Travel guide to Stockholm
Venice of the North, Capital of Scandinavia, The City on Water… In Sweden there’s a proverb that goes ”a beloved child has many names”, and maybe that is the case for Stockholm. It’s a city so diverse that it’s hard to gather under one nickname. Whatever the case is, it’s a city that deserves plenty of them. Our travel guide to Stockholm will take you through it all!
Founded already in the 1200s, Stockholm has evolved from being a trading hub to what we see today: a city based on 14 islands and land, that all connects via 57 bridges. Being spared modern wars, we have a well-kept city with many gorgeous traces from the medieval times. But don’t think we’re old-fashioned because of that, its the opposite! The residents here are in the forefront when it comes to many things, from start-ups to artists and designers.
Stockholm has also been awarded the European Green Capital Award, the air is fresh and if you want to, you can take a tip practically anywhere, either on the Baltic Sea or in the fresh-water Lake Mälaren. What will be your nick-name for Stockholm? We use The Best City Ever, #humblebrag.
City districts in Stockholm
The inner-city is split up into 21 districts, which are grouped into four urban areas: Kungsholmen, Norrmalm, Södermalm, and Östermalm. Gamla stan (belonging to Södermalm) and Djurgården (Östermalm) are not really districts, but we will include them anyway. Below is a short introduction to each and everyone out of the districts.
If you want to get a local touch of what life in Stockholm might be like, head to Kungsholmen. You’re gonna wanna have time to stroll slowly (but not too slow – you’ll piss off the residents!), stop by a café for a Swedish fika, or restaurant for a bite to eat. Kungsholmen might not offer as many sights as its fellow districts, but it has a charm that the others in some way miss. Get to know Kungsholmen area on our bike tour, Urban Treasures. Check out our restaurant favorites in Kungsholmen here.
Norrmalm marks up the city center of Stockholm. This is where you’ll first end up when taking the train or bus from the airport. Its the most commercially and business-like district as many offices are located here, with a ridiculous amount of H&Ms to prove it. Many of the most popular hotels are located in this district. However, it’s not all just for the business and shopping eager peeps, the area is changing. In a recent couple of years, diverse restaurants, cool hotels, and alternative bars have opened up here, especially on Brunkebergstorg Square. Check out our Modern Murder Mystery tour if you want to join a tour of the area. Our dining favorites can be found in this restaurant guide for Stockholm.
What to see and do on Södermalm?
Södermalm is, without a doubt, the self pro-claimed bohemian area of Stockholm. From being a working-class area, it has developed into a hipster paradise. Don’t worry though, you’ll fit in as long as you like quirky vintage shops and fantastic pubs (who doesn’t?!). As Södermalm is primarily located on heights, you are granted natural viewing points that (unlike many other spots) don’t cost a penny, for example, Skinnarviksberget or Fjällgatan. Södermalm flourishes with food; everything from luxury pizza to dining in the sky can be found here. Our favorites on Södermalm are found in our Stockholm restaurant guide. Want to explore Södermalm with a guide? Join our Hipster Island Walking Tour!
Discover posh Östermalm
If Södermalm is the hippie, Östermalm is its complete opposite. It’s on Östermalm that the finer audience lives, eat and shop (i.e. this is where to look for celebrities, and royals for that matter). What does the area got to offer except posh people, you ask? Exciting new restaurants (constantly!), dapper shops and grand buildings, from the 1800s and onward. Don’t forget to look up!
See and do in Gamla stan?
Being the oldest out of the six on this list, perhaps we should have mentioned Gamla stan first, simply out of courtesy. The area, that until 1980 was called ”The Town between the Bridges”, is the historical center of Stockholm. Once upon a time, this was it! Stockholm! Besides being a place filled with tremendous traces from the past, it’s home to some of the biggest attractions that Stockholm has to offer: The Royal Palace, The Cathedral, the narrowest alley in the city and Stortorget. Our tour Stockholm Old Town Walk takes you to the best places in 1,5hrs. If your thirsty, we have a craft beer tour here too.
What to see and do on Djurgården?
Coming out on Djurgården on a Summer’s day is like walking into a painting of lush greenery, only it’s real. A few minutes from the bustling city center lies this quiet oasis, that’s been written about in literature for decades, but still remains untouched. Along alleys framed with oaks, you will find some of the museums that have given Djurgården the nick-name ”The Museum Island”; the Nordic museum, Vasa Museum and Open-Air Museum of Skansen. Take a walk around the Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen and you’ll sooner or later have fallen in love. Delightful Djurgården is our walking tour of the area.
How to get around in Stockholm?
Stockholm is an easy city to make your way around, even though it can sound big. If you have the time and the muscles, you can basically walk from one city district to another. They are all located within walking distance.
Public transportation system in Stockholm
If lactic acid kicks in, the public transportation system allows you to make your way from one area to another by boat, bus, commuter train, and metro. The public transportation system is called SL (Stockholms Lokaltrafik) and you can purchase tickets at every station with your credit card, or at smaller convenient stores such as 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån.
How to make your way from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm?
Arriving at Arlanda, you are approximately 45 minutes away from central Stockholm. You have a few options to make your way into the city (at least that we would recommend):
- Flygbussarna, which will take you to the city center in 45 minutes, from SEK 99.
- Arlanda Express Train, 20 minutes fast train to the city, from SEK 280.
- Taxi, around 30 minutes to the city center, from SEK 450. Only use Taxi Stockholm, Taxi Kurir or Taxi Sverige.
Transfer from Skavsta Airport to Stockholm
Flygbussarna is the best way to travel from Skavsta Airport to central Stockholm.
Things you need to think about when visiting Stockholm
Card is king, not cash
Lesser and lesser places are accepting cash as payment. The card is king.
Weather in Stockholm
Let’s face it, you’re going up North, you MAY not use sun-screen. Or a sun hat. Or sunglasses, if you’re really unlucky. From November to March, we have Winter in Stockholm. The temperature stretches from -20 Celsius as absolute lowest to +10. April, May, September, and October are those typical months when anything can happen. Either it’s +5 or +20. June to August is when you have the most chance of getting a tan, or at least sitting out and not freezing to death. The temperature stretches from +15 to +30, even though the latest is not very common.
When coming to Stockholm, you don’t need to think about vaccines.
You can drink the tap water (actually, it’s been described as the best in the world…).
If you’re planning on visiting the archipelago and spending a lot of time in nature, be sure to check yourself for ticks.
Visa to Stockholm
Check out this list to see if you need a Visa when visiting Sweden. OURWAY Tours can not assist in Visa matters.
Tipping in Stockholm
In Sweden, it’s most common to give tips to servers, restaurant staff, and taxi drivers. It’s completely voluntarily (unlike many other countries, it’s simply a bonus on top of the person’s regular salary). It’s common to tip at least 10% on a bill’s sum if you want to. Since the tip is voluntary, it completely depends on how you feel about the service you have been given. If you want to show someone a bit of extra love, that’s nice of you (but no one will look down on you if you don’t).
Electricity in Stockholm
The voltage in Sweden is 220. We use the standard European grounded socket. The adapter is known as type E or F.
A few Swedish phrases that might be good to know
You’re going to Sweden, so you’re lucky, most people speak great English. In case you run into some bad luck, here’s a two-second course in Swedish.
Hello = Hej
Goodbye = Hejdå
Can you help me? = Kan du hjälpa mig?
Where is… = Var ligger…
Thank you = Tack
Excuse me = Ursäkta
I’m sorry = Förlåt
Toilet = Toalett
Do you speak English? = Pratar du engelska?
I don’t understand = Jag förstår inte
Metro = Tunnelbana
Bus = Buss
Boat = Båt
Beer = Öl
Wine = Vin
Å = Pronounced similar to ”Oh”
Ä = You know when a doctor asks to see your throat, and you open your mouth and say… Äää. Yeah!
Ö = Just say O and you’ll most likely be understood.