If you are looking for a fresh and exciting honeymoon destination, and somewhere a little different, Stockholm may just be the place.
Set across fourteen islands, the city of Stockholm is truly a treasure trove of arts, music, culture and good food. The city offers both a chance to relax and explore a vibrant nightlife, and ingrained appreciation for music, set on a picturesque backdrop.
If your journey starts with a flight into Arlanda Airport, it is connected to the city by a 20 minute, fast and comfortable train journey on the Arlanda Express or a 40 minute taxi ride, both making for an easy transfer.
Throughout the summer are a number of LGBT-specific events, as well as those more widely marketed. The Music and Arts Festival, for example, offers an impressive lineup of both established and up and coming acts. This year’s festival featured Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and a carnival-style setup with popcorn vendors and a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Hotel Lydmar’s bar and restaurant
One of many excellent places to stay,The Hotel Lydmar , provides a classic backdrop with a contemporary and cool feel, and really sets itself apart. Music runs through the hotels’ veins, as DJs and performers take to the terraces and open air bar, where people relax, eat from a delicious contemporary range of food. The burgers are a must, and if the weather will allow it, the first floor terrace gives a perfect view over the waterfront, with a mix of people young and old soaking up the atmosphere. The rooms are stylish and the decor mixes the classic and the modern perfectly.
As well as a bustling nightclub which hosts a range of gay nights, including the official Pride parties, another notable accommodation is Berns Hotel , which gives a contemporary and modern experience, overlooking the water, and a popular restaurant, which was one of the first to serve Asian food in Stockholm. The rooms are fresh, bright and airy, and give a great view for the long winder dusks.
On our honeymoon, guided by Kenneth Hallström and his partner Peter Färm, we got to see a Stockholmer’s perspective on the city.
The couple took us to the Västerbron bridge, where couples place locks, and throw away they key, representing everlasting love. We also ate lunch in Mälarpaviljongen, a gay bar and restaurant built out over the water, offering tasty seafood and salads, its own range of wines and a beautiful setting.
The Haga Park
A walk through the Haga Park revealed another side to the city – Stockholmers often swim in the lakes and sea, both during the warmer seasons, and after hot nights of clubbing. The park contains a lake, and the current resident of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria. Overlooking the water is one of the oldest inns in Stockholm, which is now the Haga Park Hotel.
An amuse bouche offered at Brasserie Le Rouge
In terms of places to eat, Stockholm offers a plethora of options, from classic Swedish food to more varied cuisines. Brassierie Le Rouge offers an amazing fusion of classic and modern French cuisine, sits amid the old town, Gamla Stan, and is overlooked by the Royal Palace.
With lavish and traditional, but not over the top decor, the bar offers a massive range of expertly made cocktails, and despite being predominantly French cuisine, some dishes include a little Swedish twist such as liquorice macarons, shrimp toast and the roe it is served with.
The dining room at Brasserie Le Rouge
If French isn’t your bag, in a different part of town is the Hotel Skeppsholmen, which provides another contemporary option offering a modern and chic setting for delicious food. The belly pork is an absolute must, and the hotel sells homemade mustards to take away, which are well worth going over your baggage limit on the plane home. Despite being close to the city, the hotel is amazingly relaxing, and is surrounded by water, but accessible both by boat, bus, and on foot.
Culturally, the city of Stockholm has a lot to offer. The Fotografiska is a multi-purpose space, which predominantly shows photography and art, but also functions as a conference centre, and hosts public events. Without public funding, the gallery is popular and bustling, and shows work by high profile photographers such as Sebastiao Salgado.
Another must is the Millesgården, a beautiful sculpture park that was home to the famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles. The lush park is built on terraces with sculptures, fountains and columns. The garden features a ‘library’ of work collected by the sculptor, including ancient works from which he drew his inspiration.
The view from the Millesgården
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A short boat ride out of Stockholm to the archipelago is the Stora Fjäderholmarna, a destination for Stockholmers as well as tourists, the first island of more than 80,000 in the collection. Home to a new Brew Pub opened by Pelle Ågren and Andreas Willman, it is possible to try the beer brewed their, with windows into the brewery enabling visitors to take a look at where their beer came from.
Also on the island is the Fjäderholmarna Rokeri, which offers a range of seafood dishes, including a smoked selection, and shrimp Caesar Salad. The view is incredible, and the food is excellent. A must-try, and sits only a 20 minute boat trip from the city centre.
For LGBT acceptance, Stockholm is ahead of its time. We walked hand in hand throughout our entire stay, and not one person took a second glance. When we arrived, pride flags were still visible on trams, buses and a range of public buildings, despite that pride had ended a week prior.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt marched in the pride parade the day before we got there, and the party atmosphere lingered on after Pride had ended.
Another attraction was the ABBA museum. A must for anyone even vaguely interested in the Eurovision-winning group. The museum is highly interactive, offering quizzes, challenges, and the chance to perform alongside holographic versions of the group.
To find out more about Gay and Lesbian Stockholm, visit gaylesbian.