Stockholm: A Charming Winter Destination

December can be a stressful month for everyone, with final exams, Christmas planning and the end of the year! So visiting the Swedish capital at this time of year will give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful Nordic city.

What makes Stockholm unique is that it is incredibly busy while at the same time very quiet and relaxing. The streets are always filled with people and activities, such as sports, museums, shopping and seasonal events. Here are a few ways you can spend your serene vacation.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Sweden is the dream destination for sports lovers. With an average temperature of minus 1 degree Celsius in December and minus 3 degrees Celsius in January, there are several activities you can try out such as:

Ice skating at a rink in the center of Kungsträdgården.

Ice-fishing or long-distance skating at a frozen lake.

❄ A day trip to Hammarbybacken, located right outside of the city, where you can go skiing and snowmobiling.

MUSEUMS

Stockholm has plenty of interesting and educational museums for all tastes in history, music, art and science.

❄ Because of the country’s rich Viking and medieval history, there are several museums dedicated to different decades, such as the Vasa Museum, Swedish History Museum and the Nordic Museum.

❄ For science-based ones, there is the Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Science and Technology.

Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, lets you experience Swedish life before the industrial era.

❄ For music lovers, there are many music-related museums such as the ABBA Museum, dedicated to the infamous Swedish band.

❄ Swedes are fans of modern art and photography, and you can check out their work at the Museum of Modern Art and the Fotografiska Museum.

CAFÉS & SEASONAL TREATS

Since it is cold for a large part of the year, the city is filled with cozy cafés, restaurants and bars where people can hang out indoors and enjoy Christmas-y treats.

Warm glögg (mulled wine) and pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) are served at all times of the day during this season in cute booths and restaurants.

Espresso House is a beloved coffee shop that serves delicious drinks and traditional Swedish snacks. In Stockholm you will find coffee shops on almost every street.

❄ Swedish cafés have a laid-back and casual style to them, with candles, cosy couches and Scandinavian interior decoration that will make you feel right at home.

FASHION
Sweden, especially Stockholm, has been acknowledged for being an iconic fashion location due to its simple but elegant style.

❄ Many high fashion brands such as ACNE, Filippa K, Tiger of Sweden, WesSC and others hail from Sweden.

❄ Walking down the streets of Stockholm is like being on an outdoor runway since Swedish people are so effortlessly fashionable. In winter, it might be difficult to be able to see outfits, but it is nice to see how Stockholmers get fashionably creative in this season.

❄ Youngsters who want more affordable clothes should check out Bik Bok, GinaTricot, Cheap Monday and Monki, which are Scandinavian brands found all over Stockholm.

❄ Make sure not to miss H&M. Their Swedish stores are even better and bigger than the ones around the world because not only do they sell clothes, but they also have a large section of beauty products and H&M Home, which sells home decor.

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

Since Stockholm is located in the Nordic region, there are several unique features that come with the territory, especially during winter.

❄ Unexpected sunsets at 3 p.m. Can you imagine being able to watch the sunset every day in the middle of the day?

Saunas are a big part of the Swedish culture, and they can be found in many places in the city, including at hotels and hostels.

❄ There are ice bars all over the world, but how unique would it be to actually go to an ice bar in an icy country – especially when it is sponsored by the country’s leading Absolut Vodka and Ice Hotel. At the hotel, you can have drinks at the Nordic-themed ice bar at minus 7 degrees and learn how to create ice sculptures.

CONVENIENCE

Since Stockholm is the capital of Scandinavia, leading the region’s commerce, education, fashion and sustainability, it is no surprise that the country functions extremely well, providing a stress-free trip.

English is fluently spoken by the majority of the people, so if you are lost in the middle of Gamla Stan(Old Town) and ask someone for help, they will most likely be able to help you.

❄ There is easy access to Wi-Fi almost everywhere at cafés, restaurants, stores, malls, convenience stores and other places, making it much easier to find your location on maps and decide where to go next.

❄ Swedish tap water is extremely clean and every café, restaurant and bar offer free water.

❄ Not only is public transportation (trains, buses, trams and boats) reliable, but they are also beautiful. Especially the underground metro station which is known internationally for their beautiful art decoration of Swedish history.

CHEAP FLIGHTS

Winter is the off-season in Stockholm, making round-trip flights super affordable! Flights from New York can be found as low as $315 and from Los Angeles for just $342. From within Europe, there are numerous daily flights with Scandinavian airlines such as SAS, Norwegian and Finnair.

Swedes are very private and reserved, so if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing trip where people won’t disturb you, Stockholm is the perfect place for you.

Pernambuco, Brazil

Porto de Galinhas & Tapioca Crepes

Porto de Galinhas Beach

Located in the northeast of the country, Porto de Galinhas is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, because of its mesmerising natural pools and corals. The fishing town is fairly isolated and small compared to its surrounding cities, such as the capital of Pernambuco, Recife, which is just an hour away (63km) by car.

The town has been preserved as a local area from the rest of the world. In consequence, the town is really laid back and can be pretty difficult to find Wi-Fi outside of your hotel, inn or resort. So if you want to tune off from the world and practice your Portuguese, this is the perfect place.

The center is full of colourful and cute open air traditional restaurants, artisanal stores, kiosks and aquatic sports agencies. With the city center situated directly in front of the beach or very close by. I recommend staying at a resort because they have English speaking staff and are ready to help you plan and book your vacation. It might be pricier than staying at a pousada (inn) but it will save you a lot of stress and time. Plus, most of them are located directly in front of a beach, which is the best part of the area.

Porto de Galinhas is a great destination for a family trip, because you can safely let your kids play at hidden low tide beaches, while relaxing by the shore drinking coconut water. The beaches are usually very quiet and pretty empty so you will always have plenty of space and peace.

There are many exciting activities to do like scuba diving by the coral reefs at Praia do Porto de Galinhas, which covers a large part of the ocean shore separating the waters and creating different shades of blue throughout the beach.

You can also have unique adventures, like observe first hand where the guaiamum ( the blue carb) and the uça crabs live at mangroves, where the trees and the beach meet. Take a ride on a buggy, a common transportation in Porto de Galinhas which you can book from your hotel or from the town center. Make sure to ask for a driver that can speak English or your own language. The buggies can take you to different beaches or on a tour around the town. You can also book taxis for a day and go on a day visit to Recife and the beautiful Olinda. The drivers are always very nice and well informed on the region’s history.

At night, the restaurants become even more full with lively Brazilian music, where you can have a fun night out with caipirinhas and dancing. Frevo is the traditional music of the Pernambucan region, so if you go to Brazil during February, make sure not to miss the carnival shows and Frevo dances.

Tapioca Crepe with Ham, Brie Cheese and Oregano

Pernambuco is not only known for their delicious seafood, but also for their tapioca crepes, which is one of my favourite Brazilian foods. ❤

In Portuguese, tapioca (a.k.a cassava root) is the name for both the vegetable and the dish, since the crepe is made only from the starch extract. The root was inherited from the indigenous people that lived in Brazil before it was colonized by Portugal. The great thing about the vegetable, is that it can be made in many ways, with salty or sweet ingredients and it can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Since the country does not produce a lot of yeast to make bread, Brazilian people use tapioca to make flour, and gain the nutritious benefits needed. Since it’s full of iron, calcium and many other nutrients, with a low level of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Which helps improve blood circulation by maintaining good levels of blood pressure. It also helps lose weight and fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore because of all these benefits, the most common time to have a tapioca is in the morning with ham and cheese to give you energy for the day ahead.

Tapioca Crepe with Nutella, Banana and Cinammon

I personally enjoy eating tapioca for breakfast as well and as a desert, with Nutella, banana and cinnamon powder.

The tapioca crepe is incredibly easy to make, once you have the flour, but it can be pretty hard to find outside of Brazil or in other regions, because it’s a regional dish. But in Porto de Galinhas, you can find it at almost every restaurant and café.

Mandioca is another dish that can be made from the tapioca root. It’s also very easy to make, by just cutting the root into medium pieces and boiling or frying it. The side dish goes perfectly with dry meat and roasted onions, which are also typical dishes from Pernambuco.

Best season to go to Porto de Galinhas is at the end of the year when its summer in Brazil. Pernambuco is not as insanely hot as Rio, but you can definitely get a tan and enjoy your days by the beach.