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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for somewhere different to stay? Book into one of the best boutique hotels in Stockholm.
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