At the beginning of the year we decided that now that the children are a bit older, it was time to start doing some European family vacations together. My Husband has had to go to Stockholm several times for work in the past year so he suggested this as our first weekend away together as a family.
I am so very happy he suggested Stockholm. To me (and maybe the situation is very different in cold weather) but this capital city of Sweden is a beautiful seaside utopia. Every plant and flower is pruned to perfection. Every person is beautiful. And everyone is super friendly.
Where We Stayed
Many people will tell you to stay at the Grand Hotel (more on that later), but I wanted to do something a bit more quirky. I spent some time speaking with friends and on the Mr and Mrs Smith website and decided that the Lydmar was the perfect place for us. We booked two rooms with an interconnecting door so that both the adults and the kids could have their own space.
The concierge was super helpful before we arrived, organizing babysitters, restaurant reservations, and airport transfers, so when we arrived everything was set to go.
The hotel had a beautiful breakfast buffet every morning that both the kids (nutella on pastries anyone?) and the adults loved. The location of the hotel is also perfect, right in the centre of the action and overlooking the water, and it’s very easy to walk everywhere that you want to see.
In the spring and summer months, the hotel has a bar with couches right on the harbor, as well as a roof deck for enjoying a glass of rosé. This was our favorite spot to hang out each afternoon. Get to those spots early as both are extremely great for people watching and enjoying the sun.
Where We Ate
For our first lunch, just after arriving into the city, our hotel recommended Prinzen. This is a traditional Swedish restaurant and the best place to enjoy traditional Swedish meatballs. They will make a small plate of them with mashed potatoes for children. The decor is super old school and the service was excellent.
Grand Hotel for Tea
Before going out for the evening, we wanted to feed the children dinner and so as a last minute decision, decided to have tea at the Grand Hotel. We got really lucky in that we were in Stockholm for the King’s 70th birthday and there were a ton of royals and dignitaries all staying at the Grand. So for me, it was the perfect place to let the kids chow down on tea sandwiches while enjoying the royal-people (and gown) watching.
(My Husband, who has stayed at the Grand for businesses, swears that it’s the best place to hang out, which was evident my sitting in the lobby for about 5 minutes, but that the rooms are quite small. Just something to think of if you are thinking of staying there. The Lydmar is just next door.)
If you’re going to Stockholm, you have to arrange to have a meal at Berns. We had a reservation there for our first evening in Stockholm (leaving kids with the sitter at the hotel), and opted to sit in the bar and enjoy their cocktails and sushi selection. It was really delicious and a very fun scene. Bern’s also turns into a super hot spot late at night, although we didn’t make it that late.
About 25 minutes away by boat, the islands of Fjäderholmarna are a must visit. It was super easy to book a boat trip (they leave on the hour from the harbor) and after a lovely quick journey we arrived on the little island, complete with adorable pubs and restaurants, a park with swing-set for the kids, and more of those beautiful people.
The restaurant is set just on the water and the food is delicious. My Husband had an amazing burger, and I ate an artichoke soup and fried goat cheese. The kids split a plate of fresh chicken followed, of course, by ice cream. If you don’t manage to get a table at Krog, I would still visit the island, it is adorable.
Matbaren (Mathias Dahlgren)
Matbaren, right inside the Grand Hotel, is my Husband’s favorite restaurant in Stockholm, and I agree with him. Mathias Dahlgren is a Michelin-starred celebrity in the country and this is THE place to enjoy his creations.
We brought the kids to this restaurant, but I would recommend making this an adults-only situation as the food is quite intricate. Make sure you order the steamed buns (photo above), one of the best things I have ever eaten, and make sure you make your reservation in advance- this place books up! Once you eat there you’ll understand why.
Where We Vegged
There’s only one place to spa in Stockholm, and it’s at the Grand. Guests of the Lydmar have access to the spa so we made a couple’s massage and decided to enjoy an evening of pampering.
After our amazing treatments we enjoyed the communal spa facilities (I forgot my swimsuit, but the spa can give you disposal ones), including an amazing steam, sauna and jacuzzi. There’s a lovely chill-out area with a fireplace that’s perfect for enjoying a cup of tea (or champagne) before or after your massages.
What To Do
Three things that you must do when in Stockholm are visit the Royal Palace, walk around the old town, and visit the Vasa, a giant warship that sunk on her maiden voyage (super cool for the kids.)
The Royal Palace has several museums within it, including the armory and the state rooms so it depends on how much time you want to spend there, but its definitely worth going and at least walking around. It’s conveniently located right next to the old town, which has some adorable cafes and is the place to go if you want to buy any Swedish souvenirs.
I would highly recommend a visit to Stockholm, with or without kids. It’s a quick two hour flight from Heathrow, and easy to do a lot in just a weekend!
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