If you were to ask me what is the most memorable thing about Stockholm I wouldn't say it's beautiful colorful buildings, incredibly clean streets, beautiful museums or its historic downtown. The one thing that stayed with me the most about Stockholm where it's wonderful people.
At least in my personal experience, we are known to believe that Mediterranean and Latin people are nice and northern Scandinavian countries are cold. Perhaps this applies to some, but Sweden was truly a heartwarming experience. From the second we arrived to our Downtown Camper hotel at 1:00am tired and grumpy, the welcoming staff cheered us right up! The next morning we had a most wonderful food tour with Stockholm Food Tour and from the guide (who was also incredibly knowledgeable) to every single person we encountered in the cafes, restaurants or store where fantastic! It wasn't a fake feeling of someone trying to sell you something but truly a genuinely nice attitude towards all. Our awesome driver from Limos4 Leif even took the initiative and gave us a mini tour guide! He couldn't have put a bigger smiles on our faces if he tried, it was wonderful!
One of our favorite moments was entering a club at night club entrance. It seemed to be "The" place to visit in Stockholm and upon our arrival we were welcomed by the bouncers with the biggest smiles! (please not we were also wearing flats, barely any makeup and bundle up under a heavy jacket!) The also warmly said goodby at the end of the night, it was quite an experience!
So without further blabbing I want to introduce some of the wonderful experiences and brands we worked there while on our trip, I tried to get in their own words some insights on the beautiful Stockholm:
First Stop: The trendy Downtown Camper Hotel by Scandic
Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind Downtown Camper?
Downtown Camper by Scandic is Scandic’s third signature hotel in central Stockholm and it
offers a unique hotel experience where nature meets the urban city. The hotel is the starting point for curious travelers and independent explorers who want to discover the real Stockholm, and a social hub for locals. Downtown Camper has a modern, playful interior inspired by nature and the concrete jungle of the surrounding neighborhood. It is designed to provide opportunities for spontaneous interaction and meeting new friends. In Campfire restaurant, the open fireplace is the focal point where guests can gather to enjoy
comfort food from around the world. The menu focuses on comfort food from all corners of the world.
The hotel’s lifestyle concierge, Kristian Hell, helps our guests to find new and exciting ways of experiencing Stockholm. We offer daily activities that encourage our guests to explore the city and themselves, and you can also grab a skateboard, kayak or bike in the lobby and go explore the city independently.
What are some sustainable measures Downtown Camper takes?
The restaurant offers many organic, vegan and vegetarian options. We source our food and use a lot of locally produced ingredients. All the coffee is organic as an example. We also think about the environmental impact when we choose our suppliers, and as a consequence, many of our suppliers are eco labelled aswell. Scandic is a pioneer in sustainability, as one of the first hotel chains to be eco labelled in the 90’s, introducing the “reuse your towel” and body products that come in reusable packaging / bottles.
We love the extremely varied and inclusive breakfast you offer. Can you tell us a bit more about it? We offer not one, but two different breakfasts – one in the main restaurant Campfire, and one slimmer, more health-conscious up in The Nest on the 9th floor. All our hotel guests can choose which breakfast they’d like to enjoy. The breakfast I made up of several freshly-baked types of bread, cheese and ham / salami, vegetables and fruit, seeds and nuts, sour milk, yoghurt, musli etc, hot food like waffles with cream and jam, sausages, soft and hard boiled eggs, scrambles eggs, bacon and porridge. The dessert table is made up by different pastry. Of course we also offer tea, coffee, freshly-sqeezed juices of different kinds. There’s also an entire section dedicated for those who prefer the lactose- and gluten free.
How is Stockholm doing when it comes to sustainability? Do you encourage guests to visit sustainable places? Stockholm is a very environmentally-conscious city indeed. The city has made big efforts to make it a city where you can take your bike, or walk, anywhere, and the locals are very conscious of this as well. As a consequence, there’s an abundance of restaurants, shops and cafes that offer innovative, organic products. Our partners are no exception, the kayaks in our lobby, as an example, are sustainably produced. As the environment matter is very important to us as an hotel, we are very keen to offer our guests sustainable options.
Tell us some unique features you offer to guests?
As a guest at the hotel we offer a full daily calendar of activities to take part in, and as we encourage a sustainable lifestyle we also offer daily workshops within holistic well-being. All guests can borrow a bike, skateboard or kayak as a way of exploring the city. Our lifestyle concierge is always there to help. The breakfast is also always included in our rates.
How do you stay on top of new trends?
We always look for new ways to exceed our guests expectations and needs, thus we need to stay up to date with current trends and behavior patterns. Each and every one of us working in the hotel lives the brand and we look at successful international examples for inspiration.
Second Stop is: Vision of Stockholm Boat Tour around the Archipelago
Tell us about "Vision of Stockholm" and what do you offer?
Vision of Stockholm is a charter and boat-sightseeing company in Stockholm. We are family owned and strives for a personal and luxury experiences with a familiar touch. Our offer includes sightseeing tours in the city, out in the beautiful Stockholm archipelago or to the wonderful Drottningholm Palace in Lake Mälaren where the royal family lives. We also arrange tours to the great restaurants in the archipelago. We are located on Strandvägen in the central of Stockholm were most of our tours departure. The tours are held with a professional guide onboard upon customer request on your preferred language. We are looking forward for the upcoming season 2018! Welcome onboard!
2.Your tours are bespoke – so what’s the oddest request you’ve ever had from a customer?
We arranged an exclusive dinner in the outer part of the archipelago ones. It was held on a cliff on a small skerrie. We had our professional chef onboard and served a 3 course dinner. The weather was with us and it was definitely a special evening for our customers. We still offer this possibility, so let us know if you are planning a special moment for your loved ones!
3.How do you decide on the route and content of your tours?
We have been running this business for +15 years and been in Stockholm Archipelago for our whole life, we really love the environment and are passionate with what we are doing. There are over 30 000 islands to choose among and during the years we have really find the best secret hideaways. The tours are then arranged in different length to fulfill different customer needs.
4.What’s your own particular favorite tour (or part of a tour), and why?
The Grand archipelago tour is special, the outer part and the visit to Bullerö is really beautiful. The island is encompassed by a wildlife preserve with beautiful nature and a rich bird life. There is also a museum dedicated to the famous painter Bruno Liljefors to visit.
5. What do you recommend for a customer who only has 2-3 hours available?
We offer a 3 hour cruise with departure from Stockholm City. The tour takes you out in the mid part of the archipelago and passing Vaxholm. It’s a great tour if you only have 3 hours. It gives you a feeling of what the archipelago has to offer and in the same time you will also see the Stockholm skyline when returning to the city.
6. How do you keep your boat tours as eco-friendly as possible?
The Baltic Sea is one of the world's most exposed seas and in the same time it is also the most beautiful place on earth. We are therefore fighting for sustainable development and in our business we are doing everything we can to minimize the damage. Our engine is certified by Germanischer Lloyd, which means that the machine manufacturer MTU complies with international rules on NOx emissions. We provide safety and handling of the ship to minimize waves that can damage our surroundings. As part of our work, we support "Save the Baltic Sea" at WWF.
7.And finally, how can we reach you if we would like to book a tour?
It,s easy, look at our homepage www.vofs.se and do a reservation. Please also follow our Instagram account @visionofstockholm for our early bird pricing and special offers!
Third stop: Food Tours Stockholm!
What first compelled you to work in the business of food tourism?
Since I can remember, I have always had a passion for good and well-prepared food. When traveling, both in Sweden and abroad, local food experiences have been the most memorable highlights of my trips.
I have been running businesses within experience and service sectors for over 20 years. I started Food Tours Stockholm in 2013, something that I've dreamed about since I experienced a food tour in Bangkok more than 10 years ago. My mission is to show the quality, diversity and the inventiveness of the Stockholm food scene.
One of the main things we loved was how we can discover Stockholm while trying delicious dishes. How do you come up with the right balance schedule? Everything starts and ends with good planning! We want the tour to eventually equal a good meal, all together and we always end the tours with some sweet. In between we try to get a good mix of “sightseeing” and tastings.
I can also see these food tours being especially valuable for visitors to the area, or maybe someone who recently moved to the city. Do you welcome a lot of new arrivals? Oh yes – there are a lot of new residents in Stockholm who discover new favorite restaurants after a tour. And for those who are just visiting – a food tour is a brilliant way to explore Stockholm, the culture and the history.
What message about your destination’s cuisine do you intend to communicate to your guests? Stockholm is a melting pot of a various of cultures and cuisines so if you want to eat like the locals, I would recommend the Culinary Södermalm, however, if you want to get to know Swedish cuisine and culture, I would go for the Nordic Experience (like you did) where you will try everything from pickled herring with snaps (and mandatory singing!) to Swedish meatballs.
What is your last top tip for when visiting Stockholm? Stay open minded and have a look out for what´s happening. Plan ahead - check out www.visitstockholm.com, to know what´s going on. Check the tour schedule if you want to take a tour during your stay foodtoursstockholm.se/en/ or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org – we love to help you. And - be prepared for a cash free visit – more and more shops, restaurants and museums in Stockholm are now totally cash free.
Finally, on our way to the airport we had the best service we could have hoped for: Limos4 Stockholm
A bit of insight into their bespoke services in their own words:
What differentiates us from the rest is great convenience (customization) and flexibility, high responsiveness, and always going the extra mile to make our customers' travel experience perfect and exceed their expectations. We are a customer-oriented company, therefore the satisfaction of our clients is our topmost priority. Namely, with us, one can get the highest level of service in each of the cities we serve, which is now around 60 cities, across Europe, Middle East and South Africa. Also, we aim to provide our clients with a response or a quote within 15 minutes, which is truly appreciated. What's more, our booking procedure is extremely simple and user-friendly, without unnecessary sign-up options or similar. In addition, we are able to provide large-capacity vehicles (minibuses, buses/coaches) for any type of chauffeured transportation service and number of passengers, and for any occasion needed.
All our chauffeurs are carefully selected individuals with a wealth of experience and extensive local knowledge. They are licensed and regularly tested. Of course, each of our chauffeurs (and our whole team) is dedicated to fulfilling the needs and wishes of our customers in the most efficient and courteous manner.
Besides airport transfers, our best seller options include cruise port transfers, sightseeing tours, event transportation service and chauffeured service for various celebrations.
Well, we have recently been selected as a finalist for Best Tour Operator 2018 so maybe you can invite your readers to vote for us until June, here http://bit.ly/2GJSmDB.
In conclusion we have to say Stockholm is well worth it and look forward to visiting again soon.
Our wonderful vendors include:
Transport: Limos4 Stockholm: www.limos4stockholm.com
Food Tour: Food Tours Stockholm: www.foodtoursstockholm.se/en/
Boat tour:Vision of Stockholm www.vofs.com
Hotel Stay: Downtown Camper by Scandic https://www.scandichotels.com/hotels/sweden/stockholm/downtown-camper-by-scandic