Arriving in Stockholm and ready to see the fantastic sights? Whether hoping to grab a subway connection or use the efficient bus system, transportation in Stockholm has you covered!
Learning how to get around Stockholm centers around how quickly you can learn the public transport system. The public transportation system is responsible for commuter trains, underground trains, buses, trams, and certain ferry lines.
When you are wanting to make your way around the city, the bus services do run 24/7 (a terrific late night alternative) but if you need to head out to the suburbs or beyond, ferries and trains will get you where you need to go. The SL or metro system has a strong focus on accessibility for those with mobile and visual limitations.
You can purchase single tickets for the SL at any of the ticket machines or through the app. You can also purchase single tickets at the turnstiles, but bring your credit card because they do not accept cash. Each single ticket is good for 75 minutes or you can buy longer cards that last 24 hours, 72 hours, or 30 days ticket.
Travelers tip: When using public transit in any city, it's easier for you if you are not weighed down with heavy bags and Stockholm shopping finds. Book Stockholm luggage storage and drop your bags there while you move from one exciting place to another. Travel light and pick them up before heading back to your accommodation.
How to get around Stockholm by train
The Stockholm subway has three main lines, red, blue, and green, and is the easiest way to get around the city. The three lines serve about 100 stations and the T-Centralen or Stockholm Central Station is the main transport hub. The subway runs every day from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Locals tend to call it the tunnelbana, metro, or t-bana.
While you are waiting for your train, take the time to check out the artwork that decorates about 90 of the subway stations throughout Stockholm. There are vibrant mosaics, breathtaking murals, and thought-provoking sculptures. Locals sometimes say that these subway stations are the biggest art gallery in the world.
Stockholm also has four light rail lines: Nockebybanan, Lidingobanan, Tvarbanan, and Djurgardslinjen or Sparvag City. These trams are wonderful for tourists moving through the city to see the attractions and museums. Tram number 7 to Djurgarden takes you right to several important museums including the Swedish History Museum and the ABBA Museum.
The subway system is part of the SL or Stockholm public transport network as well as the trams, buses, trains, and some ferries. Check out the SL website to plan your trip around Stockholm or download the app. No matter where you plan to stay in Stockholm, the subway system is one of the most efficient subways in Europe. You will want to be careful riding the subway and avoid riding alone during late night or early morning hours.
The commuter train network offers an easy way to visit attractions and neighborhoods further out from the Stockholm city centre. There is even a national train that runs along these tracks that will take you to another Swedish city, making it possible to take a day or weekend trip to another city while you are exploring the area.
The national train and even the commuter trains connect at the Stockholm Central Station or T-Centralen. You can also catch a commuter train in the northern section of Stockholm at the Odenplan station. People who work in the city centre but live further out use the commuter trains daily and tourists use them to avoid riding the public bus or taking a taxi.
Travel Cards and Tickets
All public transport tickets can be bought online using the SL app or you can drop by one of the kiosks in the stations or the tried-and-true subway ticket booths. You can purchase tickets for every form of public transport except if you are planning to take any of the archipelago tours.
A single ticket is only valid for 75 minutes but you can purchase a 24-hour or 72-hour ticket so if you are planning on doing a lot of sightseeing that requires you to hop on and off the subway, commuter train, or bus, you will want to purchase one of the longer tickets. If your ticket expires and you are still on public transit, you may be required to pay a steep penalty.
You will want to keep your credit card handy when purchasing a public transport ticket, cash is not accepted at many locations and cannot be accepted when riding the bus. A prepaid travel SL card is the best value when you are planning on using the SL a lot while in Stockholm.
Stockholm Central Station
This impressive railway station is the largest one in Sweden and sees over 200,000 visitors each day. The station opened in July of 1871 and has been going strong ever since. Many visitors stop for a quick selfie with the large statue of Nils Ericson which stands in front of Central Station.
Located in the middle of the Norrmalm neighborhood, there are several metro and bus stations within walking distance. The station is fully accessible for people with all kinds of disabilities including wheelchairs. All of the railway staff have been properly trained to offer assistance to those with disabilities.
The station is home to several shops, restaurants (try a vegetarian restaurant in Stockholm for a real treat), and cafes making it an ideal tourist destination. Visitors can grab a cup of coffee and stroll through the station checking out some of the amazing art or they can sit down to a delicious meal while waiting for their train.
How to get around Stockholm by bus
Sometimes riding the bus through the streets of Stockholm really is the best way to see more of the city as you travel from one neighborhood to the next. It is a scenic alternative to being underground on the subway. Slussen is the main transport hub for the Stockholm city bus lines. Slussen is within walking distance of Gamla Stan or Old Town.
There are four main bus lines which are the Inner-city blue buses, Suburban blue buses, Service buses (for the elderly), and Inner-city red buses.
The Inner-city red buses have a limited operating schedule whereas the Inner-city blue buses run regular routes daily and run round-the-clock. Night buses are popular since the subway and trams shut down early each night. Each bus is equipped to be fully accessible to those with disabilities. Also, a parent with a stroller gets to ride for free.
How to get around Stockholm by tram or ferry
The Stockholm tram lines are a great scenic alternative to the commuter trains that take you to the outer suburbs of the city. Trams are very popular with tourists, especially Tram Line 7 which serves Djurgarden Island. This is where several of the most popular museums are located.
You can board the tram from two different stops in the city centre; Nybrokajan and Hamngatan. Both stops are only a short walk from the Ostermalmstorg and Kungstradgaden subway stations. You will want to use your SL card or purchase single tickets to ride the tram.
Boat or Ferry
There are several different boat lines that operate out of Nybrokajen that give you the opportunity to explore the archipelago. There are two main boat lines that cater to tourists: Cinderellabatarna and Waxholmsbolaget. If you are looking for a boat ride inside the city, the Djurgarden Ferry leaves from Slussen.
Residents who live along the coast have been using the Stockholm ferry system for decades as a way to travel back and forth from work. Remember, your SL card is valid for all ferries used as commuter services that take you to and from the Stockholm city centre, this even includes the shuttle that runs between Djurgarden and Slussen.
The Waxholmsbolaget ferries are not a part of the public transportation system but you can still use your travel card, tickets are higher priced than typical SL trips. These ferries take you on a more in-depth journey into the archipelago.
How to get around Stockholm by car
Because Stockholm’s public transportation is so good, it is not likely that you will even want to deal with the hassle of renting a car and navigating the streets by yourself if you are only planning a short stay. Parking can also be a nightmare in Stockholm.
If you are set on renting a car, though, the Swedish capital does offer several rental agencies including Europcar, Avis, and Hertz. Snapcar is an interesting and cheaper choice that allows you to rent cars from owners in the neighborhood you are staying. You do have to be at least 18 years old and have had a driver’s license for at least two years to be able to rent a car in Sweden.
It can be rather pricey to take a taxi in Stockholm. There are two main taxi services in Stockholm: Sverige Taxi and Taxi Stockholm. Taxis can be hailed directly in the city centre or you can book a ride using the taxi companies’ apps. You can also call them directly to request a taxi.
You do want to be careful using some of the lesser-known taxi companies as they are pricier and not as safe or reliable. Uber is also licensed to operate in the city as well as Bolt, its European competitor. Cash is still accepted when you use a taxi but credit cards are the more accepted form of payment. You do not tip your taxi driver when in Stockholm.
There are over 60 miles of well-manicured and maintained bike trails and lanes throughout Stockholm, making it one of the best cities for cyclists. You can download a map of the different routes including the 60 pump stations where you can air up your bike’s tires for free.
It is a little difficult to rent a bike since the bike-sharing program closed in 2019, but there are still a few wonderful bike rental companies throughout the city. Head to Old Town and pick out a bike at Gamla Stans Cykel or in Ostermalm Rent-A-Bike is popular, or RentBike in Kungsholmen is also offering rentals for locals and tourists.
Can I get around Stockholm by foot?
Stockholm has been thoughtfully laid out where there are wide sidewalks perfect for walking as well as well-lit paths through neighborhoods and parks making it easy to stroll through the city to get to almost any destination.
While the subway or bus is obviously quicker, walking is so much more interesting as you get to see more and interact with others walking through the streets. Several of the most popular attractions are only about a 30-minute walk from each other, making walking tours a delight.
Use your smartphone and download a walking tour app for Stockholm or pick up a map from the tourist information booth. Just beyond the city centre, there are woodland and coastal trails for hiking. Before heading out into nature, use the hiking app AllTrails or Naturkartan to map out your journey.
Getting Around Stockholm and the City Centre
Visitors can sometimes find the metro, bus, or even taxis in Stockholm to be a bit daunting until they learn how everything works. When you are trying to get to a particular area or street, you may have a bit of trouble, but thankfully, many of the locals are friendly and willing to point you in the right direction.
Whether you are trying to master the subway, commuter train, tram, ferries, or bus lines in no time you will be moving throughout the city like a local. With Stockholm's excellent public transportation system you will easily find your way through this unique city.
Rent a bike and explore the many bike paths that wind through the city centre. Download a free walking tour app and see more of the city by strolling along.