Sweden's totally Disney for dudes. If you appreciate delicious food paired with locally-distilled spirits, Instagram-worthy waterside views, and stunningly attractive locals, add it to your bucket list (and what with the new low-cost carrier Norwegian, you can finally get there on the cheap).
Miles from the nearest Ikea, Gamla stan
is Stockholm's Old Town. Expect cobbled streets, ancient buildings, and enough bars and restos to keep you drunk and over-fed for a week.
The Swedish capital's 30% waterways and 30% parks. The remainder's full of sites pre-dating anywhere you've been before (Stockholm's been kicking since 8,000 BC) -- to make the most of all the history, grab a Stockholm Card
and get entry to all the museums (and free rides on public transportation) during your stay.
Visiting during the summer? A trip out to the archipelago's the thing to do -- there're 30,000 islands in the Baltic Sea just 40mi east of the city. And that's where the Swedes go to celebrate the sunshine... which lasts until after 10p that time of year.
But it isn't just a summer destination -- turn down the temps, and tourists needlessly flee. If you can cope with an NYC winter, you'll appreciate one in Stockholm (picture the festivity and cheer, minus the grit and lack of personal space).
Our favorite thing about Stockholm in December? The local tradition of "Christmas Tables". The majority of hotels and high-end restaurants shut down general service for the month and put out a spread that involves multiple courses, paired with spirits. It's a much-loved tradition, and there'll be locals singing nonsensical songs as you move from herring to ham. The best in town's at Operakällern
, the city's most highly sought-after reservation.
Another highlight of a cold-weather visit? Glögg. It's the loin-warming cousin of sangria, and prevalent at the Christmas markets
you'll find all over town.
Base yourself on Skeppsholmen Island if you want to be centrally located and walking distance from everything. It's where you'll find the Museum of Modern Art
, as well as the ferries to Djurgården (home to the Abba Museum
!) and Södermalm (the Williamsburg of Stockholm). The Hotel Skeppsholmen
's historic (your room comes with a bio
of who previously bedded down there hundreds of years ago), comfortable, and ultra-Swede (they source everything from breakfast fixings to hardware and linens from Stockholm).
Joshua Crouthamel is Thrillist’s travel editor. He’s worked illegally in a half-dozen countries but only been arrested in two. Follow his misadventures on Twitter at @JoshOnTheBus.