Fika, fierce fashion and the most genetically-blessed Royal Family in all of Europe.
Welcome to Stockholm, Sweden's painfully stylish yet incredibly friendly capital.
The city is as if London and Amsterdam had a baby, with a sprinkling of the outdoorsy Sydney lifestyle.
Never in all of my travels have I been so welcomed by one city! Every meal I had in Stockholm, I ended up dining out with whoever was sitting next to me because the locals are just that chipper.
All they want to do is share their best recommendations and show off their vibrant home.
And it's little wonder they're so damn proud because Stockholm really is special. I'd be shouting about it from the rooftops it I lived there too, tbh.
Here's why you need to visit asap...
If there’s one thing the Swedes take seriously, it’s their right to fika.
So, what does fika mean and how do you do it? Essentially at around 11am every day, you’re encouraged to take a coffee break with work mates, friends, family or even solo, teamed with a pastry of your choice (a cardamom scroll is highly recommended).
The most important part of fika - aside from picking your sweet treat - is taking that break, and a few minutes away from the fast-paced rhythm of the day. Fika is all about slowing down, enjoying a good brew and stepping back refreshed and ready to crack on.
Think of it as morning tea for your brain and belly.
Digs fit for a Queen
Wondering where to stay if it's your first time in Stockholm?
The Old Town makes for an ideal base to explore the city. Residence Perseus offer fully-serviced apartments tucked away in the winding cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan.
From the outside, they feature a heritage facade but on the inside they boast fully-furnished, polished interiors.
With eight different options to choose from, each apartment has its own unique vibe. We stayed in the two-bedroom Regal apartment, which made for the cosiest retreat after hours spent zipping around on bikes. Snuggle up in the modern-rustic living room and gaze at the incredible painted ceiling from the 1600s, or cook up a feast in the spacious, airy kitchen.
But the best part of Residence Perseus was opening the door and being minutes away from the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral and the Nobel Museum. Plus it’s just a short walk away from other popular neighbourhoods, including Norrmalm and Södermalm.
For a totally out-of-the-box experience, and to get a taste of the beautiful Beckholmsvägen area, why not spend a night or two on board the charming Prince Van Orangiën houseboat.
First built in 1935 for an aristocratic family, in 2007 the vessel was converted into a boutique hotel with the owners keeping the boat true to its original look and style.
Fitted out with six different cabins (pro tip: request the captain's room, it comes with the original steering wheel, killer views of the harbour and a butter-soft King-size bed), you'll be transported back in time as you set up camp for the night.
If you want to get back to dry land, the hotel comes with complimentary bikes so you can cycle around Beckholmsbron before heading to their award-winning restaurant, Oaxen Krog, for dinner.
Every holiday deserves a show-stopping meal and Oaxen Krog are well-known for their Nordic-inspired degustation. With loads of the produce being sourced from their local farm, this is a family-run operation with heart.
Stand-outs included The Swedish duck with forest capers, the homemade bread and fermented vegetables.
How to get around Stockholm?
If you’re anything like me, you panic at the thought of trying to navigate a new city’s public transport system.
Luckily, Stockholm is fully catered for cyclists and with City Bikes scattered on just about every corner, you’ll be nipping about town like a local in no time. Even a novice like me was able to conquer riding - no training wheels needed!
We purchased a three-day pass for around $AUD25 and tapped in and out of stands as we pleased.
Why the Swedish Royal Family need to be your new obsession
Granted the British Royal Family are on one hell of a wining streak of late.
But the Swedish Royal Family are just as fascinating and jam-packed with their own scandals (like the time King Carl Gustaf's raucous string of affairs were exposed in 2010), power players and modern-day love stories.
WATCH: The Swedish Royal Family in all their pomp and pageantry! Post continues after the video...
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden married reality star Sofia Hellqvist, while Princess Victoria of Sweden, who will one day be Queen, wed her personal trainer Daniel Westling. And that's just the tip of their juicy story!
A trip to the Swedish Royal Palace, which is the main residence for the King and Queen and where many official events are held, is a no brainer for any royal tragic. Considering it's the biggest palace in Scandinavia, you can spend hours exploring the grounds. Don't miss the royal apartments, the treasury aka where they keep all the regal bling and the changing of the guards, held everyday at 12:15pm sharp during the summer months.
The food you MUST try
No trip to Stockholm is complete without sampling their Swedish sausage, salmon with potatoes and meatballs (though not all at once!)
For the more ballsy, Swedes love their herring, moose and reindeer.
And you can find all of the above traditional fare at Gästabud restaurant in the Old Town. The dark-lit, gorgeous little eatery ticks all the boxes for an authentic and very well-priced Swedish feed.