Klas Ekman

Correspondent

  • Stockholm, Sweden, Europe

Klas Ekman is a correspondent based in Stockholm who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Before he started freelancing and writing books full time, he was the managing editor at the Swedish travel magazine RES, entertainment editor at the leading men’s magazine Café and also wrote about culture for the much-celebrated newspaper Stockholm City. His favorite Stockholm hangouts are Allmänna Galleriet for its fantastic meat dishes, and Hasseludden yasuragi and Hellasgården in Nackareservatet for trail running, cross-country skiing and ice-cold baths in the middle of the Swedish winter.

  • On May 31, 2013
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    What are the best Mexican restaurants in Stockholm?

    The mexican problem is a sad part of Stockholms restaurant history. For long you couldn’t find anything that was even close to decent, but then came La Neta and everything changed.
    La Neta first started up in a few years ago on Barnhusgatan, but now have a big place on Östgötagatan on Södermalm. Their lunches are very popular, so try to be there before twelve. Compared to many places the US the food is quite simple, but over here it’s a revolution.
    Stockholm also got their first taco truck last year – El Taco Truck. Then it could only be booked for events, because of the law (and there was a lot of events that summer!) but this year it’s legalized, so check out for a pink wagon around the streets of Södermalm.
  • On May 31, 2013
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    What are the best hair salons in Stockholm?

    It’s kind of funny, because almost every man in Stockholms media and music circles goes to the same two hairdressers: Magnus and the enigmatic Rockabilly-Bobo at Salong Blowout on Tyskbagargatan on Östermalm. Not only are they very nice guys, but they also have a lot of knowledge about culture and popular culture, so if the customer wishes a certain style from… say, ”Mad Men” – they’ll fix it (on both men and women).
    If you want a classic barbershop experience, there’s Sweeney Todd on Sturegatan, with an interior from the thirties. And on Södermalm, Barber & Books offer different shaves and cuts.
  • On May 31, 2013
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    What are the best hiking trails near Stockholm?

    The closest to the city is Hagaparken, where you follow the path known as ”Hälsans stig” (path of health). But if you want real hiking, the best choice by far, is to follow Sörmlandsleden (the Sörmland trail) from Björkhagen. It starts just by the metro station and will take you into the lovely forests in Nackareservatet (and further on, if you want).
    The trail is in excellent condition, but make sure to carry enough water and food if you plan to be out for long. There’s not many kiosks out there… If you want to take a tent, that’s alright too, just read the rules of the ”Freedom to roam” which is a public right in Sweden.
  • On May 31, 2013
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    What is the tipping etiquette in Stockholm?

    Swedes are always confused about tipping, both abroad and at home. No single Swede have ever visited the US without sweating over how much they should give the cab driver for the trip between the airport and the hotel. The reason is quite simple. For a long time it wasn’t that common here, as everyone serving you was supposed to have an acceptable salary.
    But that’s history, of course.
    Lately there seems to be a sort of agreement that between ten and fifteen percent is okay. However most Swedes only tip at restaurants, in bars and after extremely nice cab rides.
  • On May 31, 2013
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    Should visitors rent a car in Stockholm?

    The short answer is: No, they shouldn't. The main reason is that central Stockholm is built on islands, and going from point a to point b can be quite a hassle. As public transportation is really good, that's the way to get around town. There's a great app called Res i STHLM that shows  which busses or subway lines to take.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What are the best neighborhoods in Stockholm?

    For a first time visitor, I think these three following neighborhoods will be most rewarding.

    Sofo
    The part of Södermalm that's South of Folkungagatan could be mistaken as a sketch from the tv-show "Portlandia", bus has the nicest cafés (Il Caffe and Skåningen for example), and if you want a deli with lot's of ecologic and local food – Urban Deli, is the best place to go in Stockholm. They also have a restaurant and a café, and right outside is Nytorget – which is the main reason to go to Sofo. In the summer it's full of ice cream eating Stockholmers, and shouldn't be missed.

    Biblioteksstan
    Well, this is where you find Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Mulberry, Gucci and the usual suspects. But for a wider high end selection go to Natalie Schuterman. And if you want a swedish take on preppy fashion for children, visit Liveley.
    When hungry – go for classics like Prinsen och Konstnärsbaren, where you'll have Swedish dishes like meat balls, Biff Rydberg and Wallenbergare, or the very french Zink Grill.

    Lilla and Stora Nygatan in Old town
    Old town is hard to pin down, with it's mix of tourist traps, street artists, science fiction bookstores and restaurants with Michelin stars. But in these two streets, that's closest to the tubestation, there's restaurants like Djuret, Frantzén (formerly known as Frantzén/Lindeberg), The Flying Elk and Tweedbar. On Stora Nygatan there's The english bookstore with a good selection of pretty much everything in english/american literature – and a lot of translated swedish books (if some one is into Swedish crime).
  • On May 31, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What are the best luxury hotels in Stockholm?

    Grand Hôtel
    This is where everyone from Justin Bieber and Beyonce Knowles to the winners of the different Nobel prizes stays when they're in town. There's a popular spa, and a gym favored by the citys celebrities because it's privacy, and of course the wonderful Cadier Bar, the big glass veranda where guests eat or lounge and Mathias Dahlgren restaurant (two Michelin stars). No wonder everyone in Stockholm loves Grand Hôtel, but they're also respectful. No one will be bothered here.

    Lydmar
    The slightly hipper choice is actually just a few blocks from Grand Hôtel. Its restaurant and bookish lobby are hot spots, but the standard is very high and it was built to be safe enough to be able to house guest of the same importance as Obama.

    Ett hem (A home)
    This townhouse is almost hard to find even when right outside the building which seems like a small fort. But inside the small gate there's a garden and the entrance to the hotel. No outsiders are let in here, and Ett Hem is by far the coziest choice. It's interior design was made by Ilse Crawford, and the twelve room are all different but .

    Nobis Hotel
    A rather new hotel at Norrmalmstorg, right in the middle of the city. The interior is made by the architects Claesson Koivisto Rune, and contemporary design meets the old traditional 19th century style of the house, with a sumptuos result.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What is the Vasa Museum like in Stockholm?

    The queue might remind you of old news clips from Soviet, but once inside it's worth every second of waiting. The swedish war ship, whick sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, doesn't look like new, but maybe as something your grandfather might have built (if he was very ambitious and didn't have to work alone). It also tells the story of a time when Sweden were a super power, so Stockholm might seem a little bit more exciting afterwards. In that case I suggest a second stop at Livrustkammaren, where you'll se a lot of clothes in which swedish kings died violent deaths.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What are the best things to do on Stockholm’s Djurgården island?

    You have the open air museum called Skansen, the amusement park called Gröna Lund and the new Abba museum; which are all great. Skansen is perfect for kids, or if you have a strong desire to see a moose. Gröna Lund is fun, and have a lot of concerts with both swedish and international acts. And the Abba Museum tells the story about the group and of swedish pop music in general. But the most loved place is Rosendals trädgård. It's a garden open for visitors, and if the wheather's nice there's no better place for having coffee and eating cinnamon rolls than under it's trees and between it's hedges.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What are the best beaches in Stockholm?

    You haven't lived in Stockholm if you haven't thrown off all your clothes and jumped from the quay outside the town hall on at least one summer night. It actually is a very popular spot, but the island Långholmen (get off at the Hornstull metro station) has a much more official status as the citys number one beach.
    From Hornstull you can also go down to Tantolunden, a long park with a lot of small beaches and bridges where you can take a bath.
    If you have a car, or a bike, there's also Hellasgården and Söderbysjön just south of the city. But they're lakes.
  • On May 31, 2013
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    What are the best concert venues in Stockholm?

    This year Stockholm got two new arenas. Tele2 Arena right by Ericsson Globe, just south of Södermalm, and Friends Arena in Solna (which is now Swedens national arena for soccer). So there might be a lot of arena rock in the forthcoming years.

    But if you want live music, there are more certain places.

    Debaser started out as a small club under a bridge at Slussen but are now something of an empire. If you want anything alternative in any genre, you can find it at any of their places. Today they have Debaser Medis at Medborgarplatsen, which is a larger place, and they have just started up a new venue and restaurant at Hornstull.

    Södra teatern at Mosebacke is a lovely 19th century building with a few different scenes, and a wide selection of different styles of music and theatre. The main venue look like it hasn't changed since first opening with an interior in green and gold (and of course velvet chairs).

    For the jazz fan,  there's Stampen in Old town, but the safest bet for quality is the Glenn Miller Café. For classic music, check the listings of Konserthuset (Concert Hall) – a wonderful blue building at Hötorget – and Berwaldhallen, close to the American embassy.
  • On May 16, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth is now following Klas Ekman
  • On April 29, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What are the best bars in Stockholm?

    Tweed. The spot for  relaxing in chairs from Chesterfield and drinking Old fashioned. It looks like a classic gentlemen's club, and drinks are excellent.

    Little Quarter. The American Bar of restaurant Marie Laveau has won awards for their classic cocktails (and is also good for classic partying).

    Kåken. This bar is modeled on a speakeasy from the prohibition era and is placed in a slightly hidden inner room of restaurant 1900. The quality of their drinks is no secret, so the bar is often packed.

    Cadierbaren. The bar of Grand Hôtel is more for lounging than for partying, but you honestly want to enjoy these drinks in a calm and relaxed surrounding.

    Gondolen. The view from this bar is breathtaking (yes, really!). It's placed right over Slussen, and from here you can see the Stockholm skyline and also the start of the beautiful archipelago. Gondolen could easily make a living on the view alone, but thankfully the bartenders ambitions are aiming as high as the place itself.

    Guldbaren on Nobis. Stockholms newest luxury hotel has one of the most celebrated bars. It immediately got an award for the best list of cocktails and got called "the best bar in Sweden" by the highly acclaimed White Guide.

    Riche (Lilla Baren). The "little bar" just to the right of the restaurant is the place to hang out. It is small, often impossibly crowded and loud, but it is still the number one spot for the hip crowd. And the music being played is always good.
  • On April 29, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    What are the best restaurants in Stockholm?

    For foodies:

    Frantzén/Lindeberg. Two stars in the Guide Michelin, and always a extremely innovative (but very good) menu. If you do not get a table, the team behind this restaurant now has a small empire at a block of Gamla Stan (Old town). Their gastropub The Flying Elk is also popular.

    Mathias Dahlgren. This restaurant also got two stars from Guide Michelin. It is right by Grand Hôtel, and its specialty is classic Swedish food.


    For Swedish classics:

    Prinsen. A brasserie and bistro that has been a home for intellectuals for ages. If you want to try traditional Swedish food, Prinsen is the best choice. A recommendation is their Biff Rydberg (pan fried fillet of beef, onion, mustard and egg yolk).


    For good food and fun:

    Flippin' Burgers. Jon Widegren travelled all over the USA to learn how to make the perfect hamburger. He succeeded, and last year the line outside was many metres long even in lousy weather. It is not possible to book a table, so make sure to be there before they open.

    Allmänna Galleriet. For meat lovers. If you want beef, Allmänna Galleriet – or AG – is sure to satisfy. It is  hidden on a small street on Kungsholmen island, and hard to find, but it is worth the trouble taking the time.

    Boqueria. This new imaginative tapas restaurant in the Mood Galleria immediately became a  favorite hang out for media- and business types.
  • On April 29, 2013
    Klas Ekman answered the question: Klas Ekman

    Where is the best shopping in Stockholm?

    The best stores in Stockholm are spread out all over the city. The following list will help you find out where you should go.

    Nordiska Kompaniet
    This department store is a Stockholm classic and a guarantee for quality. This is where you find everything from perfume to food, from Swedish brands like Filippa K to Barbour and Ralph Lauren. It is right in the middle of the city, on Hamngatan.

    Jus
    With its smart blend of Swedish and international designers (Comme des garcons, BLK DNM, nice accessories like rings from Horisaki…), Jus is the favorite for many female fashionistas.

    Natalie Schuterman
    High fashion (and high prices). At Natalie Schuterman, you will find dresses, bags and shoes from brands like  Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors and Phillip Lim.

    Krukmakargatan
    Krukmakargatan and its neighbouring blocks on Hornsgatan are one of the best shopping streets in all of Stockholm. Nitty Gritty is the city's best store for sophisticated hipsters of all genders. Right beside is the store of the local menswear brand Our Legacy, which have become popular during the last few years. On the same block,  there's Papercut – a must if you are interested in fashion magazines, dvd:s and books. A bit further down the street is Brandstationen, a store for used furniture (it's worth a visit just for the building itself). Brandstationen is an offspring to Judits and Herr Judit, two popular second hand-stores just around the corner on Hornsgatan. Judits is for women. Herr Judit is for men (and here you can find everything from today's fashion to used Barbour coats).

    SOFO/Skånegatan
    This part of Södermalm is called Sofo (South of Folkkungagatan), and this is where you find everything from Nudie jeans store to the clothes/books/stuff-store Grandpa and surf/preppy-store 6/5/4. The record store Pet Sound is one of the city's few remaining, and it has always been one of the best (even when competition was much harder). Urban Deli on the corner Skånegatan/Nytorget is the most popular hang out in the area, and you can get a lot of local specialities there.

    Götgatspuckeln
    Götgatan is one of the main streets on Södermalm, and the part between Slussen and Medborgarplatsen is only for walkers and bikers (beware!). Here are a lot of good stores. A few of them are in Brunogallerian, but also look for Hattbaren – which is a shop for everything you might want to put on your head.

    Norrlandsgatan
    Going camping, or trail running? If you need stuff from Salomon, North Face or Norrøna you find all those brands beside each other. Naturkompaniet is very close on Kungsgatan. They sell everything from clothes from Fjällräven to sleeping bags and tents.

    Sivletto and Unionville
    If you want quality denim or retro clothes, this is where to go. Sivletto is situated in an old garage, so the door can be hard to find and you have to take a spiral stair to get down to the store. It started out as a rockabilly store but now sell a lot of wonderful heritage clothing and accessories. They have everything from vintage clothes to brand new stuff, but always with that classic touch. Unionville is an offspring to Sivletto which concentrates on quality denim.