Want a romantic stay in the queer-loving Swedish capital? Steffen Michels reports on the essentials.
Stockholm is like a painting. Its historic old town, the Gamla Stan, is interspersed with cobblestone alleyways; there are countless bridges criss-crossing the city’s 14 islands; and several spires rise up from dozens of churches in its grand squares… The Swedish capital’s skyline, seen in front of a sun setting into the vast Lake Mälaren in the evenings, is a sight to behold.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Stockholm makes for an utterly romantic vacation. And thanks to Sweden’s remarkable and pioneering stance on LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion, that goes for absolutely everyone. Gay and lesbian travellers have been arriving in increasing numbers in recent years, whether to kick off a Scandinavian journey of discovery in the area’s largest city, or to spend an entire honeymoon in the ‘Venice of the North’. If you and your other half have been looking for an utterly dreamy holiday destination to explore, look no further – here are our top ticks for a lovers getaway to Sweden’s first city.
Beginning your day at this gorgeous hotel feels a bit like waking up in a fairytale. Located on one of Stockholm’s smallest islands, the picturesque Skeppsholmen, Hotel Skeppsholmen is entirely embraced by nature. Virtually every window of the four-star address offers views of trees, and many vistas also frame the enormous Lake Mälaren and the islands across it, from tiny Kastellholmen to hip Södermalm.
But look inwards, and the magic continues. Housed within the 300-year old landmark building is the excellent Långa Raden restaurant, which is considered one of the capital’s best spots for an innovative and contemporary take on Swedish cuisine. When it comes to the rooms themselves, lovebirds looking to splurge should consider booking the luxurious Officer’s Suite – you only live once, right?
No visit to Stockholm is complete without a trip or two to the city’s leafiest island. Not only is Djurgården home to some of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions, from the open-air museum of Skansen to concert venue Cirkus, it also offers an escape to what feels like proper countryside.
You could spend hours strolling around Djurgården’s meadows and forests, or bring a hamper and arrange for a champagne-laced picnic under a tree or by a lake. For a particularly romantic walk, make your way to the popular ‘lovers’ trail’ of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel’, which was inaugurated in 2012 as a wedding gift to the Royal couple. The path features some seriously scenic vistas and plenty of signs providing information on Djurgården’s wildlife. Lovebirds included.
What could be more essential to a romantic getaway than a fabulous fine-dining experience? At Sturehof, a restaurant that’s been dishing up delicacies in Sweden’s pretty Östermalm neighbourhood for more than a century, couples gather each night to celebrate anniversaries or simply clink glasses at their fabulous selves.
The brasserie-style eatery focuses on a distinctly French take on Swedish husmanskost (traditional fare), paired with some of the best wines available anywhere in town. Though for many, it’s all about the divine desserts: try the almond cake with warm cloudberries or the meringue with grilled peach and raspberry sorbet, and you’ll begin to understand that old saying: the way to one’s heart is through their stomach.
If all goes well during your lovers’ getaway in Stockholm, you might not be getting a whole lot of sleep – though for the times that you do, why not bed down in heaven? To do so, check into the Diplomat.
Widely regarded as Sweden’s best hotel, this five-star property offers incomparable views of the small Nybroviken Bay from its waterfront-facing rooms and suites. Accommodation here is among the most luxurious you’ll find in the country, and the Diplomat’s owners’ personal art collection adorns the chic hotel’s interiors. Lovers looking to relax together can book a treatment at the Diplomat’s Retreat, a reservation-only mini-spa offering all the pampering you could wish for on a romantic getaway. LGBTQ+ icon Andy Warhol used to stay here on his visits to Stockholm – what’s not to love?