Stockholmers have described their city as “beauty on water”, an appropriate depiction for a capital spread across 14 lush islands, connected by more than 50 bridges on a Baltic Sea archipelago. The Swedish ethos of lagom, loosely translated as “just the right amount”, permeates the city and makes it the perfect place to achieve that elusive work/life balance.
Greg Newman, ACMA, CGMA, is originally from the UK, but has worked in Stockholm for a little over a year as an accounting global business expert on H&M’s Global Accounting Solutions Team. In that time, he has discovered a few ways to fully embrace the thoughtful moderation and historic beauty of Stockholm. Here are some of his tips for business travellers who find themselves in the Swedish capital:
In which parts of the city would you recommend business travellers stay?
Stockholm has an excellent public transport system with most areas of the city easily accessible by metro, bus, tram, or commuter train. So, any central areas are fine, locationwise. Areas I would recommend are Östermalm, Vasastan, Norrmalm, Södermalm, and Kungsholmen. They are all nice central areas with lots to do and have excellent links to all the typical business districts of the city.
What are some experiences you would recommend if someone has a bit of extra time during their stay?
The old town of Gamla Stan is definitely worth visiting. The city also has lots of great museums: the Nationalmuseum, Nordic Museum, and Vasa Museum are all in the Djurgården area, which has a lovely park to take a walk in on a nice day, too. If you have a few days to explore, some of the small islands on the archipelago are well worth checking out and are accessible by boat from the city.
Are there any dishes or drinks travellers should seek out and try?
A traditional Swedish köttbullar (meatballs) is certainly something to seek out and try. Also you can’t visit Stockholm without having a Swedish fika (coffee and a snack).
What are some areas of the city you recommend for dining?
Although great restaurants can be found in all areas of the city, there are a lot of good options in Södermalm, Norrmalm, and Östermalm.
Do you have any tips for things travellers should avoid? Any areas that are not worth a visit or anything that is unwise or dangerous for travellers to do?
Luckily, Stockholm is a relatively safe city with no real unsafe areas or big problems with pickpocketing on public transport, etc. One thing I would recommend is not taking the trouble to exchange your local currency for Swedish krona in cash. The city is pretty much cashless, and there is never any need to pay using the old-fashioned method of cash. You will find lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants don’t even accept cash. As long as you come with a credit or debit card, this is all you will need.
What are some underrated places and experiences in the city you think travellers would enjoy that most people might not think to do?
On the island of Södermalm, there is a short walk and climb to a superb but not too well-known viewpoint called Skinnarviksberget where you can look out onto the whole city. If you like a short hike rewarded with the best viewpoint in Stockholm, then this is for you. Also, a new racket sport called padel is becoming increasingly popular in Sweden. So if you like playing any sort of racket sport (tennis, squash, etc.) then definitely give padel a try.
Can you describe your ideal day in Stockholm?
My ideal day in Stockholm would consist of a fika in Gamla Stan, a nice walk around Djurgården, taking in some stops at the great cafes all over the city, and dinner at one of the city's restaurants to finish the day.
What’s the best way to get around the city?
Using the city’s public transport system is the best way to get around. Bike is a very popular form of transport, and you can hire bikes from several locations across the city. Uber is available in Stockholm if you do require a taxi at some point during your stay.
What do you do when you are in a business pinch? How do you find emergency business resources like conference rooms and meeting places or business services like printing, etc.?
Simply ask around. Swedish people are very friendly and speak perfect English, so you will soon get pointed in the right direction.
Hannah Pitstick is a freelance writer based in the US. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Drew Adamek, an FM magazine senior editor, at Andrew.Adamek@aicpa-cima.com.