting boats on the sea side: the Navishamn, which is actually a boat club marina, and the Wasahamn marina. We stayed at the Navishamn.
The island of Djurgården (on the right side of the map) and its two guest marinas (red stars). Ferries leave from Djurgårdstaden to take you directly to the Old Town (Gamla Stan). Otherwise, the tram route (S) takes you right into town.
The reason we chose the Navishamn is that we are willing to give up some convenience in terms of closeness to the main parts of the city in exchange for more peace and quiet. A distance of about 1.5 km separate the two marinas.
The Navishamn is actually the marina for a club called the Navigationssällskapet (Navigation society). Guest berths become available when members leave their permanent berths to go out sailing or to occupy a summer berth further out in the archipelago. Their berths are then rented out to visiting boats. You can mail or call ahead to reserve a berth.
View of the Navishamn
The marina is located next to a small palace called Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. Prince Eugen (1865–1947) was an artist, specialising in landscape painting. The palace showcases not just his amazing body of work; it presents temporary exhibitions of other artists as well. Upcoming exhibitions in 2017 include Joan Miró and Carl Larsson. It’s a must-visit if you are a fan of landscape painting. It’s a 5-minute walk from the marina. The gardens around the palace are free to visit and they are worth a visit for anyone interested in landscaping/ gardening and sculptures. There are quite a few famous sculptures spread around the gardens, including those of August Rodin and Carl Milles.
The Archer in the Waldemarsudde gardens, created by Sweden’s most famous sculptor, Carl Milles
The old stables of the palace. You can sit here and look out over the water and the traffic going to and from Stockholm.
We walked through the gardens and the forest next to the palace every morning and evening with Senna. The path continues for several kilometres around the island if you enjoy long walks.
Senna is always up for a swim! This little “beach” is about a 15-minute walk from the Navishamn, just after the Palace of Waldemarsudde.
Here are a number of Stockholm’s tourist attractions within a 15-25 minute walk from the Navis marina (or take the tram if you’re in a hurry):
- Skansen, Stockholm’s fabulous open-air museum of life in Sweden during the “old days”
- The Wasa Museum (the Wasa was a warship built in the early 1600s. It capsized during its maiden voyage, was recuperated in the 1950’s, meticulously restored and then housed in its own museum for all to look upon with wonder).
- Aquaria, Stockholm’s Aquarium
- Lilljevalchs Konsthall (an art gallery),
- Gröna Lund, Stockholm’s Tivoli, with attractions, concerts and restaurants
- The Nordic Museum (about life and history in the nordic countries
- Junibacken – if you have children. This is fairytale paradise for small children
- In April of 2017, a brand new viking museum opens
- Spritmuseet – the museum of wine and spirits (has an excellent restaurant)
View of a residential part of Djurgården from our berth
Going back to the marina itself, here is what we appreciated most about the Navishamn:
- We were met at arrival be the marina master, who showed us our berth and took our lines
- The tram (nr.7N) into town stops just outside the marina gates
- Great area for long walks or bike rides if you love nature
- Relatively calm for a city marina
What could have been better:
- The electricity is only 10A. 16 would have been better for us.
- The toilets and showers, although clean and in proper working order, could use a renovation.
Around 22.00 during the first week of July
Jacques is replacing the USB hub for our Furuno chart plotter remote. The hub suddenly stopped working. Lovely view from the cockpit!
View of a moonrise and steamboat returning to Stockholm from our cockpit
Fiery colours of sunset reflected in the buildings across the water from the marina.
Prices in 2016:
- Boat up to 12 meters: Day: 150 SEK, Overnight: 300 SEK, Week: 1750 SEK including electricity
- Boat over 12 meters: Day: 200 SEK, Overnight: 500 SEK, Week: 2750 SEK including electricity
- Boat over 18 meters: Overnight: 800 SEK, Week: 3500 SEK. Electricity 100 SEK
- Boat over 22 meters: Overnight: 1000 SEK, Week: 5000 SEK, Electricity:: 100 SEK
Number of berths: up to 175. Berthing method: bow or stern to quay, buoy (are usually far enough away for a boat up to 55-60 feet.) A few alongside berths on the outside that are for very large or heavy boats only. Facilities: toilets, showers laundry, electricity (10A), fresh water, free wifi (although if your berth is far from the office, you’ll need a wifi booster to get the signal) air pump for your fenders(!), berths for large boats up to 25 meters and 50 tonnes. Electricity costs 50 SEK per night. Open from 1st of May until end of September Contact info: email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +46 70 732 34 41, Harbour office hours: 8.00–20.00 (during high season).
Google Earth photo of Navishamn marina and the surrounding area.
The Wasahamn is located next to the Wasa Museum. It is a private marina that functions as a guest harbour and has 146 berths. The advantage of the Wasahamn over the Navishamn is its proximity to a large number of tourist attractions and restaurants. They are a stone’s through away from the marina gates.
The Wasahamn marina on Djurgården. The tower you see on the left is the Nordic Museum. The 2 red buildings on the left make up the museum of Wine and Spirits.
This does come at a price, though. The noise level here is much higher, especially the noise coming from Gröna Lund or Skansen, where regular concerts are held. Thankfully, the concerts usually end by around 22.30, so you will be able to get your sleep. But forget about having a peaceful evening meal in your cockpit.
Here you see that the marina is right next to the Wasa Museum.
Facts: Wasahamn marina
Prices during summer season (15 May 2016 to 15 September 2016):
- Boats up to 12 meters: Day only: 200 SEK, Overnight: 350 SEK. Electricity: 50 SEK
- Boats over 12 meters: Day only: 350 SEK, Overnight: 650 SEK. Electricity: 50 SEK
- There are reduced fees during the autumn/winter/spring
Facilities: toilets, showers, laundry, free wifi, black water pump Number of berths: 146 Contact info: email: email@example.com, phone: +46 (0)8 661 9187 Harbour office hours: 8.00–20.00
Google Earth photo of the Wasahamn and surrounding area