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Exploring Södermalm – Stockholm’s Art District

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Possibly the trendiest district of Stockholm, Sweden, Södermalm boasts a lively café culture, has a laid-back, creative vibe and some of the best views of the Old City. With local design shops, art galleries and a whole host of bars to discover, it’s a great place to base yourself with friends if you plan to explore Stockholm.

Spend Time at Fotografiska

Södermalm is the creatively cool cousin to Gamla Stan’s charming old dame and if you want an insight into its hipster chic vibe, you should head to Fotografiska. Here you’ll gain photographic inspiration from some of the world’s finest contemporary photographers with displays spread across four large exhibition rooms and 20 smaller spaces. Set inside a charming Art Nouveau customs warehouse by the water’s edge, the exhibition centre also hosts concerts and regular photography courses which you can sign up for during your stay. When you’ve viewed the centre’s captivating works, head for the top floor café, a trendy meeting place for those in the know. It boasts pretty lake views and a tempting array of craft beers. In addition, the award-winning restaurant serves green seasonal dishes created by renowned chef Paul Svensson.

Gain the Best Views from Monteliusvägen

The quarter-mile long pathway of Monteliusvägen has some of the best views of Stockholm. Named after Professor Oscar Montelius, a Swedish archaeologist, this narrow footpath sits on a steep cliffside in Södermalm overlooking Lake Mälaren. The walk is known as one of the most romantic spots in the capital and views of Stockholm City Hall, Riddarholm Church, Gamla Stan and the Royal Palace will entice you to stay a while. As the pathway is narrow, you won’t always find it on maps, but if you head for Slussen and venture west towards Bastugatan with its quaint 18th century abodes, you can join the scenic path along there. It’s a great place for photography and the earlier or later you arrive in the day, the more likely you are to have the scenic walkway to yourself.

Browse Independent and Designer Shops

Södermalm champions local talent. It’s evident to see in craft shops, boutiques, art galleries and interior design stores. You can readily pick up a vintage jacket, quirky scarf or even purchase an antique guidebook as you stroll through the borough. Emmaus Vintage Shop is a superb place to shop if you wish to spruce up your wardrobe with a little Scandi-flair or head for SoFo and Keramikerna to procure hand-fired ceramics or take a pottery class. If you prefer your stores designer, Prada, Hermes, Jimmy Choo and more are a 30-minute walk or short Metro ride away.

Soak up Södermalm’s Café Culture

Södermalm is home to a vibrant café culture, where coffee and conversation are king. One café which is a firm favourite with coffee geeks throughout the Swedish capital is Johan and Nyström. This hip, stone-clad café in Södermalm is welcoming, the staff are friendly and as an added benefit, they operate fair-trade agreements with coffee bean cultivators around the world. Their beans are of the highest quality, and as you sip signature blends, you immerse yourself in the company of knowledgeable coffee connoisseurs. Their speciality is an aromatic espresso made with an artisanal slow roasted process, so if you are just returning from a night out, it’s a great place for an early morning pick me up as they open at 7am!

Walk to Picture-Postcard Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s beating heart and a mere 25-minute walk from Södermalm. The Old Town is historic and picturesque with tall, gabled, storybook buildings painted in shades of gold and vermillion. The city was founded here in the mid-1200s and down narrow alleyways and inside museums you can begin to uncover its hidden secrets. The main square of Stortorget is a good place to start your exploration. Begin with coffee and kannelbullar (cinnamon buns) at an open-air café and soak up the atmosphere of this bustling ancient quarter. Afterwards, discover scientific inventions, past and present at nearby Alfred Nobel Museum. Located in an impressive 18th century structure on the edge of the square, it showcases stories of individuals who have changed our world throughout the century. There are fascinating exhibits predicting future Nobel Prize discoveries too, so it’s time to be inspired with ideas and bring them to fruition! Another popular tourist attraction is the mesmerising Royal Palace. If you book in advance you can enjoy guided tours visiting five museums, the Hall of State and the Armoury. When you’ve exhausted shops, palaces and museums, head back to Södermalm to dine on scrumptious Swedish cuisine at Restaurang Kryp In. The ‘Creep In’ Restaurant is unassuming from the outside, with a romantic atmosphere and intimate décor inside. The traditional menu consists of tasty fish, vegetarian and meat dishes and delectable desserts ranging from homemade chocolate mousse sprinkled with seasalt to Kryp In’s Mess – a variation of Eton Mess made with blackcurrants, cream, meringue and condensed milk!

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