Stockholm, Sweden – Review

Drew Wilby
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As you fly over the scattered Swedish islands, the first thing you notice is the beauty of the clear water and how the islands appear to slowly drift away from one another – a breathtaking view that just has to be seen.

After you have landed at Arlanda Airport, the fastest and most eco-friendly way to get into Stockholm is by Arlanda Express, which takes 20 minutes and costs 324 Swedish Krona for a weekend return (roughly £28) or 490 Krona return (£42) if you’re planning a longer visit.

On arrival into the city, the first stop was of course to the bar for drinks and a post-travel bite to eat – and no where compares to the Clarion Sign Hotel rooftop ‘SPA Bar’.

clarion sign

Sipping delicious cocktails, eating fruit so fresh it might still be growing, and then moving onto the divine selection of sushi – all while you watch the world go by from the eighth floor. What more could you want?

After a short walk into the old town named Gamla Stan, you realise how clean, tidy and well kept the entire city, is and it deserves this because it is one of the best preserved medieval city centre in the world. This is all thanks to Stockholm’s very own ‘Beauty Council’, which aims to maintain the city’s asethetics. Straight away you can see how hard they work.

Located in the old town is La Rouge. An eclectic restaurant which serves typical Swedish dishes created with fully Swedish ingredients, and from October cabaret and drag queens will be in appearance every weekend from 8pm.

la rouge

One of the restaurant’s must-haves and one of the most popular Swedish dishes is Räktoast med Löjron, which is shrimp toast with blackroe. It went a little something like this: freshly caught prawns mixed with half mayonnaise, half creme fresh, with chopped red onions, diced fresh dill, a squeeze of lemon and then a pinch of salt and pepper, served on butter-fried bread and garnished with a small spoon of caviar. This was refreshing yet filling at the same time.

For art and photography lovers like me, the photography gallery and museum ‘Fotografiska‘ situated on the South Island of Stockholm is the best and most interesting place to visit. Entry is a bargain at only 120 Krona (£10). Having pieces from world famous photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Frank and many more, you can delve into the different worlds that have been captured in time for your pleasure and enjoyment.

stockholm palace

To soak up even more culture, a visit to the Royal Palace is a must. With gorgeous decor, amazing painted ceilings and intriguing storylines to go with it, all of the luxury and history will blow you away.

From art and culture to something a little more fun and camp, Sweden is of course famous for Abba. The Abba Museum costs 195 Krona (around £15) and is more than worth it for the laughs and fun you will have with all of the interactive exhibitions and games. Your ticket becomes your personal account within the museum – just scan and play! All your results, images and videos that you create using the games will be saved onto the Abba Museum website where you can log on and save the camp things you make.

abba museum

After such a fun-filled day you will need time to unwind and relax and no where else can be better than the LGBT+ favourite hotspot Mälarpaviljongen. This floating oasis sits on the waterside with beautiful views to watch the sun go down. With a large selection of meats and a few vegetarian dishes you can’t go wrong with anything that you choose to eat.

A very special rose cabernet sauvignon wine is sold here and with every glass (or in some cases, bottle) that you sip, you are supporting The Rainbow Foundation of Sweden, which helps the LGBT+ community. This wine is also FairTrade, originating from an orchard named Virgin Earth situated three miles from Cape Town in Africa.

Mälarpaviljongen

Leading on from drinking, of course, comes more drinking. Trädgärden (‘The Garden’) is an LGBT-friendly hotspot under the shadows of a motorway bridge. This may sound weird, but when the day changes to night, the flashing lights are turned on and the music is wound up, you know damn well its going to be a great night. The large open space makes a good change from the usual indoor sweltering club and bar scene.

If you’re more of the indoor type, then Candy (Honey on Saturdays) is the place for you to go. With strong drinks and powerful beats you can party the night away till the early hours of the morning and have a blast alongside the Swedish talent.

From cocktails to smoothies, and clubs to palaces, Stockholm has everything in-between so visiting for only a few days will not suffice. Make sure you book a trip long enough to fit it all in and live it up to Stockholm-style.

Find out more at gaylesbian.visitstockholm.com and facebook.com/gaylesbianstockholm.

About Drew Wilby

Drew Wilby is a photographer and graphic designer living in Manchester.