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Stockholm in winter

The ultimate winter city break

If you are looking for the perfect winter city break, discover the Swedish capital in its wintry splendour. Magically atmospheric, Stockholm in winter is the perfect snowy winter city break as, during the cold months, it becomes a magical winter wonderland.

Expect world-class restaurants, swanky bars, cosy cafés galore, fashionable shopping, cultural attractions and contemporary hotels, all set around the city’s postcard-picturesque urban archipelago with countless islands, bridges, and harbours. As winter draws in, the always beautiful and captivating city becomes a magical place with a festive and memorable Christmas atmosphere. Ice breakers slip through the freezing sea while Christmas trees, sprinkled with snow, blaze with twinkling lights. Beautiful Christmas decorations, traditional markets and warming mulled wine wafting through the streets all add up to the perfect Christmas holiday.

From early December, many of Stockholm’s streets and squares are filled with pretty Christmas markets. Christmas fetes do not come much more picturesque than the annual Christmas market in Gamla Stan – Stockholm’s medieval old town. This is the country’s oldest and most famous Christmas market, ongoing since 1837. Brimming with a crackling atmosphere, traditional stalls sell wooden toys, festive food and handmade crafts. Enjoy typical Swedish Christmas treats – lussekatter (saffron buns) and pepparkakor (the famous Swedish gingerbread cookies) – plates of reindeer and elk meat and, of course, gallons of woozily warming glögg (hot spiced wine).

Stockholm in winter - collage of three frosty  aerial city scapes

ArkDes is Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design – but the real draw this time of year is the annual gingerbread house exhibition, which has been running since 1990. Apart from being a fragrant exhibition of imaginative gingerbread houses, also a competition in which children, young people, adults, amateurs and professionals participate.

Culture vultures should not miss Stockholm’s Moderna Museet (one of Europe’s leading museums for modern and contemporary art), Nationalmuseum, Nordiska Museet, Fotografiska (the world’s largest contemporary photography gallery), or Scandinavia’s most visited museum: The Vasa.

Ice-covered Nybroviken in Stockholm in winter

The oldest open-air museum in the world, Skansen is a delight even in winter. It includes a full replica of a traditional 19th-century town, in which craftsmen in traditional dress such as tanners, shoemakers, silversmiths, bakers and glass-blowers demonstrate their skills in period surroundings. There is also an open-air zoo containing a wide range of animals, including the bison, brown bear, moose, grey seal, lynx, otter, reindeer, wolf, and wolverine.

In the lavish red and gold setting of the Royal Swedish Opera House, The Nutcracker captivates generations of ballet lovers. For fun, visit ABBA The Museum.

You can do plenty of ice skating in Stockholm in winter, as a mix of natural ice and artificially made skating rinks pop up in all corners of the city. One of the most popular is in one of the main parks, Kungsträdgården, which oozes an authentic Christmassy atmosphere.

Ginger bread and ginger bread houses which is a typical Swedish treat during Christmas

You cannot leave Stockholm in December without trying a legendary julbord – the Swedish Christmas buffet. Traditionally loaded with classic dishes that are prepared especially for the occasion, it consists of a mix of hot and cold dishes, including marinated herring, cured salmon, beetroot salad, cod, sausages, meatballs, Jansson’s Frestelse (a creamy potato and anchovy gratin), and the julskinka – a leg of cooked ham marinated in mustard – gingerbread and spiced wine.

Stockholm in winter is a city that boasts some great hotels, from the classic to the sleek and chic. Some hotels boast beautifully preserved architecture and cool interiors, many are steeped in fascinating history, and others are also home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. For top hotels in Stockholm, including luxury hotels, boutique hotels, budget hotels and Stockholm hotel deals, explore the exciting collection from our partner Whether you are looking for a chic boutique hotel or special-occasion luxe hotel for your winter city break, the very best hotels in Stockholm can all be booked with the peace of mind of our partner

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