Stockholm is a city that almost every Finn has visited. For us, Sweden and especially Stockholm is a bit fancier, a bit more posh, a bit more international (in good and bad), a slightly more expensive version of Finland. Stockholm has been a place where your clothes always feel a bit worn-out and your accent reveals where you are from. It had been 16 years since I visited Stockholm with my parents. So when I got offered a chance to travel to the city with my the ladies from my workplace (the most awesome chocolate shop in Tampere), I didn’t think for a long. Of course, I am in!
And so it happened that we five ladies packed our bags and headed to the airport and Stockholm Our main plan was to attend Formex Fair, a large exhibition showcasing, among many other things, different brands of chocolates and sweets. We got to try out different delicious, exotic, weird and simply delicious flavours of chocolate. How would you like bilberry truffles, roasted white chocolate with walnuts, or passion-mango salty liquorice? Or chocolate-covered almonds that taste especially good with rosé wine?
If the time was flying at the exhibition, it wasn’t moving any slower when visiting different candy and chocolate shops in Stockholm. The old town of Stockholm, Gamla Stan, is absolutely fascinating small area with decades-old shops, restaurants, cafés and candy stores. Christmas decorations were still visible in the early January, which just added even more cuteness to the already adorable small shops.
We had booked an old apartment just at the heart of the old town, on Brunnsgränd street (Brunnsgränd meaning Well Alley). We had an apartment at the top fourth floor with no lift, raked floors, small rooms bursting with history. Those probably 400-year old walls must have seen a lot, many more interesting things than 2020s’ ladies travelling to Sweden on business. Later I got curious to find out how many million kronas buying an apartment in Gamla stan would actually cost. After some quick googling, I could only find one über fancy place with “price upon request”.
Gamla Stan Apartments is worth checking out if you are looking for a place with excellent location.
January was a nice time to travel to Stockholm from Finland. The temperature was +10 degrees, a lot more than home, and the days were longer because of the more southern location of the capital. The streets were even surprisingly empty, almost no tourists around, not even in the most popular touristic places in the Gamla stan.
Read more about my trip to Southern Sweden.
Travelling to Stockholm
You can travel from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden either by boat or by plane. The boat takes like one day, and there are calmer day-cruise options and some ultimate party boats with heavy-boose consumption. Finnair, Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian take you to Stockholm in one hour (tickets usually around €100 one way) but you can find good offers sometimes.
Sweden has its own currency, the krona. 10 SEK is 0.95 euros, so you can round it to 10 SEK = 1 Euro. Converting prices is thus really simple.
There are several ways to get from the airport to the city, the Arlanda Express being the quickest. Find more options here. Taxes in Sweden (like in Finland) are very expensive compared to many countries and they are not regulated. So you should only use well-known firms (that charge like 550 SEK to get to the city) and still check the price in advance.
Is Sweden really so expensive?
In my memories, Stockholm was a city of stylish people and high prices. And yes, you will counter well-dressed people with a model-like posture in Sweden but so you do in all big cities around the world. The Swedes usually play it quite safe and classic in their clothes and hairstyle. You don’t see that much “alternative” (skater, rocker, heavy-metal etc) styles in Stockholm.
Was it expensive then? Well, Stockholm is probably one of the most expensive cities in the world but there was really no difference to Helsinki. Actually at this moment, the krona/euro -rate is pretty good (for me) so some things felt even pretty cheap on a Nordic standard. I think Oslo and Reykjavik still hold the titles of the most expensive Nordic capitals.
One more restaurant tip: Supper. The place serves South American inspired food with a modern twist. The dishes are small, so take 2–3 per person, and share with the table if you wish. I tasted pulled beef with chilli-chocolate sauce and fried green beans and that was really nice. Reservation is necessary.
Have you been to Stockholm yourself? How did you like it? My last visit was very brief and it was partly a work trip so I can’t give any comprehensive recommendations. I’m sure though that my next visit will be sooner than in 16 years :).