Stockholm guides

Here's the list of Stockholm guide websites in English.

The best one is Your Living City, a website for expats in Stockholm. It covers almost everything that foreigners in Stockholm want to know, from how to obtain personnummer and ID-kort to courses taught in English. If this website had existed back in 2007, my life in Stockholm would have started more smoothly and I wouldn't have launched this blog.

For those who just came to Stockholm:

The Stockholm Design Week, annually held in February, distributes its own guide to Stockholm on their website. It lists all the major museums, restaurants, fashion boutiques, and interior item stores.

For where to shop, see Stockholm Shopping Guide (for English translation, scroll down and click the English flag on the left column) and Stockholm Shopping by Patrik Janson (as of 2011).

Fashion store Grandpa offers its own Stockholm guide.

My own Stockholm guide can be found here.

Once you are settled and start feeling for discovering new places in Stockholm: 

Spotted by Locals provides more personal city guides written by locals, both Swedes and Swedish-speaking foreigners, in Stockholm. 

The Stockholm Tourist is a blog written by a concierge at the Rival Hotel in Stockholm. Its coverage of restaurants in Stockholm is particularly good.

36 Hours in Stockholm (New York Times, June 25, 2014): A well-written article on where to visit relatively off the beaten track of Stockholm. Most of the places mentioned were all opened during the last few years, receiving good reputations.

To keep updated about what's new and what's on in Stockholm:

Totally Stockholm - A free bi-monthly magazine in English on the trend in Stockholm since December 2011. Each issue features one particular lesser-known district of Stockholm. The website archives most articles from the past issues. A hard copy is available at several locations in Stockholm such as: 
Ann-Charlotte Jönsson's Twitter account - She keeps us updated about what's going on in, and how the world sees, Stockholm.

Stockholm guides in other languages than English

For Russian speakers, check out this blog.

If you read Japanese by any chance, check out SwedeNavi and Shift City Guide, the latter of which interviews designers and artists to discover hidden gems in Stockholm.


Stockholm bus route maps

Stockholm's bus route map can be seen here.

If the above link is dead, try the following: visit sl.se/sv/reseinfo/, scroll down and click "Kartor över SL-trafiken", then click "Stockholms innerstad" for central Stockholm bus routes.

By the way, this post comes first when you google "Stockholm bus route map". And I keep revising this post because SL's website (sl.se) periodically changes its website structure and annuls the link. If you happen to be SL's website designer, please create the PERMALINK to bus route maps.



First of all, read Your Living City articles on flat-hunting to understand peculiarities on the rental apartment markets in Sweden.

Here is the list of websites in English where you can search for flats in Stockholm.
  • Bostad Direkt
    • I've used this website a few times. 
  • Residensportalen
    • A colleague recently used this website to find a tenant to her apartment. It looks more English-speaker-friendly than Bostad Direkt.
  • Renthia
    • A reader of this blog post let me know this website through his/her comment. For some reason, rent is denominated in Euro.
From my recent experience of flat-hunting (April 2016), I recommend using Bostad Direkt. You no longer need to pay a fee to contact landlords. Instead, you will monthly pay about 4% of the rent once you start renting an apartment found through Bostad Direkt. The number of apartments advertised is a lot more than Residensportalen or Renthia.

But there is one important thing to remember. Bostad Direkt allows you to contact landlords only via its own website. If you just send a simple message like "I'm interested in your apartment," you won't receive a reply. Landlords receive tons of messages like this. Your message must stand out. So you should:
  1. Describe who you are (age, gender, occupation) and how you end up living in Stockholm.
  2. Be enthusiastic, like "I’d like to have a good time during this summer in Stockholm by staying at your apartment!"
  3. Leave your phone number and email address within the message so that landlords find it easy to contact you. (There is a profile page for each would-be tenant, but the landlords do not seem to read it.)
And one last tip. Never ever be picky. Be flexible about moving-in and moving-out dates. Don't expect to have a washing machine within your apartment. Don't expect to be able to live in your preferred area. Expect moving at least once a year, unless you buy an apartment (which essentially means renting an apartment from the bank, by paying monthly mortgage). Enjoy living in different parts of Stockholm (as I did, living in 10 different locations over 8 years).

If you're working and fed up with moving once a year, ask your employer if they can rent an apartment for you. The rent control does not apply to apartments rented by corporations. The rent is higher than the subletting market (e.g., Bostad Direkt), but you're more likely to be able to stay at the same apartment until you wish.

Good luck!


Below is what I wrote back in 2010, which may not be up to date.

Finding an apartment is very tough in Stockholm. Rent is regulated below the market price, so the rental market is very thin. Renting a flat directly from the owner is impossible unless you've been in the queue for three years or longer (104 weeks on average, up to 20 years for popular areas, according to a 2010 survey). The only option for foreigners is, therefore, a sublet for a certain period of time. Those Swedes renting an apartment after a long queue do not want to leave the apartment even if they do not need it for a while (because they go abroad, move out with their new partner, or want to stay out of the city center during the summer period). These are the people looking for someone to live in their apartment.
The Local, Sweden's online newspaper in English, explains the peculiarity of Sweden's rental housing market in an article explaining how to find student housing in Sweden and in an article reporting nearly 40 percent of apartments in Stockholm are illegally sublet as of April 2010 and in an article arguing that richer people live in the city center anyway as of August 2010.

Be very flexible when you are searching for a flat. Your ideal apartment is unlikely to come by. If the apartment is livable, you'd better take it immediately. Most likely, you'll be allowed to stay there only for a year at maximum.

If you are a student, KTH's website publishes a list of vacant apartments/rooms for students in English (dead link, but it may have moved somewhere within KTH website).

Some more pieces of information can be found on Stockholm News, which essentially says it is impossible for non-Swedish speakers to rent an apartment (unless you are a student).

The best (and effectively the only) way to find an apartment for English speaking non-students is the online real estate agency called Bostad Direkt. Pay 695 krona (which can be done online easily with your credit card), and for next 45 days you'll have access to contact details of those looking for a tenant (this is no longer true, as of April 2016; see above). It's not cheap, but it's probably not too expensive given the market situation. You can browse the list of apartments without paying. Therefore, you can pay only after you find an apartment of your interest. Even if you don't use their service, the website offers useful pieces of advice in (a bit broken) English on tenancy contracts in Sweden. Do check their website.

Among Swedish websites for flat-hunting, it seems everybody recommends blocket.se. It's all in Swedish, and rather hard to navigate, though. For apartments in Stockholm, you need to click Stockholm, Bostad, Lägenheter, Stockholms stad, and then the name of your area of interest. See below for geographical locations of each area of Stockholm.

A few tips to use Bostad Direkt.

1. It's best NOT to restrict your search by the length of the lease contract. For some reason, many apartments are advertised as a short-term lease contract with possible extensions up to 12 months. Some landlords prefer offering a short-term contract and extending it conditional on the good performance of a tenant.

2. Checking the website at least three times a day. Each landlord seems to receive lots of phone calls and email messages immediately after they place an ad. He or she allows people to view their flat in the order of how quickly they contact. If you're late, it's unlikely that you can have a chance to view the apartment. Even if you do and like the apartment, you are unlikely to get the apartment because someone else who contacted the landlord earlier than you did will take it. (It seems Swedes do not pick tenants based on the impression. Rather they seem to adopt the "first come, first served" policy to be fair.

3. Don't forget placing your own ad after paying the fee to Bostad Direkt. Once you log in, click "Edit Ad" on the left column. Make your phone number visible. Some landlords seem to prefer contacting prospective tenants by browsing these ads rather than placing an apartment ad. (I once got an apartment this way.)

4. If you prefer to live in a popular area of Stockholm such as Hammerby sjöstad, allow at least 3 months to search.

5. Searching by area can be confusing because suburban area names do not necessarily correspond to station names or municipality/county names. The website does not provide the map of Stockholm. Let me organize them by railway lines.

Stockholm areas by public transportation link

Metro green line

From the city center to the west:

  • Bromma, Vällingby, and Hässelby

From the city center to the south:

  • Skarpnäck branch: Johanneshov, Bagarmossen, and Skarpnäck
  • Farsta strand branch: Enskede and Farsta
  • Hagsätra branch: Enskede, Bandhagen, and Hagsätra

Metro red line

From the city center to the north:

  • Gärdet (the Röpsten branch), Danderyd (the Mörby centrum branch)

From the city center to the southwest:

  • Liljeholmen, Hägersten (the Fruängen branch), Skärholmen, Botkyrka (the Norsborg branch)

Metro blue line

From the city center to the north

  • Hjulsta branch: Sundbyberg, Spånga
  • Akalla branch: Solna, Kista


  • Bromma, Gröndal, Liljeholmen, Årsta, Hammarby sjö (in the order from Alvik to Sikla Udde)


  • From Stockholm Central to the south: Älvsjö

Buses from Slussen to the east

  • Nacka


Stockholm's best lunch

Eating out for lunch can be pretty unpleasant in Stockholm. Below are some of the places that help you escape from such a disaster. (For their locations, use hitta.se to search.)

Canteens (sharing the table with other customers)

La Neta (Barnhusgatan 2, Östgötagatan 12B)
The best among several Mexican restaurants in Stockholm. Try tacos grandes.

K25 (Kungsgatan 25)
Most foodcourts in Stockholm are very much disappointing. But K25 is different, collecting the city's best lunch takeaway chains such as Beijing 8 (Chinese dumplings) and Zocalo (Mexican). Caffe Nero deserves a particular mention, serving decent Italian pasta. Somehow better-tasted than at its original location at Roslagsgatan 4. Closed on Sundays. The only problem with K25 is that its black interior, if stylish, doesn't appeal much during Stockholm's lovely summer time.

Paradiset Foodcourt (Brännkyrkagatan 62-64)
Another foodcourt that is worth being mentioned here. The upstair of an organic food supermarket is devoted to several health-conscious budget eateries. Delibruket Flatbred's pizza is probably Stockholm's best.


Kafe Esaias (Drottninggatan 102)
Perhaps one of the best cafes in Stockholm. Its espresso was once named one of the world's top 5 shots. Lunch is also good. Try grilled sandwiches (accompanied with a little salad). Staff is very friendly, something unusual in Stockholm.

Foam (Karlavägen 75)
The best cafe in Östermalm with wooden, concrete, and shocking pink interiors in harmony under one roof. A bit pricey, though.

Chaikhana (Svartmangatan 23)
A tea house serving an English afternoon tea (a pot of tea together with quality sandwiches and English scorns) in the middle of Gamla stan.

Contemporary art galleries on Hudiksvallsgatan

Hudiksvallsgatan is Stockholm's answer to Chelsea in New York, if of much smaller scale, attracting several contemporary art galleries to the Industricentralen, a former industrial complex designed by Ragnar Östberg (the architect of Stockholm's City Hall) in 1937. Since contemporary art is a hit-and-miss affair, touring several galleries at the same location is an essential risk-hedging strategy. In this sense, Hudiksvallsgatan, a 10 minute walk north from S:t Eriksplan metro station, is an attractive destination for contemporary art lovers in Stockholm.

Most galleries are open between 11 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Friday and between noon to 4 pm on Saturday. If it's Sunday or Monday today, don't go to the area because there is nothing else than art galleries.

Some of the galleries are a bit hard to locate for the first-time visitors. Below I explain how to visit the galleries in this area.

From S:t Eriksplan metro station, walk along S:t Eriksgatan to the north. Once you arrive at the roundabout (Vanadisplan), turn left to get into Gävlegatan. Then turn right at the first corner. Now you are on Hudiksvallsgatan. The first gallery you will see on your left is Galerie Nordenhake (Hudiksvallsgatan 8). This Swedish gallery with its branch in Berlin tends to exhibit art works that are more or less simple to understand (in my view).

Immediately to the right of Galerie Nordenhake is the door (with number 8) to the staircase for Christian Larsen, formerly known as AEREA (on the 1st floor). This gallery tends to display a grotesque (to my eyes) type of art. Further upstairs is Andréhn-Schiptjenko (on the 2nd floor), which is in my personal view the best contemporary art gallery in Stockholm, showcasing quite eccentric but good pieces of art works in a well-designed space.

After leaving Andréhn-Schiptjenko, do not go down back to the ground floor but open the door before reaching the first floor. This takes you to the parking yard and on your right sits Galleri Andersson/Sandström at Hudiksvallsgatan 6.

When you are back to Hudiksvallsgatan, keep walking to the east. On your left is Nau Gallery at 4B. Then turn left at the end of the street. At the corner is Cecilia Hillström Gallery and next to it sits Galleri Flach.


IKEA Kungens Kurva

Opening Hours: 10-20 / 10-20 / 10-20

IKEA needs no introduction. It is the place to go if you don't want to spend too much money on your furniture and homeware. They even sell woks, shopping bags, and wet wipes. Here's a bit of background about Ikea by The Local.

Below I only explain how to get there.

There are two IKEA stores in Stockholm: Kungens Kurva and Barkarby.

Even if you don't have a car, the one in Kungens Kurva is still accessible via free shuttle bus on weekdays. (Time Out Stockholm says it's daily, but that's wrong.) Every one hour from 10am to 7pm on Monday to Friday, the free shuttle bus departs from Vasagatan 10 (across the street from Stockholm Central station; only 30 seconds from the Vasagatan exit of T-Centralen). It takes about 20 minutes.

To go back to the city center, the shuttle bus departs in front of Ikea (where you got off if you arrived by the same shuttle bus) every one hour from 10:30am to 7:30pm, and stops at Hornstull (T-bana red line), Fridhemsplan (T-bana green and blue lines), Rådhuset (T-bana blue line), and Vasagatan 10.

Alternatively (and on weekends), go to Skärholmen (T-bana red line Norsborg branch) and take bus 707, 710, or 740 for 5 minutes.



Here is the Swedish Pensions Agency's website in English, explaining how the pension system in Sweden works.