In this Stockholm travel guide you’ll find personal tips and useful information about where to stay, things to do, and most importantly, delicious food to eat when you visit Stockholm, Sweden.
Stockholm is a beautiful, well functioning, and pleasant city. And while it’s not always known for its food, I really enjoyed the eating experiences and the Swedish dishes I tasted when I was there, and I’m so happy to share them with you in this guide.
Ok, let’s get started with this Stockholm travel guide!
Arriving and Leaving Stockholm
If you fly into Stockholm on an international flight, you’ll probably land at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, which is located about 40 km from the center of Stockholm. My wife Ying and I flew to Stockholm from Rome on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), and landed to the relatively quiet and organized airport.
From the Airport to the City Center
To get from the airport to the center of Stockholm, or directly to your hotel, will really depend on where you’re staying (more about accommodation below). There are three main ways to get into Stockholm from the airport.
- Arlanda Express Train – The train is fast, convenient, and safe, and takes you to Stockholm Central Station. You can buy tickets ahead of time online before you arrive to get a discount ticket. Price: They have many different deals and prices cost less on the weekends, but about 150 – 200 SEK ($15.17 – $20.23) per person.
- Flygbussarna Airport Bus – Another option is to take the airport bus, which leaves every 10 – 15 minutes from right outside the arrivals terminal. My wife and I chose to take the bus due to the location of our hotel which was a few kilometers before Stockholm Central Station at Fridhemsplan (so I didn’t want to have to backtrack by taking the train). The bus was great, very clean and efficient and took about 40 minutes. Price: 119 SEK ($13.93) per person
- Private Taxi – This is by all means not the most wallet friendly option, but if you need to take a private taxi they are always available. More info here.
Sweden is part of the Schengen Agreement, and so depending on your nationality, you’ll need a Schengen visa to enter Sweden as a tourist.
I carry a US passport, and US citizens do not require a visa to enter Sweden for up to 90 days. My wife, who is Thai, did obtain her Schengen visa in Bangkok prior to arriving. Immigration at the airport was hassle free for both us when we landed in Stockholm.
Please make sure you research Sweden visa information for your nationality before you visit.
Where To Stay In Stockholm?
Like I mention in all my travel city guides, I think food is the best reason to travel, but having a comfortable place to stay in a good location is also very important.
So in this Stockholm travel guide, I’ll share this where to stay section by going over a few different areas of the city, why you might like them, and then a few hotel options in those locations.
1. Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan is a small island that is the old town of the city and one of the biggest toursit districts. You’ll find plenty of attractions and walking streets, restaurants and bars. For accommodation, Gamla Stan is a great place if you’re looking for classic Swedish inns or guesthouse style accommodation like Castle House Inn or Hotell Skeppsbron.
This is the area I would consider one of the main centers of Stockholm. You’ll find many famous attractions in this area and many of the major hotel brands like the Radisson Blu Waterfront and the Sheraton Stockholm.
A little east of Norrmalm is Östermalm, a wealthy and very nice district of Stockholm that includes shopping streets, restaurants, cafes, and parks. There are some wonderful places to stay like the family owned Pärlan Hotell or the more budget STF Gärdet Hotel & Hostel.
My wife and I stayed at little off the beaten tourist path in Stockholm at the Courtyard Marriott* located in Kungsholmen. I found the location to be great, about a 20 minute walk from Norrmalm and Gamla Stan, and right next to a beautiful huge park. However, if you want to be right in the center of Stockholm, this would not be your best option as it’s a little further out and quieter.
Note: On this trip to Stockholm, my accommodation was sponsored by Courtyard Marriott due to being on a round the world trip. That being said, all opinions, thoughts, and recommendations in this section are my own.
Some of The Gear I Use
Here are just a few of the essential things I carried with me on my trip to Stockholm.
Now that we’ve covered how to arrive and where to stay in this Stockholm travel guide, we’re all set to start on the good stuff: food!
I honestly wasn’t really sure what to expect coming to Stockholm for the food. It often doesn’t really get too much food coverage throughout the world, and when people talk about Stockholm and food they often say, “oh it’s so expensive,” rather than, “I loved the food.”
But I came to Stockholm with an open mind, knowing that it wasn’t going to be cheap, but having the chance to be in Stockholm I wanted to make the most of it.
When learning about Swedish food, here are a couple things that stand out to me.
- Geography – Sweden, like other Scandinavian countries, stretches long and far from North to South. The food and natural ingredients available is diverse from the South to the North. Additionally, Sweden benefits from having a long coastline so plenty of seafood is part of the local cuisine, and lots of forest where meats like reindeer are part of the diet.
- Extreme seasons – From summer to winter, Sweden experiences a huge range of seasons and temperatures. In the summer there are an abundance of herbs, berries, and vegetables, while the harsh long winter has lead to the development of pickled, preserved, and fermented foods.
- Foreign influence – From the British to Germans and even Ottomans, Sweden has a long history of trade and relationships which have been an influence to Swedish food. Some of the popular modern day foods in Stockholm now include kebabs and pizza.
Before visiting Sweden the only real Swedish food I had tried were Swedish meatballs, but there’s a lot more to Swedish cuisine than that (although the meatballs are pretty awesome).
After spending just two full days eating in Stockholm, I was pleasantly surprised and highly enjoyed the food. The simplicity, freshness, care of ingredients, and also maybe just the relaxing atmosphere of eating and dining in Stockholm are the contributing factors of why it was so good.
One more thing I should mention is that being a spicy food lover, I can understand how Swedish food could be a little bland (for some tastebuds including mine) after a while. However, for a visit I thought the food in Stockholm was superb. I focused on eating only Swedish food during my trip, but Stockholm also has a great variety of international cuisine from Turkish to plenty of Thai food.
Swedish foods and ingredients
I’m not going to be able to cover all Swedish dishes on this list, but I just want to mention some of the foods I had a chance to try and some of the iconic ingredients used in Swedish cooking.
- Lingonberries – They taste quite similar to cranberries, and according to this post, they can be eaten with just about anything from sweet to salty.
- Knäckebröd – Sweden has some amazing crisp-bread and crackers made from rye. They even sell them at Ikea.
- Swedish meatballs (köttbullar) – There’s no Swedish food more famous around the world than Swedish meatballs.
- Gravad lax – For salmon lovers, the dill cured salmon in Sweden is just spectacular and you should eat it with every opportunity you have.
- Toast skagen – You can read about the interesting history of this dish here, but essentially toast skagen is a piece of toast topped with shrimp and kalix löjrom roe. It was one of my favorite foods to eat in Stockholm.
- Reindeer – Commonly eaten as part of traditional Sami cuisine, reindeer has a slight livery taste and it’s delicious.
- Surströmming – Probably one of the most notorious Swedish delicacies is surströmming, fermented Baltic Sea herring. I didn’t have a chance to try it when I was in Stockholm, but I did try some fresh Baltic Sea herring as well as pickled herring, both of which were delicious.
- Fika – In Sweden the coffee culture is so strong that there’s a word called fika that actually means to have a coffee break. Coffee with a snack is an important part of the Swedish social culture.
Restaurants in Stockholm
In this Stockholm travel guide I’ve included some of the best restaurants and food stalls I tried in Stockholm.
Restaurant Pelikan – When I asked where to eat in Stockholm, Restaurant Pelikan was one of the restaurants many of you recommended for traditional Swedish food. The food was excellent, including the Swedish meatballs and the higlight for me was the roasted reindeer that was so juicy and tender I could hardly beleive it. You’ll also enjoy the classic Swedish interior of the restaurant. Address: Blekingegatan 40, 116 62 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: Monday – Friday from 4 pm – 12 midnight, Friday – Sunday from 12 noon – 1 am.
Valhallabageriet AB – You’ve had cinnamon buns before, but Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) are on the next level. In Stockholm, I tried a local friendly bakery called Valhallabageriet, and both their cinnamon buns and equally popular cardamom buns were spectacular. Address: Valhallavägen 174, 115 27 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 7 am – 6 pm on Monday to Friday, 8 am – 3 pm on Saturday, and 9 am – 3 pm on Sunday.
Melanders Fisk – Melanders is a seafood supplier and restaurant where you’ll find a selection of fresh seafood for takeaway and you can sit down for a plate of cured salmon or other seafood. They have a number of locations in Stockholm, but I went to the one at Hötorgshallen food hall, which offered bar counter style seating. Of all the food in this Stockholm travel guide, dill cured salmon might be one of my absolute favorites. Address: Hötorgshallen, 111 57 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 10 am – 7 pm on Monday to Saturday.
Östermalms Korvspecialist – A family business that began in 1992, Östermalms Korvspecialist is a food container (like a food truck with no wheels) that serves some unbelievably delicious sausages. I ordered the kabanoss, a spicy sausage filled into a baguette with pickled cabbage and mustard; It was awesome. Address: Nybrogatan 57, 114 40 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 11 am – 9 pm on Monday to Friday, and 11 am – 6 pm on Saturday to Sunday.
Nystekt Strömming – Again, when I asked on YouTube where to eat in Stockholm, this place had an overwhelming amount of votes, and so it was something I wasn’t going to miss in Stockholm. Nystekt Strömming is Stockholm street food at its best, and they specialize in strömming – not the nearly rotten kind – but rather the fresh herring that’s fried and served on bread or a full meal plate. I had the fried herring on rye with onions and dill and it was fantastic. Address: Located right outside Slussen station; Open hours: 11 am – 8 pm on Monday to Friday, and 11 am – 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Blå Porten – After doing some sightseeing and going to the Vasa Museum, Ying and I were ready for lunch. Just down the road there was a restaurant called Blå Porten that caught my attention, situated in a beautiful courtyard garden. I ordered the lamb meatballs and the shrimp salad, both of which were excellent, but the shrimp salad was the stunner. Address: Djurgårdsvägen 64, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 11 am – 8 pm daily.
There are many more restaurants in Stockholm, but these are a few I highly enjoyed during my visit.
Things To Do In Stockholm
Along with the food, in this Stockholm travel guide, I’ve also included some of the attractions and Stockholm points of interest that you might considering doing when you’re in-between meals.
Östermalms Saluhall – This is one of the most high end and gourmet food market halls in Stockholm, and for any food lover it’s a fantastic place to walk around and explore. Although they are doing renovations to the original market hall (planned to re-open summer 2018) this is a heritage food market that’s been open since 1888. You’ll find all sorts of speciality shops selling meat and fish and high quality produce. There are also some restaurant within the market. I bought a piece of moose salami from a shop at Östermalms Saluhall, which was a first for me. Address: Östermalmstorg, 114 42 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 9:30 am – 7 pm on Monday to Friday and 9:30 am – 5 pm on Saturday, also some of the restaurants are open until 11 pm (closed on Sunday).
Hötorgshallen Saluhall – Another popular food hall in Stockholm is Hötorgshallen, and again, it’s a great place to walk around if you’re a food lover. Similar to Östermalms, you’ll find a good selection of Swedish gourmet delicacies from seafood to cured meats and restaurants all under the same roof. This is the food hall where I had some amazing dill cured salmon at Melanders Fisk. Address: Hötorgshallen, 111 57 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 10 am – 6 pm on Monday to Thursday, 10 am – 7 pm on Friday, 10 am – 4 pm on Saturday, closed on Sunday.
Vasa Museum – One of the most famous and most visited museums in Stockholm is the Vasa Musuem, which is all about the Vasa ship which sunk off the coast of Stockholm in 1628. After resting on the bottom of the sea for 333 years, it was salvaged and restored in remarkable condition. The original battle ship is placed in the center of the Vasa Museum, while there are exhibitions surrounding that explain about the ship and how it was salvaged. Address: Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily; Entrance price: 130 SEK ($13.17) for adults.
Gamla Stan (Stockholm Old Town) – The old town of Stockholm, better known as Gamla Stan, is an area of town that dates back to the 13th century and is home to medieval narrow lanes and old buildings. Much of Gamla Stan has now been turned into pedestrian friendly walking streets with restaurants and cafes, shops, guest houses, churches, and the Royal Palace. Exploring Gamla Stan on foot and just walking around is one of the best free things to do in Stockholm.
The Royal Palace of Stockholm – The Royal Palace is a large palace with over 600 rooms and is the official residence of the Royal family of Sweden. The palace is open as an attraction and you can visit a number of museums within the palace. When I was in Stockholm, I didn’t have a chance to go inside the Royal Palace, but I did see it from the outside and managed to catch a few minutes of the changing of the guards ceremony one afternoon. Address: 107 70 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: 10 am – 4 pm from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Money); Entrance price: 150 SEK ($15.20) per adult.
Stockholm City Hall – Standing on the banks of the waters edge, City Hall is one of the Stockholm’s more famous buildings and landmarks. Unfortunately when I was making this Stockholm travel guide, I didn’t have a chance to take a tour of the inside of City Hall (because I was in Stockholm on the weekend when it was closed), but what really impressed me from looking at it from the outside was how big it was and how many red bricks were used in the construction. Address: Hantverkargatan 1, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden; Open hours: You need to be part of an official guided tour, details here, and open from 8 am – 4:30 pm from Monday to Friday (closed on Saturday and Sunday); Entrance price: 100 SEK ($10.13) per adult.
Skansen Open-Air Museum – First opened in 1891, Skansen is claimed to be the first open air museum in the world. The museum includes exhibitions, displays, and live actions of Swedish culture, including farms, food, festivals, and a zoo. Address: Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden; Entrance price: It depends on the season, but anywhere from 100 – 180 SEK ($10.13 – $18.24) per person, see rates here.
Sightseeing Boat Tours – Due to not having enough time in Stockholm I wasn’t able to do a boat tour when I was there, so I settled for taking a few public boat transportation rides. However, the boat sightseeing tours looked pretty cool and I’ve heard good things about them. They are a little pricey, but you’ll get to see Stockholm from the water.
The Visit Stockholm website is also a great place to browse attractions in Stockholm, with lots of inspiring information.
How To Get Around?
Stockholm is one of the nicest and most efficient cities I’ve been to. However, I visited Stockholm in the summer when the weather was perfect, so I’m not so sure if I could handle the frigid winter. But anyways, Stockholm is a great city for walking and exercising, full of green spaces and waterways.
You can get around easily with public transportation, from taking the metro train to the public ferry, and walking inbetween.
Stockholm metro – Much of the public transportation in Stockholm is managed by SL. The Stockholm metro (20 SEK ($2.34) for card, and 25 SEK ($2.93) per ride) is clean and modern, and each station has its own artistic character. Stations can be a little far apart, but you can always walk or take a bus from the station to your destination. Open hours: Around 5 am to 1 am daily; Prices: On my first day in Stockholm I bought a Metro card for 20 SEK ($2.34) and then you can add on as much money as you like. Short rides cost 25 SEK ($2.93) per ride.
Boat ferry – Again, managed by SL, you can take a number of ferry routes to various islands around Stockholm. The ferry not only gets you where you need to go, but also offers wonderful scenic views of Stockholm. Rides cost the same as metro rides.
Walking – Again, I was in Stockholm during the lovely summer months, and walking was pleasant and enjoyable. The sidewalks are wide and well maintained and despite Stockholm being spread out, it’s quite easy to walk around the main areas like Norrmalm and Gamla Stan.
Cycling – Just like walking, cycling is common and Stockholm really promotes and takes care of cycles. The bike lanes are well designated and you can virtually get anywhere with some pedaling. There are numerous official bicycle rentals, and here’s a good place to start researching.
Choose whatever type of transportation that works best for you, but as long as the weather is nice, make sure you do plenty of walking!
Prices and Expenses
Stockholm is an expensive city, there’s no doubt about it. The cost of living is high (so is the standard) and the cost of traveling, when it comes to accommodation and eating out is very high. That being said, if you plan accordingly and budget your finances it a destination that’s well worth visiting.
In this Stockholm travel guide I’ve included just a sample of the prices I spent.
- Budget: $50 – $100 USD per night (dorm bed can cost about $25 per night)
- Mid-range hotel: $100 – $200 USD
- High end: Anything over $200 USD
- Stockholm metro: About 25 SEK ($2.93) per ride
- Boat ferry: About 25 SEK ($2.93) per ride
- Bicycle rental: 250 SEK ($25.32) per day
- Street food snack or sausage: 40 SEK ($4.68)
- Box of strawberries: 40 SEK ($4.68)
- Cinnamon bun and coffee:40 SEK ($4.68)
- Mid-range restaurant: 100 – 150 SEK ($10.13 – $15.19) per person
- Higher end restaurant: 200 – 500 SEK ($20.26 – $50.65) per person
- Water: luckily the tap water in Sweden tastes great and it’s free!
- Budget: $50 – $80 USD per person per day
- Mid-range: $80 – $150 USD per person per day
- High end: $150 – $250 USD (or more) per person per day
Again, Stockholm is not a budget friendly destination, and especially accommodation, going to many attractions, and eating out at sit down restaurants will keep your money spending pretty high. My friend Matt from Nomadic Matt does have some tips about visiting Stockholm on a budget, but overall, it’s still going to be a pricey destination.
Stockholm Travel Videos
For each day I was in Stockholm I filmed a full travel guide vlog videos. Within the videos you’ll find all the restaurants, some attractions, and just enjoying the beauty of Stockholm. If you have a few minutes watch the videos in the playlist below to get a better feel fro Stockholm.
(Or you can watch the full playlist on YouTube here)
Stockholm, sometimes known as the capital of Scandinavia, is Swedens largest city and an amazing city to visit. From exploring the narrow lanes of Gamla Stan to eating classic Swedish meatballs, Stockholm is a relaxing and refreshing city.
When it comes to food, although you pay a price, you’re in for some refreshingly tasty dishes with local and fresh ingredients. I especially loved Swedish dill cured salmon, toast skagen, and roasted reindeer!
I hope this Stockholm travel guide for food lovers has give you some great ideas about where to stay, things to do, and especially delicious food to eat in Stockholm.