Do you want to go to Scandinavia for your holidays? Discover Sweden and the “Venice of the North”: this is our guide to where to stay in Stockholm!
Nicknamed the “Venice of the North”, Stockholm lies on an archipelago of several islands of the Baltic Sea, at the outflow of Lake Mälar, and is the largest city in Scandinavia. The Swedish capital has many charms to offer to its visitors. Though accommodation is generally expensive, those travelling on a limited budget will find a number of youth hostels to satisfy their needs. An important European capital with 914,909 inhabitants in the city and 1,252,020 inhabitants in the surrounding urban area, Stockholm is sometimes forgotten by European tourists. However, its airports are served by low-cost airlines and it is one of the world’s best places to live.
A charming city set in an idyllic scenery, Stockholm has it all: at once ecological, colourful, historical, cultural, gastronomic, the city also boasts a sumptuous architectural heritage. Stockholm’s neighbourhoods, each infused with a different atmosphere, are bound to please everyone. Note that wild camping is allowed in Sweden, and we never got in trouble for installing our tent on the lawns of Stockholm! Here is a guide to find out where to stay in Stockholm.
Photo credit: Flickr – seandalai
Norrmalm is the modern centre of the city, especially to south of the district (Nedre Norrmalm), which stretches to the island of Skeppsholmen. Staying in Nedre Norrmalm will allow you to do everything on foot, without using public transport. For a day of shopping, there is everything you need: wide avenues strewn with shopping malls, shops, and pedestrian streets as busy and pleasant where wander the beautiful days. In other words, Norrmalm is a perfect blend of shopping, fashion, and design.
Like all city centers, Norrmalm is crowded with tourists: you should avoid it if you are looking for a more peaceful area, off the beaten track. Opposite the island of Skeppsholmen, don’t miss the Vasaa Museum, famous for its ship that foundered in Stockholm harbour in 1628 just after starting its maiden voyage. The ship remained submerged for 333 years until it was finally salvaged in 1961. For those travelling on a limited budget, we recommend an experience we’ve tested in Stockholm: book a night at Af Chapman, the sailboat hostel, to stay on the water, in a unique setting, like a sailor at anchor.
Photo credit: Flickr – Fortum Värme
Östermalm is the upscale neighbourhood of the Swedish capital. The area houses a profusion of luxury boutiques, design and fashion stores, avenues imitating the Haussmann style of the Second French Empire, museums, art galleries, and great restaurants for a culinary break in between visits. This is neighbourhood is the residence of choice of Stockholm’s well-heeled inhabitants. Östermalm features many green spaces to relax, and is a rather quiet area in the evening and at night. This neighbourhood is a great place to stay in Stockholm if you are looking for tranquility, though it is quite expensive and requires planning a substantial budget.
Photo credit: Flickr – helst1
Gamla Stan literally means “Old Town” in Swedish. This tiny island, with its maze of narrow streets and small squares, embodies the very heart and soul of the city’s history. One of the last vestiges of Stockholm in medieval times, Gamla Stan is a concentrate of open-air culture. The area is home to many historical monuments, facades arrayed in bright hues of red, ochre, and yellow, all infused in an authentic atmosphere. This is the birthplace of the city, which was founded in the 13th century to protect its inhabitants against invasions and looting. Specialty shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, small boutiques: if you’re keen to stay in a picturesque and central area – yet very busy – this is the place to stay in Stockholm.
Photo credit: Flickr – Remon Rijper
However, if you like art, alternative culture, quiet little cafes, local craft boutique, where you’re bound to find a myriad of quirky objects, choose to stay in Södermalm. Located on an island south of the city centre as an extension of Gamla Stan, Södermalm is the bohemian and trendy neighbourhood of the city. You will appreciate the typical Swedish restaurants and cafes that dot the area. Accommodation options are plentiful and include hotels, homestays, and youth hostels. Restaurants, nightclubs, vintage independent boutiques run by artists and young designers are all greatly appreciated by the locals. A good area to stay in Stockholm, and located only two or three subway stations from the city centre.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Pedro Szekely