My First Visit to Stockholm, Sweden

Hello everyone! I recently went on a trip to Stockholm, Sweden for 5 days with my friend Sam! 

I've been waiting to share these memories with you for a bit, but I've been torn between putting together a complete vlog with all the footage we shot or just sharing some photos. Life's been pretty hectic lately, and between applying for jobs and spending my time studying Spanish, I couldn't find time to edit videos.

I'll just share the pictures for now and hopefully that Stockholm vlog will find it's way to my Youtube channel eventually.

Sam (a lovely Parisian friend I met via Bumble) and I decided to go to Sweden since we stumbled upon some ridiculously cheap flights from Paris to Stockholm via Ryanair. It cost us about 35 euros per person for the flights, with an additional 20 per person to bring on a 10kg bag (highly recommend during the cold winter!). We figured five days would give us a good taste of the city without breaking the bank, so off we went, ready to explore.

Our flight landed around 5pm and we hopped on the bus into the city center, grabbing sushi quickly before heading to the hostel. It was already beginning to flurry, with the wind whipping the snow all around us. The winter has been fairly mild in Paris, so Stockholm was showing us some REAL cold!

Since we are on a budget, we chose to stay at a hostel in the city center, which ended up being the best idea ever for reasons I'll explain soon! If you're looking to go to Stockholm but can't afford a hotel or Airbnb, I recommend the Nomad Cave (not sponsored or affiliated, just had a nice time here!) 

Our first full day in Stockholm started the next morning, and were so excited to see the beautiful winter wonderland that is Sweden in January. I mean, in our minds, the streets were going to be draped in a blanket of snow, right?

Imagine my surprise when I step outside and immediately see that it's raining like crazy and the sidewalks look like a swimming pool of water and black snowy mush. I only had room for one pair of shoes in my luggage so I brought my Ugg-like boots with me, which are great for the snow but pretty much useless in the rain. I'll admit, I felt very defeated in that moment and worried that this trip was going to be a bust.

I ended up wrapping my feet in trash bags and trying to push through the first day while we did a bit of tourism in the Old Town (Gamla Stan). I'll say that navigating the cobblestone streets with damp socks was not my favorite experience, but I made it work. After some time outside, we ducked into a cafe to hide from the rain, which gave us a chance to try one of the sweets that Sweden is famous for: Semla!

Semla is a type of Swedish almond sweet roll with a light and fluffy cream inside. There are different variations of Semla too, like a cinnamon bun version, pistachio, etc! They're usually on sale during the time period between Christmas and Easter. 

We tried doing as much sightseeing as possible on the first day (and bless my friend Sam for being so patient with me that day!) but despite wrapping my feet up in multiple trash bags, water kept getting in my shoes. It's really hard to stay in a bubbly mood when I can feel the wet fur inside my boots squishing with every step I take.

We ended up going back to the hostel a bit earlier than expected, and while hanging out in our room we met two other female travelers named Rachel and Ly!  In a moment of spontaneity, we invited them to join us for breakfast the next day, and before we knew it, we had formed a little travel squad of our own.

THIS is the beauty of being in a hostel, folks!

From then on, we had such an incredible time as a group of 4. We did EVERYTHING together! We got breakfast, walked around, did photoshoots, talked, watched movies in the evening, got hot-dogs at 7/11, went ice skating, and even celebrated Rachel's 25th birthday together. 

What I Recommend

If you're going to visit Stockholm during the winter, I highly recommend going ice skating. Skating in the ice rink at the Kungstr√§dg√•rden Park is FREE if you have your own skates, and if not you can rent them for only 9 euros! I was impressed that the blades were fairly sharp. 

Skating is open all day (depending on the weather) and they have lockers available to put your things in while you skate. I recommend going in the evening because they play music and have pretty colored lights going while you skate. 

Don't worry if you've never skated before, sometimes it's even more fun if you don't know how to skate...

Though we had quite a few cloudy days while we were there, we got lucky with clear skies around sunset so we grabbed our cameras and headed to a lookout spot to snap some photos. The photo below of Rachel is one of my favorite shots from the entire trip.

A 'hidden gem' scenic spot that was recommended to me by a Swedish friend is Skinnarviksberget. You can get an incredible view of the city, and the sunset feels like it's surrounding you from all sides. 

Two days before we left the hostel, we gathered in the evening to celebrate Rachels birthday, have some cake and possibly watch The Notebook. As we were setting up all the snacks, we realized we bought a LOT of stuff for just 4 girls, so I called over to other hostel go-ers that were sitting in the other room to come have some food (provided that they said 'Happy Birthday' to Rachel first). 

We ended up talking with them so much that we hung out the entire evening, heading to bed at almost 3am. And no, we didn't end up watching The Notebook! :)

We mentioned that we wanted to travel to Uppsala, a nearby city, the next day and the new friends seemed interested in tagging along, so we all went as a group! We tried to catch the Northern Lights, since Sam's app said there was an 80% chance of seeing them, but sadly the cloud cover prevented us from really seeing them. 

All in all, I had a really fun time in Stockholm, although I suspect that was because of the people I met rather than the city itself. Don't get me wrong -- I liked Stockholm, but everyone I met really made it a wonderful experience. 

The thing I really love about traveling and staying in hostels is how everyone can come together, no matter where they're from or what they're doing. It's such a fun and unique way to make friends from different countries, I feel super lucky! 

I'm hoping to squeeze in more trips this year, but since I'll probably be saying goodbye to Europe soon, I'm just going to make the most out of the few adventures I can manage. 
Thanks for reading and see you soon!