Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley recently traveled to Stockholm with 14 guests as the co-host of our first Insider Journey with WSJ. Magazine to the design, sustainability and culture capital, alongside WSJ. Magazine contributing editor Sarah Medford.
The Swedish capital balances past and present with Scandinavian aplomb, its historic palaces and grand hotels co-existing with cutting-edge boutiques, restaurants and hot-spot bars. And while Stockholm looks like it is perpetually camera-ready for a magazine photo shoot—especially when we visited, upon the arrival of the long, sunny days of the summer season—its vibe remains approachable and laid-back. On this journey, our intimate group of design- and style-obsessed travelers explored the city’s renowned galleries, museums, studios and collectives, meeting with insightful locals along the way—including leading architects, art historians and curators. Plus: We visited historic private homes and workshops, as well as top sites like the world-famous Svenskt Tenn, Drottningholm Palace and the Indagare-adored hotel Ett Hem. In the words of one of our travelers to Melissa: “[The trip] was all I had hoped for and truly exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed everything that you planned and felt that you and Sarah pulled out all the stops for us to have an amazing, unique experience! The other participants on the trip were each accomplished and lovely to get to spend time with.”
Explore the slideshow above for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the highlights of the itinerary—plus, discover Melissa and Sarah’s tips below for where to go and what to know in Stockholm now.
Where to Stay & Explore
- “Stockholm is one-third buildings; one-third green space and one-third water, so it is a wonderful outdoors city with open spaces and cafes and easy access to nature. The city is made up of 14 islands connected by bridges, and the main attractions are within a few districts, so it is quite walkable.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
- “Östermalm, the quarter of the city where we stayed, is a great walking neighborhood, with design boutiques, top-quality antique shops and fashion re-sellers all tucked in among snug cafés and the deservedly famous food hall, Östermalms Saluhall. Even the window-shopping was a treat.” – Sarah Medford
- “One of the city’s most sought-after hotels is Ett Hem. We had our special welcome dinner in the garden conservatory of this special property, which is just unveiling its long-in-the-works and much anticipated expansion with 13 new guest rooms. We also loved our home base, the new Villa Dagmar hotel, right in the heart of Ostermalm.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
Where to Eat & Shop
- “The artistry of the cuisine in and around Stockholm was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t remembered such a focus on fresh produce. But the amazing cinnamon buns—those I remembered!” — Sarah Medford
- “Seeing legendary examples of Swedish neoclassicism in person, like the Gustav III Pavilion at Haga Park, was a reminder of the ingenuity of Swedish artisans—they made magic out of what they had, which was wood and paint, essentially. I feel as though we saw that creative inheritance all over modern Stockholm during our trip. From the patterned fabrics at Svenskt Tenn to the strawberry soufflé at chef Mathias Dahlgren’s Rutabaga restaurant, Swedish creators are still making magic.” — Sarah Medford
- “Svenskt Tenn is the only retail shop in the world to sell the legendary studio’s products today, which alone makes a visit to the address on Strandvägen worth it—but when we met with their heritage and design teams, we learned that store profits fund scientific research and projects to protect Swedish cultural heritage, an added bonus!” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
- “We ate at many of the city’s top restaurants including the rooftop bistro at Fotografiska and Mathias Dahlgren’s Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant Rutabaga, but a favorite new discovery is Emmer, the farm-to-table restaurant inspired by Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where you can wander the vegetable rows before or after your meal.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
- “Drottningholm Palace is really my favorite visit in the city. The royal family still lives in this castle, and it is grand but informal in a charming way—truly one of my favorite castle visits anywhere. The gardens are also amazing.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
- “Anyone who visits Stockholm is going to want to get out on the water to see the archipelago (the scattering of islands just outside the city) that give a sense of Sweden’s unique natural beauty. There is a ferry that leaves from the center of town for a 25-minute ride out to a small island Fjäderholmarna, which has walking trails and a series of artist studios (ceramics, knitters, glass blowers), as well as a small café, so it makes a nice outing.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
- “Brasserie Astoria is is the buzziest place to eat in Stockholm right now and should be on any traveler’s list. This latest showstopper from chef Björn Frantzén (his other restaurant in town, Frantzén, has three Michelin stars) is housed in a restored cinema and offers refined yet approachable locally-sourced dishes.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley
Discover More: Explore our most recent Sweden articles and guides for planning a private trip! Plus, How to Get There: Helsinki-based Finnair has turned Stockholm into its newest hub, launching service between the Swedish capital and five cities, including New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. The JFK to Stockholm route is offered three to four times a week on A350-900 planes, which, in the words of Melissa Biggs Bradley, were “brand new, with very good service.”
Click here to see our upcoming 2022 Insider Journeys with WSJ. Magazine to the South of France and Modena, Italy (both waitlist-only!). Plus: Fill out this form to be the first to know when we release another trip to Stockholm as well as new destinations for 2023.
Our small-group luxury trips are carefully curated around passion points—from art and design to adventure and conservation. Offering maximum cultural immersion and the chance to discover once-in-a-lifetime experiences with like-minded travelers, local tastemakers and expert hosts, our Insider Journeys pull back the curtain on behind-the-scenes visits and special access. And when you book a WSJ. Magazine x Indagare Insider Journey, you can watch journalism come to life, as you gain exclusive access to art collections, vineyards, private residences and much more, through itineraries focused on style and design, food and wine and wellness and culture.