If you’re prepared to travel off-season, then you’re going to have literally all the fun.
January to March are great times to fly to Scandinavia, the flights are dirt cheap – around £30-£40 from London with budget airlines like Ryan Air, go for a weekend and you only need a backpack – saving on luggage fees, because you’re clever and you don’t need loads of stuff!
You will probably be taking off and landing at those slightly more bizarre and out of the way airports, but it’s all an adventure right?
Being in places like Stockholm in the off season means you beat the heaving crowds, you see all the sights and take in the wonder without the added hustle that high season brings and it’s so, so worth it.
There’s the other detail….it’s going to be cold. I know you think you know cold, but I’m talking Baltic cold, where you wonder if you can fit a hot water bottle down your jacket type cold. Fret not! Pop on some Uniqlo thermals (they’re like paper thin, it’s magic), a decent coat, warm shoes, scarf and hat and pit stop for a hot chocolate here and there and everywhere and you’ll not mind it one bit.
Last January we hopped on a dirt cheap flight to Stockholm, booked our bed and breakfast on floating boat hotel (oh yes, this was so much fun) and had a brilliant girly weekend in a very cold, but charming city.
In my humble opinion, in case you needed a little more nudging, here are my….
Top Ten Reasons To Fall In Love With Stockholm
1. Waterfront City
It’s a Baltic Sea archipelago, it’s one third water, one third green space. You get the feel of a metropolitan modern city on the water, it’s wonderfully serene and when you’re done with the views you can pootle back to the pretty cobbled streets and get lost in the gorgeous colours of places like Gamla Stan (the old town),
2. cinnamon and cardamon buns
They’re insane. Ridiculously good. So, so good that on our last day I went and bought 6 of the things, flew them home, put them in the freezer and defrosted them to eat the following weekend. Seriously, it works. Freeze those buns (something you’ll do anyway if you visit in winter hehe!).
3. Viking History
Whether you think they were raping and pillaging or about farms and families, the history is fascinating. Merchants and explorers they travelled far and wide, they were settlers and they weren’t all cruel warriors. Their boat building skills were remarkable and there’s plenty of museums where you can go to get into the history.
4. Friendly Swedes
They are lovely, lovely people. Incredibly laid back, happy to help and they love the outdoors and just strike me as a healthy happy nation of people. They value simplicity and functionality and there’s no surprise that this country birthed the founder of Ikea. Girls and guys, this is the bit where I also add, these folks are beautiful. Not just you know blonde and cute, but the Swedish men were stop me in my tracks handsome. All those blue eyes, wow…
So you’ve been to Shoreditch, maybe you’ve been to Williamsburg too? But when you get to Stockholm, it all makes perfect sense and it dawns on you that those other ‘hipster’ places have tried so hard to emulate the style that is born into the young and easy going Swedish people. It’s so fitting, it’s just in their bones. Plus homeware, apartments, there’s that kind of style to die for, cool neutral colours which bounce light off and 50 literal shades of grey has never looked so effortlessly chic and cosy.
6. Boat Hotels
This made me happy like a kid. A hotel, but it’s a boat? Oh come on, that’s just too much fun crawling into a cabin, with a porthole in the door and drop down bunk beds (or a double bed for you and your other half). You can’t feel it move, but you know….when in a water city, live on a boat for a weekend. Have breakfast overlooking the water? Sure!
7. The Light
It’s said the winters are devoid of sunlight, the cloud cover gives it a murky feel, but in reality the light at 11am is beautifully muted and ethereal and it starts getting dark around 2-3pm, so alot earlier but everything gets so cosy, candles in windows and storm lanterns outside shops. You don’t have to live here and survive a full light deprived winter, you’re only passing through and it’s really kind of pretty.
8. Walk Baby, Walk
It’s a very walkable city, and if that gets tiring the metro will do the hard work for you. The beauty is in strolling, getting lost, eating a cinnamon bun and wandering off again.
9. Design Divine and Cosy Bars
Well they’ve got art, architecture and their aforementioned ability to be oozing stripped back style. A feast for not just your eyeballs but your mind. You can stumble on some beautiful bars as well, we walked south from Gamla Stan to the trendy neighbourhood of Södermalm and found some cosy and stylist bars like this one…
10. The Nobel Prize
They have a nobel museum here as the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature and the Prize in Economic Sciences are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden every year. The museum is a very interesting, yet tiny place, but go see for yourself.
Flights – £37 for a Friday to a Sunday on Ryan Air
Mälardrottningen Yacht Hotel – £80 each (total for 2 night B&B)
= £117 SILLY MONEY!!
Cha-ching, a 2 night, 3 day stay and you get change from £120! But bear in mind, though you can fly and stay on the cheap, the food and drink prices and shopping are expensive over there, so that may counteract your budget!