Forget H&M, IKEA meatballs and Alexander Skarsgård (okay, maybe don’t forget him), join Zoe Macfarlane as she discovers what the fairytale city of Stockholm is really about on a whirlwind 48-hour tour.

Ready? Set? Here we go in Stockholm:

 

Day One

Underground Subway Art, Stockholm 2

Medieval Wanderings: Considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world, Gamla Stan (Old Town) is the perfect introduction to Stockholm. The higgledy-piggledy nature of the old town’s buildings charm from first sight. In summer, aim for an early start before the tour-bus crowds arrive.

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs: If you’re any kind of a foodie, you’re about to get your taste buds tantalised. No trip to IKEA’s motherland is complete without a plate of köttbuller (meatballs). Even with only 48 hours in town, Riche or Meatballs for the People are both worth a visit.

Rock the Boat: After the hearty fare of Sweden’s most cherished meal, walk (or waddle) to the harbour to explore the Stockholm archipelago by boat. Seasonality determines how far you can go into the summer playground of Stockholm’s elite, but even in the depths of winter, a daily schedule gets you at least to Nacka’s nature reserve.

Fika Time, Semle

Fika time: Fika is so hip right now. It means to ‘have coffee’, although sugary pastries, delectable tarts, and cream-filled cakes are part of the afternoon custom. It’s practically tourism law that you need to partake in this sticky-fingered ritual. Vete-katten is the perfect introduction and caters to the gluten intolerant too.

Shop till you drott: Shopping in Stockholm is a lesson in style. Drottninggaten is the main pedestrianised shopping area where you’ll find the country’s key retailers. For on-trend Scandi fashion, check out the cool stores in Södermalm or head to the swanky boutiques of Östermalm.

 

Day Two

Stockholm Haymarket

Viking History: The Vasa Museum is considered one of the country’s most significant treasures where the 17th century Vasa warship stands 95% intact. Ten exhibitions are housed in the internationally admired building, so allow plenty of time.If you’re more into pop culture, the interactive ABBA Museum is close to Vasa. Explore memorabilia and outlandish costumes from Sweden’s most famous musical export.

Food Hall of Thought: Ostermalm’s Saluhall is considered one of the world’s top 10 food halls, with a range of Swedish delicacies on offer. Check out Nybroe Smørrebrød for a sandwich-style lunch or Melanders for traditional fish dishes.

Stockholm Underground

Underground ingenuity: Stockholm has elevated art from the museum to the masses – and all you need to explore it is one subway ticket. There are 100 subways stations in Stockholm and a whopping 90% of them have some form of art. You can easily dedicate an afternoon to exploring the world’s largest art exhibition.

Take in the view: Round off your lightning stay with Stockholm’s latest restaurant offering. Tak provides modern Scandinavian meals with a Japanese twist, but it’s the 360° panorama that entices, the Stockholm skyline demanding attention from every vantage point.

Stay: For a central hotel, Haymarket by Scandic offers art deco vibes, great value and a fabulous breakfast spread.

READ: 48 hours in Copenhagen 

READ: The world’s coolest hotel, literally!

Have you been to Stockholm? Share your tips and advice below.