The first thing we did when we arrived in Stockholm was buy caviar.
If you’re familiar with Swedish caviar, which is very different from Russian caviar, you’ll know that it’s a love or hate type of food. Swedish caviar (creamed cod roe) is salty, creamy, comes from a tube, and is what some people will say is an acquired taste. But oh, how we love it so.
My youngest sister Patty and I went on a vacation to Sweden and Denmark a few months ago, two countries that we’ve been dreaming about since we were little girls, when our dad would often travel to Scandinavia for work. We were captivated by the stories from our parents and loved the food souvenirs, particularly Kalles caviar, which we would eat with hard boiled eggs or crackers
So as soon as I got off the Arlanda Express (the chic train connection from the airport to the Stockholm Central Station) and met Patty at the station, we immediately went to the grocery store to get some snacks.
Every day we walked for miles exploring different parts of the city. We were both enthralled by Stockholm – the ocre colored buildings, cobblestone streets, the urban vibe, and Swedish cuisine. Also, we ate a lot of hotdogs. Some of my favorite trip highlights below:
Gamla stan, or the Old Town of Sweden, is one of the most famous attractions in Stockholm. It’s one of the largest and best preserved medieval cities in Europe, and it is filled with little cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutiques. It has such a charming vibe, and since our hotel was so close, we were there almost every day.
Breakfast at Cafe Schweizer
We found Cafe Schweizer, the cutest little cafe in Gamla Stan, with a flower-topped door and flower-covered ceilings, and an excellent selection of both sweet and savory treats.
We shared everything but still couldn’t finish it all: breakfast sandwich, fluffy scrambled eggs with tomatoes and arugula, hot chocolate, strawberry cake, fresh orange juice, and the classic Swedish cinnamon bun.
Viking History Tour
We grew up hearing stories about Vikings and have always been interested in Viking history (case in point: Thor. Don’t @ me.) We booked a small group Viking history tour, but the other folks cancelled so Patty and I ended up having a private tour! We visited some of the Viking era’s most important sites, including a Viking graveyard (where we learned about the Estrid, the only-identified Viking woman), the Viking parliamenent, and Jarlabanke’s bridge which was built by a powerful Viking leader centuries ago.
We only made one dinner reservation for our entire stay in Stockholm, and it was at Nytorget 6, a cozy restaurant in the trendy neighborhood of Sodermalm. They serve comfort food with influences from Southern Europe. We were seated at the lower level, which felt like a speak-easy. Patty and I ordered a bunch of small plates, including the calamares below, plus steam buns, roast chicken, osso bucco.
The Vasa is the only preserved and almost fully-intact 17th century war ship in the world. It sank during its maiden voyage in the 1600s and after 333 years (!) it was completely salvaged and preserved. It was a beautifully-decorated ship, covered in wood carvings, and it was supposed to be one of the most spectacular warships ever built… until it sank within 20 minutes of setting sail. The museum is filled with interesting bits of trivia (and the actual ship) and we enjoyed learning about its bizarre story.
We left Sweden for a few days to go to Denmark, and when we got back, we had dinner at Tradition, a casual eatery serving classic Swedish cuisine. It’s right next to the Royal Palace but it wasn’t fancy at all. The entire vibe of the place is homey neighborhood joint, but homey in a Swedish way, meaning it’s furnished in chic and minimalist decor. The food was fantastic. Again, we shared a bunch of dishes but the standouts were: smoked reindeer toast, Swedish meatballs (or as they call them in Sweden: meatballs), and an incredible semifreddo with white chocolate, berries, and caramel sauce. This was my favorite restaurant from our entire trip.
(The pic of meatballs at the very top of this post is from our meal at Tradition.)
Streets of Stockholm
I didn’t go too crazy planning our itinerary for every single hour of each day, so Patty and I had plenty of time to languidly walk the streets of Stockolm and discover its beauty. We saw medieval looking buildings and bridges, the hipster area of Hornsgatan, picturesque streets, the majestic Grand Hotel, cute coffee places like Espresso House (yes, it’s a chain, but it’s adorable), and so many H&M stores.
Oh yes. We. ate. so. many. hotdogs.
Did you know that Scandinavian countries have really good hotdogs? We tried different kinds: hotdog with crispy onions and mustard, spicy chorizo, stuffed in a french bread with mayo, topped with relish, topped with salad, and little breakfast sausages at the hotel.
Speaking of breakfast: I loved the spread at the Sheraton, where we fueled up with lots of smoked salmon, the creamiest scrambled eggs, and of course: Swedish caviar.
Spending time with my sister
The best thing about this vacation was spending 10 uninterrupted days with my youngest sister Patty. We missed our parents and our other sister Monica, but this was the first time that Patty and I ever went on a trip together and spent so much time with each other. It was so incredibly nice to hang out with my little sister, relax, unplug, walk, eat, and marvel at a new city together. Especially because it was a city that we’ve loved since childhood.
The second best thing was the caviar.
Hope you enjoyed my recap! Denmark coming soon.