Where To Stay in Stockholm, Sweden - Guide of Best Areas and Hotels

Stockholm, one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved medieval cities is quite unique as it is made up of fourteen islands. These islands are connected by 50 bridges, and anywhere you go, you have breathtaking waterfront panoramic views, lush green spaces and beautiful architecture.

Stockholm ([‘stɔkhoulm], Swedish: [stɔk’hɔlm]) is known as a design hub of Europe so almost every hotel, pub or restaurant will surprise and inspire with quirky and distinct Nordic interior décor. And speaking of going out, Stockholm is home for some of the world’s best restaurants, while its nightlife and bar scene is just as amazing. Shopping wise, besides the world known brands, there are many boutiques with local design items and hand crafted gifts. For getting around the city you can opt for the metro, tram, boat or a bike rented via the city rental program.

Each island in this city is a distinct neighborhood with a particular well defined character. This article can help you choose the neighborhood with the appropriate vibe you want your stay to be.

Table of Content

Part 1. A quick glance at Stockholm’s recommended neighbourhoods

Gamla Stan - old town charm and tourist heaven of landmarks and restaurants with a touristy price tag

Södermalm - the hippest part of Stockholm full of trendy shopping and nightlife

Kungsholmen - a serene haven with much on offer except for tourist crowds with lower accommodation prices

Norrmalm - a bustling shopping and cultural downtown area with a good selection of hotels

Vasastan - a tranquil area with many green parks, antique shops, relaxed locals and averagely priced rentals

Östermalm - an upscale area with best nightlife, great restaurants and stately architecture

Djurgården & Skeppsholmen - a family oriented green island with many museums and harbors

Part 2. Recommended neighbourhoods and hotels to stay in Stockholm

Gamla Stan

Pronounced: [,gʌmlʌ ‘stɔ:n]

- Overview

Gamla Stan is the most central location in Stockholm and is considered one of the best preserved medieval heritages in Europe. This is a great place to experience medieval architecture as well as all the tourist attractions which are mostly concentrated in this exact place. The vibe here is busy and lively, as crowds of tourists constantly spill onto the cobbled streets. Opting to rent here during your visit will place you right in the middle of all the action. You will walk along the romantic streets, surrounded by famous landmarks and numerous cafes and shops. You have a large number of rentals to choose from - boutique and luxurious hotels and even cabins on boats. However, as it is the main tourist area, accommodation, as well as shopping and dining comes with a tourist price.

- Main Attractions

* Old Riksdag Building
* Stortorget Number 18-20 (must see)
* Stortorget Number 22 (must see)
* Stortorget Number 3
* Stortorget Number 5
* Gamla Stan (must see)
* Järntorget
* Bonde Palace
* German Church (must see)
* Riddarholmen Church (must see)
* Gåstorget
* Hessenstein Palace
* Johannesgränd
* Riddarholmsbron
* Stockholm Royal Palace (must see)
* Livrustkammaren (must see)
* Mårten Trotzigs Gränd
* Nobel Museum (must see)
* Norstedt Building
* Swedish House of Nobility
* Wrangel Palace
* Storkyrkan (must see)
* Birger Jarls Torn
* Tessin Palace
* Stockholm Stock Exchange Building

- Recommended Walks

Discover Stockholm’s Old Town with its gorgeous historical settings, postcard-worthy squares and traditional shopping options with these guides:

* Gamla Stan Walk, Part 1
* Gamla Stan Walk, Part 2
* Riddarholmen Landmarks Walk in Stockholm

- Pros of Staying Here

- The historic heart of Stockholm - oldest architecture in town is here
- Variety of cafes, bars and restaurants
- Great accessibility to the metro system
- Picturesque views

- Cons of Staying Here

- Very touristy and crowded
- More expensive than most other areas

- Recommended Hotels

Collector’s Lady Hamilton Hotel (4*) - a quirky designed hotel with a cozy atmosphere, rustic small rooms and pleasant on-site facilities
Scandic Gamla Stan (4*) - a cuchy hotel hosted in an old building with lots of atmosphere, offering small and nice rooms and a very good location
Hotel Sven Vintappare (3*) - a cute hotel hosted in a 17th-century building with an authentic atmosphere and spacious rooms showing their age while not compromising on comfort, good for a family stay
Collector’s Victory Hotel (4*) - a well-located boutique style hotel with antiques and nautical curios adding to its quirky charm, great for a romantic or family stay
Castanea Old Town Hostel (2*) - a well-located hostel with various types of rooms, cosy communal spaces, good for all travelers - solo and families
Hotell Skeppsbron - a modern hotel, although located in the basement of an old building, with a decor fully compensating the lack of windows, clean rooms and baths: good value for the money

Other hotels worth mentioning: Collector’s Lord Nelson Hotel (3*), Hotell Gyllene Geten, Mälardrottningen Yacht Hotel & Restaurant


Pronounced: [,sɔder’ma:lm]

- Overview

This island is the definition of urban Stockholm. This area developed later, so architecturally you see buildings from the 1700s and 1800s. The vibe here is cool, young and edgy, and the streets are filled with creatives and fashionistas. Here you can find the trendiest Swedish designers in local shops, great bars and restaurants with cuisine from all over the world. Renting here would be great for those looking for an authentic and hip experience of Stockholm. Prices for a night out are lower than in the center of the city. Location wise, you are still very close to main landmarks if sightseeing is a priority. Accommodation on offer in Södermalm is diverse and mostly affordable: hotels and cottages tend to be the more popular choices.

- Main Attractions

* Seriegalleriet
* 125 Kvadrat
* Knall Gallery
* Grafiska Sällskapet
* Konsthantverkarna
* Fotografiska
* Saint Eric's Cathedral
* Galleri Blås & Knåda
* Maria Magdalen Church
* Katarina Kyrka

- Recommended Walks

Soak in Norwegian culture and discover some of the most attractive shopping options in Stockholm with these self-guided walking tours:

* Södermalm Cultural Walk
* Södermalm Shopping Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Many hip cafes, bars and restaurants
- Great for shopping by local designers
- Panoramic views of the surroundings
- More affordable than the center
- LGBTQ friendly

- Cons of Staying Here

- May be too loud

- Recommended Hotels

Hotel Hornsgatan (2*) - a centrally located hotel with small yet efficiently interiorated rooms and all-time available snacks: good for a family stay
Hotel Rival (4*) - a boutique-style hotel hosted in an early 20th century building, featuring relaxing bathrooms, on-site restaurant and pleasant treats
Hotel Tre Små Rum (2*) - a lovely hotel with passion-driven staff, amazing breakfasts with homemade bread, all-day available snacks and clean rooms: perfect for a quiet stay
Skanstulls Hostel (2*) - a fine hostel with unusual interiors, service oriented staff and nice atmosphere

Other hotels worth mentioning: NOFO Hotel; BW Premier Collection (4*), Hellstens Glashus (3*), Loginn Hotel (2*), STF Zinkensdamm Hostel


Pronounced: [ku:ŋs’hɔlmɛn]

- Overview

This is a mostly residential island with many services catered towards the local community. Here the pace is much slower than in the other central islands, and the residents can enjoy waterfront strolls on boardwalks as well as on a couple of beaches. Overall this is a serene and charming haven. Renting here comes at a better value, and so would be more appropriate if you’re coming for a longer stay or are travelling on a budget. Also, the sheer calmness and serenity of the place is attractive enough, especially if you prefer a quieter experience or are visiting with children. Although not touristy, this area still has a lot to offer - there are many restaurants, bars and patisseries, all at locals’ pricing.

- Main Attractions

* Stadshuset (must see)
* Kronobergsparken
* Fredhällsparken

- Recommended Walks

Escape from the crowds while exploring the scenic locale following this discovery walk:

* Kungsholmen Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Cheaper rentals
- Access to beaches and boardwalks
- A variety of bars and restaurants at better prices
- Not crowded

- Cons of Staying Here

- Not much in terms of sightseeing

- Recommended Hotels

Sky Hotel Apartments (3*) - a modern apartment-hotel with large and stylish rooms, helpful staff and convenient location
Courtyard by Marriott Stockholm Kungsholmen (4*) - a modern hotel offering spacious rooms, big comfy beds, good gym and professional staff: ideal for a business stay
Hotel M/S Monika (3*) - a boutique hotel hosted on a refurbished boat featuring standard and family rooms and a wonderful terrace with gorgeous views on the deck
City Hostel - a neat hostel offering a good location in a residential area, dormitories and family rooms, a good option for those traveling on a budget

Other hotels worth mentioning: Clarion Hotel Amaranten (4*), Stockholm Hostel (2*)


Pronounced: [nɔr’ma:lm]

- Overview

This central district is a bustling hive of shoppers, tourists and businessmen. This is where you find the largest shopping malls, department stores and countless boutiques. Architecturally it is very eclectic as you have cutting-edge contemporary buildings across from well preserved historic ones. Just as eclectic are the amenities on offer - besides shopping you can visit museums, churches and other landmarks. There are numerous places to go dancing and have cocktails, but remember that the vibe here is more upmarket. Staying in this area can be perfect for those wanting to immerse themselves in city life, or are coming for a short visit and want to be downtown. This elegant area offers a variety of upscale hotels - most international chain hotels are here. However mid-range hotels and even a couple hostels can also be found in Norrmalm.

- Main Attractions

* Strindberg Museum (must see)
* Adolf Fredriks Kyrka
* Stockholm Concert Hall
* Hallwylska palatset
* Klara Kyrka
* Stockholm Synagogue
* Medelshavsmuseet (must see)
* St. Eugenia's Church
* Royal Swedish Opera (must see)
* Kulturhuset
* Saint James's Church

- Recommended Walks

If you follow along with the below listed guides, you’ll find in a breeze Norrmalm’s main sites of cultural interest and explore the shopping venues:

* Norrmalm Cultural Walk, Part 1
* Norrmalm Cultural Walk, Part 2
* Norrmalm Discovery Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Plenty of varied accommodation options
- Great area for shopping
- Central location - well connected to other areas
- Great for sightseeing and culture

- Cons of Staying Here

- Can be too loud
- Somewhat expensive

- Recommended Hotels

Lydmar Hotel (5*) - an upscale boutique style hotel with service oriented staff, spacious and comfortable rooms and plenty of amenities
Miss Clara by Nobis (4*) - a stylish hotel with Art-Nouveau furniture, comfortable rooms and good on-site restaurant and gym
Downtown Camper by Scandic (4*) - a well-located lavish hotel featuring a wellness area, good breakfasts and bicycle, kayak and skateboard rent services
Hotel With Urban Deli (4*) - a quirky unique hotel with youthful atmosphere, thoughtful design, friendly staff: ideal for any kind of stay
Hotel Kungsträdgården (4*) - a great hotel hosted in a renovated 17th-century building, offering small but efficient rooms, a fine restaurant and professional staff
Hobo (4*) - a stylish sustainability-focused hotel with quirky rooms, cool gym and vegetarian breakfasts: good for solo and family stay
City Backpackers Hostel (2*) - a fun hostel with nice rooms, clean bathrooms, entertaining common area and regularly organized activities: perfect for a budget stay

Other hotels worth mentioning: Grand Hôtel Stockholm (5*), Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel (4*), Haymarket by Scandic (4*), At Six (5*), Central Hotel (3*), Generator Stockholm


Pronounced: [,va:sʌ’sta:n]

- Overview

This chic and fashionable area is straight out of a fairy tale. Its streets are lined with beautiful buildings, it is tranquil without being boring and has great parks. Architecturally it is unique for Stockholm as most of its building are Neo-Renaissance in style. There are many bars, restaurants as well as antique shops and second hand stores, full of cool finds. If you decide to stay in Vasastan, you can spend your days observing the ever so fashionable locals, picnic in parks and hunt for stylish vintage finds. As this is not a very touristy area, accommodation here is more affordable, with most hotels being mid-range and lower priced.

- Main Attractions

* Vanadislunden
* Vasaparken
* Sven-Harry Art museum
* Stockholm Public Library
* Gustaf Vasa kyrka
* Jewish Museum Stockholm
* Observatory Museum
* Stockholms Spelmuseum

- Recommended Walks

Unwind in some of the most peaceful areas of this neighbourhoods and experience the life of a Stockholmer with these self-guided discovery walks:

* Vasastan Walk
* Atlas and Birkastaden Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Well priced hotels
- Relaxed and residential in parts - good for families
- Great for antique and second hand shopping
- Unique architecture

- Cons of Staying Here

- Not much in terms of nightlife

- Recommended Hotels

Hotel Tegnerlunden (3*) - a neat hotel offering a convenient location, yummy breakfasts and good value for the money
Lilla Rådmannen (3*) - a boutique-style hotel with cosy decent sized rooms, good restaurant, helpful staff and convenient location
Hotell & Värdshuset Clas på Hörnet (4*) - a very elegant hotel featuring 18th century Gustavian style decor, decent sized rooms, great on-site restaurant and quiet location: perfect for a business stay
Pensionat Odengatan 38 - a homey hostel-style accommodation with very helpful staff, clean bathrooms, lovely furniture and peaceful atmosphere

Other hotels worth mentioning: Hotel Birger Jarl (4*), August Strindberg Hotell (3*), Best Western Plus Time Hotel (4*)


Pronounced: [ɔstə’ma:lm]

- Overview

This is one of the poshest and most elegant areas of Stockholm. There is a lot of high end shopping, great dining as well as a specialist indoor Food Market selling Swedish delicacies and seafood. Like in many other districts of Stockholm, there are many museums and green spaces. If you spend your time here, you will dive into this city’s finest. You can enjoy the best nightlife of Stockholm and even spot a few celebrities. You can walk down the majestic and sophisticated waterfront streets which would look great in your Instagram pictures. Prices for accommodation are higher on average, and even hostels here are more expensive than in other areas (however it is fair to say that they are also higher in quality).

- Main Attractions

* Stureplan
* Musikmuseet
* Royal Dramatic Theatre (must see)
* Börje Andersson
* Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet
* Galerie Bel'Art
* Swedish Army Museum (must see)
* Galleri Lars Bohman
* Swedish History Museum (must see)
* Gun Gallery

- Recommended Walks

To get the most out of your visit to Östermalm, either day or night, use the following walking and discovery guides:

* Östermalm Cultural Walk, Part 1
* Östermalm Cultural Walk, Part 2
* Östermalm Antiques Hunting Walk
* Östermalm Walk
* Östermalm Nightlife Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Adequate choice of rentals
- Great dining and shopping
- Trendy bars and nightlife

- Cons of Staying Here

- Not budget friendly

- Recommended Hotels

Hotel Diplomat Stockholm (5*) - a very elegant hotel with a welcoming atmosphere, helpful staff, good restaurant, great gym and some stunning views
Villa Källhagen (4*) - a lovely hotel with a quiet location, relaxing atmosphere, nice rooms, yummy food, ideal for a romantic and family stay
Elite Eden Park Hotel (4*) - a classy hotel located in a quiet area welcoming you with comfy rooms, a fine restaurant and a great gym
Mornington Hotel Stockholm (4*) - a very homey hotel with small rooms, nice staff, good breakfasts and pleasant small touches
STF Gärdet Hotel & Hostel (2*) - a budget-friendly accommodation offering a convenient location, pleasant ambiance and clean facilities: good value for the money

Other hotels worth mentioning: Clarion Collection Hotel Wellington (4*), Scandic Anglais (4*), Pärlan Hotell (3*), Hotel Riddargatan (4*), Clarion Collection Hotel Tapto (4*)

Djurgården & Skeppsholmen

Pronounced: [ju:ə’gɔ:dæn], [ʃəps’hɔlmɛn]

- Overview

This is one of the greenest and more relaxed islands, preferred by families. Because of this, there is not much to do in terms of nightlife, however there is much to do otherwise. This island is packed with museums and numerous parks where you can usually find the locals picnicking. There are many colorful cottages and sweet cafes which showcase the best of Swedish charm. The area is pretty well connected by ferries and tram, however there is no metro station.

If you choose to stay here, you may just have the most relaxed time, something like a vacation within a vacation. The pace of life is slower here so you can take your time to roam the green spaces and enjoy the beautiful Swedish flora. And if you ever feel like leaving this piece of heaven for some action, go to one of the many harbors on the island and jump in a ferry. Rentals are averagely priced, though there are not that many to choose from.

- Main Attractions

* Skansen (must see)
* Vasa Museum (must see)
* Tivoli Gröna Lund (must see)
* Waldemarsudde (must see)
* ABBA The Museum (must see)
* Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities
* Biological Museum
* Teater Galeasen
* Junibacken (must see)
* Moderna Museet (must see)
* Stockholm Aquaria Water Museum
* Nordic Museum (must see)

- Recommended Walks

Explore some of the Stockholm’s most impressive museums with this sightseeing self-guided walking tour:

* Djurgården Museums Walk

- Pros of Staying Here

- Perfect for families
- Most charming views
- A good selection of museums and parks

- Cons of Staying Here

- Not much in terms of nightlife
- No metro station
- Few renting options

- Recommended Hotels

Hotel Skeppsholmen (4*) - a stylish designer hotel hosted in a renovated 17th century building welcoming you with a calm atmosphere, professional staff, amazing breakfasts and more, perfect for those looking for a great quiet, romantic and family stay
STF af Chapman & Skeppsholmen - a very basic yet unusual budget friendly accommodation with a kitchen for cooking and some rooms and deck offering beautiful views

Other hotels worth mentioning: Pop House Hotel: BW Premier Collection (4*), Scandic Hasselbacken (4*)

Part 3. Getting from the airport to your hotel

Stockholm is served by four airports, two of which are for international and domestic flights, and the other two for international flights only. Ironically, the airports for international flights are located more than 60 miles away from Stockholm, making it a bit tricky to get to the city centre.

Stockholm-Bromma Airport

Located about 5 miles away from Sweden’s capital, Stockholm-Bromma Airport is the closest to the city. There are a few options to choose from to get to downtown.

You can take the bus line 152 to hop off at the Sundbybergs torg, then walk about 500 feet to change to commuter train 43 which will take you right to the Stockholm Central Station (the main railway station located in Norrmalm). The price of the Single journey ticket is 44 SEK (about US $4.85). You should buy it before getting on the bus and it will be valid for 75 minutes from the moment of activation. Beware that you cannot buy a ticket on board of the bus, and the fines are very high if you are caught without a ticket.

You can also take bus line 110 to the Alvik station, and follow the crowd after you hop off. Your target is the Alvik metro station, to take the green line to the T-Centralen (the main metro station).

Another option to take is the Flygbussarna Airport Coach. The coach departs every 20 minutes in the daytime, and on average the journey to the Cityterminalen bus station (in Norrmalm) takes around 20 minutes. Beware that it does not operate at night. The tickets can be bought via their app, at the airport or on board by card. One adult ticket costs 85 SEK (~ US $9.40).

Taking a taxi might be a bit tricky in Stockholm. Taxi fares are not regulated, therefore differ greatly from one company to another. Yellow number plates is what you should be paying attention to when looking for your cab, and better ask a few drivers for their fares to the needed destination to learn which is best for you. However, you should also be cautious, and avoid private drivers or independent taxi companies.

Besides, at the Stockholm Bromma Airport you can find several offices providing car rental services. The prices will depend on the type of the car and negotiated conditions.

Stockholm Arlanda International Airport

This Airport similarly operates both domestic and international flights, and is located about 25 miles away from the city. As well, there are several options to choose from to get to city centre.

You can opt for the express train Arlanda Express, which will get you to Stockholm in 20 minutes. Note, that to enter the Arlanda train station you have to pay the airport fee of SEK 120 (~ US $13.20), and it is not included in the price of the ticket. The express train has stops at several Airport’s terminals, and the next station after leaving the Airport is the Stockholm Central Station. In the daytime, the train departs every 10-15 minutes, while early in the morning and in the evening - every 30 minutes. There are no trains departing from the Airport between 1:05 am (last train departure time) and 4:50 am (first train departure time, at the moment when this article was written - subject to change). Arlanda Express tickets only are valid on board of the train. The price of a one way ticket is SEK 280 (~ US $30.80), and can be purchased online, via Arlanda Express app, at the Airport or on board the train. However, note that tickets bought on board will cost you SEK 100 more (additional ~US $11), and the tickets bought online or via the app are not refundable.

You can also take the commuter train. There are several rail companies operating commuter trains by the Arlanda C (the Airport’s train station), and there are trains operating all night. The fares start from as little as SEK 49 (~ US $5.40), depending on the departure time and length of the trip to the Stockholm Central Station. Do not forget about the Arlanda C entrance fee when estimating your budget.

To avoid the Airport train station fee, you can take bus line 583 from the bus stop between Terminals 4 and 5, to hop off at the Märsta train station. There you should change to commuter train 42X to get to Stockholm C. The whole journey can take you up to an hour and a half, depending on commuting times.

At the Arlanda Airport you also get the option to take is the Flygbussarna Airport Coach. The fare for a one-way adult ticket is SEK 119 (~US $13.10). They operate day and night, however at night these busses depart from the airport once per hour.

If you arrive late at night you also get the option of night buses 592 and 593. Make sure you choose the right direction when you hop on the bus.

Yet again, you can opt for a cab. However, make sure you ask the tariff before you take the taxi. Beware, that the prices may start at about US $65 and rise up to about US $100 or more. There are also a few companies offering car rental services at the airport.

Stockholm-Västerås Airport

If you are flying low-cost, it is very likely that you will end up in the Stockholm-Västerås Airport, located 64 miles away from the city. Here you don’t get much to choose from to get to Stockholm city centre, and fares are quite different. You can get the Flygbussarna Airport Coach, and it will cost you SEK 159 (~ US $17.50). In this case, it is the cheapest way to get to Stockholm downtown, as the coach will take you straight to T-Centralen, with no stops on the way (subject to change). The trip lasts about an hour and a half.

You can also choose to get to Västerås Centralen by taking the bus line 3 (pink bus), and from there take a regional train to Stockholm. This should take you around an hour and 20 minutes, commuting times excluded.

If you opt for a cab, be ready to pay a fortune (and what would even be the reason to fly low-cost?). The average cost of a ride to Stockholm city centre is about US $150. Then again, the fare depends on the taxi company, so ask a few drivers what their prices are before making a choice. At the Airport, there are a few companies offering car rental services.

Stockholm-Skavsta Airport

Stockholm-Skavsta Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Sweden, operating mostly low-cost flights. Yet again, the Airport is located 67 miles away from the city, and the low-cost savings turn out not so big considering the price of transportation to downtown, especially when traveling with a family.

If you want to use public transport, you’d have first to take bus line 515 heading towards the Nyköping railway station. There you take the SJ Regional train from Nyköping C to Stockholm C. Considering average commuting times, this trip will take you about two hours. If you pre-book the tickets via the Swedish Railways official website, you can buy a combined (bus and train) ticket which will cost you SEK 140 (US $15.35). Buying the tickets separately will turn out pricier.

Flygbussarna operates Airport Coaches here too, being an easy hustle-free way to get to Stockholm. The one-way adult ticket costs SEK 139 (~US $15.25) and the journey will last about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Given the price and ease to get from the Stockholm-Skavsta Airport to Stockholm by this coach, it offers the best value for the price.

There are several car rental companies providing their services at the Stockholm-Skavsta Airport, some of them in the Departure hall, other in Arrivals. Prices may vary depending on the car you choose, number of days and other agreed-on conditions.

Taxis will charge you a fortune to get from the Stockholm-Skavsta Airport to Stockholm city centre. An average price charged, even if by Uber, will be around SEK 1,500 (about US $165).

Part 4. A Few Tips to Choose the Right Neighbourhood for You

Stockholm is a unique city as it is in fact an archipelago consisting of several distinct islands. Each island has a particular feel and atmosphere, so choose the one that best suits your personality and your purpose for travelling.

If you want to be downtown and do as much sightseeing as you can, choose Norrmalm, Östermalm or the islands of Gamla Stan.

If you come to Stockholm for its world famous interior design and fashion, then Södermalm, Vasastan, Norrmalm and Östermalm neighbourhoods will offer you plenty of shops to browse.

If you’re travelling as a family and would prefer parks over clubs, then consider Kungsholmen, Vasastan and Djurgården & Skeppsholmen.

If you are after exploring Swedish cuisine and seafood, then go to Gamla Stan, Östermalm, Norrmalm or Södermalm.

If you would love to experience the ever so cool Swedish club scene, consider Södermalm or Östermalm.