When we first started planning this trip, we brainstormed a massive list of cities we'd always wanted to see. We drafted an itinerary and started booking places to stay - until we rewrote it at the last minute to include Scandinavia.
Turns out missing it really would have been a huge mistake.
Stockholm is a bustling city. It moves faster than Copenhagen and appears to offer inferior cycling infrastructure, but we didn't mind - the city's layout, which spans a handful of small islands, manages to still feel like the type of place you could live and work (as opposed Venice, which feels like more of a time capsule.)
We based out of Gamla Stan which, although touristy, is small and smack in the centre of everything - making for walkable access to Normmalm/Östermalm (the north) and Södermalm (the south.) The former is more of a wealthy area with many museums and historical sights; we spent a few hours at the Vasamuseet, which houses one of the largest preserved archaeological artefacts in the world.
Södermalm is more our speed. Cafes, craft beer, unbelievable food and swarms of cyclists make up a thrilling neighbourhood that would take much longer than a few days to properly explore.
Yesterday we boarded a boat to Vaxholm, where the spent the day for a change of pace. With most of our time spent in the heart of Europe's major cities, it was nice to unwind somewhere a bit more laid-back. It's also pretty fascinating to discover that some people live out on rural islands in the Stockholm archipelago; commuting in to the city in under an hour by water.
It seems pretty natural to compare Copenhagen and Stockholm: both capitals of Scandinavian countries, both united under a common flag at one point, their languages observably similar. But where the former seems to be more idyllic and (very well) designed, Stockholm feels more rough around the edges - and I love that.
Now we're off to Berlin.