The capital of Sweden, Stockholm has been lovingly touted as the hub of high fashion and a food paradise whose offerings include the much-beloved Swedish meatballs that have been imprinted onto every foodie’s consciousness thanks to the furniture conglomerate IKEA. Beyond these common taglines, however, the chic city further intrigues with a series of unconventional activities perfect for those who desire unique and memorable experiences.
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Dig deeper into the chic city and you just might find yourself encountering its unexpected charms. Whether you want to display a custom-made colour on one of the city’s tallest buildings for all to see or enjoy a day seeking wildlife, Quotient has a list of ideas that will take your travels in the city to the next level.
Rooftop tour of the Old Parliament building
With the advent of rooftop tours, sightseeing has taken on a different dimension. Clamber across the Old Parliament Building fortified with helmets and harnesses as professionals look out for your safety. While your senses behold the astounding beauty of Stockholm from atop, gain insight from the well-versed guides as they relay interesting historical facts of the surrounding architecture. The adrenaline rush from being 43 metres above ground also makes this an exciting activity so unless you are wary of heights, come on up to experience the thrill and revel in the stunning panoramic views that reach all the way out to eight different islands.
Visit the underground R1 Nuclear Reactor
The first to be built in Sweden, the R1 Nuclear Reactor denotes a fascinating yet daunting history of the post-World War II days when the Cold War was still raging and countries engaged in the overzealous race to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. Buried 25 metres underneath the KTH Royal Institute of Technology at Valhallavägen, the site was utilised by scientists to conduct nuclear research and study reactions until the 1970s, when concerns over the reactor’s proximity to Stockholm led to its closure.
Today, with zero radiation and the dismantling of most of the reactor parts, the remaining reactor hall has become both a tourist site and a popular venue for holding modern arts and dance performances. Travel far below ground, where it is so deep that phones even lose their connectivity, to explore the last symbol of Sweden’s entry into the Nuclear Age and be transfixed by the modern, creative adaptation of the now defunct nuclear reactor.
Embark on a wildlife journey
Grab hold of your loved ones and sign up for an adventure with a private wildlife tour just half an hour away from the city centre. Immerse yourself in the abundant greenery of a nature reserve as you go on a search for roaming animals; some species that can be spotted include moose, wild boars and deer. Along the way, your engaging guides will also kindly point out interesting facts regarding nature in Sweden to deepen your understanding of the native land. Dubbed one of the top 10 green attractions in the country by Sweden’s own tourism board, this activity is one that’s not to be missed!
Contribute to the Colour by Numbers installation
How rare is it that you have a chance to leave your mark on a building? With the permanent interactive light installation, Colour by Numbers, displayed on Stockholm’s Telefonplan tower, individuals require just a smartphone to leave a temporary symbol on the Stockholm skyline. Using a mixable RGB interface from a downloadable smartphone application, amateur painters of light can choose a floor from the upper portion of the 20-storey spire and project a custom colour of their creation. Non-smartphone users can also easily join in the fun by calling a toll-free number and painting the tower with their keypad.
Displayed in clear view of the whole Southern Stockholm, the installation was devised with the hope that it would connect citizens and visitors alike as different individuals contribute to the same piece of work. Be a part of this technological wonder as you choose your colours and join in this ingenious way of self-expression.
Admire the world’s longest art gallery at the Stockholm Metro
The Stockholm Metro, a daily means of commute that connects the 14 islands of Stockholm, does so much more than serve a mere practical purpose. The walls and interior spaces of the Metro stations are intricately decorated with mosaics, paintings, installations and sculptures abound with meaning and artistic expression. Each of the 90 stations depict a different story spanning multiple eras, from post-modernism to futuristic science fiction. As such, taking a ride on the Stockholm Metro can be likened to travelling through five decades of European art history.
Select art works also relay strong sentiments, such as the iconic 1975 masterpiece by Anders Åberg and Karl-Olav Bjork, which depicts a blood-red night sky contrasted by a flourishing green forest. The unsettling picture speaks about the rural depopulation and large scale deforestation of the 70s during the peak of industrialisation. If this story interests you, then you will definitely appreciate the free guided art tours, which supplement the background stories of the artists involved in the creation of the art pieces. Otherwise, simply board the train and navigate the metro on your own; you only have to pay for a train ticket to gain access to the longest art trail in the world!