A few weeks ago, I headed off on a very whirlwind trip to Stockholm. Vapiano, who are opening restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow this autumn, invited a few bloggers to check out their Swedish restaurants ahead of the launch in Scotland. We were only there for 24 hours, so we packed as much as we could into an overnight trip. As well as seeing a little bit of the city, we also managed to eat in not one, not two, but three different Vapianos!
If you’re planning a trip to Stockholm soon, here are a few tips to make the most of a short stay in the city. I loved the city and will definitely need to plan a longer trip at some point so I can explore even more of Stockholm.
Where to Stay in Stockholm
After arriving at Arlanda Airport, we hopped in a taxi to our hotel (with a quick stop at Vapiano for lunch first, of course!). We stayed at Motel L, a really cool design hotel on Hammarby Alle. The rooms had everything you needed for an overnight stay, and the bed was one of the comfiest I’ve ever slept on. I loved the bright carpets and murals on the walls, and the little touches of swish Scandinavian design. My room even had a view of the water which was a nice bonus!
Where to Eat & Drink in Stockholm
The guys at Vapiano had organised for us to visit three of their branches to try out as much of the menu as possible. After we landed, we headed straight to the Mall of Scandinavia Vapiano and learned more about the restaurant’s concept. At Vapiano, you get a swipe card when you arrive, then you choose what you want (pizza, pasta, risotto, salad or antipasti) and queue up at the counter. Your food is then cooked fresh in front of you, and you can add as many customisations as you want. Want to use penne in your carbonara instead of spaghetti? No problem. Want to add chicken to a veggie pizza? Done! At the end, you just hand over your swipe card to pay for your meal.
I started off with a penne arrabbiata with extra chicken, and it perked me up nicely after a morning of travelling. The sauce was nice and spicy and I really liked the addition of chicken too. Finish it off with a couple of glasses of wine and it was the perfect lunch! That evening we tried out Vapiano Gamla Stan and I opted for pizza this time, the spicy Diavolo with Italian sausage, peppers, red onions and mozzarella. I was also eyeing up the antipasti platter and even the salads – one came served with an entire ball of fresh mozzarella, yuuuum!
At lunch the next day, I tried out the spaghetti carbonara at Vapiano Kungsbron and it was every bit as tasty as you’d expect a classic like this to be. Unfortunately I was too full of carbs to manage dessert, but there were lots of delicious-looking options – I’ll definitely be keeping room for the strawberry panna cotta next time I’m at Vapiano!
As for drinking in Stockholm, we were really lucky with the weather so made the most of it and headed to a rooftop bar to watch the sun set after dinner. Södra Teatern, a 19th century theatre, has a rooftop terrace with beautiful views of Stockholm. We sat outside underneath the fairy lights and sipped our drinks as the sun went down. It had a really chilled atmosphere and was the perfect place to end the day.
What to Do in Stockholm
Stockholm is a beautiful city surrounded by water, so a boat tour is a great way to see lots of the city in a short time. We went on the Royal Canal Tour which took just under an hour, and went round some of the most picturesque areas of Stockholm. We spotted sights like Skansen, Djurgården and even the house of one of the members of Abba! There are audio guides if you fancy finding out more about Stockholm’s history, or you can just sit back and enjoy the view.
I’d also recommend exploring Stockholm by foot, particularly the very pretty old town of Gamla Stan. There are lots of cute little cobbled streets, squares of colourful buildings and historical sights to look out for. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit any museums, but there are quite a few interesting ones to check out in the Gamla Stan area.
We also managed to fit in a little bit of shopping whilst we were in Stockholm, both in the central Södermalm area and out at the Mall of Scandinavia. Keep an eye out for Scandi brands like Monki, Weekday and & Other Stories – even their H&M stores seem much more exciting than ours in the UK!
And then, just 24 hours later, it was time to head back to the airport and catch our flight back to Edinburgh. Thanks very much to Vapiano for inviting me along to Stockholm. Their Edinburgh restaurant opens in October (and Glasgow shortly after that), so keep your eyes peeled for delicious pasta and pizza in St Andrew Square soon!