If you had to use one word to sum up Sweden’s capital city it would have to be, cool. From fashion to furniture design, Stockholm oozes the kind of utilitarian chic which has made Scandinavian design desirable the world over.
It is the opportunity to stock up on some of this cool, in the form of authentic Swedish products, which makes a city shopping break to Stockholm so attractive. And, of corse, while you’re there you’ll be able to soak up the city’s trendy design-focused ambience with trips to some of its stylish bars, restaurants and clubs.
Shopping in the city is a joy as, despite being spread across 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, Stockholm is actually quite compact and easy to walk around. As you shop you can take in the stunning historic buildings of the city’s old town, Gamla Stan, and the bright modernity of the stylish, design-conscious city centre.
A Passion for Fashion
There is so much to keep avid fashionistas happy in Stockholm, you’re only difficulty will be deciding where to start. Luckily the city’s fashion outlets are well divided into districts of high end and Scandi cool so you can spend a day indulging your love for luxury brands and a day discovering the hottest new designers Sweden has to offer.
For those who love high-end fashion, Östermalm will not disappoint. With a backdrop of beautiful 18th Century buildings, a harbour full of luxury yachts and restaurants brimming with Stockholm’s most well-heeled residents, this is a great place to spend time shopping and people watching.
The rows of exclusive shop fronts will include some familiar names such as Mulberry, Louis Vuitton and Prada, but it’s also well worth checking out Sweden’s own innovative high-end brands such as Whyred and Acne.
For Stockholm’s answer to Harvey Nichols, head over to Nordiska kompaniet, where the celebrities and royalty of Sweden do their clothes shopping. A design icon in itself, the store retains many of the features and details of its more than one hundred year’s history as a retail outlet.
This ultra trendy area of Stockholm carries its accolade as ‘the coolest place in Europe’ – as voted by Vogue magazine in 2014 – with a predictable nonchalance. This area with its independent clothes shops, bars and restaurants doesn’t try to be cool, but somehow the coolness just seeps from it.
To get a feel for the Stockholm style, start of at the ‘alternative’ Stockholm department store Grandpa which sells everything from men’s and women’s fashion to stationery and homeware, all by edgy Scandinavian designers. For cutting edge design from Swedish and international designers like Helmut Lang and Bella Freud, visit the ultra-hip Jus.
But for those looking for something completely unique to turn your friends back home green with envy, check out Södermalm’s secondhand and vintage stores. Vintage is big business in Stockholm and the quality of merchandise is high, so if you want something not found on the High Street check out: Emmaus, Beyond Retro and Smiley Vintage.
If you want to combine your shopping in Södermalm with listening to some great tunes and maybe stopping for a beer or two, then head over to Street. Set up by an Englishman who wanted to bring a Camden Market vibe to Stockholm, Street has a number of independent stalls, an outdoor eating area and lounge bar. It regularly plays host to visiting DJs, and holds events like poetry slams and stand-up comedy.
Swedish Home Style
Ever since Ikea made it to our shores, the British have been in love with the pared down, utilitarian chic of Scandinavian design. Well, there’s no where better to discover how much Swedish design has progressed since then than in the beautiful homeware shops of Stockholm.
One of the best areas for Scandinavian design and homeware is the city’s pretty, old town Gamla Stan. Explore its narrow 13th Century cobbled streets and you’ll discover lots of little independent shops such as the E Torndahl Shop for Scandinavian Design selling both traditional and contemporary designs.
But if you want something from the cutting edge of Swedish design look no further than 10 Swedish Designers (10 Gruppen) in the city’s hip Södermalm district. Established by, (yes, you guessed it) 10 young textile designers back in 1970 it has become a by-word for independent design creativity over the last 40 years. Come here for ceramics and goods made from the designer’s latest fabrics.
For a more up-market home offering, head over to the exclusive Östermalm district for Svenskt Tenn, with home wares and textiles created by Swedish designer Josef Frank. Next door you will find Carl Malmsten, a shop dedicated to his extraordinary furniture designs and complementary house wares.
How to Get to Stockholm
Getting to Stockholm needn’t cost the earth. There are budget flights from London to one of Stockholm’s three airports by Ryanair, Norwegian Air International and Brussels Airlines. British Airways also flies here. Flight times are around two and a half hours and land at either Stockholm Arlanda, Stockholm Skavsta, or Stockholm Bromma Airport from where you can take a Shuttle Direct transfer to anywhere you choose in the city.
Where to Stay
Hotel Hellsten – The building in which the Hotel Hellsten is based may date back to the 18th Century but the interiors are stylish and modern. Set in the heart of the city, this four-star hotel, with its bookable sauna and free WiFi, is a great option for a restricted budget.
Elite Hotel Marina Tower – Experience a bit of Scandinavian style in the harbour-side Elite Hotel Marina Tower. The foyer is contemporary and stylish and the spa and pool area, which guests can use at a discount, are nothing short of beautiful. There’s also free WiFi throughout.
Crystal Plaza Hotel – Set in a beautiful 19th Century Art Nouveau building in the exclusive Östermalm shopping district the Crystal Plaza Hotel is a great place to base yourself for a city shopping break. There is WiFi available throughout the hotel and there are even free internet computers for guests to use in the lobby.
About Shuttle Direct
One of the top providers of airport transfers across Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct offers a hassle-free option for travellers wanting to get from the airport to their accommodation. Book a group transfer or private car online before you leave and your driver will be waiting at the airport when you arrive.