Stockholm Bucket List II: Skansen, Vasa Museum and the Best Dinner Ever


After a gorgeously sunny and warm arrival in Stockholm we woke up to a very rainy Stockholm on our second day. Undeterred, we took advantage of the poor weather to tackle a few of the indoor activities we wanted to explore (and one outdoor activity that we couldn’t resist)!

We started our day slowly trying to work up the courage to venture out in the rain, with a specific rainy day plan in mind. Yesterday we stumbled upon a great little tea shop just as it closed and, as you all probably know, I love tea, so we put it at the top of the list for today.

True to our word, Chaikhana was our first stop today and boy, was it a good one! We ordered a cup of tea each (I got the Bai Mu Dan, a very delicate white peony tea) and I ordered the Indian Omelette, which came with a side of gluten free toast. The service was admittedly a little slow and would have been preferable later in the afternoon, when our day was coming to an end and we didn’t feel pressured to get moving. Still, the food and tea were worth the wait (the omelette was to die for) and I topped it off with an amazing gluten and dairy free cake.

IMG_3069

Chaikhana is located directly across from the German Church, so we popped in there quickly and took a peek around. The church itself is small but beautiful, and we snapped a few pictures before we had our fill and continued on to what we thought would be the primary activity for the day–the Vasa Museum. Due to a slight lack of prior research on my part, the Vasa Museum was not exactly what I thought it would be, but it was very interesting all the same. We learned about the history of this 17th century would-be warship, which ended up sinking approximately 1000 meters into its voyage and killing 30 people. We learned about the reclamation and restoration process and about the lives of passengers that had died during the journey, which I thought was the most interesting part. Life in Sweden during the 1600s is an area of history I’m admittedly clueless about, so it was interesting to get a better understanding of what that was like.

IMG_3100

We left the Vasa Museum around 4:30 and made the impulsive decision to visit Skansen, an open-air museum and zoo. Although I typically have reservations about zoos and their treatment of animals, Skansen actually surpassed my expectations tenfold and I was disappointed I didn’t get to spend more time there. We paid the entry fee of 180 SEK and went straight to the aquarium, which confusingly houses not only fish and reptiles but also open-air monkey exhibits, including lemurs (my personal favorite). There was an extra fee of 120 SEK, but it was well worth it.

lemur photo

Photo credit: Photos by Ena

The rest of the museum was huge and we were stressed about the fact that it closed at 6:00 PM, but that was an unnecessary worry. Sweden is apparently an incredibly trusting country and Skansen, at least, seems to operate on the honesty policy. We walked at our leisure and weren’t kicked out promptly at 6:00, and saw others who continued to explore  until 6:30 at least. We felt compelled to leave at closing time, being the rule abiders that we are, but no one seemed too bothered that we spent a couple extra minutes looking at the Lynx exhibit or playing peek-a-boo with a cheeky seal.

Our exhausting day ended at a little local tapas-style restaurant called Matkonsulatet, where we had some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had. The restaurant itself was pricey by my broke millennial standards, but well worth every single krona! We sat at the bar and ordered a wine while we chit-chatted with the server–I started off with a rose champagne and informed him that I’m gluten free and not hugely fond of fish. The menu was in Swedish only but the staff spoke perfect English, so we asked him to just pick 5 of his favorite dishes for us (and were so hungry we ended up getting a sixth).

IMG_5900

Elise and I shared all of the dishes, starting with patatas bravas, a strawberry salad with balsamic and sheep’s milk cheese (amazing), pork belly with anchovy sauce (not as amazing), a cured beef dish, hangar steak and a pork side with parsnip chips and a parsnip puree (my personal favorite dish). We both topped off with a dessert–I got the chocolate mousse/fudge with olive oil and Elise got the vanilla/toffee version. We liked it so much that we went back again on our last day! I’ll be writing a blog post specifically about Matkonsulatet in the near future (and will link back here), so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Bucket list review:

Vasa Museum:

Activity Type: History & Culture, Museum

Price: 130 SEK for adults (~USD$15), 100 SEK students (~USD$11.75, we got in on student prices)

Value for Money: Moderate. The museum was very well thought out and interesting and worth a see, but like everything in Sweden  it’s fairly expensive. Best for history/naval buffs.

Suitable for: Everyone! Parts of this museum were definitely made with children in mind, and it made for a good rainy day activity.

Recommend: This wasn’t my favorite thing to do in Stockholm, but I definitely tend to lean in towards experiences instead of museums (i.e animal encounters, skydiving, etc), but for museum buffs this would be a nice activity. 

Skansen Open Air Museum:

Bucket List Traveler Info:

Activity Type: Zoo, Outdoor Adventure

Price: SEK 180 (~USD$21.22), Aquarium SEK 120 (USD$14 extra)

Value for Money: Moderate to high. I loved this museum and wished I’d made an entire day of it. That said, entry prices were steep and paying more to see the aquarium felt a little unfair, even if it was a very enjoyable exhibit. I’d pay it again, but I could see some people not enjoying it as much as I did.

Recommend: 100%! I really enjoyed this museum and love getting to spend time outdoors. Exhibits were large and animals looked mostly happy (even in the miserable rain), which is unusual for zoos. The history of Sweden was also explained in many interactive, open air exhibits, which was very interesting. 

Want to know more about Stockholm? 

Click here to read about eating, drinking and exploring Old Town Stockholm! 

 

Advertisements

Stockholm Bucket List I: Eating, Drinking & Exploring in Old Town


IMG_5683

Greetings from Stockholm! Our first day got off to a bit of a late start; our 9:10 flight from the UK had us getting into Sweden around 1:00 in the afternoon, which meant we didn’t get to our hotel until about 2:30/3:00. Public transportation in Sweden is actually incredibly easy and efficient; from the airport we took the Arlanda Express into the city center, which was a quick and comfy 20 minute ride. From there we hopped onto the subway and then connected to a tram, which brought us directly in front of our hotel. We checked in at the fabulous Motel L and were given access to our room immediately and were pleasantly surprised to see that it was cute, comfortable and fashionable.

I can’t recommend Motel L highly enough–the staff were very accommodating for a relatively budget hotel, the rooms were stylish, clean and very quiet. It was a little bit out of the city center, but public transportation made it an easy connection to get just about anywhere. Breakfast wasn’t included in our stay, but we could pay 90 SEK (about $9, typical in Stockholm) to get essentially an all-you-can-eat deal, which was well worth the money every time. I didn’t expect much from the breakfast based on the Tripadvisor reviews but personally found it to be exceptional; I was able to get gluten free bread and mini-pastries in abundance (the standard serving came with two rolls and either two slices of bread or two pastries depending on the day), which was more than enough to feed me (and probably a few other people, too).

IMG_5677

They also had a huge array of meats, a few cheeses, a selection of yogurts, granolas and cereals, fresh fruit and lots of different milk items, including oat milk (unexpectedly amazing), soymilk, lactose free milk and normal milk. There weren’t really any hot items, but I don’t see why you’d need a hot breakfast with choice like that!

We obviously didn’t arrive in time for breakfast on the first day, so we sought out a few local bites after freshening up and then headed to Old Town. It was a gloriously sunny day and we decided we’d spend it getting comfortably lost and wandering the streets. I was worried that Old Town would be insanely touristy, and in a lot of places it was–there was no lack of kitschy tourist shops selling standard tacky souvenirs– but we were shocked by how un-crowded it was.

IMG_5720

There were tons and tons of hidden gems in Old Town, including a few fantastic Swedish design shops (my personal favorite was Designfirman, pictured below), gorgeous old buildings and cobbled streets, a handful of trendy but moderately expensive gastropubs and restaurants and a few points of interest, including the German Church and the Riddarholmen Church, which is the oldest surviving building in Stockholm.

IMG_5748

13,000 steps later we were growing peckish and ready to sit down, but we were too early for the dinner reservation we’d tentatively made at the Flying Elk restaurant. We stopped into a cute, rustic looking spot called the Corner Club and were greeted by Oskar, a friendly barman who sat down with us and walked us through their cocktail menu. We ended up ordering three different types of cocktails between the two of us–the Milkman, Oh Canada, and Honey Dew You Know (all very cleverly named). The first drink we had was the Milkman, which was incredibly strong but had a very pleasant aftertaste.

IMG_5748

We decided to get some food in the pub instead of at the restaurant and were pleased to find that they actually shared a kitchen. I ordered the cheeseburger and fries and was excited to learn that it could be made with a gluten free bun even though it wasn’t noted on the menu. It was hands down the best burger I’ve ever eaten, even if it did come in at 204 SEK (about $20). Food in Stockholm is generally expensive (even by New York City standards), but every single expensive meal that we had was totally worth the price. I was worried about how well I’d be able to eat in the city with dietary restrictions, but I can happily report that there was no need to worry: the Swedish are very accommodating and gluten free substitutions usually come at no additional charge.

One of the other bartenders noted that she was also gluten free, so we shamelessly asked her for a list of restaurants she’d recommend that had gluten free options. Between herself and Oskar we were given a list of probably 10 places, including our definitive favorite restaurant in Sweden, Matkonsulatet, which I’ll write about in detail in my upcoming gluten free guide to eats and sleeps in Stockholm and also in my post about our day 2 adventures (link coming soon). We ended up not leaving Matkonsulatet until about 10:45 PM and were exhausted after our early morning flight and extensive wanderings, so we headed back to the hotel and cozied down into bed for an early-ish night.

Come back soon to:

Check out what we did on day 2 of our Stockholm adventure! Spoiler alert: it involves lemurs!

Coming soon: Can’t get enough of Stockholm? Click here to read about our day trip to the fabulous Drottningholm Palace!

Coming soon: Dietary restrictions? Take a look at my cohesive guide to gluten free eats and sleeps in Stockholm! (You won’t regret it!)

 

Northern Europe!


Hi guys!

After a long hiatus involving a move to NYC and a bit of an adjustment period after, I finally have a new trip coming up! I’ll be crossing more items off my bucket list in the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it. I’ll be expanding some of my content into the territory of restaurant reviews and will hopefully be getting a few new city guides together, so be on the lookout for those! I can’t wait to tell (and show!) you guys all about it!

-Natalie

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑