A city of contrasts, forward-thinking and ultra-modern, breaking boundaries and setting standards, set among centuries-old buildings and a rich history. Stockholm is a buzzing hive of activity, a beacon of change, peace, love and acceptance. Streets adorned with quaint cafe’s and fika-loving locals, modern design and ancient architecture. It is, without a doubt, a feast for the senses and a city well worth exploring. More than that, the Swedish culture is one well-worth experiencing first-hand. To help you do just that, here’s my ultimate guide to everything you need to know about visiting Stockholm.
But first, watch this…
Must-know tips for visiting Stockholm
If this is your first time visiting Stockholm, there are a couple of things you need to know before you set off:
- You’ll have no problem finding a great cup of coffee in Stockholm as the Swedes are mad for it! Prepare to ‘Fika‘ multiple times per day.
- Sweden is a modern city embracing people for who they are, no judgment! That means everyone is made to feel welcome, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual preference or which gender they do or do not identify with. It’s exactly how the world should be.
- There’s a sense of ‘no-one should feel better than anyone else’ in Sweden, which I love! Everyone is equal, even celebrities aren’t really fawned over.
- The Swedes are hot. Like, smoking hot! Prepare for some serious eye candy.
- Cash isn’t always accepted, so make sure you’re prepared to pay by card if needed
- Being vegetarian and vegan is considered trendy and eco-friendly, so you’ll find no shortage of great food and non-dairy milk options at cafes
- Keep an eye out for pickpockets!
- Read all of my ‘16 Things you need to know before visiting Sweden‘ here.
How to get to Stockholm
We flew with Singapore Airlines, going from Brisbane to Singapore then joining their new route from Singapore to Stockholm, with a brief layover in Moscow. Joining a press trip, we were invited to try out the airline’s Business Class offering and, you guys, it’s everything dreams are made of. Regardless which class you fly, the airline’s Airbus A350-900 fleet are heavenly, providing an incredibly comfortable and modern space for your flight. Not only that, but you’re treated to Singapore Airlines signature service, where the flight attendants take great care of you, the food is actually delicious and the movie/tv selection is awesome!
Our experience was nothing short of fantastic. The new business class cabins offer a space that truly feels like your own, with a huge, comfortable seat that can recline to a range of angles to make you feel comfortable. When you’re ready to sleep, the seat transforms into a flat bed, complete with linen, duvet and pillows (plural!) I need to stretch out when I sleep and had more than enough space to get comfortable, heck, the lovely hostess even tucked me in at night. What’s more, the food is fantastic. We were treated to silver service meals, with delicious options like rib-eye steak, dim sum, grilled fish and warm waffles, from the Book the Cook menu. With so much space and wifi on board, I was able to catch up on work then lay back and watch movies on the huge screen, while sipping on my favourite TWG herbal tea. Pretty much my dream day!
Honestly, if you’re thinking about visiting Stockholm, I can’t recommend Singapore Airlines enough. There’s a reason it’s the airline is so beloved and, for me, it always comes down to the modern, comfortable feel of the planes and the impeccable service you receive on board. From meals you can actually enjoy to laying back and watching movies while sipping on a glass of wine, Singapore Airlines always ticks the boxes.
How to get from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm City Centre
Getting from Arlanda Airport to the heart of Stockholm is made very easy thanks to the Arlanda Express. The train runs non-stop from the airport to Stockholm Central Station, taking only 20 minutes. The train itself is modern, clean, comfortable and spacious, with free wifi on board (seriously, the train is soooo nice). I normally don’t like to catch public transport from an airport to the city after a long-haul flight, but this was easy, convenient and comfortable – I’d definitely do it again.
Ticket prices start at 280 SEK per adult, one-way, with discounts available for early-bird pre-purchase and multiple ticket bookings, taking the price down to 154 SEK. Check ticket prices here. Children 0-17 years travel free if accompanied by an adult. If you’re thinking about catching Uber, it should cost around 500 SEK. (Price is current at the time of publishing – please check the website for latest pricing).
Best time to visit
Spring – March/April through to May. At this time of the year, the days are gradually getting longer and the locals are gearing up for summer. It’s a great time to visit if you love wildflowers as things come alive with bright blooms. Expect cool temperatures, ranging anywhere from -3 °C to +16 °C. There may still be snow, so pack accordingly.
Summer – June to August. Expect very long days, with the sun rising around 3 am and setting at 10:30 pm. The sky never really gets pitch black though, so prepare for that. Summer days can be lovely and warm (27 °C) or a bit chilly (14°C). It can change day to day, so you need to pack warm winter clothes and cool summer clothes. It’s not uncommon for a rain shower to come through, so you’ll need an umbrella or waterproof/rain jacket.
Autumn – September to October/November. One of the rainiest seasons of the year, you’ll definitely need an umbrella or waterproof/rain jacket as well as plenty of warm gear to keep yourself nice and rugged up. Keep an eye on the weather forecast during your visit, you may get lucky with a few warmer temperatures.
Winter – November/December through to March/February. Expect very short days, with the sun rising around 8:30 am and setting at 3 pm. It’s going to be very cold, so pack your very best warm clothing. It may be snowing, so make sure you have some waterproof shoes and waterproof snow gear. If you’re visiting in January, keep in mind this is typically the coldest month of the year.
Where to stay in Stockholm
As part of our press trip, we stayed at Hotel At Six, in the heart of Stockholm. The hotel is pretty much straight out of your Swedish design dreams, oozing modern elegance, classic design and warmth. I’m not a fan of hotel’s that are so modern they’re cold, so I loved the way At Six combined modern elements with dark tones and different textures to make the rooms comfortable, inviting and enjoyable to be in.
Our room was lovely, with an incredibly comfortable king-size bed I sort of melted into at the end of the day. I usually find it very hard to get a good night’s sleep in a hotel room, but even I dozed straight off when my head hit the ultra-comfy pillow. Black-out curtains ensure you get the darkness needed to catch those z’s when visiting in summer and the huge windows offer great views over Stockholm’s City Centre.
At Six boasts an exceptional breakfast, the kind you’re going to want to base your day around. My advice? Don’t rush it, make sure you leave enough time to sit for a while, sip your coffee, peruse the freshly baked treats, hot options and assorted healthy goodies like muesli and juice. I really liked that they had non-dairy milk options available and plenty of great choices for healthy eaters, vegetarians and vegans. P.S the bar goes off, so it’s a great spot for evening drinks and nibbles.
The hotel really ticked a lot of boxes for me – it was located centrally, within walking distance to some great things to discover. It offers gorgeous rooms that are modern and comfortable, as well as providing a great food and beverage service. I’ll also say this – the service was on-point. We had an issue with our shower, I called the front desk and someone came up right away, found the problem, fixing it promptly and properly. Hotel stays are never perfect (nothing in life is!), so I personally believe the way a hotel responds to a problem is absolutely essential, and At Six totally nailed it!
Best things to see and do in Stockholm
Need some inspiration on what to see and do in Stockholm? Here are a few tips…
- Visit the Vasa Museum, built around a 17th-century royal warship that sank at the start of its maiden voyae in 1628 and was rasied 333 years later
- Explore Fotografiska, an exceptional museum for contemporary photography and my favourite museum in Stockholm
- Dance your way through the ABBA museum, a very well-done tribute to the band as well as other musicians and Eurovision (seriously, it’s shocking how well-done it is!)
- Discover Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, home to historic buildings, Nordic animals, folk dancing and more
- Check out The Royal Palace, built in the 18th century, boasting 600 rooms!
- Get your thrill on at Gröna Lund, an amusement park located right on the water’s edge
- Explore the bohemian/hipster Södermalm neighbourhood and wander vintage and secondhand stores, interior, decor and more
- Take yourself on a DIY walking tour of the Old Town, Gamla Stan, to wander cobblestone streets and spot brightly coloured buildings
- Want to learn more about the Viking Age? Journey to Vikingaliv to see what they looked like, how they lived and discover their world!
Pro Tip: Consider checking out The Stockholm Pass. You purchase the pass, gaining entry to over 60 of the city’s most popular attractions, saving money on entry fees in the process. The Pass also includes bus and boat tours! The best way to work out it if it’s right for you is to plan which attractions you want to see, figure out how many of those are covered by the Pass, add up those entry fees and compare them to the cost of the Pass. If it’s cheaper, you’re onto a winner!
Where to eat and must-try food
I love food. Like, really really love food! Based on that information, here are my picks on where to find great food in Stockholm:
- One of my favourite meals took place at Carolas Eko, a fantastic restaurant/cafe located in a beautiful park, serving high-quality, mouth-watering meals (the coffee is amazing!)
- Get your paws on the best Swedish meatballs in town at Vikingaliv
- Enter the world of Björn Frantzén at The Flying Elk, a Gastropub serving hearty meals and bites you may not have tried before!
- Head to the light, airy and modern restaurant of TAK, a popular spot serving fabulous Japanese-Nordic cuisine with a view
- Have yourself a delicious lunch at Nytorget 6 in the trendy Södermalm neighbourhood (the daily lunch special is well-priced and always yummy!)
- Vegetarians should head to Hermans for their uber-popular organic, vegetarian buffet with great views of Stockholm
- Need more meatballs? Head directly to Meatballs For The People for top-quality MB’s
- If you’re keen to sample high-quality Swedish fare without breaking the bank, visit Lilla Ego
What to pack
Packing can be tough and Sweden is no exception, here are my tips on a few things you definitely need to pack:
- If you’re visiting in summer you’re going to need to pack light clothing suitable for days up to 30°C as well as cold weather gear for days as low as 14°C
- Your best bet is to pack things you can layer easily and always have a light jumper and/or scarf with you, just in case the weather turns
- Be sure to pack an umbrella in your day bag as summer storms tend to breeze through
- If you’re visiting in the winter months you’re going to need your very warmest gear possible – jackets, beanies/hats, gloves, thick socks, thermals (the works!)
- You may find your skin dries out in the cooler climate, so be sure to include moisturiser and lip balm
- Winter visitors may wish to partake in a sauna or two, so pack your swimming gear
- Make sure you pack two pairs of very comfortable shoes, at least, so you can switch between them and avoid blisters (note – high heels don’t work on cobblestone streets)
- The Swedes are a very trendy bunch, so this is the time to pack some nice outfits if you want to.