From Lagom #4

Jogging Stockholm

Surrounded by water and open spaces, it’s little wonder that jogging is such a popular pastime in Sweden’s capital. Turkey-born, Stockholm-based jazz musician Robert Ikiz shares some of the best locations to run around the city.

Words Robert Ikiz with Olga Kovalenko

Illustrations / Photos Jayde Perkin / Huseyin Aysan

The great thing about jogging is that you don’t need much: just a pair of shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt. When I pack to go on tour, my running shoes are one of the first things to go in my suitcase. Wherever I travel to, I jog whenever I can. I like to be on the move: one day I’m in Berlin, another I’m in Paris, or Istanbul. Although it’s fun, so much travel can take its toll. I realised the importance of taking breaks just a few years ago, and jogging fulfils that need. It provides a good, short break in my daily life, when my vacation is a long way off.

There are many benefits to running; it activates the brain — I’ve written the basics for some of my songs while jogging, coming up with new ideas for my music. I find that jogging helps the quality of my sleep, making rehearsals, practice hours, and concerts much easier. Running regularly, I’ve also found that my coordination and balance have improved.

Here at home in Stockholm, and all across Sweden, jogging is extremely popular. There are many open spaces that lend themselves well to the sport, and we’re fortunate enough to have some beautiful scenery to enjoy.

When I’m in Stockholm, my usual route is to jog toward the islands of Reimersholme and Långholmen, which are close to my home on the Södermalm island(1). Södermalm is a must-see area; multicultural and diverse — many artists and musicians live here. The area is home to a good, small coffee house called Mellqvist Kaffebar(2), which has a rehearsal space at the back. As a result, many musicians stop by to have a coffee, especially in the morning. The route continues toward Reimersholme(3), which is popular with joggers‚ even in winter.

I then head along Söder Mälarstrand(4), where there’s a nice view of the lakeside. One of the many great things about Stockholm is that it’s surrounded by water. From here you can see the Stadshuset(5) on the other side of the Mälaren Lake(6). On top of it, you can see the three golden crowns. We have the same three crowns on the logo of our record label. The Stadshuset and the neighbourhood around it look beautiful at night, with the city lights sparkling on the water — a great view when you jog in the evening.

On the left you can see Münchenbryggeriet(7) — an old local brewery that was turned into a conference hall. To the right is Långholmen island(8), where many people keep their boats. There’s a good jogging route around this island, and people often come here to swim in the lake in warm weather.

The route then takes me onto Reimersholme island through the Västerbron bridge(9). Continuing along the path, there’s an open space where live music often takes place in summer — it’s a great spot to relax when the weather gets warmer, and a good place to stretch and catch your breath before heading back.

Southeast of Reimersholme, on the other side of Södermalm island, is another good route for joggers, around Årstaviken(10), connected to the Mälaren Lake. The route puts you in touch with nature, and the lake is full of boats in the summer months.

Djurgården Island(11) is another great jogging location. Strandvägen(12) is a picturesque road that lies between the coast and the wealthy Östermalm district(13). It’s a beautiful spot to run or ride in the evening, especially if you’re lucky with the sunshine.

There are many old residencies and museums here, including Vasa Museum (one of the most visited in Scandinavia), as well as an open-air museum, and Gröna Lund amusement park. It can get rather crowded in the summertime because of tourists, but is much quieter in winter. If the bad winter weather catches up with you, there’s a famous café located right by the jogging path: Flickorna Helin & Voltaire(14), where you can take a moment to get warm before the final dash home.

Lagom #4 cover

This story first appeared in the print edition of our second issue, which is still available to buy from our online shop.

Buy Lagom #4