What to do

Pull a kayak around the archipelago

There aren’t many capital cities you can explore from the comfort of your own kayak, but Stockholm is one of them. Beyond dunking your paddle around the city’s 14 main islands on an urban water tour, the area’s archipelago extends into 24,000 islets – most of them uninhabited – which makes it perfect for a night’s wild camping, and a day or two of wilderness exploring. So skip that shower, head down to the harbour and pull a barrel roll in that crisp, lapping Swedish water. stockholmadventures.com

Moderna Museet

Set on the idyllic little island of Skeppsholmen, you’d be forgiven for missing this rather large gem as you make a beeline for the old town charm of Gamla Stan. Walk across the footbridge and past the quirky sculptures and you’ll find a sprawling museum that’s home to pieces by Duchamp, Matisse, Rauschenberg and Baertling, as well as a gift shop that sells socks in the style of some of the collection’s most striking works (and loads of cool homewares with a super-Scandi lilt). modernamuseet.se/stockholm/en

Get on the metro

Just because you rattle through the dark, cramped tunnels of London on regular basis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend your time away having a cheeky razz through unseen Stockholm. Loads of stations on the blue and red lines are carved caves with ancient elegance and bold paintwork – so hop on (or off) at T-centralen for blue and white vines, Stadion for rainbows, and Solna Centrum [pictured] for the red inner-circle of hell (but in a good and pretty way). See them in all their glory here

Where to eat

Ekstedt

If you like strong Swedish flavours and, er, flames, Niklas Ekstedt’s fire-fuelled menu is the perfect place to chow down on age-old Nordic recipes with a smoky twist. The result of years spent poring through 18th-century cookbooks and harnessing the power of firewood, the six-course tasting menu will dazzle you with full-on flavour: we’re talking tartar of reindeer with lingonberries and charcoal butter, cold-smoked langoustine, and birch-fired duck with sunchoke and elderflower. Done. ekstedt.nu/en

Boqueria

Think Scandi nosh and your first thought probably isn’t deliciously oozy pulled pork fritters with those near-luminous pickled red onions. It probably isn’t a steaming-hot pan of razor clam-filled paella, either, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Boqueria, a high-end tapas spot that takes its cues from Barcelona’s most famous food market. Found on a brushed-up backstreet at the eastern end of Norrmalm, it’s the perfect place to fuel up before (or after) hitting a couple of the cocktail bars nearby. boqueria.se

Nystekt Strömming

BBQ trucks, taco trucks, Lebanese trucks, deliciously drippy porchetta trucks – you’ve heard it all before, you’ve loved it all before. But beyond the stomach-pounding street-food storm which – just like in London – is booming in Stockholm, there’s Nystekt Strömming: two relatively dour-looking fellows serving up no-frills herring burgers and huge paper plates of herring and mash from a food truck outside Slussen station (and about ten minutes along the waterfront from Fotografiska). It’s not a revolution, it’s not trendy, but it is damn tasty.

Where to stay

Generator

If making friends and getting a good night’s kip are top priorities for you, this easy-on-the-eyes boutique hostel [pictured] has your back. You’ll sleep on a memory foam bed, chill in the laid-back bar and even play reception staff at ping pong for a free breakfast, as well as having a super-central camp for city exploring. And, just minutes from Arlanda Express station, it’s perfect for that last-minute stumble to the airport after a slap-up Swedish breakfast. Six-bed dorms from £16, doubles from £69. generatorhostels.com

SoFo Hotel

Named after the trendy neighbourhood South of Folkungagatan (SoFo), which is home to tons of thrift shops, record stores and corner cafés, this cosy underground bolthole blends contemporary Scandinavian design with functional living and a middle eastern edge. But, most importantly, it opens its doors right into the middle of one of Stockholm’s coolest shopping areas, so you’ll never have to walk too far with all of those heavy bags of clobber. Double rooms from £78. sofo-hotel.com

Ett Hem

Some say Ett Hem gets its name from the significant throat-clearing you have to do to before talking about its antique opulence, others say it’s just Swedish for ‘a home’ – and they’re right. Oozing with arts and crafts design, this one-time 12-room townhouse in the leafy neighbourhood of northern Östermalm is an urban hideaway that offers next-level luxury minus the glitz. Expect quirky antiques, muted colours and amazing grub served up in the house’s old kitchen.
Double rooms from £351. etthem.se

Where to drink

Hilma

Like a debauched, twisted cousin to Generator hostel next door, neon-clad, gritty Hilma is the perfect place for steamy evening sessions and long, boozy lunches. Somewhere among the S&M-themed livery (we’re talking caged booths and horsewhips at the bar) you’ll find aquavit and kiwi cocktails that taste weirdly healthy, as well as Swedish craft beers and an in-house tattoo parlour that’s been hauling hipsters across Norra Bantorget Square since it opened its doors last October. hilmastockholm.com

Drop Coffee Roasters

Coffee and cake are a huge deal for the Swedish, so much so that they even have their own term for it – fika – which basically means chatting, chilling and drinking jugs and jugs of java (and little pastries) for much, much longer than your average morning latte pitstop. Enter Drop Coffee Roasters, which is currently ranked best roastery in Sweden, and fourth best in the world, which basically means there’s nowhere better for your fika fix than this trendy little side-street café in Södermalm. dropcoffee.com

The Flying Elk

Tons of amazing organic beers, cool pub grub and locally made artisan gin you say? In the quaint heart of Stockholm’s centremost island, Gamla Stan, you say? When elk can fly, you say. Well, apparently, they can – so head to this brushed-up boozer’s beautifully designed back bar and escape the tourist hordes, Irish bars and zombie-like cinnamon bun eaters – or just marvel at the spirit of Swedish booze-making (and the giant filament lightbulbs that dangle elegantly from the ceiling). theflyingelk.se

Norwegian flies from London Gatwick to Stockholm from £84 return. norwegian.com