FOR MEMBERS

A complete guide to the perfect Christmas in Stockholm

A complete guide to the perfect Christmas in Stockholm
Stockholm comes alight during the advent season, with markets, festive food, decorations and concerts to enjoy. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT
During December days, Stockholm transforms into a Christmas city. One million lights bring a festive sparkle to the streets, countless markets are organized and the warm Christmas atmosphere can be felt everywhere. But where to begin? With The Local's guide, you can make the most of the Christmas season in Stockholm.

Markets

Christmas markets are an essential stop on any December tour of Stockholm, and can be found all over the city.  The Gamla Stan Christmas market is almost obligatory, where you can enjoy a glass of glögg (Swedish mulled wine) surrounded by the picturesque old buildings of the central square Stortorget.

At the open air museum Skansen (entry 140 kronor, 60 kronor for children), the past and present meet, and you can combine a visit to the huge market with a tour of the historic Swedish buildings (stopping to warm up in the pub or cafe) or the Nordic animals, including reindeer. During Christmas time, Skansen is a great place to be.

The Christmas market at Skansen started in 1903 and has been organized every year ever since. Its stalls sell plenty of choices for traditional Swedish food, but also handmade Christmas decorations that make great gifts, including for yourself. Check the museum's website beforehand to find out about festive events during your visit, from crafts to concerts.


Photo: Ulf Lundin/imagebanksweden.se

Less well known are the smaller but atmospheric markets including those at Vintervikens Trädgard, featuring a bonfire to keep warm as well as music and dancing, and at Skeppsholmsgården, with a focus on handicrafts. Both take place on December 14th-15th.

If you're looking for a majestic and royal Christmas, it's worth making the day trip to the Christmas market at Steninge Castle in nearby Sigtuna. The market is held in a barn behind the 17th-century palace, and is open every day until December 23rd, holding the title of the largest indoor Christmas market in all of Swede.

Stockholm's biggest outside Christmas market is in the Åkersberga Växtförsäljning north-east of the city centre. You'll find meat, honey, mustard, sweets and more from local farmers from this area, plus crafts. Perfect for preparing a traditional Swedish Christmas, while children can meet Santa and farm animals.

Shopping and browsing

Stockholm is decked out in glitter and glamour during the holiday season, with Christmas music playing and lights across the city. Follow the lights by taking a walking tour of the most brightly decorated streets — download the map here.

For a taste of luxury, whether you're buying gifts or simply window-shopping, head to Sturegallerian in Östermalm or department store Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) near Kungsträdgården. At NK, you can meet Santa every day until December 23rd, and admire the famous window displays. And a wander down Biblioteksgatan is another must-do festive shopping experience.

Beginning preparations for the big Christmas dinner? With a lot of stores around town specializing in both Swedish and international food you've got plenty of options. In the Hötorgshallen at the Sergelgatan you'll find delicacies from all around the world, while the chic and classy Östermalms Saluhall market has been around since 1888 and offers quality fresh fish, shellfish, vegetables and meat to make your dinner a big success.


Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

Lucia

The Lucia tradition is celebrated all around Sweden on December 13th as a way of bringing light to the dark winter. Some of the most popular candle processions and Lucia choirs are to be seen at the Storkyrkan, the Hjorthagskyrkan and in Skansen. The Nordiska Museet is hosting two evening performances, on December 13th and 14th, with a concert combining well-known Lucia songs and music from the Arctic countries. Hundreds of candles will light the great hall of the museum for a truly magical experience.

Make sure to grab a saffron bun during Lucia from one of Stockholm's best bakeries, such as Petrus Bageri near Mariatorget in Södermalm or Valhallabageriet in Östermalm. Make sure to get in early, they might be sold out if you're too late!

Events

The ice skating rink in Kungsträdgården in the middle of the city is one of the symbols of the winter months in Stockholm. Entrance to the rink is free, but you should bring your own skates or rent them there (70 kronor per hour for adults or 30 kronor per children, including helmet rental). It's open from 9am-9pm on weekdays, and during weekends from 10am-9pm.

Gingerbread-lovers should head to the Gingerbread House exhibition at the ArkDes (admission free) for one of the most festive and best smelling museum exhibitions you're likely to find, featuring creations from schoolchildren, bakers, artists, and architects.

With 5,000 lights and a four-meter star at the top, some say the Christmas tree at Skeppsbron in Gamla Stan might be the biggest Christmas tree in the world. Regardless of whether that's true, the 38-metre tall tree is still impressive. Make sure to walk by if you're in Gamla Stan.

And while strolling around the Old Town, try to catch a glimpse of the Living Advent Calendar. Each day at 6.15pm until December 24th, a different window somewhere on the island will open to reveal a 15-minute festive performance (note: some performances are in Swedish).


Photo: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebanksweden.se

Concerts

From the folkjul concert with traditional Swedish folk music to a Christmas sing-along and a New Year's concert, there's a lot going on at the Storkyrkan in Stockholm during the holidays. Ticket prices for the concerts range from 80 to 250 kronor and availability is usually limited, so book early if possible.

A musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is performed at the Maximteatern on the 27th of December. The musical was very popular with the Swedes in the '80s and '90s and has recently made a comeback to theatres during the holidays. The show will be performed in English.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is giving a Children's Christmas concert on December 14th at Konserthuset Stockholm. During this playful concert for the whole family, musicians and singers prepare Santa and his the little elves for Christmas. And on December 21st, there's another Christmas concert with classical music, musicals, and new compositions.

Eat and drink

Enjoying Christmas time in Stockholm has to include at least one julbord, a buffet of delicious festives food. If you're looking for something special you can go to Ulriksdal's Värdshus in Solna, surrounded by forest and nature with garden views.

The restaurant of the iconic Fotografiska musem in Södermalm was a few years ago named as the best museum restaurant in the world. This year you can enjoy 'Sweden's most sustainable Christmas smörgåsbord' from the famous Swedish chef Paul Svensson at the popular location.

In Skansen on Djurgården there are several options to eat a Christmas julbord in a unique setting. Some of the centuries-old Nordic buildings in Skansen are converted to restaurants to enjoy a dinner in a historic atmosphere, and restaurant Gubbhyllan offers both a Christmas and a New Year dinner with seasonal local ingredients.

Seeing Stockholm from the water is a unique event by itself, but enjoying a Christmas dinner while cruising around the Stockholm archipelago is simply spectacular. The ferry company Strömma is hosting a special Christmas dinner cruise, with a three-hour trip and julbord costing 735 kronor.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.