Stockholm in December and my first ever visit to the country of Sweden. I expected a snowy festive Christmas atmosphere considering Stockholm’s northernly location in the world (& proximity to the home of Santa and his reindeer).
In reality, temperatures hovered around 37 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) and two out of the three days we visited it rained, so we unfortunately never got the “snowy” part, but we definitely did get the festive Christmas atmosphere and a great feel for what the city has to offer! Here’s a few of my observations:
Joggers, Cyclists & Walkers
By 11am we began walking along the waterfront east from the Kungsholmen neighborhood towards the Gamla Stan (old town) section of town. We were among many other people who seemed to be taking full advantage of the beautiful promenade walking path bordering the Riddarfjärden – the bay of Lake Mälaraen. People who were dressed in full active gear going for a run, couples holding hands on a leisurely walk, bicyclists, and locals walking their dogs.
It wasn’t until two days later that we understood why the promenade was especially active that day during the cold but sunny “daylight hours”, which brings me to my next observation -
A Mid-Afternoon Sunset
My whole sense of time and place was thrown off throughout our weekend in Stockholm. By 2pm every day, it was dark. By 6pm it felt like midnight. On the other hand, it was also kind of ideal for our travel style.
On both Saturday and Sunday we had a huge lunch/dinner at around 3:30pm. Usually that appears to be a slow time for restaurants but in Stockholm many of the restaurants were full. By 11pm, we were in bed and ready to get 8+ hours of sleep then do it all over again the next day. Notice the time in the below seemingly “night” picture – 2:50pm!
On the reverse side of things, I’d love to see the vibe in Stockholm in the middle of the summer when the city gets around 18 hours of daylight and it doesn’t get dark until after 10 in the evening.
Christmas Spirit in Stockholm
The Christmas market in the old town was a great starting point to get in the mood for Christmas – small and quaint and filled with a mix of both tourists and locals. While there, it’s necessary to try some Glogg (a Scandinavian mulled wine concoction) and gingerbread.
Next there’s the Scandinavian folklore of the frightening troll creature. As a child, I remember reading some troll stories and I even owned a few troll dolls but I always thought they were more cool-looking than they were scary. There are troll souvenirs everywhere in Stockholm, and as an added bonus to celebrate the holidays all the trolls are now decked out in Christmas attire!
Another souvenir I loved were the many long, thin hats sticking up in the air attached to Santas where only the big nose was exposed. Amusing. Made me laugh throughout the day and I had to buy one to bring home!
Festive Christmas lights covered the city’s main zones, particularly on the many pedestrian shopping streets.
Stockholm is a fun, active city with lots of charm and character. It was the absolute perfect weekend trip to experience the joy of Christmas and get me in the mood for the holiday season.
Now, on to new holiday experiences – my first “English Christmas” next week in Cornwall, then a move back to the New York City area in January where Jim and I will celebrate a late Christmas back in the USA with our families. Can’t wait.