Everyone has at least one of those friends who is so cool that just hanging out with them raises you at least 10 points the cool stakes. The Sodermalm district in Stockholm is the neighbourhood equivalent of those friends. Its hip residents, laid back atmos and creative vibe rub off on you and you find yourself planning your alternative life as a freelance interior designer, wearing minimalist Scandi designs and mooching around this laid back yet highly advanced neighbourhood with your ridiculously good looking Swedish boyfriend (or girlfriend).
I have created an itinerary for 24 hours in Sodermalm, because there is so much to see in Stockholm, and 24 hours in Sodermalm is advisable for you to get your Scandi-cool vibe on before you venture further afield.
The Swedish tradition of fika (the ritual of sitting down to a chat over coffee and cakes) is made all the more special by the cinnamon buns that are found in abundance in cafes across the city. For the best, head to Drop Coffee. They were so mind-blowingly amazing, that I had to ask my fika-partner whether he thought they’d put crack in them (we still have our suspicions). At Drop Coffee, not only will the cinnamon buns take you straight across a minefield of taste explosions, but its award winning coffee (which Drop Coffee sources and roasts) is all levels of caffeinated-epic. Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10, 118 50 Stockholm
Alternatively (or additionally) head to nearby Johan & Nystrom for equally exquisite coffee and buns to rival the Drop Coffee cinnamon bun experience. Swedenborgsgatan 7, 118 48 Stockholm
Sodermalm is home to the quirky, the achingly hip, artistic and edgy. Shopping in this nabe is an experience even the staunchest shop-a-phobe will enjoy. Start in the SoFo district (the streets south of Folkungagatan) where you’ll discover a Scandi-shopping-scape awash with stops for every aesthetic and interest. My top picks are:
- Grandpa – Grandpa is a concept store that has it all: ultra hip fashion with a focus on homegrown and regional brands, quirky interiors and an overall chilled atmos. Södermannagatan 21, 116 40 Stockholm
- Acne Studios – Acne Studios is one of my most favourite Scandinavian brands of them all. It’s all minimal aesthetic but with a unique edginess built into each carefully made piece which will deliver to you instant Stockholm street cred. Nytorgsgatan 36, 116 40 Stockholm
- Swedish Hasbeens – I love the Swedish Hasbeens story as much as I love the delightfully retro look of the Swedish Hasbeens shoes. Inspired by the mother of one of its founders, and her fabulous 1970s wooden sandals, Swedish Hasbeens wooden shoes and accessories were born from the image of this fabulous woman from 1970s southern Sweden. Nytorgsgatan 36A, 116 40 Stockholm
- Stutterheim – for the most stylish raincoats (and chances are you’ll need one on your visit to Stockholm) check out Stutterheim. Åsögatan 136, 116 24 Stockholm
If you venture a little further afield of SoFo, check out other shopping gems like:
- Uniforms for the Dedicated – created in 2004 by a collective of snowboarders and creatives, Uniforms for the Dedicated is mens’ streetwear with a sporty edge. Krukmakargatan 24, 118 51 Stockholm
- Nitty Gritty – next to Uniforms for the Dedicated is Nitty Gritty, a carefully curated boutique featuring local and international designers, well worth a browse. Krukmakargatan 24, S-118 51 Stockholm
- Papercut – this compelling bookshop stocks titles on all things fashion, art, design, music and film. I could have browsed here for hours. Krukmakargatan 24-26, 118 51 Stockholm
- Sandqvist – The Swedes love the outdoors, and what better way to hit the outdoors than with an intelligently-designed, beautiful rucksack for carrying around your berry-based snacks. Sandqvist is where yours truly bought her fabulously stylish new camera bag too. Swedenborgsgatan 3, 118 48 Stockholm
When I asked my Stockholm-based friends for tips on where to eat in Sodermalm, they unhelpfully told me that Sodermalm is full of great restaurants, without actually giving me many names of such amazing dining places.
On wandering around the district, I understood why. Sodermalm really is full of amazing restaurants. Chances are if you drop into any given restaurant that looks like they’ve put some thought into the interior and menu, then it will be a good one.
However, I am going to say something that might make you recoil and question why you even came to this post for travel tips at all. Food Court.
Before you log off, hear me out. In the middle of Ringen, a tacky-looking mall on Gotgatan, is Teatern – the food court of your wildest dreams featuring food courts. It hosts a selection of food kiosks of Michelin star chefs. From the most delightfully light pizzas to decadent hot dogs to mouth-watering quesadillas, the aim of Teatern is to serve world-class cuisine in a fast-food format. It worked for me. The food hall itself is a stylish amphitheatre, all brass, leather, polished concrete and wood. Do check it out. Götgatan 132, 118 62 Stockholm
Located in the north-east corner of Sodermalm in a former industrial Art Nouveau style building dating back to 1906, is the internationally renowned photography museum, Fotografiska. Even if you are not a fan of photography there is no denying the world class standard and beauty of its exhibitions. Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm
For a drink with a cheesy difference, head to cheese shop and bar, Gamla Amsterdam. It is located in a cosy little space, with a refreshingly maximal take on the Scandi minimal interior ideal. Sample cheeses of the world with wines of the world from the comfort of your table in this lovely little corner of Sodermalm. Hornsgatan 39A, 118 49 Stockholm
Nytorget 6 is a cosy restaurant with a laid back, very cool, local vibe. The clientele is incredibly well dressed but somehow they look like they have put zero effort into how they put themselves together that day. I’m still trying to figure out how they do it, and the only conclusion I have reached so far is that it’s a genetic thing.
Anyway, the restaurant. The food was deliciously comforting, from the mini taco starter to the “Meatballs for the People” main course, the overall dining experience was like Sodermalm itself, a fabulous sensory immersion into quirky scandi-style. Nytorget 6, 116 40 Stockholm
For something a little special, dine at the restaurant at Fotografiska (see contact details above). The interior of the restaurant embodies Swedish style at its very best. And what’s more, the restaurant’s floor to ceiling windows provide diners with breath-taking vistas of the city, complete with magically twinkly lights at dusk. Heaven.
For something a little different, but which you’ll need to book in advance, try the beer and cheese pairing experience at Gamla Amsterdam cheese and wine shop (details above). Their website is in Swedish, so call ahead to see what’s on when and book it in! Tel: +46 (0)733 423 721.