9 essential travel tips for Sweden and Stockholm
Publish date: 21 November 2023
New in town, or just visiting? Here are some things that you should know.
- 1. No cash needed
There's no need to exchange a lot of currency – Stockholm is in large parts a cash-free city. Although you'll find ATM machines (recognized by teal/blue-green-colored signs reading "Bankomat"), many restaurants, shops, and hotels don't accept bills or coins. With that said, don't forget to bring your debit or credit card!
- 2. Everyone speaks English
Swedes start studying English in school before the age of 10, and we never miss a chance to practice our learning. In fact, it's often said that we love speaking English so much, that people who move here find it hard to learn Swedish.
- 3. The Stockholm airports
Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) is the main international airport. It is located 42 kilometers north of Stockholm and 36 kilometers south of Uppsala. All major airlines and long-distance airplanes serve this airport.
Bromma Stockholm (BMA) is the most central airport and is used by smaller aircraft. Bra, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, and Finnair serve this airport, located 8 kilometers from the city center.
Stockholm Skavsta Airport (NYO) is located outside of Nyköping, and about 100 kilometers southwest of Stockholm. Ryanair and Wizz Air serve this airport.
Stockholm Västerås Airport (VST) is located outside of Västerås, and about 100 kilometers northwest of Stockholm. Ryanair serves this airport.
Read more about getting to and from the different airports here.
- 4. Midsummer – the unofficial national day
Sweden's national day may be June 6, but the day we really dress up for is Midsummer Eve, at the end of June. Many locals head to the archipelago for celebrations, so Stockholm City can feel quite deserted during the Midsummer weekend. But don't you worry – there are a lot of public events in the city center as well. You’ll find them in our events calendar.
- 5. Systembolaget has a monopoly on alcohol
If you want to buy a bottle of wine or liquor outside a bar, you need to head to government-owned Systembolaget. And plan your weekend drinking ahead – the stores close early in the afternoon on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays and during public holidays. Convenience and grocery stores sell low-alcohol beer, though.
- 6. The subway is an art gallery
The Stockholm subway system is said to be the world's longest art exhibit. Over the last few years, the interest has grown so big that SL (Stockholm Public Transport) now offers free guided art tours in English all year round. All you need is a valid subway ticket.
- 7. Getting around the city
Stockholm is built upon islands and bridges. Instagram-worthy vistas are everywhere and the best way to catch them while discovering the city is on foot. So pack your best walking shoes and a portable charger! Here are our best Instagram spots.
- 8. Island hopping in the archipelago
In the wintertime, you can use the SL card to go island hopping in between some of the 30,000 islands in the Stockholm archipelago. Just make sure you have a valid travel card. On the Djurgården ferries and the commuter ferries, the travel card is valid all year round.
- 9. After work – the happy hour out of the office
"After work" is the Swedish version of happy hour. Locals head straight from the office to bars and pubs to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, often at a slightly reduced price. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are the most popular days for an after work.