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The Greener Guide to Seeing Stockholm More Sustainably

The beautiful blooms at Rosendals Trädgård are a feast for the senses
The beautiful blooms at Rosendals Trädgård are a feast for the senses | © Jeppe Gustafsson / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Imogen Lepere
23 November 2021
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The Swedish capital spoils with covetable homewares, hip hotels and high-end restaurants – that just so happen to be kind to the planet.

Its historic centre may be a maze of age-old cobbled lanes and gabled buildings, but the “beauty on the water” – as Stockholm is nicknamed – is one of the most forward-thinking cities in Europe when it comes to sustainability. Not only was it awarded Europe‘s first European Green Capital in 2010, it’s on a mission to become climate positive by 2040. Despite being scattered across 14 islands, it’s also relatively compact, making walking or cycling the best way to get around.

Tyresta National Park

Park
Map View
Female hiker walks along a narrow boardwalk through a snowy coniferous forest.
© Wirestock / Depositphotos.com
Given that it’s the largest area of ancient forest in southern Sweden, it’s hard to believe Tyresta National Park is just 40 minutes from the city centre. Its 5,000 pine-scented hectares (12,400 acres) hide lakes that lend themselves to wild swimming, 55km (34mi) of hiking trails and a nature centre where you can find out more about the otters, wild boar and roe deer that roam this pristine environment. Tyresta is well served by buses and trains, so there’s no need to hire a car.

Hotel Skeppsholmen

4.6/5 (973 Reviews)
Double bed with white and chocolate-brown furnishings sits opposite a small round table and three grey sofas with a map design on them.
© Courtesy of Hotel Skeppsholmen / Expedia.com
Price Drop
Now from $138 per night
Housed in a yellow building designed by Nicodemus Tessin Jr – the architect behind the nearby Royal Castle – this boutique bolt-hole has unbeatable views over Stockholm’s maritime inlet. Its charitable work is as impressive as the view: the hotel’s profits help to fund Project Playground, which empowers children in South African townships, and The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, promoting interest in children’s literature. When you order certain dishes at the airy restaurant they donate 10kr to Unicef’s water project, and the hotel has also been awarded a Nordic Ecolabel for its environmental efforts. You’ll sleep more soundly in their luxurious rooms knowing that your stay is a force for good.
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Green Rabbit

Bakery, Pastry Shop, Coffee, Swedish, Pastries, Tea , Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
Map View
Bakers hands cup a round, floury loaf of heritage grain bread.
© Pintau Studio / Depositphotos.com
Heritage grain crops are grown less commonly nowadays due to the excessive refining processes needed for mass production, which is a tragedy for biodiversity. This cute bakery from prolific chefs Mathias Dahlgren and Martin Berg, puts rare grains front and centre, reimagining them into a delicious selection of unusual breads and sweet treats, including brioche loaves and cinnamon buns. Its handful of tables, old-fashioned bakery counter and chequered floor make this a lovely spot for fika – the Swedish cultural concept roughly surmised as “catching up over a coffee and something sweet’. Don’t mind if we do.

Hobo Hotel

4.5/5 (885 Reviews)
Modern hotel room with plywood furniture, string shelving, a wide desk, pegboard walls and a double bed that faces a window with city views.
© Courtesy of Hobo Hotel / Expedia.com
Price Drop
Now from $121 per night
This hip hotel states that its aim is to bring the feeling of travelling through Europe in a VW campervan to the brutalist Brunkebergstorg area – and boy, does it deliver. Fun touches such as DJ sets four nights a week and water pistols in the bathrooms, do nothing to undermine the fact that it’s serious about sustainability. An urban farm in the lobby supplies fresh herbs to the cocktail bar, rooms are only cleaned on request, to reduce water consumption, and food items at the breakfast buffet are designed to limit food waste.
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  • Rosendals Trädgård

    Cafe, Swedish
    Map View
    Greenhouse filled with flora, including ferns, white blooms and hanging plants.
    © Courtesy of Rosendals Tradgard
    This truly bucolic garden has been educating locals about organic and biodynamic growing since 1982. Today, it’s a patchwork of flower fields where the public can pick their own bouquets, vegetable plots and twisted apple trees, some of which have been shading this spot since the 19th century. Enjoy vegetarian food from the cafe in one of the greenhouses and don’t forget to take a loaf of bread home with you – it’s baked on site in a traditional brick oven.

    Växthuset

    Restaurant, Vegan
    Map View
    For vegan fine dining, you can’t beat Växthuset (meaning “The Greenhouse”). Snowy-white tablecloths and a neutral colour palette allow “New Nordic” seasonal plates – some featuring ingredients foraged from the Stockholm archipelago – to take centre stage. Choose a set menu or allow the chef to surprise you with a tasting menu, which could feature anything from roasted beets with sorrel and blackberries to sunflower-seed ice cream. They use Nordic preservation techniques such as pickling and fermenting to ensure as little waste as possible. For a fabulous night out, combine their late-night dining option with a visit to Under Bron nightclub. Restaurant guests get free entry.

    Downtown Camper

    4.6/5 (1984 Reviews)
    Cocktail lounge with central fire and chimney, panoramic city view, pendant lampshades and modern, curvy furnishings.
    © Courtesy of Downtown Camper
    Price Drop
    Now from $112 per night
    An urban millennial’s dream, this hotel blends the buzz of a hostel with the sleekness of a design hotel, including a giant net hammock suspended above the lobby, rooms that reference log cabins and a shop that only features local designers. A dedicated lifestyle concierge hooks visitors up with eco-friendly activities such as running groups, longboarding trips, rooftop walking tours and yoga with a view. The hotel is owned by the Scandic group, which has been pushing the boundaries of eco travel since 1993. They were the first to encourage guests to re-use towels and encourage all employees to get involved with three community charities every year.
    More info

    Iris Hantverk

    Shop
    Map View
    Blonde-wood utensils line clean white shelves and hang from pegs.
    © Iris Hantverk
    Sweden is known for its beautiful and functional homeware, and this gorgeous boutique, which has two locations in downtown Stockholm, is a case in point. The focus is on natural materials with lashings of blonde wood, including a range of brushes made by visually-impaired craftspeople in the shop’s own workshop in Enskede. If you’re looking to introduce a little more hygge to your home, check out their range of fluffy blankets from fifth-generation family business, Klippan Yllefabrik.

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