Series: Planning for 36 Hours in Stockholm, Sweden

Planner’s Travel Series

About the series: Welcome to our ongoing travel series. These are all posts written by planning students and professionals about what to do in a given city when looking for Brunch, a Brew, or a good idea on a Budget. To cap it all off, we include a fun planning fact!  

By Nik Reasor

About the visit: This was my first trip to Europe, and I came to Sweden to conduct research on the Arctic for my Global Urbanization Scholarship. This included a three-day layover in Stockholm, and I made sure to try to take advantage of every moment possible. As always, I prioritized wandering around the city to find the best stops, and here’s what I found in the Venice of the North:


Shakshuka at Café Saturnus  

In a backstreet close to the city center lined with characteristic brick and vibrant buildings lies Café Saturnus, a small café known for its giant Kardemummabulle (cardamon buns) and gorgeous interior. Tables can be hard to find, but it is well worth the wait. The staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming, and the Shakshuka was one of the best meals I had during my time in Sweden: nutritious, warming, and absolutely delicious! The gorgeous interior of the café is easily recognizable for its vibrant interior and has even been known to feature in numerous films!


Coffee and Treats at Vete-Katten

Café culture is vital in Sweden, and coffee and pastries are integral to any trip. Vete-Katten exemplifies this tradition with excellence. Translating to “Cat Knows” or “the Wheat Cat”, the dizzying maze of hallways, dining rooms, and secluded hideaways of this café is the perfect spot to take some time and sip a coffee with a friend, read a book, or try to eavesdrop on the numerous people that file in and out. Not only is the coffee phenomenal, but the in-house bakery can be said to hold the best bread, pastries, and buns in the entire city, and I am inclined to agree. The atmosphere is some of the best in the city, and the dimly lit rooms adorned with beautiful art make it the ideal spot to grab a coffee and treat any time.


Storkyrkan Church

Nestled inside the old town section of the city lies Storkyrkan Church. This beautiful site is the oldest church in Stockholm (consecrated in 1306), and is associated with the Swedish family, with coronations and marriages occurring here for generations. To enter the church, it will cost students about six dollars, but it is well worth it. Filled with stunning art, elegant architecture, and insightful historical detail, there is enough within this storied building to last hours for anyone. My personal favorite piece is the large statue depicting Saint George and the Dragon. Commissioned after a military victory in 1471, it has been described as “the most impressive medieval piece of art”, and its towering presence is certainly awe-inspiring. Storkyrkan is the perfect spot to take a breath and relax from the often-packed streets of the old town while appreciating some of the most beautiful spaces in the entire city.

Fun Planning Fact

Stockholm: A Green City

Not only does Stockholm have an impressive range of greenspace throughout its storied streets, with a park always easily within walking distance at almost any point, but it boasts impressive waste management systems that either recycle or reuse 98% of all waste within the city. This makes Stockholm one of the most efficient and “green” cities in the world. Combined with its ambitious climate goals, which include being a fossil-free city by 2040, Stockholm is a shining example of climate-focused development and city management.

Feature Image: Old Town Stockholm. Photo Credit: Nik Reasor

Nik Reasor is a first-year Master’s student in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Chapel Hill where he specializes in Land Use and Environmental Policy. In particular, Nik is interested in climate change adaptation and how to best help disadvantaged communities survive the challenges the future presents. Previously, Nik earned his BA in Sociocultural Anthropology, Medieval studies, and Urban Planning at UNC. You can usually catch him around Chapel Hill biking to local cafes to catch up on work or at the gym coaching UNC’s boxing team.