Stockholm is a city with a long and interesting history, and although it is the largest city in Scandinavia, it retains a peaceful atmosphere with wonderful Swedish architecture and the natural beauty of the surrounding sea. Stockholm is an incredibly pretty city. It is made up of fourteen islands and has countless things to see and do between the museums, parks, and historic streets & buildings. This Stockholm travel guide is filled with travel tips to help you get the most from your trip!
What to Expect in Stockholm
Language: The most widely spoken language is Swedish, but around nine out of ten people do speak English.
Currency: Sweden rejected the euro and continues to use Swedish krona as the national currency. Currently, $1 U.S. dollar will get you SEK9.00 in Swedish krona.
Credit Cards and Banks: In the last few years, many places in Stockholm, including hotels, hostels, restaurants, and cafés have switched over to CARD ONLY, meaning they don’t accept cash. This is because the Swedish banks don’t charge them fees, so there’s no “minimum purchase” amount. Come prepared with a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees, and don’t count on paying for anything with cash (unless you’re tipping a tour guide perhaps). In addition, most shops will ask to see your ID when paying with a card, so carry an ID card around with you.
Peak Season: Most of the archipelago tours in Stockholm aren’t open year round. They usually only operate from April or May through September.
Climate: Stockholm is quite a mild city in the summer, with the sunshine providing warm but not unpleasant temperatures. Night temperatures in the winter can drop below freezing. The best temperatures are experienced between June and August, with average daily highs of over twenty degrees Celsius.
Typically, there can be significant weather differences in parts of Stockholm because of the city’s seaside location. Even on a sunny day, things can get chilly! Your best bet is to always carry a jacket, no matter what season.
Getting Around Stockholm
Stockholm is separated into many different districts and neighborhoods; each offering a unique flavor of the city! The most popular communities worth visiting are:
Norrmalm: This is the commercial heart of Stockholm with many of the main business centers, the city’s main railway station, the Royal Opera House and a wide range of shopping areas.
Djugården: This attractive island is home to several parks and the Rosendal Palace, while also being home to the Grona Lund amusement park and several museums, including one dedicated to Sweden’s most famous export, ABBA.
Östermalm: This area is a posh residential neighborhood and is one of the most populous districts in Stockholm. This is the major shopping hub of Stockholm with many bars, pubs and even clubs.
Gamla Stan: A historic island where there are many cobbled streets and quaint old buildings showing the city’s heritage, including the Royal Palace and the Swedish Parliament, meaning it is a busy working area as well as being wonderfully scenic.
Södermalm: Reflecting the modern architecture alongside historic buildings, this pleasant area is home to the bohemian SoFo district with bars, restaurants, and some wonderful designer shopping. Read my guide for tips for exploring Södermalm!
Read More: Guide to Stockholm’s Subway Art
The Grand Hôtel is a truly luxurious hotel that combines the best of excellent service and traditional luxury with a beautiful location, including views over Gamla Stan and a wonderful Nordic Spa and Fitness Club for guests.
Price Range: $$$
A stylish and quiet hotel that has a central location but just away from the busy area, the Berns Hotel offers a wonderful combination of beautifully decorated rooms, great food and a VIP wristband for those interested the city’s nightlife.
Location: City Centre
Price Range: $$
Located in a charming area overlooking the water in the Royal Haga Park, the Stallmästaregården Hotel is a 17th century hotel, that has been recently refurbished and offers lovely rooms and a wonderful restaurant serving authentic Swedish food.
Price Range: $$
STF Jumbo Stay (Airplane Hotel)
The STF Jumbo Stay hotel is conveniently located near the airport, and guests can stay in specially converted rooms on a real 747 jumbo jet. With good prices, a cafe & bar, dorm rooms, shared showers and toilet facilities, it’s perfect for budget backpackers.
Accommodation: 747 Jumbo Jet
Price Range: $
Rygerfjord Hotel & Hostel
The Rygerfjord Hotel & Hostel consists of three ships, anchored at Söder Mälarstrand in central Stockholm. With 90 cabins in various sizes and categories, this is a truly one-of-a-kind hotel.
Location: Söder Mälarstrand
Price Range: $$
Best Western Kom Hotel
While I wouldn’t normally recommend a Best Western, the price and location of this hotel is pretty attractive. It’s within reach of the transport system, with compact rooms at an affordable price.
Location: City Centre
Price Range: $
Story Hotel is located in downtown Stockholm and is the perfect choice for business travelers or tourists visiting the city. It’s close to everything, there’s an on-site restaurant and the rooms are beautifully decorated!
Price Range: $$
Castanea Hostel is located in the middle of Old Town. It’s an affordable option for budget travelers, and you’ll be within walking distance of a myriad of shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and galleries. The city’s public transportation system and some of Stockholm’s top sights are only a short walk away
Location: Old Town
Price Range: $
Herman’s (Vegetarian Buffet)
Herman’s serves wonderful combination of great vegetarian dishes, salads and hot meals, served with eco friendly beers and soft drinks, in a great location with stunning views from the garden.
Nosh and Chow (Trendy & Delicious)
Nosh and Chow is a stylish and modern restaurant that offers beautifully prepared dishes, including locally caught seafood, and a lovely patio area that is a great location to enjoy one of their tasty cocktails.
What to Order: Their black truffle gnocchi changed my life.
A bustling cafe/restaurant that was inspired by the stylish Parisian cafes, Riche is a Stockholm institution that has been serving Swedes for over a century. They have a regularly changing seasonal menu and a range of classic French and traditional Swedish dishes.
What to Order: Swedish meatballs with cream sauce, lingonberries & potato purée and Toast Skagen with fresh Kalix vendace roe.
Bistro Mag 22
Bistro Mag 22 serves a simple, but delicious menu, including pasta, salads, and more. You can also try some of the best craft beer and cider in the city.
Un Poco (Amazing Italian)
Un Poco is an Italian restaurant that is owned by two of members of Swedish House Mafia! The flavors and textures of the Italian cuisine are genuinely authentic, and an ambience that makes it a special dining experience.
Nytorget 6 is located in Sodermalm and very popular with locals. The menu is absolutely delicious and is a great spot to visit if you’re looking for authentic Swedish and Scandinavian cuisine.
Barrels, Burgers and Beer
Barrels, Burgers, and Beer have multiple locations around Stockholm. It’s a top spot to grab a burger, and also has a delicious veggie burger. You’ve got to try the halloumi fries!
Hornstulls Marknad is a street market that’s open every Saturday and Sunday from April to September. You’ll find tons of food trucks and all types of yummy food and vegetarian options!
For more than thirty years, Rosendals’ Garden has cultivated and spread biodynamic farming practices. You can expect delicious and seasonal farm-to-fork food made from vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit grown in their gardens, as well as artisanal bread baked in their wood fire oven.
Helpful Tip: While Swedish cuisine may not be the most famous in the world, it has some very distinctive dishes such as the traditional meatballs with lingon berries, toast skagen (shrimp toast) and the modern banana curry pizza are worth trying. Hefty bar prices mean you may also be sober enough to enjoy the traditional Swedish hot dogs served around the city.
This grand and impressive museum is located on the island of Djurgarden, and is one of the most impressive in Stockholm. With a wonderful collection of items that show the cultural and ethnographic history of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.
This is an ideal destination for those with a passion for images and artistic photography, as this gallery has a rotating schedule of exhibitions and displays by some local and international photographers, with English tours available if booked in advance.
For those looking for an adrenaline thrill or a more relaxed ride, this city center amusement park has a range of roller coasters and other rides, and is also known for hosting rock and pop concerts on a regular basis during the summer months.
While Stockholm itself may not have the ice cold climate of the far north of the country, a visit to the Ice Bar, where the furniture and glasses are all made of ice is an interesting experience, and has some great drinks.
Exploring this historic island is a great way to spend a day or two, with several historic churches, museums and the Royal Palace, which is open to the public for most of the year (except when official ceremonies are being held).
Sweden is a country that is built on its maritime tradition, and this museum is where the best example of a seventeenth century warship is housed, along with a range of other historic ships from the country’s great tradition.
Archipelago Boat Tour
There are a series of islands that help to make up the territory of Stockholm, and this three hour tour takes visitors around the different areas, and offers great perspectives of some of the most attractive and important buildings in the city.
Book a Guided Tour
If you want to learn more about Stockholm from a local, book a guided tour. There are plenty to choose from that will teach you about the city’s history, the royal family and delicious coffee culture.
Explore Stockholm's Subway Art
Stockholm’s Subway Art is one of the city’s top attractions. It has more than 90 decorated stations, making it easy to spend an entire week exploring the city’s urban gallery.
If you’re short on time, you can read about my favorite stations in my Stockholm Subway Art Guide.
Rent a Bike and Explore
During the summer months, a bike rental service is available in the city, and getting on two wheels and exploring the city.
For those wanting to spend some time outdoors, exploring Djugården is a great way to enjoy a nice day in the city, with several parks to stroll through. Rosendal Gardens are very attractive and the open air museum and zoo at Skansen offer an interesting look at Swedish traditions and culture.