Having sampled deliciously innovative Swedish food at the Nordic Fest press event, I was curious to learn about Sweden - a place I have yet to visit. Josefin Haraldsson, Marketing Director of the Stockholm Tourism Board and I caught up after the event for a couple of interview and she painted a picture of a place that sounds glorious and well worth a visit.
To read more about Josefin Haraldsson, Director of Marketing, Stockholm Tourism Board click here.
To read about Tina Larsson, Press Officer, Stockholm Tourism Board, click here
To read the Spruce Ice Cream recipe from Sweden's Michelen rated Gastrologik click here
WTJ: What are the top 3 things you would like our readers to know about Stockholm?
JH: Stockholm is widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, built where lake meets sea, with eight centuries of history and culture to choose from. We refer to Stockholm as “urban nature” since the city consists of 1/3 water, 1/3 green parks, 1/3 urban area. Stockholm is built on 14 islands, connected by 50+ bridges. Each district has its own unique character, offering something for every taste; old, new, luxurious or casual.
Unspoiled nature can be found everywhere! Green is the new black and no large city has more green spaces than Stockholm. First, there is Stockholm’s National Urban Park, which stretches through the town like a green oasis, and then there is the water, of course. Wherever you look, there’s water. And it’s so clean, you can go fishing and swimming right in the city center. The sparkling blue water and the archipelago next door as a perfect counterweight to the metropolitan feel of the city, is what defines Stockholm and gives it its unique character with thousands of islands to discover. The 4-hour in-sail through our archipelago is often rated as one of the absolute highlights of a Baltic cruise.
Few cities pack so many interesting attractions into such a compact and easily accessible area. Royal Palace? Check. Medieval old town? Check. Scandinavia’s most visited museum, The Vasa? Check. The worlds one and only ABBA Museum? Check. Cool restaurants and nightclubs? Check! Shop and visit the city’s attractions before lunch, and try a different kind of sightseeing in the afternoon – or the other way around. It is easy to stroll from one attraction to another.
WTJ: How would you describe the food scene and what makes Stockholm so special?
JH: In recent years the city of Stockholm has gained international attention and reputation as a place where chefs are reinventing their roots and food traditions, and are creating new. The chefs are innovative and creative and everybody is talking about the importance of staying as local or organic as much as possible. The restaurants are more focused on changing the menues according to what the season has to offer. Some of the star restaurants are even working without fixed menus’ and just create the menu according to what the best ingredients are that day. This of course makes the food scene in Stockholm quite unique because of the ingredients we can produce depending on the season here in the north of Europe.
The newest trend we see here in Stockholm is that the health aspect is becoming more and more in focus also on the restaurant scene. Both healthy in the sense of well balanced, but also because the ingredients are more and more organic and therefore healthier in the perspective of being produced without being sprayed. Good to know is that many of the fine dining restaurants in Stockholm typically have a bistro with a more casual menu both for lunch and dinners, often referred to as a “bakficka” = “back pocket”.
WTJ: What are some of the wellness experiences that are unique to your destination?
JH: Nature is around the corner, available for everybody. Stockholm is a perfect destination for soft adventure such as kayaking, Stand Up Paddling, hiking, biking and skiing or skating in the winter.Since 2/3 of the city really is nature, the possibility to activity or adventure is close at hand. Swedesand Stockholmers have become a running people – everyone is running and the trend today toparticiple in sports events like triathlon and marathon is growing as we speak. Swedes like not just to visit events but also to participate in them. Most companies also offer the employees a chance to do some exercise during working hours or at least contribute money wise to an activity for their wellbeing.
Stockholmers can easily find a hidden gem in the woods where to pick berries, mushrooms and such and then go home to prepare a nice meal. In autumn the discussion over lunch on a regular Monday is very often where you went to find the mushrooms that you now are eating together with pasta for lunch. Or how are you taking care of all the lingonberries you found last weekend?
I believe Stockholm is a perfect city for wellness travel. Open and welcoming with loads to offer for both body and soul, you feel right at heart.