Earlier in the year, I found myself in a place where I just needed to get away – from work, from family, from everything. And that’s how I found myself on the RyanAir Fare Finder page, looking at the cheapest flights available – and booked a flight to the first city that stuck out – Stockholm, Sweden.
It wasn’t my first foray into solo flying or travelling, but it was my first experience staying in a hostel solo. I found the cheapest hostel I could find in a great location and booked it, figured out my way to and from the airport (I flew into Vasteras rather than Stockholm’s main airport) and booked my train to Stanstead. And just a few days later, set out on an adventure!
Turns out, Stockholm is home to four airports, with only one of those airports close to the centre of the city. Chances are, you’ll be flying into one of the other three, with a bit more of a commute into the city. I flew into Västerås Airport and used the Flybussarna service – it took about an hour and a half, and they waited for the last passenger to make it through the airport before they left. On the way back to the airport, I took the train to Västerås, and a bus to the airport, which meant I could spend the morning exploring Västerås.
I stayed in the Birka Hostel in Norrmalm, which was actually an amazing location, compared to some of the other hostels I’d looked at. The hostel itself was great, it was nice and quiet, and tucked away from the main street.
Stockholm is packed full of museums, and a good chunk of them are free! I took advantage of the free museums – plus they’re a great escape from the cold! Day one I was just wandering around, crossed a random bridge, and stumbled across the Museet Moderna, which had an amazing exhibition called ‘NormForm’ – exploring the gender differences in modern day society, as well as some other amazing photography exhibitions. I paid for the Nobel Prize museum and was a bit disappointed. There was a heavy influence on the literary prize winners and not enough (for me) about the scientists. I stumbled across the Livrustkammaren (the Swedish Royal Armory) and the Historika Museet – which were both perfect escapes from the cold!
The one museum ahead of time that I’d researched and new I’d visit was Fotografiska, located on Södermalm. It was the one museum that I’d planned on heading too, and I was glad I did! There was an amazing Nick Veasey exhibition, where he’d used x-rays as a mode of imaging, there was an amazing photo diary of a visit to Moldova and an exhibition on hygiene in everyday life. It was such a crazy ranged, but they were all stunning and worked together somehow. As amazing as all the photography was, one of the highlights had to be the top floor, with a surprise cafe with amazing views over the city.
For one of the days, I headed out for something different, and joined a couple of walking tours through Free Tour Stockholm, joining their tours of Söldermalm and their city tours. They were both super informative, and the tours guides were so much fun! The other great experience I had with a boat tour through the Stockholm Archipelago – it was cold, but they provided blankets, and it was definitely worth it! It was two hours long, and it was full of history and fun facts of the city.
It would have been rude to have gone all the way to Stockholm and to not try Kottbullar -or Swedish meatballs! I headed to ‘Meatballs for the people’ – a restaurant over in Söldermalm. It was amazing! Despite the treck out to the restaurant, I’d definitely recommend it. Stockholm – and the rest of Sweden is known for being expensive. My first morning, I headed to Snickarbacken 7 and got to experience first hand the cost of a Swedish Fika. The following mornings, I headed to the nearby grocery store and grabbed something from their bakery, before heading into the city and grabbing a coffee. I can’t really remember the rest of my meals – there were a lot of hot drinks in place of lunches!
My highlight of the whole trip had to be the experience of solo travel. I could go where ever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I could eat what I wanted, and I had all the time in the world to think and clear my head.