FMI’s Junior Account Executive, Frances Gilman, talks about her recent familiarisation trip to Stockholm, Sweden.
Known as the ‘Beauty on Water’ Stockholm lives up-to its name with its impressive buildings and stunning architecture, its abundant open water and countless green parks. Having never visited Stockholm before, I jumped at the fantastic opportunity to experience an action packed water-themed weekend when invited by Gabriel Dorch from Visit Sweden.
For the duration of the weekend I would stay in two hotels; the Scandic Anglais, a modern hotel with comfortable accommodation and the Elite Hotel Marina Tower, an impressive hotel situated on the waterfront. I felt this trip would show me everything Stockholm had to offer and I was more than excited.
Ranked as the 10th best city in Europe, Stockholm is easily accessible with a short 2½ hour flight with SAS Airlines, the world’s most punctual airline, from London Heathrow. A quick transfer on the Arlanda Express train will take you into the heart of the city in only 18 minutes. This may sound incredibly precise but Arlanda Express pride themselves on being on time and punctual, if the train were to be delayed by only 2 minutes your ticket would be refunded, a far cry from the frequently delayed London Underground!
The Scandic Anglais hotel is situated in the heart of Stockholm, a 2 minute taxi ride from the train station, and offers 233 bedrooms and space to accommodate 140 people in a conference situation with 16 flexible meeting rooms suitable for a wide range of events.
Visiting Junibacken, a children’s museum founded by Staffan Götestam, has to be one of the highlights of the trip. During the day this attraction is packed with children visiting the largest children’s bookstore in Sweden, transforming into a charming and quirky event space in the evening. Rekindle your childhood; starting in the fairy-tale square experience being part of a fairy-tale, then jump aboard a train for a journey through the world of Astrid Lindgren’s fairy tales, a truly magical experience. As you disembark the train, a stunning view of Stockholm can be seen, one that I won’t forget for a long time. Continue downstairs to the venues quaint dinner hall for a unique dining experience.
On the other end of the spectrum from Junibacken, the Museum of Aquavit (a sprit museum) provided an incredible drink fuelled experience. As you move through the alternative museum tour, seasonal vodka shots were consumed along with weird and unusual sweets (some fishy and not quite as they seem!), teaching you about Swedish history along the way.
Day 2 included multiple venue visits including the Waterfront Congress Centre, Radisson Blu Waterfront and Hotel Skeppsholmen. Hotel Skeppsholmen, located in the heart of Stockholm, encompasses a traditional exterior with a contemporary inside; the minimalist interior design creates a stylish and superior atmosphere.
With overcast skies and grey clouds looming, the morning of day 2 was not looking like the best weather for sailing. However, as lunchtime fast approached the sky cleared revealing bright sunshine and temperatures of 22˚C, perfect sailing conditions.
The two hour sailing trip was both hands on and relaxing, exploring the seas on-board the large vessel was the most exhilarating way to explore Stockholm. On arrival at the Elite Hotel Marina Tower there was time for a quick change and explore before heading out on the water again but this time in a RIB boat.
The RIB boat was fast and wet, maybe not that great when wearing a going out frock but non-the-less a thrilling experience enjoyed by all. For the dare-devils there were seats at the front and for those more reserved you could locate yourself near the back. I ended up in the middle so didn’t fair to badly. An awesome way to travel to the Midsummer Dinner on the Island of Grinda!
Set in a beautiful location, the Midsummer Dinner was situated outside where we sang songs, drank vodka, ate pickled heron and enjoyed good company all snuggled up under blankets so we didn’t get cold! This experience really provided a taste of Swedish tradition and the most excellent evening.
The night was topped off by a boat trip back to the Elite Hotel Marina Tower hotel with on-board entertainment; a live singer reciting traditional English songs, everyone sang along but maybe that had something to do with the wine and vodka shots.
A visit to the Vasa Museum introduced the royal warship, after sinking on its maiden voyage in 1628 it sat on the seabed for 333 years before being salvaged in 2961. With dimmed lighting and monitored temperature the atmosphere within the museum was somewhat eerie. Vasa Museum is an interesting venue which can accommodate 750 seated guests and 1500 for a standing reception.
The farewell lunch was hosted at Djurgardsbrunn, an idyllic and relaxed retreat a short stroll from the city, with a mix of traditional Swedish and Mediterranean dishes. Dining at this beautiful location made returning to a rainy UK seem rather unappealing…
Thank you to Gabriel for such an amazing weekend trip, I would love to return to Stockholm one day and would highly recommend it as an interesting and beautiful European city. Take me back!