Trip date: June 2017
The Midsummer celebration in Stockholm, Sweden is one of their most important holidays. And although I flew on the summer solstice itself, the city celebrates starting that weekend. Most of the shops, bars, and restaurants close, as the majority of locals leave town to celebrate with their families and friends on islands or in the countryside. I've traveled enough over Christmas and New Year's to know about these closures and do my research on what is open; I had my plan set!
I landed in Stockholm at 6am, collected my suitcase, pulled some cash from the airport ATM, and was on the train headed into town by 6:35am! It's a 20min train ride and costs about $32, you buy your ticket on the train. Could not be easier.
This wasn't my first time to Stockholm, but my last visit was in 2005 for one night en route to St. Petersburg Russia for New Year's Eve. It was dark the entire time I was there; this visit was pretty much the opposite!
I took a flat rate taxi from the train station and checked into the Elite Eden Park Hotel, a great recommendation from friends. And they let me check in at 7am so I could take a much needed nap!
I browsed the pretty fruit and vegetables displayed by farmers, and the delicious looking preprepared skagen (shrimp salad), sill (herring), meats, cheeses, sauces, chocolates, etc. at the various shops. It made me all very hungry so I grabbed at seat at Lisa Elmquist and had a lovely first lunch.
My "house" fish soup with mussels, white fish, and shrimp was fantastic. It also cost about $34! Add a glass of Sancerre to that and my lunch was over $50. Welcome to Scandinavia!
It was an stunningly beautiful day so I headed out to walk along the Strandvagen and check out the waterfront. Along the way I did a bit of shopping at Svenskt Tenn, an interior design shop with absolutely gorgeous items (that would also be closed for the rest of my trip starting the next day)!
I walked all the way to Djurgarden, a small island connected by a bridge, and strolled around the beautiful park before heading back along the waterfront side of the Strandvagen and stopping for a glass of rosé.
Gastrologik, an intimate 1-star Michelin restaurant, within walking distance of my hotel.
The community table was a great experience, there were a total of 8 of us and over the ~20 small bite courses I learned that a few of them were chefs and restaurant owners visiting from different countries.
The next morning I had a tasty smorgasbord breakfast in the hotel before catching the tram along the waterfront to Skansen, a huge park and outdoor museum. The city was putting on a big Midsummer festival all weekend; kicking things off was the raising of the maypole at 2pm, which I planned to be there for.
The band started playing and everyone gathered around, the official kick off of Midsummer was starting! It took the team of men a bit of time to raise the pole completely. They haul it up a bit at a time, placing wooden braces under sections, until they can finally get it all the way upright. It's quite a thing to watch and the crowd really gets into it, chanting and singing!
I had more on my agenda for the day, so I continued to wander the park for a while before finally stopping at one of the restaurants for a glass of rosé and a dish of the ripest strawberries I've ever eaten. Strawberries are everywhere during summer in Sweden, bars sell them like most places dole out dishes of nuts!
ABBA Museum, I mean what's more Swedish than ABBA? This is a very fun, interactive museum, showcasing the pop group's music, costumes, and history. You can even get up on stage and sing with holograms of the group!
That evening I continued my ode-to-Sweden by having dinner at Matbaren. Another 1-star Michelin restaurant, this one run by the Swedish restauranteur Mathias Dahlgren, is a more casual concept housed inside of the very swank Grand Hotel.
A very successful, fun, delicious and absolutely Swedish Midsummer!
All Stockholm photos here.
Other posts from this trip:
The Longest Day
30,000 Islands & Counting