From the midnight sun to Scandi interiors you’ll love, now’s the perfect time to visit Stockholm, the ultimate in stylish mini break destinations
Words: Vicky Mayer
ABBA fans were puzzled when singer Agnetha chose to retire and spend her days pottering around her beautiful home near Stockholm, but having visited this mesmerising city, I can see why she didn’t want to leave home.
Stockholm has always been seen as one of Europe’s coolest spots and with a seemingly unstoppable fascination with all things Scandi, now is the time to visit. Home to Skype, Ikea and H&M, the city is made up of 14 islands, connected by bridges, boats and the metro. Known affectionately as the Venice of the North, water is everywhere you look and in the long summers that boast light until midnight, residents here enjoy great street markets and midnight picnics on the quays.
We stayed at Berns, an historic music hall turned hotel in the centre of the city. This famous city landmark began life as an upmarket patisserie before being turned into a concert salon in 1863. The show-stopping interior complete with sparkling chandeliers from Vienna wowed the crowds and over the years such greats as Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Oscar Peterson and Diana Ross have
performed at Berns.
At the end of the 80s, Berns was reinvented again as a boutique hotel with funky rooms above the magnificent main hall. Staying here gives you access to the hotel’s two great restaurants: Berns Asiatiska, where the tasting menu was the best Asian food I’ve eaten since a trip to Hong Kong; and the French Berns Bistro, where you can sit outside on a sultry summer’s night and tuck into an exemplary steak frites. What I loved most about the hotel was the buzz of the bar on a Friday night. Here, Stockholm’s cool crowd rub shoulders with the lucky hotel guests over exotic cloud berry cocktails. Be sure to reserve a seat here if you love people watching.
Outside this great hotel, Stockholm awaits you. Opposite lies the city’s famous NK department store, where you’ll find some great fashion and interior buys not available in the UK.
A short walk away is the famous Gamla Stan (Old Town), a series of medieval streets where you get a real sense of old style Stockholm. Yes, it’s touristy, but it’s beautiful too. Smart travellers though head to the city’s hippest island, Sodermalm, which is full of independent shops, galleries, cafes and bars. Think Shoreditch without the annoying crowds.
Stockholm’s museums don’t disappoint either and we loved the unique Vasa Museum where the world’s best preserved Viking ship is on show. The Vasa sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628, but in 1961 it was salvaged and, remarkably, it still looks as good as new.
From its Viking heritage to its cool Scandic lifestyle, Stockholm makes the perfect weekend break.
We travelled from Stansted Airport to Stockholm with Ryanair (ryanair.com). It’s easy to leave your car here. Just pre-book official parking at stansteadairport.com/parking. Berns Hotel offer one night stays in a standard double room from £156 from May to September. Rates include VAT, WIFI and
breakfast buffet. Berns.se/en