Snowy views, Christmas concerts, and cosy mulled wine moments
The low afternoon sun glistens off fresh snowfall which coats the medieval streets, harbour promenades and lush parkland like Christmas cake frosting. Warmly wrapped up locals go about their daily lives, taking the shorter days in their stride, sledding with family and cosying up with hot chocolate and a cinnamon bun. It’s an especially atmospheric time of year, proving that low season Stockholm has heaps more to offer than 70s pop sensations, meatballs and flat pack furniture.
The beautiful Swedish capital stands proudly on 14 interconnected islands, forming a distinctive skyline of towering spires and colourful facades, where you’ve never far from the water’s edge. Stockholm’s wider archipelago embraces more than 30,000 islands and islets, so it’s no surprise that city dwellers spend their summers messing about on the water and escaping to beach homes while tourists flock to the vibrant city centre. Come low season November to March and it’s a different story. Many visitors are put off by Sweden’s winter weather and infamously short days, but actually Stockholm lies in the south of the country and still sees a good 6 hours of daylight even in December and at least 10 hours by the end of February. It can indeed be chilly with average temps of zero degrees, but Stockholmers are extremely adaptable with a great aptitude for winter sports and outdoor activities. Ground breaking exhibits and cultural events continue year round, and magical evenings are lit with welcoming candles and twinkling fairy lights in every doorway.
Stockholm is wonderfully walkable, or cycleable if that’s your thing, whether you need to get quickly from A to B, or just want to stroll and explore. Meander the streets of the varied districts, from the bohemian island of Södermalm and charming Djurgården, to the Old Town of Gamla stan where the royal palace stands, and on to the fortress isle of Kastellholmen for wonderful city views. The public transport system is similarly easy to use with excellent bus, tram and subway routes. And, so long as the weather isn’t too bad, we’d highly recommend taking a boat out into the stunning archipelago, where awe-inspiring tours take place all year with meals served on board.
Low Season Culture
Winter is the perfect time to explore Stockholm’s multitude of museums and exhibitions without the crowds, and there’s something to suit every taste. The stunning Baroque Royal Palace is open for tours and contains more than 600 rooms. Vasamuseet is a maritime museum housing a fully intact 17th century ship, the Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage. The Nobel Museum holds artefacts which tell the fascinating personal stories of the Nobel Prize winners through the ages. Finally, a fabulous option is the ABBA Museum displaying clothing of the artists, a self-playing piano pumping out familiar tunes and a karaoke experience un-missable by any fan.
Shop ‘til you Drop
Better bring an empty suitcase because here you have everything from department stores to exclusive boutiques and lovely vintage stores. You can pick up some beautiful examples of Swedish design while admiring the amazing interiors and indulgent food courts at your favourite huge mall. At least pick up a jar of lingonberry jam, a Swedish favourite, to serve with your meatballs. For traditional gifts, try the Christmas markets filled with unique hand-made crafts, delicious festive delicacies and revelling Stockholmers.