Austria, Cannes, culture, Czech Republic, food, France, history, Hotels, Italy, Milan, Nice, photography, Prague, SPAIN, Stockholm, Sweden, The French Riviera, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian, Vienna

Going Places: My 2019

As 2019 is coming to an end and we are moving to a new decade, I decided to write my traditional yearly travel recap and highlight my travels from the year 2019. Unlike my last year’s edition of Going Places, this year I stayed within Europe, but I visited more countries than last year, in total nine of them.

February: Sweden

2019 started very well for me since I moved to one of my most favourite countries – Sweden. I was based in Gothenburg, which now proudly is in my top three cities in the world, but meanwhile, I also discovered almost the whole of Sweden. I visited so many cities I even stopped counting after a while. I went from Stockholm all the way up to North and experienced wintery-snowy weather during May in Boden.
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April: Italy

To run away from the Scandinavian winter and super cold Spring even, I decided to treat myself with a nice Southern-European trip. Visiting Milan in the beginning of April was extra busy due to the Milano Design Week. It was my first time in Italy and I still miss my morning walks at Brera and stopping by at GOD SAVE THE FOOD for my daily dose of croissant and cappuccino, my evenings at Dry Milano. You can see my Milanese trip in a nutshell here.
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April: France

After Milan, I decided to take a weekend trip to the French Riviera. It was also my first time in France, and since one of my most favourite things to do is watching tv series, I was lucky enough to attend the Cannes Series Festival. A true highlight of my trip to Nice was where I stayed. You can see a full article from my French weekend trip here.

I stayed in Nice and discovered the city on foot, took a little swimming in the sea and enjoyed the warm April days. I took a train to Cannes where I spent one whole day to attend the Cannes Series Festival. Since I was super busy with the Series Festival, I didn’t have much time to discover Cannes, but I still managed to sneak out and to see the most iconic places that were close to the beach.
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April: Belgium

As a chocolate geek, I am still surprised why Belgium wasn’t my very first travel destination. But better late than never, I finally visited the European capital this year to try the most delicious chocolate and waffles in Europe. If you trust Google and queue for the most traditional and oldest waffle cafes in Brussels, you might spend the whole day in the queue. So my advice would be to discover Brussels on foot, check out the city’s popular vintage stores, and in the evening, try the Belgian waffles outside the touristic center, skip the queues and enjoy your daily dose of endorphins without waiting for your order forever.
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May: Malta

Being already a bit fed up with the almost never-ending Swedish winter, in May, I decided to treat myself with a one-week getaway to warm and sunny Malta.

Malta was one of the most unexpectedly beautiful countries I have been to this year. If we ignore super uncomfortable transportation and traffic in the streets, Malta is definitely an amazing destination to swim, enjoy the sun, eat delicious food and discover the historical parts of the country.
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July: Czech Republic

You already know from my Instagram that I am an architecture geek, I love taking pictures of beautiful buildings. And speaking of architecture Prague was the highlight of my European trip in 2019.
You can check out my more detailed and eco-friendly guide to Prague here. But let me once again highlight how unexpectedly beautiful and cheap the capital of the Czech Republic was. Also being very well located between Austria and Germany, you have quick access from Prague to Vienna (one of my most favourite cities in Europe), or to Berlin – every hipster’s dream to find. And yep, don’t forget to try the Czech beer or every dessert lover’s favourite Chimney cakes.
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August: Austria

Vienna is one of my most favourite cities in the world, so, while visiting Prague this July, I could not help myself but go on a weekend trip from Pague to Vienna in August.

Vienna was named as the most livable city in the world for several years in a row for a reason. I can talk about thousands of reasons why you should grab a suitcase and go to Austria right now: like Mozart, Viennese coffee, Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud and etc. But you will not fully get what I am talking about until you visit the Austrian capital by yourself. You can check out my article about my Viennese trip and find some inspiration about where to stay or go in order to make the best out of Vienna in just two-three days.
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September: Catalonia

Barcelona is one of the most iconic cities in Catalonia, we all agree on that. But this year while stopping by in Barcelona for two days, I decided to discover more local and less touristic cities in Catalonia.
Even though Catalonia and Spain are quite cheap, one weirdly expensive thing there is regional trains. So in order to stay within your budget, I would highly recommend you to use the BlaBlaCar app and go to almost any city for around ten Euros.

From Barcelona, I decided to go to Montserrat, Lleida, and Tarragona. Even though Lleida is not as touristy as the other cities mentioned above, I enjoyed my stay there the most, getting to know the local culture, people were super friendly and welcoming. There were a lot of vintage-hipsterish hang out places where mostly locals or Erasmus students would go.

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December: Poland

I took a quick trip to the capital of Poland from Sweden in the middle of December. Warsaw turned out to be a very beautiful city with loads of veggie-friendly places and vintage stores where you can also find rare Soviet-era souvenirs.
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For 2020, my goal is to go out of Europe and discover at least some parts of Asia. You can follow me on Instagram and be the first one to see what’s up for the next year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

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brazil, culture, history, lisbon, photography, portugal, Rio de Janeiro

An Unusual Story about Rio de Janeiro

My interest in Brazilian culture started at a very young age, which led me to listen to a lot of Brazilian music, watch Brazilian movies and TV Series like “A Coisa Mais Linda” or read Clarice Lispector and Hilda Hilst. Then, after living and studying in Portugal for more than a year and making a lot of Brazilian friends, I thought I already knew quite a lot about one of my most favourite countries.
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As you can see from my previous blog post about Rio de Janeiro, my childhood dream of visiting Brazil finally came true in 2018, when I flew from Lisbon to Rio and discovered the highly anticipated Brazilian city like a local. I realized that I still had a lot to learn about Brazil when during one simple Metro ride a local girl asked me “but did you know once we also were “officially” European?” I smiled without really understanding what she was talking about when she added: “Rio is the only non-European city in the world that has been the capital of a European country. Can you guess which one?”
My confusion mixed with curiosity made me say “Portugal?” but within seconds I started questioning the reality of my own guess, because I have been studying Portuguese language and culture for quite a while already, and no one has ever mentioned Rio being the capital of Portugal.
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After a small, nice and very informative talk in the safest transport of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to do a little research about Rio once being a European capital city.
That is how I found out that everything the Brazilian lady told me was right!
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In the 19th century following the conquest of Portugal by Napoleon, the Portuguese Royal Family fled to Brazil and established the capital of Portugal in Rio de Janeiro for thirteen years. You can see a full article and more detailed information here.

Who would’ve guessed, right?!

Make sure to share the most unknown fun-facts about your favourite travel destinations with me on Instagram and don’t forget to show me some love!
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breakfast, brunch, fika, Hotel, Hotels, photography, Stockholm, Sweden, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian

An Instagrammable Guide to Stockholm

As you might have noticed from my Instagram, I am living in Gothenburg for almost a year already. Last Summer, when I visited Scandinavia for the first time, I surely highlighted my trip to Stockholm, which made me come back to Sweden for a much longer period because of coffee shops, a healthy lifestyle, Fika, people, and eco-friendly culture.
Since then, I have visited Stockholm five times, and as an architecture geek, I am falling in love with the city more and more every time.

Here’s my very Instagram-friendly guide to Stockholm.

Where I Stayed
The most important thing for me while booking a hotel is the location. It is crucial for me that the hotel is budget-friendly, centrally located, but in a calm area. On top of that, it is also my concern that, as a conscious traveler, the place I am going to stay is eco-friendly. That’s how I found a perfect match for all of my needs and wishes, which happens to be Hotel Tegnérlunden right in the heart of Stockholm.

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Hotel Tegnérlunden is located at Tegnérlunden park, where you will meet a statue of the iconic Astrid Lindgren. A lot of bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
The hotel has many options for breakfast (including vegetarian & vegan options), the breakfast venue is located on the 6th floor, which means that you will have an amazing view over Stockholm city center while having your daily dose of nutrition.

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The iconic Gamla Stan
The old town of Stockholm is full of 17th, 18th-century buildings, narrow colorful streets, modern Nordic and international restaurants, cozy cafes and a lot more attractions like the Royal Palace or Storkyrkan Cathedral. Make sure to discover the old town on foot!
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And in the evening you can enjoy nice cocktails in modern bars full of local and international people.
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Where to Fika
Fika is probably the most Swedish thing you will ever experience: a coffee/tea break with something sweet like Swedish chocolate balls or cinnamon buns. You can fika (it is also being used as a verb) with your friends or even on your first date.
If you are a coffee lover like me, Stockholm will also be your favorite destination. You have cute little coffee shops almost everywhere, that serve very delicious Swedish desserts. My favorite fika places change almost every month, but one place that always tops my list is Rosendals Trädgård where you can go for plants shopping right after your coffee break.
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My other fave fika place around Sweden and especially Stockholm is Johan and Nyström. They serve hands down one of the best coffees in the country. The minimalistic Scandinavian interior design makes the coffee shop a great place for meetings, and even for work.

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There are also various cozy coffee shops around Gamla Stan that you definitely need to check out. For your best breakfast & brunch experience, you can also check my previous blog post about Stockholm.

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3edf41e5-7cc5-45e1-b35d-92e9d7061bd9Even though I have been to Stockholm several times, this was the first time I visited the Swedish capital during wintertime. It might indeed be colder here than in other countries in Europe, and it gets dark pretty early, around 3pm, but I would still suggest you visit Stockholm during late November/early December just to enjoy open-air ice-skating, Christmas flea markets around the city, and a lot of mulled wine while walking around the city.

Here are some pictures I took while discovering Stockholm by foot on Skeppsholmen, Södermalm, and Norrmalm.

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I hope you will enjoy your stay in Stockholm and make sure to share your favorite destinations with me on Instagram.

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Austria, Bar, breakfast, brunch, cocktails, food, Hotels, photography, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian, Vienna

25 Hours in Vienna

In 2019 Vienna was named as the most livable city in the world for the 10th year in a row by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. So this August, while visiting Prague, I decided to go on a weekend trip to Vienna and to revisit one of my most favourite places in Europe.
One of the main reasons why I always wanted to go back to Vienna since 2015 (when I first visited Austria) was a bit more than just famous museums or outstanding architecture. More and more travellers like me are seeking more of a sustainable approach when it comes to travelling. So if a conscious holiday sounds right for you, then Vienna is definitely a place to be. Starting with an enormous amount of green areas in the city, a lot of vintage stores and sustainable fashion designers, the city is also very pedestrian and cycling friendly.
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Now let’s talk about the city itself and where to stay there in order to make the best out of your vacation. To be honest, I spent way more than 25 hours in Vienna (around 72 to be exact) but soon you will realize why I decided to name this very blog post “25 Hours in Vienna”.image2 (3)

25 Hours Hotel in Vienna (Museums Quarter)

I mean, be prepared to have an architectural WOW factor in Vienna, especially the old town is full of amazing buildings. Absolutely every facade is a solid architectural masterpiece. And yes, this architecture is extremely beautiful and all, but sometimes… all you need is something just a bit quirkier than your standard hotel. So that’s exactly why I decided to spend my weekend in 25 Hours Hotel in Vienna.
Located right in the heart of the Museums Quarter (MQ), 25 Hours will be not only your favourite hotel but your favourite hang out place in the city. Their open bar has one of the best drinks, music, and sunsets in Vienna. I think nothing shows the true spirit of the Viennese life more than this crazy hotel: creative, artistic, fun, vintage & different. Their sustainable approach to the zero-waste and eco-friendly environment is one out of many other reasons why I will definitely go back there!
The hotel features a circus theme and the illustrations in the rooms are made by a Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek. And the outstanding interior design is made by Dreimeta.
In order to make your trip even healthier, you can attend the Yoga sessions that 25 Hours Hotel offers three times a week, or simply relax in the spa area with a steam bath and sauna!

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25 Hours Hotel in the Museum Quarter, Vienna

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View from 25 Hours Hotel Terrace

My favourite thing about mornings at 25 Hours Hotel was breakfast. As a vegetarian, sometimes I struggle to find the right nutrition on some hotel breakfast buffet because most of the hotels go for meat-based dishes. But not at 25 Hours! Just like their logo says “come as you are” they really are aware of the diversity of their visitors and this place makes sure everyone will feel equally welcome here.

After a decent breakfast, you also have a lot to discover in the Museum Quarter by itself: two of the most important museums MUMOK and LEOPOLD are located there, where they also run temporary exclusive exhibitions from all over the world.

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If you happen to visit the Austrian capital in August like me, be prepared for the heat. But once again, Vienna is a place with a lot of options. You can either join the locals on a hot sunny day and get refreshed at the Danube Island, or chill out in one of the many parks that Vienna has to offer. My favourite park in the city center is Stadtpark, which is very close to the old town. You can also visit Burggarten or Sigmund Freud park in front of the Votivkirche. And if you want to go to a more peaceful place head to Prater, or visit my all-time favourite park Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark on the 18th district.

And if you are a museum person and want to see the most iconic Kiss in the world, you should definitely check out the Belvedere Museum. The palace was built in the 18th century as a summer residence for the Prince Eugene of Savoy (what a lucky guy, don’t you think?).
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For your historical Viennese coffee and Sachertorte experience head over to Demel, a famous pastry and chocolate shop founded in 1786 that once served the Royal court. After Demel, you can have a luxurious shopping experience at the Golden Quarter. BUT if you trust me and go for more eco-friendly shopping, you will have a lot of options in Vienna! Places such asGreenground andZerum offer modern fashion made from organic materials. You can find super trendy vegan bags all from recycled polyester and more.

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Graben, Vienna

The food scene in Vienna deserves a completely separate post because, with a lot of Austrian traditional cuisine, this city is also one of the most vegetarian & vegan-friendly places I have ever been to. You have an enormous amount of options to try the most delicious vegan and vegetarian food from all over the world. And here’s a special shout out to Café Mendez for finally satisfying my cravings for the Mexican food with the most delicious vegetarian burger!

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Cafe Mendez, Karlsplatz, Vienna

Make sure to follow me on Instagram for the latest updates and be the first one who will hear the news from me! 

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brunch, Czech Republic, food, Hotel, photography, Prague, stories, travel, trip, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized

Where to Stay in Prague

It is no wonder Prague has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe during the last couple of years. A city where you can enjoy beautiful architecture, delicious food, one of the best beers and most importantly – cheap prices even during the most touristic season; July-August.

Prague’s beauty comes from that it wasn’t severely damaged during World War II. Therefore many of its historic buildings still remain intact today. Its buildings were also relatively untouched during the 17th and 18th century, which nowadays make Prague one of the most breathtaking cities with an unusual mix of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

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View from the Astronomical Tower in Prague

Here is where to stay in Prague in order to make the best out of your trip without breaking your bank!

1) Residence U Černého Orla
Located right in the heart of Prague’s old town, just 100 meters away from the historic Charles Bridge, Residence U Černého Orla is set in an elegant Baroque house. If you are looking for a vintage styled, centrally-located and budget-friendly hotel, you should definitely check out Residence U Černého Orla.
One of the best things about the hotel is the breakfast, which is served every morning during the weekdays from 7 – 11 a.m. and during the weekend from 8 – 11 a.m. at the Residence U Černého Orla Restaurant. It includes not only Czech but also international cuisine. You can have a fresh start of the day with a French or English breakfast alongside a lot of other options in their menu.
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The comfort about Residence U Černého Orla is that you can basically walk to anywhere in Prague’s old town and discover every little street by foot.
The iconic John Lenon Wall is just a two-minute walk from the hotel.
Also, if you’ll take my advice, leave your windows a bit open while you sleep, trust me, you will wake up to the most delicious Czech Chimney Cake smell, which is every dessert lover’s dream to find.

 

Another good thing about the hotel is that every day from 3 – 5 p.m. you can enjoy free snacks like fruit, club sandwiches and cookies.

If you need any help or advice from their friendly staff working there regarding entertainment in Prague, they will help you out at any time by arranging tickets to theatre performances and more.

 

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2) MeetMe 23
Another budget-friendly and super modern option you have while staying in Prague is MeetMe23. Located right in front of the Central Station and around 400 meters away from the National Museum of Prague, Meetme23 will give you a really comfortable vacation experience, with 24 hours reception desk. They even have a fun game called Escape-Game, which is your chance to win free drinks in the hotel’s restaurant.
Breakfast is served every morning from 7 – 10 a.m.
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You will also meet those cute blue figures at MeetMe23, where you will be able to create your own little figure right next to the reception desk, which will be a nice memory from your Czech trip.
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Now that you have an idea about where to stay in Prague, let me tell you about the Vegan-friendly places in the city. Because, as a pescatarian who is on her way to be vegan, it can be tricky for me to find good food on the go. While I love vegetarian food and am always ready to try something new, it’s next to impossible to find a meat-free dish in some areas.
If you’re a pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
As locals told me if you went to Prague ten years ago and said you were vegetarian, you might get a few raised eyebrows.
But thankfully things have totally changed since then. Places like Vegan’s Prague, Beas Vegetarian Dhaba, or Veget Bistro Café will blow your mind away with their super delicious Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine.

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Vegan Sushi in Prague

Stay tuned for my amazing weekend trip I took to Vienna while visiting Prague. Coming your way super soon!

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Astronomical Clock in Prague

Meanwhile, you can follow my journey on Instagram. Make sure to share your travel stories with me!

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Stockholm, Sweden, Trips & Other Stories

Let’s Go Somewhere: Stockholm

In the second edition of the series “Let’s Go Somewhere” you will get to know the highlight of my Scandinavian trip AKA Stockholm from my perspective.

No wonder why I fell in love with the Swedish culture at a very young age when I was raised up reading Astrid Lindgren’s books or watching Ingmar Bergman‘s iconic movies. Always being curious about a Scandinavian culture I was rather excited to visit Sweden for the very first time in my life.

I won’t waste your (or my) time speaking about Stockholm on a geographical level and the number of islands the city covers, or all of the other things that you can easily Google. I’d rather share my personal experience about why I fell in love with Stockholm:

THE  SCANDINAVIAN  SUMMER
Even though I booked my trip to Sweden from Lisbon (where summer starts in early April and lasts ’till November) I still think Scandinavian summer is the most beautiful thing one can witness and experience. Visiting Stockholm in mid-June I was lucky enough to attend their cultural “Midsummer” celebration and to enjoy the sunny weather for almost 20H a day.

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Stockholm, Sweden


Cafés
As a person who enjoys a decent breakfast and tries to spend as much time in coffee shops as possible, Stockholm was my personal paradise. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the retro 1920’s style Café like Vete-Katten  where they serve one of the best coffees with a lot of dessert options like their iconic Carrot Cake or Cinnamon Buns.

Another highlight of my food experience was STHLM BRUNCH CLUB, where they have one of the best brunch menus alongside the coolest Scandinavian interior design and very friendly staff. They also have Vegan & Gluten-free options. To start your day with the Chia + Mango Bowl menu with a PINK fresh juice (a mixture of Strawberry, apple, ginger and mint) is a great way to stay healthy and energized. And you should definitely check out their MOCKTAILS (my favourite was BRUNCH CLUB’S MIMOSA) and Milkshakes or as they’d call them –  FREAKSHAKES like Donutella, Death by Chocolate (which sounds like a perfect way to die) and a Cookie Monster.

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Dalagatan 24, 113 24 Stockholm, Sweden

If you’re aware of the most Swedish thing FIKA – a coffee break that usually consists of coffee or tea and something sweet like cookies or Cinnamon buns is an important part of the national culture. You can Fika (it’s a verb and a noun as well) with your friends and even on your first date, you should definitely check out Bröd & Salt and get in touch with the local culture.
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After these fancy coffee shops mentioned above, I already knew that Stockholm was exactly my place to be. But then I came across one place called “Breakfast & Wine” and as a Georgian, I could not think of a better combination of my daily food must-haves. So I decided to give this place a try and guess what? It ended up in my “go-to” breakfast/brunch places in Stockholm.

And lastly, a bit of sad story as you won’t be able to check this place out since it closed its doors forever on December 22nd, 2018 SNICKARBACKEN7 was a really nice place to discover by myself in Stockholm. With the typical Swedish eco-friendly interior and one of the best coffees ever, SNICKARBACKEN7 was also popular with the local people. But GOOD NEWS: for you to have a bit of idea how cool this place was, you can still visit and enjoy their other Cafés like Kaffeverket, Gastcafe or Kavallerietcafe.

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Snickarbacken 7, 111 39 Stockholm, Sweden

FOTOGRAFISKA
I am not even a museum person, but as a photography geek, Fotografiska is one of my favourite museums all around the world. It is one of the world’s largest meeting point for contemporary photography and on the top floor, you also have a restaurant which recently won the prestigious Gold Dragon Award and is run by the well-known chef Paul Svensson.


NIGHTLIFE
Stockholm has one of the best options with trendsetting new eco-architecture and a diverse nightlife scene ranging from live jazz clubs like Fasching to some exotic cocktail bars like Tiki Room. And of course, if you happen to visit Stockholm somewhere from May ’till September you should check out Trädgården – an open-air club which has the authentic festival vibe. While walking around Stockholm on a Friday night you will end up having a lot of new, delicious cocktails & dreams.


To sum up my trip to Sweden I would definitely use the most Swedish word “Lagom” which means just “Right” or “just about enough, but not too much“. The word perfectly describes the Swedish cultural and social ideals of equality and fairness. Maybe that’s why I fell in love with Sweden so much, or maybe the Skarsgård brothers were another good reason.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and be the first to check what’s coming up next!

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