Welcome to Stockholm, Sweden!

Isn't it great that we can travel the world without actually going anywhere? What a time to be alive! All you need is a bit of imagination.

If you have been keeping up with the news, you'll know that the entire world is pretty much shut down due to a pandemic, which means traveling isn't possible right now and won't be for some time, but not to worry! I am going to show you how to “vacation” at home.

With my new “Virtual Travel” series, I am going to take you guys to some of my favorite places around the world, and we are starting with Stockholm, Sweden!

sweden

I am half Swedish and have been to Stockholm countless times. It's a city that amazes me, and I am not just talking about the endless amounts of meatballs.

Anywho, all meatballs aside (for now). I chose Stockholm first because it's one of my favorite cities in Europe. It's a city comprised of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges and home to fascinating museums, drool-worthy food (chocolate and meatballs, duh!), and a laid back culture that strives for a “work hard but not too hard” lifestyle.

This guide will take you around Stockholm, showing you many of the city's prominent landmarks, guiding you through a few of the best museums, tasting some traditional Swedish dishes, and much more!

So get your “bags” packed, and let's start our day wandering the beautiful city of Stockholm!

What to get before “traveling” to Stockholm

To start, we will be making a traditional Swedish breakfast, which includes bread, butter, cheese, and any extra toppings you want, like cucumbers, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Swedish caviar, cold cuts, and sausages. You can also get muesli with plain yogurt if you would like.

Later in the day, we will have a Fika, a traditional Swedish coffee break, so to be prepared, you should get a few things ready:

  • Make sure you have coffee readily available
  • bake a batch of Swedish Cinnamon rolls, any cake or cookie recipe, or buy pastries from the store.

And finally, we will be making Swedish meatballs so make sure you have the ingredients you need!

That's all you need to fully partake in this virtual Stockholm experience!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
14 Unique Ways You Can Travel from Home

Prepare for your “trip” to Stockholm

Before we start exploring Stockholm, you should set the mood for your “trip,” so it feels like you are there. Here are a few things you can purchase that will help your atmosphere feel a bit more Swedish.

Dala horse

These traditionally handcrafted horses are called Dala and can be seen in every Swedish household. My grandparents have about 36123 of them. They have become a symbol of Sweden and the most common souvenir to buy.

Check it Out!

swedish chocolate

Swedish chocolate is some of the best in the world and honestly should be mandatory on this virtual trip to Stockholm. This chocolate will melt in your mouth, and if you don't finish the entire bar by the end of the day, you have hella control!

Check it Out!

annas cookies

Annas cookies are delicious gingerbread snaps. I grew up eating these cookies and always have a few packages lying around my house. These are perfect for snacking on as you virtually explore Stockholm.

Check it Out!

Breakfast in Stockholm

We can't wander Stockholm on an empty stomach now, can we? Let's make a traditional Swedish breakfast! Breakfast in Sweden is very simple and usually pretty light. Swedes tend to start their morning with a coffee and a smörgås which is an open faced sandwich with butter or margarine and cheese on top of Rye bread, but other traditional toppings can be added like tomatoes, cucumbers, cold cuts, and sausages. Muesli served with yoghurt is also a popular breakfast and can be eaten with a smörgås

smorgas

Here is how to make a typical Swedish breakfast:

  • Start with a piece of bread and spread margarine or butter on it.
  • Add a couple slices of Vasterbotten cheese on top, but if you can't find it Gruyere, Jarlsberg, or Comte cheese will work just fine.
  •  Add other toppings like, tomato, cucumber, cold cuts, sausage, ham, hard boiled eggs, or Swedish caviar. Go as simple or as crazy as you want!
  • Grab a cup of strong coffee and/or an orange juice.
  • Pour a bowl of Muesli and top it with plain yoghurt (filmjölk is used in Sweden which is a sour yoghurt, but any plain yoghurt will work just fine!)

I hope you are filled up and ready to explore Stockholm! You are in for a busy day, so grab some Swedish snacks  and let's get started!

Learn Swedish

swedish flag

Let's learn some Swedish!

Our first order of business is to learn some common Swedish Phrases. Most people in Stockholm will speak English, but it never hurts to learn some local phrases; people will still appreciate it. We will go over the most common phrases, and then I will give you recommendations on how you can further your Swedish education.

Okay, let's get this party started!

Hej – Hello

This is the most common greeting and is pronounced “Hay”.  Also, “god morgon” (gu -mor -on) is a common greeting which translates to good morning/good day.

Tack – Thank You

Tack (pronounced how it sounds) is used every time you want to say thank you.  If you are especially grateful you can say tack så mycket (tack so mee-kah).

Hej Då – Goodbye

Hej då (HAY-dah) is the most common way to say goodbye.

Var är – Where is the…

If you want to ask where something is you would use var är (var- aer.) For instance, var är stranden which would translate to where is the beach. A few more examples would be:

var är katten – where is the cat
var är toilet – where is the toilet 
var är min bok – where is my book
var är konstmuseet – where is the art museum

Kan du hjälpa mig – Can you help me?

If you need help with directions or finding something you should use kan du hjälpa mig (kan deu jelp-a may).  Here are a few examples of how you can use it.

kan du hjälpa mig hitta mataffären – Can you help me find the grocery store?
kan du hjälpa mig hitta historiemuseet – Can you help me find the history museum

Jag heter – My name is…

If you want to introduce yourself the most common way is to say, Jag heter [your name] (yag hei-tar) and then you can say, trevligt att träffas (trev-leet at tre-fas) which is an informal way to say nice to meet you.

Hur mår du – How are you? .

If you want to ask how someone is doing you should say hur mår du (her moor deu).

Person one: Hur mår du – how are you/how do you feel?
Person two: Hur mår bra – I feel great

Jag är – I am…

Jag är (yag aer) is used if you are telling someone something about you for instance,

jag är trött – I am tired
Jag är nyfiken – I am curious
Jag är inte nöjd – I am not happy

Ursakta – Excuse me

If you accidentally bump into someone you would say ursäkta (ur-shek-ta) to excuse yourself.

Other Swedish Resources

newbie guide to Sweden

The newbie guide to Sweden is a great resource to learn Swedish. Although they mostly specialize in country info, they have several guides on how you can learn Swedish and offer links to helpful third party sites and apps.

Visit Site

Swedish Pod

This is my FAVORITE Swedish learning platform. I can't say enough good things about Swedish Pod 101. For starters, this is the most extensive course on the market and includes modules for those just starting out to those who are pretty much fluent. They cover grammar, vocab, and sentence structure in an easy & understandable way.

Visit Site

italki

If you are looking to up your conversation skills in a new language, check out Italki! It's a platform where you can hire a teacher to guide you in learning a language at your own pace. I have had nothing but good experiences learning Swedish with them and continue to do so.

Visit Site

Stockholm City Tour

It's time to explore Stockholm on a city tour! This tour will guide you from the center of Stockholm to the old town. It's almost like you are there! If you want to listen to music while exploring the city, put the video on mute and play this Spotify playlist, full of songs by Swedish artists.

Coffee Break AKA Fika

If you are going to travel to Stockholm (even virtually), you need to learn about Fika and partake in this Swedish tradition. Essentially, Fika means “coffee and cake break,” but any Swede will tell you it's much more than that. Fika is a state of mind, ingrained in the Swedish culture. Every Swede will take at least one Fika a day, but sometimes two or three. It's a part of the Swedish culture so much that every business is required to give employees a Fika break. (offices will even have a Fika room).

You will generally find people enjoying their Fika in a cafe, but since this is a virtual tour and you are doing it from home, you can prepare your own Fika. Most likely, you will have coffee in your house, but tea is perfectly acceptable if you don't like coffee. Then the pastry! I highly recommend making Swedish Cinnamon buns, and I have an excellent recipe for them! They are a lot easier than they look but do take some time to make, so keep that in mind.

If you don't want to make cinnamon buns, you can bake a cake, cookies, or buy from the store. Last but not least, video chat with a friend. Tell her or him about Fika and convince them to do it with you. It's a lot of fun to share the magic of Fika with someone you care about.

fika

Now, there aren't typically any rules for Fika, but many would argue that it is an art, and there are certain things that need to be done for it to be considered a “Fika”. For example,

  • Fika should include a cup of coffee and a pastry.
  • Have a Fika with friends or colleagues. It's a time to catch up with the people in your life you care about and not think about work, so in these times when we can't go anywhere, try and get a couple of friends together over Skype and have a Fika together!
  • You could also do Fika alone. I do it by sipping coffee while reading a book or writing in my journal.

To learn more about Fika, watch the video below!

How to Have a Fika:

  1. Pour a cup of strong coffee
  2. Get a slice of cake, a cookie or a cinnamon roll
  3. call up some friends and chat for 15-30 min

And there you have it! A perfect Fika.

ABBA

You may be familiar with the famous Swedish pop band ABBA! They are famous for several songs including “Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, and Money Money Money” Plus a broadway play and movie based off their songs. That being said, you probably aren't surprised that Stockholm has an Abba museum, and our “trip” to Stockholm wouldn't be complete without a visit.

Below you will find a playlist of popular ABBA songs and a museum tour. I would recommend playing the playlist as you are “walking” through the museum – just mute the museum video and enjoy!

Listen to the Abba Playlist

Let's start our Abba tour by listening to some of their top songs on this playlist while we “wander” the museum. Get on your best 70s outfit and jam to some Abba music!

Abba Museum

While listening to the soundtrack above, mute this video while “exploring” the Abba museum. You may not be able to visit now, but this is the next best thing!

Vikings: The original Swedes

Back when Sweden was an ice-filled wasteland, Vikings roamed the country, pillaging villages and murdering those who got in their way. I'll admit, the Vikings were horrible people, but their history is incredibly interesting. The Vasa museum is one of the most popular museums in Stockholm and the most visited in Scandinavia. It holds hundreds of artifacts from the Viking era, including their main attraction: the Vasa Ship built in the 17th century.

The story of the Vasa ship goes: When the ship was built and ready to sail, it only made it out 1300 meters before a light gust of wind swept the ship to its side (so sad!), tragically sinking it, killing 53 passengers. The ship was long forgotten for over 300 years until it was found in 1956 by a marine technician and finally salvaged in 1959 -61.

For this portion of our tour, we are going to explore the Vasa museum via their website. They have their entire audio tour and exhibit descriptions online. You can listen to each audio guide in conjunction with each exhibit. The audio guide comes in several languages.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
How to Plan the Perfect Trip: The Only Travel Planning Guide You'll Need

vikings sweden

Swedish Meatballs

It's time for dinner! You have had a crazy long day exploring Stockholm, and I hope you have had fun. For dinner, we are going to be making Swedish meatballs with gravy. Traditional Swedish meatballs are typically served with roasted or baked potatoes, lingonberry jam, and without gravy, but because gravy is delicious and adds so much flavor, we are going make some to put on top of our meatballs.

Instead of potatoes, you can serve them with egg noodles or macaroni, but I recommend opting for the potatoes. I have never eaten them any other way. Here is my favorite Swedish meatball recipe without further ado, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

swedish meatballs

Where do Swedish Meatballs come from?

Did you know Swedish meatballs aren't originally from Sweden? They are derived from Turkish meatballs called Koftka and were first introduced to King Charles XII, who brought the recipe back to Sweden in the early 18th century. Over the years, Swedish grandmothers have adapted the recipe to the meatballs we know and love today.

Watch a Concert from The Concert Hall in Stockholm

It's been a loooooong day, and it's almost over! Our last activity is watching a pre-recorded concert from Stockholms concert hall (Koncerhuset). It's famously the home of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and where the Nobel Prize Ceremonies are held. During the year, hundreds of concerts are hosted, including orchestra, chamber music, jazz, and world music.

All the online concerts are free and about an hour-long, so sit back, relax, and let the music take you away.

A few concerts you may enjoy are:

concert in stockholm

Swedish Culture

Now that our day in Stockholm is complete, you can choose to learn more about Stockholm and Sweden by checking out these movies, TV shows, and books. Plus, other Swedish items you may like.

Movies

pippi long stocking

Pippi Longstocking is a fun and free-spirited girl whose days are filled with magical adventures. She is witty, has the strength of 100 men, and will do anything to fight for her independence, even if that means breaking a few rules.

Check it Out!

100 year old man

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared follows the hilarious antics of Allan Karlsson who has found himself stuck in a nursing home. He is about turn 100 but in great health so one day he jumps out of his room window and goes on an unexpected adventure.

Check it Out!

a man called over

Ove's neighbors don't like him. They call him, “the neighbor from hell” due to his strict, no-nonsense routine, and short fuse. One day an eccentric family moves in next door, and Ove finds himself in over his head, but little does he know, an unlikely friendship is about to form. This movie is heartwarming, funny, and relatable (we all have a bit of Ove in us!).

Check it Out!

midsommer

After a tragic incident, an American couple on the brink of breaking up travel to a rural village in Sweden with some friends for a Midsommer solstice festival. Soon after arriving, they find themselves in the violent hands of a pagan cult.

Check it Out!

simon and the oaks

Simon and the Oaks are about the friendship of two boys from very different worlds and a secret that could change their lives forever.

Check it Out!

becoming astrid

Becoming Astrid is a fascinating biographical account of Astrid Lindgrens tragic teen years before becoming a writer. You'll laugh, cry, and be on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Check it Out!

TV Shows

welcome to sweden

Welcome to Sweden is a funny sitcom about a Banker named Bruce who moves to Sweden with his Swedish girlfriend, Emma. He has trouble adjusting to the culture shock of moving halfway around the world and finds it difficult to get along with Emmas strange (and very Swedish) family. This show is an excellent look into Swedish family culture and had my family, and I was in stitches the entire time.

Check it Out!

beck

Martin Beck doesn't have a lot going for him, but he is good at one thing: finding criminals. Join Beck in this long-running series as he and his partner solve Stockholm's most gruesome crimes.

Check it Out!

the bridge

When a body is found murdered on a bridge between Denmark and Sweden, overlapping both borders, A Swedish and Danish detective have to work together to solve it.

Check it Out!

black lake

Black lake is a thriller that follows a group of friends as they visit an abandoned ski resort in the far reaches of Sweden, where 20 years earlier, a tragic event took place. Their arrival begins a chain of unsettling events.

Check it Out!

the restauramt

The Restaurant is a drama that begins in 1945 when World War II ends and chronicles the lives of the Lowander family (across two decades) and the restaurant they run in Stockholm.

Check it Out!

Travel From Home: Stockholm, Sweden (Vikings, Meatballs and Fika!) 1

After a tragic incident at a prep school in Stockholm, Maja, the protagonist, finds herself arrested and on trial for murder.

Check it Out!

Books

christmas in sweden

In Sweden, Christmas traditions involve family, lots of food, singing, dancing, and tomte (Swedish Santa Clause), but where do these traditions come from? This book includes history, stories, recipes, and lovely pictures. You'll learn how the Swedes celebrate Christmas and maybe start some of these traditions in your own family.

Check it Out!

swedish cakes and cookies

Swedish pastries are some of the most delicious in the world. First published in 1945, the book's recipes have evolved to satisfy those looking for a modern take on Swedish baking. This book is jam-packed Swedish recipes like cardamon cake, oatmeal crisps, coconut horns, lingonberry cake, and more!

Check it Out!

sweden

DK travel books are my favorite guide books on the market. They are informative, have beautiful pictures and detailed illustrations that make them visually appealing and fun to read!

Check it Out!

fika book

This book is near and dear to me. If you aren't familiar with Fika, you will be soon enough! Fika is a cultural norm in Sweden. It's a coffee break consisting of a strong coffee, a pastry, and a good conversation. Many people don't know this, but there is an art to doing Fika, and this book breaks it all down.

Check it Out!

learn swedish

This is personally the most helpful book I have found to learn Swedish. They go over grammar, sentence structure, vocab, plus information on the culture, holidays and more! It's incredibly extensive and just an all around great book for beginners-intermediate speakers.

Check it Out!

lagom

If you aren't familiar with the saying Lagom, you should be! Lagom doesn't have a translation, but it means “just the right amount.” It's the Swedish word for having a balanced life, and Lagom takes some time to understand. This book is an excellent read if you want to understand what Lagom is and possibly incorporate some Lagom into your daily life.

Check it Out!

Other Swedish items you may like

Swedish pancakes

Swedish pancakes are a staple in my house. They are thin, buttery, and similar to French Crepes. Swedish Pancakes can easily be made without a mix, but I prefer using a mix because it's faster, and they come out perfect every time!

Check it Out!

troll

Swedish gnomes are a typical Christmas decoration all over Sweden. He is commonly known as tomte, who lives in houses and barns all over Scandinavia. If treated well, he protects the family from misfortune (as the legend goes). These tomtes are beautifully crafted by Swedish artists and will add festive joy to any household.

Check it Out!

valkomma hem

Puns can be so punny! Get it? Funny – punny? Anywaaaaay! This cute sign adds a nice personal touch to any home. Not only is the pun cute, but the addition of Dala horses adds that special Swedish touch.

Check it Out!

Dala shot glasses

These dala horse painted pint glasses are so cute. The designs are hand-drawn and then printed using special glass ink, so they are dishwasher safe!

Check it Out!

dala spoons

These decorative spoons with little Dala horses painted on them are the perfect gift for yourself or that Swede in your life. There are several different colors to choose from, and each order comes with two spoons.

Check it Out!

Ornaments

These adorable Swedish cottage ornaments are hand-painted and the perfect addition to any Christmas tree. The roof is removable, so you can hide little gifts inside (like maybe an engagement ring?!) for a secret hiding spot.

Check it Out!

Was this article helpful to you? Well, go ahead and save it by pinning it so you can reference it later on.

Stockholm is a beautiful city with so much to explore and with this virtual travel guide you can "visit" without actually being there. Take a Stockholm city tour, indulge in delicious Swedish food and explore some fascinating museums!

Stockholm is a beautiful city with so much to explore and with this virtual travel guide you can "visit" without actually being there. Take a Stockholm city tour, indulge in delicious Swedish food and explore some fascinating museums!

Stockholm is a beautiful city with so much to explore and with this virtual travel guide you can "visit" without actually being there. Take a Stockholm city tour, indulge in delicious Swedish food and explore some fascinating museums!

Marika Devan on FacebookMarika Devan on InstagramMarika Devan on PinterestMarika Devan on Twitter
Marika Devan
Marika Devan
As a clumsy Californian with an obsession for exploring the world. I love getting to know the destinations I visit by discovering what makes a place unique, unconventional and a little bit weird.

But like most people I don't spend ALL my time traveling (that would be exhausting). When I am not gallivanting around the world you can find me singing Celine Dion songs into my hairbrush, taste testing gourmet donuts (someone's got to do it), and watching movies comfortably in my unicorn onesie.