I recently returned from a trip to Stockholm, Sweden and the Norwegian fjords. It was my first time visiting Stockholm, which I’ve been eager to explore since Jacob and I road tripped West Sweden and Gothenburg two summers back. This recent trip was an all girls trip, organized by Small Luxury Hotels in partnership with Norwegian Air. I’ve loved Small Luxury Hotels for years: they’re my top choice for destinations where I’m looking for an amazing hotel experience. Each property in their collection is independently owned, but hand-picked for their beautiful design and unique history.
I flew into Stockholm via Norwegian Air for this trip, landing in the afternoon to kick off our city break and meet the group. Joining me on this trip: Ana (@ananewyork), Carley (@carleyscamera), and Krystal (@krystal_bick). Stockholm is known for delicious food and great design, so we headed straight downtown for lunch. I absolutely love Scandinavian cuisine, and overall I’ve found Scandinavia to be the most mindful of special food requests. If you follow along on my Instagram, you probably know I’ve had to stick to a gluten-free diet since last year. Indulging on GF bread in Scandinavia is my favorite! All the food here in general is high quality and always fresh. I also love the ‘Fika’ culture of sitting with coffee and passing time with friends.
2 Destinations, 5 Days
Preset collections used in this blog post: Europe Desktop Collection, India Desktop Collection.
Since we were all eager to explore the city, we made our way straight to Gamla stan old town after checking in at the Bank Hotel and grabbing lunch. Stockholm was built on a series of islands, and it’s impossible not to pass a waterfront while exploring. It makes for an extra charming feel. The old town is no different; my favorite highlights were the old antique shops, classic facades in the town square, and cozy coffee shops lining the cobblestone streets.
That evening we indulged in dinner at our hotel at Bonnie’s. It’s located in my absolute favorite room of the Bank Hotel, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner there. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, you’ll love it here. The Bank Hotel was converted from a landmark Swedish bank building, and it just re-opened a little over a year ago after undergoing a full renovation.
The next day we visited Fotografiska, a world-renowned photography museum with some absolutely incredible exhibits. If you only make it out for one activity in Stockholm, go here. We took a behind-the-scenes tour with the museum director and learned how to work their corresponding app to interact with the artwork. I was blown away — normally something like this would be distracting, but I loved how it was designed to subtly interact with the artwork and provide an even closer look at the artist’s process. Fotografiska is incredible, and their restaurant was recently awarded best museum restaurant in the world!
We took a detour after the museum to hit some shops in the Södermalm district of Stockholm. Swedish fashion is so effortless and chic, it’s definitely a fun place to shop and find gems from local designers. It was a bit rainy this day so we were excited to make our way to Ett Hem in the afternoon, another Small Luxury Hotels property. Ett Hem was a private residence that was converted into a 12-room hotel. The result is an intimate, cozy setting with a beautiful courtyard garden and arboretum. Our lunch looked like it belonged in a magazine! The setting could not have been better for a fall feast, and each dish was locally grown and so delicious.
Our next stop of the trip was Alesund, a beautiful Norwegian village situated on the west coast of Norway and nestled between jaw-dropping fjords. You might remember that I was in Norway a couple months back, and it’s already made my list of favorite European countries. I can’t seem to get enough of the food, landscapes and local people. We flew into the small town of Alesund via Oslo with Norwegian Air, no delays and with lots of anticipation for another SLH property (we all had scoured the photos of this one in the days leading up to the trip!).
It was evening when we arrived, which made the morning wake-up at Storfjord Hotel that much more of a grand reveal. The sun peeked out just after 8am and we woke up to the most beautiful view of fall colors in the countryside. Storfjord Hotel is more like a series of luxurious cabins, complete with grass-covered rooftops and a spa overlooking the Norwegian islands. After breakfast, we took a short hike down the hill to find our boat captain for the day. This outing was organized by the team at Storfjord and I can’t recommend it enough. Being on the water is so relaxing and it’s the best way to get up close to the incredible fjords and mountains.
En route by boat we stopped first at a small town called Trandal. There’s a swing here with an incredible view overlooking the fjords. Next up was the small town of Øye. Docking the boat here was surreal; everywhere you look there’s a waterfall or colorful cabin waiting to be photographed. We stopped for lunch at Hotel Union Øye, which has a fascinating history. It’s been around since 1891 and feels like it’s stuck in time.
We returned to our hotel by the late afternoon and decided to make use of the sauna and jacuzzi, which both overlook the surrounding forest. We ordered champagne from the restaurant and watched the sunset from the jacuzzi. It’s impossible not to feel relaxed here, you’re completely surrounded by nature and it feels like a full retreat. Totally different from Stockholm!
The trip was short but sweet. We capped off the week with the coziest candlelit dinner at the Storfjord Hotel. I had to leave early the next morning to make it back to the U.S. in time for a wedding, so I turned in early and fell asleep listening to the rain from my room.
Before this trip I never thought to combine a well-known European city with a nature retreat, but they compliment each other so nicely. Especially for a girls trip! We all had the best time — with delicious food, shopping, and sights like these it’s hard not to.
Thank you to Small Luxury Hotels and Norwegian Air for sponsoring this trip. As always, all opinions shared are my own.