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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
            Back to Open Skies

Travel to Stockholm


Södermalm, Stockholm

17 September 2015

Words & Images: Geoff Brokate

Södermalm is a southern district in central Stockholm. Considered an island, it’s nevertheless connected to surrounding areas via bridges and railways. Along with the vintage and retro styles that have been embraced on the district’s streets, there’s a visible celebration of craftsmanship and artisan skills.

It’s a delight to pass by shop windows and catch a glimpse of carpets being woven or the smell of freshly made caramels. Its success has been built upon a community spirit that supports and offers opportunities to local designers and producers.

This community spirit is also palpable in its outside spaces. Its numerous parks and green spaces are joined by a walkway that circles the island, giving 360° access to the water.

Södermalm is also known for its cliffs and hills that offer picturesque views of Stockholm’s skyline. The best vista offered is northward, overlooking Gamla Stan, the city’s beautifully preserved old town. Fast becoming one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods, Södermalm has developed a style and identity that is based upon a contemporary reimagining and reinvention of traditional Swedish culture.


A Södermalm icon, Grandpa has watched the district grow into a creative and exciting destination. The store initiated the community vibe by encouraging and giving opportunities to local designers to sell their wares. Owner Anders Johansson says Grandpa is not retro anymore: "It’s less about the ’70s and more about creating a genuine continuity of style."

The brand has expanded since opening 12 years ago, opening another two stores in the city. The store philosophy is to provide products that have a function, whether they be dartboards, men’s grooming kits, garden lanterns or designer clothing. Grandpa takes care to ensure that all its designers follow eco-friendly practices.

Södermannagatan 21
116 40
Tel: +46 8 643 6080


If you’re lucky to be in the store when owner Emy Bixt is working, you’ll be in the presence of a true innovator who has taken an old forsaken Swedish object, the clog, and built a small empire from it. Humble and with a welcoming personality, Emy began with a collection of ’70s retro wooden clogs that she bought from small factories that were closing down. She reworked and rebranded them and began selling them online and at local stores such as Grandpa.

She opened her own store in 2014 and it is already synonymous with Södermalm. She has now taken the clog further – using traditional techniques and local craftsmen, she has modernised the designs and widened her range.

Nytorgsgatan 36A 116 40
Tel: +46 8 702 0101


This unassuming concept bike shop is quietly starting a revolution, albeit a friendly one. Owner Tobias Adolfsson claims that ATR is “the sum of 20 years working with bikes”. What makes this a unique experience is that the workshop is in front of the store. There’s no attempt to hide the building and repair process, in fact just the opposite.

Tobias wants people to see and appreciate the culture of bike riding with the view of creating a bike-friendly city. His vision is to create a healthy minded local community with environmentally friendly bike paths. ATR also runs word-of-mouth street parties and bike races two or three times a year when hundreds of people flow through the streets.

Åsögatan 122


Long before Södermalm became a modern day hotspot for hipsters, Antik was a small vintage furniture and antiques store in a neighbourhood. Twenty-four years on and the store still continues to offer unique 1920s and ’30s originals from all around Europe. Owner Tommy Widerstrom drives to Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France filling his trailer with handpicked pieces from contacts that have taken two decades to build up.

Claiming he needs to feel and smell the items before he buys them, the store is an homage to Tommy’s unique taste. Born in Södermalm and originally a truck driver, he has quietly built his business while the rest of Stockholm caught up to him and his passion for vintage style.

Bondegatan 44
116 33
Tel: +46 8 642 0000


Situated in an idyllic spot along the canal on the eastern side of the island, Boule And Bersa is a café and outdoor bar boasting 22 boule courts. Bersa means a shaded, covered garden and perfectly describes this little sanctuary. Now in its 16th year, it is a popular spot for locals to relax along the water and take in the laidback atmosphere.

Owner Daniel Karlsrom always intended it to be a dedicated place to play boule, where visitors could hire equipment and gain some coaching tips. If you happen to be there at the right time you will witness the engineering feat of Danvikstull Bridge, a draw bridge that opens up to allow tall boats through the canal.

Tegelviksgatan 65
116 47
Tel: +46 8 556 917 6968


Step back in time and allow your senses to be transported to the 1930s and ’40s. Sit down for a cup of tea, have a handmade caramel and enjoy the atmosphere. Initially you’ll be overwhelmed by the sweet smell coming from the workshop next door.

Then you catch a glimpse of the impressive decor with wooden veneer panels and antique art deco sofa. Lisa Erricson created this concept store with the intention of giving her customers a nostalgic experience. Inspired by the popular Swedish delicacy, the caramel, this store gives you the chance to purchase the freshest sweets in Europe as you watch them come from the vat and cut right in front of your eyes.

Nytorgsgatan 38
+46 8 660 7010


Continuing Stockholm’s appreciation for its traditional past, Pelikan is a standout restaurant offering typical home cooked-style Swedish meals. Everyone in Södermalm has tried its authentic, no-fuss atmosphere. Despite the city’s every changing food trends, Pelikan has remained a permanent fixture for centuries.

It was a beer house frequented by sailors coming off the harbour when it first opened in 1664 in Gamla Stan. It has since moved to a few different locations but has been based at its current address since 1904. Despite being old-fashioned – with ceiling paintings from the ’30s, furniture from the same period and servings of traditional Swedish meatballs and elk sausages – Pelikan is a trendy destination.

Blekingegatan 40
116 62
Tel:+46 8 556 09090


This Mexican restaurant enjoys a beautiful location along the western side of the island, with an outdoor patio area that allows you to look out over the canal. It’s a part of the Debaser Strip and has a bar and an American-style eatery attached. Debaser was one of the first venues in Stockholm that gave a home to live local music.

As its popularity grew, Debaser paved a way for the growth of Södermalm as an international destination for fashionistas. Now in a new location on the site of an old car park, it is the city’s prime weekend destination. Calexico, the name of a Mexican rock band, is a separate restaurant, determined to show locals what genuine Mexican food tastes like.

Hornstulls Strand 4
117 39
Tel: +46 8 658 6350