7 Must-Know Stockholm Travel Tips
If you are anything like me, then you like to learn from the travel mistakes you have made and pass along the useful wisdom you have gained from your many adventures. My March trip from Germany to Sweden was wonderful, but there are a few things I wish I knew beforehand. But hey, you live and you learn, and then you pass on what you learn so others don’t have to make the same mistakes.
So here we go!
Buses from the airport to Stockholm run at specific intervals.
When flying into Stockholm Skavsta Airport (which is nowhere close to central Stockholm despite the very misleading title), don’t miss the shuttle bus from the airport directly to Stockholm City… The bus departs approximately 20-30 minutes after the flight arrives. So this means if you miss it, you are stuck waiting 20-30 minutes AFTER the next flight arrives.
I wish I had downloaded the app ‘Flygbussarna‘ beforehand. This app gives you the shuttle schedules, allows you to buy tickets through the app, and offers information on seven of Sweden’s largest airports. Basically, it’s a hassle-free must have.
There are other ways of getting from the airport to Stockholm!
If you do miss the shuttle bus for some reason, don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world as I later discovered. First, don’t listen to the meanies behind the ticket counter. Instead, listen to the nice personnel at info (who have much more reliable information anyway). Go to the regional bus 515 and take it to Nyköping and from there you can catch a train to Stockholm Central Station. It’s quick and easy!
Pay attention on Swedish public transportation.
I don’t know about everyone else, but when I get on a train or bus I am always so nervous that I am going to miss my stop and end up lost in the middle of nowhere. So, I always try to pay attention to the stops coming up. You can understand my sudden panic when I didn’t see my stop when it should have been up next. Frantically checking Google Maps, I discovered that Swedish buses and trains often announce the last name of the stop and exclude the first name, or only announce the ending of the name. This can cause a lot of unnecessary confusion so be aware of this before you hop on public transportation.
Download these must-have apps!
Along with Flygbussarna, do yourself a favor and download the SJ app and SL app for Sweden’s trains. It’s convenient and super easy to use, and a major plus is that the apps are in English which was great for me!
I had a friend from the States studying abroad in Uppsala, Sweden the same year as I was and I took a day trip up to visit him. These apps made travelling between Stockholm and Uppsala much easier and less stressful to figure out.
You can pay for bus tickets in Stockholm on your phone.
You can pay with your card on the 515 regional bus to Nyköping and you can also buy your train ticket on the app on your way or while you wait for the train to leave. I am a huge fan of paying for my tickets through an app because it is easier to track your purchases, one less place and person to find and speak to, and your tickets are all organized in one place.
Swede have power outlets EVERYWHERE!
Despite the Germans making me very grateful for their train system and their investment in travel comfort and convenience, Swedes have one-upped the Germans in that they provide outlets in 2nd class seating. Praise Jesus! This is a luxury that anyone who has ever tried to navigate a new country (especially one where you don’t speak the language) will understand.
Why haven’t they figured out endless batteries yet?!
There are so many places to see!
Sweden is a tricky country because it is a giant ice cube 80% of the time. I visited Stockholm in March and it was basically the dead of winter even though March is usually when spring is around the corner. However, even frozen, Stockholm is hands down one of the prettiest cities that I’ve visited in Europe.
I recommend taking a boat tour, even in the winter. It is a good (and warm) way of seeing the islands that make up Stockholm, while hearing some of the city’s history, and seeing some truly beautiful sites that you probably wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise
My philosophy is, do something that gives you a bird’s eye view of the city you are visiting. Anything that will give you a general scope of where you are, and then allow you to dive into the specific areas you have picked out to further adventure in is a great way to explore. This gives you a sense of accomplishment when visiting a new city in a new country, while at the same time giving you a foundation and a grasp on the environment you are exploring.
One more thing, bring your snow boots because you will regret it if you don’t! I love walking around new cities because I feel like I absorb so much more when I walk around. But it gets challenging in the winter time. In an effort to still travel light but also stay toasty, I brought my Sorel boots. Hands down the best investment I made during my year abroad. I also lived in my Volcom women’s fleece lined winter jacket! It’s lightweight but SOOO warm. Throw on a feather down puffy jacket underneath (also lightweight) and you will be set for exploring Stockholm in the winter.
Some of Stockholm’s highlights and exploration recommendations:
- Stay at Generator Hostel. It’s clean, good food, and is in a great location.
- Get tickets for a concert while you are there. Going to a good show is a great way to make memories that last forever!
- Get coffee and a cardamom roll at Kafé Esaias. You will love life.
- Visit the Museum of Modern Art, they have awesome exhibitions.
- Visit the Fotografiska. As a wannabe photographer, it was arguably the most inspiring experience.
- Have a Fika. Any Swedes’ excuse (but more like a way of life) to have cake and coffee all the time. Partake, relax and enjoy!
- Explore Gamla Stan. It is a thrifty, wonderful, adorable island in Stockholm and you will love it! Considered the Old Town of Stockholm.
- While you are in Gamla Stan, have lunch at Café Schweizer. It was one of the best cafes I went to in Stockholm hands down!
- If you are looking for a speciality coffee spot after you have been to the Fotografiska, then you need to hit up Drop Coffee over in Södermalm, the trendy, hipster part of town with great views drinks and shopping overlooking Gamla Stan
The list of what to see and do in Stockholm truly goes on and on. Basically, it is a city that will leave you wanting more every time.
Have you been to Stockholm? If so, share your experiences with us in the comments below.