Do you want to know a bit more about Stockholm? Stockholm is the first Scandinavian city I’ve ever visited. I spent nearly one year exploring the archipelago, breathing the freezing air during the winter and enjoying the sun in the summer. I learnt a lot about Stockholm and its traditions both in winter and summer (because –let’s say it- there are only two seasons in Sweden if you compare this amazing country to Italy – where I come from). That’s where I got to know amazing people and where I left my heart.
What’s the most visited place in Stockholm?
Probably one of the most photographed spots in Stockholm is in Gamla Stan (literally “Old Town”): Stortorget. It’s a square from the Middle Age surrounded by old merchants’ houses. During Christmas time this square hosts a typical Christmas market where you can eat, drink, buy presents and live a true winter wonder. Especially if you eat pepparkakor (cookies) and drink glögg (mulled wine).
When people think about Sweden the first thing that comes to their mind is… COLD! Yes, of course, Sweden is cold, but it might surprise you to learn that summers are bright and warm too. I will (or at least I’ll try to) list all the GOOD things about the cold depressing Swedish winter. First thing: no mosquitoes. Sounds like a good reason, right? Just kidding. What’s really amazing about winter is that you can be lucky enough to get to see the Northern lights.
To enjoy this incredibly overwhelming phenomenon you need to be extremely patient, especially in a city like Stockholm. In Stockholm, it is even rarer to witness this beautiful phenomenon since it happens at higher latitudes. It took me almost two months to finally see the northern lights in Stockholm. I checked both the Aurora and weather forecast every single day. I used to walk to the nearest forest and sit on the rocks right in front of the lake. I did this for almost two months straight. And finally, only in October, I saw the lights dancing in the night sky. It was one of the most magical experiences ever.
Another phenomenon that I personally never had experienced before is the so-called light pillars. This happens when light reflects from ice crystals suspended in the air, thus creating pillars in the sky. I must admit that I thought I was having hallucinations the first time I saw those huge light pillars. So… yes, Stockholm might be cold during the winter, but cold creates magic.
Summer is short, fresh, and bright. It feels like a neverending day, with around 17-19 hours of daylight on average. Everything and everyone looks happy during the summer. Swedish summers are to be experienced because it’s in the summer that you can finally understand why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world.
Food & Traditions
If you’ve been at Ikeam you must have heard of the famous köttbullar (meatballs) or kanelbullar (cinnamon buns). I want to talk about a tradition usually celebrated in August: kräftskiva (crayfish party). People gather and eat crayfish, drink snaps (a shot of VERY strong alcohol). Before drinking, Swedes sing and make eye contact before yelling SKÅL (the first word I learned in Swedish). Oh and… I swear, they do make eye contact. After this, they get wasted so badly. Or at least, that’s what happened to me.
3 facts about Stockholm (and Sweden):
- Swedes are kind, open-minded, and precise. They’re usually described as cold, but once you get a Swedish friend, rest assured that you’ll keep it for life.
- To live on a budget, because -as you may already know- Stockholm is quite expensive. I worked as a babysitter for a few months, but living with less than 5000 SEK (510€) per month can be challenging.
- To give more importance to time. Usually, when I have to do something, it happens that I feel too lazy and therefore I procrastinate. I had the impression that Swedes live the day and they consider commitment very important.
I hope you liked this article, share it with your friends and let me know your thoughts about it. If you’re looking for a guide to Stockholm, check this out.