Stockholm Travel Guide
Don't be surprised if you find yourself contemplating a move to Sweden after a visit to Stockholm; the city makes traveling feel easy and effortless (even for newbies). Locals tend to be welcoming and friendly, English is widely spoken, and everything from the subway system to city streets are clean and straight-forward.
But beyond ease of travel, Stockholm delivers a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to its placement on an archipelago of 14 islands that each offer a distinct feel—from the colorful buildings and cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan to the nature-rich isle of Djurgården. It's a place where you can hop on a public ferry and find yourself in a different world without ever leaving the city. And no matter where you end up, you'll find yourself at ease in the contemporary, urban feel Sweden is known for. Just make sure to make time for fika, a coffee and cake break, so you can slow down and enjoy life like the locals do.
Central European Time (GMT+2)
Best Time to Go
Sweden can be chilly, making the summer months an ideal time to visit. Between May and September, the days are long, the weather is temperate, and the country's biggest national festival, Midsummer, kicks off—just keep in mind the summer is the city's busiest time as well. For good weather and fewer tourists, shoot for September to early November, when you'll experience the shift to fall and the coziness of Stockholm as the days begin to shorten. If you time it right, you might even catch the Stockholm Jazz Festival (October) and Stockholm International Film Festival (early November).
Things to Know
Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)
(Check the current exchange rate)
I don't speak Swedish: Jag talar inte svenska
I'm lost: Jag är vilse
I would like…: Jag skulle vilja...
Calling Code: +46
Capital City: Stockholm
How to Get Around
Trains: The city's underground subway network, known as the tunnelbana, is quick, easy, and much cheaper than hopping in a taxi. To ride, you can either buy a SL access card and load it with a single-use ticket (38 SEK, around $4) or pick up a travel card with unlimited access for a period of time (24 hours: SEK 160, around $18; 72 hours: SEK 315, around $36; and 7 days: SEK 415, around $48). Through the same transportation company you can get out of the city via an above-ground train.
Buses, Trams, Ferries: If you're just visiting Stockholm for a short time, you should be able to get around via subway, but if you need, the city also offers a bus system. In addition to buses, trams run on the island of Djurgården (where you'll find the Vasa Museum) and scenic ferries connect the islands. All three modes of transportation rely on the SL card (same as the subway and most trains).
Taxis: In addition to Uber, Taxi Stockholm offers a reliable track record and booking via their app. Just keep in mind that taking taxis around Stockholm can be expensive.
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Gamla Stan (Old Town): It makes sense that the center of Stockholm, a city that's built on islands, is found on a compact island marked with cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. Gamla Stan, also called Old Town, is so picturesque, you won't be able to put down your camera. Swing by the medieval Storkyrkan cathedral or watch the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace before stopping for a fika at Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm.
Djurgården: To the east of Gamla Stan is the much-larger island of Djurgården, best known for the Vasa Museum. But the island houses more than the city's most famous museum, the tranquil island is full of parks with walking trails and green meadows perfect for midday picnics. For a next-level experience take a ferry from Slussen (in Gamla Stan), so you can arrive via water.
Södermalm: It doesn't get more hip than Södermalm, also known as "Söder" or "The South Side." In this uber-trendy neighborhood south of Gamla Stan, you'll find endless cafes and restaurants alongside boutiques and shops. If you're looking for an escape from the busy city streets, grab a sandwich to-go and find a nook in Rosenlundsparken, a sprawling neighborhood park.
Norrmalm: Stockholm's "downtown" is a must for first-time visitors. In Norrmalm, you'll find yourself smack dab in the middle of Stockholm's commercial area, home to everything from the opera and ballet to giant department stores, hotels, and trendy cafes. Make time to rest your legs and people watch at Kungsträdgården park and enjoy the views over the water toward Gamla Stan.
Östermalm: To the east of Norrmalm is Östermalm, a large district with high-end residential areas sprinkled with smart restaurants and classy bars. It's a great place to explore if you're looking to get away from the buzz of Norrmalm and Gamla Stan.
Spring: The start of spring marks a happy time for the Swedes, who welcome the longer days and first signs of color and life. Temperatures vary greatly—March and April tend to be cooler—with averages typically hovering between 30 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There's usually not a ton of precipitation, but you can expect a couple rainy days each month.
Summer: Summer may be tourist high season, but there's a reason for that—the months of June, July, and August are warm and pleasant, averaging temperatures in the low 50s to low 70s. The month of July tends to be the rainiest month of the year (around three inches of precipitation).
Fall: The weather starts to dip in the fall, when temperatures can get as low as the 30s and November marks the shift into winter. That being said, you'll find weather in the late 50s and early 60s in September. Precipitation is moderate, but might show up as snow in the later months.
Winter: As you might guess, winter in Stockholm can be chilly and dark. Temperatures range from the low 20s to mid 30s, and snow is a reality. When the weather shifts and winds blow in from the Baltic Sea, it's a good time to huddle in and enjoy a lavish fika.