Stockholm: A World of New Experiences For Valentine’s Day

 

By Nathalie Aucutt

 

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To me, there is nothing better than cold and sunny winter days when I can wrap up, walk over frosty leaves, and see my breath in the fresh air. It must be a winter baby thing as my boyfriend is the same, and so rather than chasing the sun, we opted to go with the snow and spent a long weekend in Stockholm for Valentine’s Day last year.

There is something quite fairytale-like about this Scandinavian hub. Known as the Venice of the North, its set on the edge of a beautiful archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The landscape is simply breathtaking, especially at this time of year when snow is a regular occurrence and the air is still. As Sweden’s capital, Stockholm has everything you’d expect from a big city, but its waterside setting, beautiful architecture, and historical center give it so much more–something magical.

After a filling breakfast on our first morning, we put on our warm gear and headed out from our cozy hotel in search of the country’s biggest open-air museum. We wandered through the city past snow-covered buildings to the island of Djurgården and eventually reached Skansen, which charts Swedish culture and lifestyle through the ages. This place is so interesting, but also so much fun! You can find out about all Sweden’s history and there is even a zoo, which was my favorite part. Like a couple of big kids, we loved seeing the different animals that we’d never seen before, like the huge bison.

The new experiences don’t stop there, though. Unusual foods are also on the menu in Stockholm, and we went to a gorgeous restaurant called Fem Sma Hus to celebrate our Valentine’s Day. The name of the restaurant means “five small houses” in Swedish. The restaurant is located in the old center of the city, Gamla Stan. There has been a restaurant on this site for over 300 years, and when you get inside you can see the different levels of each of the rooms. This setting adds to its enchanting atmosphere, which is just perfect for a romantic meal. We loved trying the reindeer fillet with blackcurrant sauce and the marinated elk with fig compote–the flavors were incredible!

After our delicious food we decided to have a drink in the old town, which is full of great little bars where you can really enjoy the evening. It’s easy to get lost in this part of Stockholm because of the narrow, cobbled streets and all the shops that tempt you to come inside, but that’s part of the fun, and we loved being able to wander through this twinkly area–it’s just such a welcoming place!

As Stockholm is situated on the water, we were eager to explore the beautiful archipelago for its fascinating nature and geology. There are literally hundreds of islands around Stockholm; some are inhabited but others are too tiny to live on and have either just a few trees on them or nothing at all, making for a dramatic setting for a boat ride. Although it was cold out there with the wind in our hair, we were lucky that the sun was out and so we had a fantastic time out on the Baltic Sea, seeing the city and its surroundings from a totally new viewpoint.

When we travel, we love to try things that we wouldn’t usually get to do at home, so since we were in northern Europe in the winter, we decided to make the most of it and go ice skating the natural way! Stockholm has a few ice rinks set up throughout the colder months, but we were ready for an adventure so we went skating on Lake Malaren. With a natural surface, skating on a lake is not as smooth as it is on a rink, but the novelty of it makes up for this. Snow on the trees, the stillness in the air, and the tranquil atmosphere made this a totally serene activity, and we both loved this trip out of the city. It was an amazing experience and although we were a little nervous at first, we grew more confident and were able to enjoy the stunning winter wonderland together as we laughed our way around the ice and helped each other get up when we lost our balance!

 

After all that ice, there was only one thing left–more ice! After hot baths, we decided to round off our trip in Stockholm’s Icebar – an entire bar made from, you guessed it, ice! You can, of course, keep your coat on in this bar and they even give you a big cape to wear, complete with fur-trimmed hood for an authentic Scandinavian experience. Even the drinks are served in giant ice-cubes, which just makes the whole thing even more exciting. This was the perfect way to end our Valentine’s break in what is absolutely my favorite city in winter.

Nathalie Aucutt is a published writer and travel lover who ditched office life in the UK and now writes wherever the wind takes her. After travelling extensively through Latin America in 2014, she is looking forward to another year of creating stories from her spontaneous adventures. Stay up to date by visiting onceuponaverse.com or find her on Twitter @onceupontweets

 

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About Donna Beasley

Donna is a romantic travel expert who encourages couples to create memorable romantic moments, honeymoons, vow renewals and other special romance occasions in travel locations throughout the world. She is the founder and publisher of Romance Travel Magazine. A romantic at heart , she hopes to inspire everyone to find love in their own special place.

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