Wailana Kalama takes us inside her Stockholm neighbourhood – Liljeholmen
Liljeholmen, or “Lily Island” as I like to call it, is a little green and understated corner on the southwestern edge of Stockholm. It tends to be overlooked in the fashionable shadows of Södermalm and Östermalm. I can see why—it’s mostly residential, with only a few restaurants to brag of. But somehow, it still has its own unique capacity to surprise me.
The area of Liljeholmen remained largely undeveloped for centuries—it was all forest slopes, meadows and fields until the mid-1800s. With industrialization came the tobacco, beer, candle, and cotton industries, but it’s when the railway station opened in 1860 that the region really began to come alive. In 1912, it hosted some of the cycling and equestrian events during the Summer Olympics. These days it’s a quiet neighborhood fully in commune with nature.
My first home in Stockholm was Liljeholmen. I moved here to stay with a friend for about six weeks while I looked for an apartment. What most struck me was how green it was—it was the heart of summer, and the trees, bushes, flowers were all in bloom and fruit. Cloistered saplings and shrubs give the area a sense of encapsulated in a green bubble. Naturally, it’s a great place for a leisurely walk, through trails and wooden bridges.
But the best way to explore Liljeholmen is by bike; there are several city bike places around the lake and dozens of bike paths. The neighborhood is also quite child-friendly—Hello Fruktlekparken, you wild playground of massive pears and watermelon! —with open parks that beckon to the jogger and yogi alike.
Lake Trekanten is the blue jewel on the Liljeholmen’s western edge. This small lake is has its fair share of hares, ducks and magpies. In the summer, swimmers gather at the half-sand beach with plastic pails and shovels; in the winter, the frozen depths are paved to make way for ice-skating. If you can score a fishing permit, feel free to lay out your line and hope for a bite.
Any visitor to the area will likely drop by Liljeholmstorget Galleria first, a mini-mall just next to the metro station. It has your typical mall standards like H&M, elegant Bönor & Blad and Espresso House, but also surprises like Thailaan the Asian market. Shop at Stockholms Stadsmission for the best vintage handbags, jeans or cookery—or checkup the impressive selection of gluten-free goods in the basement ICA.
For your daily fika, Café Bravo (Liljeholmestorget 48) across the square has delicious Peruvian coffee, pastries and ice cream.
Marievik is an up-and-coming seaside area of Liljeholmen, full of new and glossy buildings. If you walk a bit east from Liljeholmenstorget, under the highway pass and toward the Liljeholmsviken river, you’ll find Marievik. This is a beautiful area to catch a bite to eat on the waterfront. Go casual for lunch and salad bar at Bankomat (Sjövikskajen 6) or grab the best thali this side of the water at Indian Garden (Sjövikstorget 10).
For a high-end brunch and mimosas try The Black Swan (Sjövikskajen 24). Alternatively, the hip Rhino (Årstaängsvägen 21B) is an affordable place for succulent foods like chicken wings, fresh salads, and burger sliders. If you’re craving more hipster restaurants, you can easily walk across the bridge to Hornstull—but that neighborhood is another story.
Best Eats: Since sushi is one of my all-time favorite lunches, I’ll have to go with Mama Ye (Sjövikstorget 9).
Best Shopping: Stockholms Stadsmission. Vintage glory (and particularly great if you’re stocking a new apartment).
Best Exhibits: Stop by Färgfabriken (Lövholmsbrinken 1), where you can find many projects and art exhibitions. They host seminars, discussions, art walks, and more. Its space is dedicated to making “the invisible visible.”
How to Get There: Easily accessible by metro lines 13 and 14 and by the Tvärbanan.