Last Updated: 02/08/20 | February 8th, 2020
Stockholm is one of my favorite cities in the world. I’ve been there more times than I can count, and I even tried to move there many years ago (spoiler alert: it didn’t work out the way I planned).
Made up of over 14 islands, Stockholm is home to incredible architecture, boasts a vibrant history, and has a nightlife that’s hard to beat.
To help you make the most out of your next trip there, here’s a breakdown of its best neighborhoods as well as some suggested places to stay — no matter your budget!
But, before I get into the specific neighborhoods and recommended places to stay while there (scroll a bit), let me answer some of the most common questions I get asked about staying in Stockholm:
What is the best neighborhood for budget travelers?
The cheapest hostels in the city can be found in Norrmalm. For more affordable Airbnb listings, check out Södermalm (especially further south on the island).
What is the best neighborhood in Stockholm for families?
Vasastan is one of the quieter neighborhoods of the city. There isn’t a lot to do here but, since the city has world-class public transportation, it’s easy to get around.
What is the best neighborhood in Stockholm for first-time visitors?
While many of the tourist attractions are located in Gamla Stan (the Old Town), this area is quite expensive and can be a little crowded (especially in the summer). I suggest first-time visitors stay in Norrmalm or Södermalm. Norrmalm is close to the central station and within walking distance to Gamla Stan. Södermalm has lots of shops, cafes, and restaurants so it’s a convenient place to stay for new visitors.
What is the best neighborhood in Stockholm for partying?
Östermalm is where you’ll find all the best nightclubs and bars in the city. It’s also an expensive area to say in, though!
What is the best neighborhood in Stockholm overall?
Södermalm is my favorite area to say in. It has a lot to offer, is affordable, and you can easily get around the city from here.
So, with those questions answered, here’s a breakdown of each neighborhood with suggested accommodation for each:
Stockholm Neighborhood Overview
- Best Neighborhood for History
- Best Neighborhood for Convenience
- Best Neighborhood for a Quiet Stay
- Best Neighborhood for Partying
- Best Neighborhood for Relaxing
- Best Neighborhood for Summer Fun
- Best Neighborhood for Cafes and Shopping
Best Neighborhood for History: Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s Old Town. It dates back to the 13th century and is the heart of the city. It’s where you’ll find many of the best tourist activities, such as the Nobel Museum and the Royal Palace, as well as all sorts of little shops tucked away down narrow alleys between medieval buildings. It’s touristy, but you can’t visit Stockholm without exploring this part of town. Staying here is a great option for anyone looking to be right in the center of the action.
The Best Places to Stay in Gamla Stan
- BUDGET: Archipelago Hostel Old Town – This hostel is centrally located in a 17th-century building. Though it’s very small, with only a few rooms and a small common area, this place is perfect if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
- MID-RANGE: Castle House Inn – Many of the rooms here have hardwood floors and large and classic wooden furniture, giving the inn a cozy and rustic feel. It’s in a wonderful central location for anyone planning to visit the popular sites nearby.
- LUXURY: Collectors Victory Hotel – This four-star hotel has a classic ambience inspired by its own antique maritime collection. Think antique shop meets bed-and-breakfast and you’ll get a sense of its atmosphere and design. Its restaurant sources local and organic ingredients, and it has a bar on-site, as well as a sauna and pool.
Best Neighborhood for Convenience: Norrmalm
Norrmalm is the modern heart of Stockholm, home to its central station as well as the massive shopping street, Drottninggatan. You’ll find everything here, from restaurants and shops to the Royal Opera to several lovely city parks. It’s a great place to stay if you want to be in the heart of town, and it has more affordable options than Gamla Stan.
The Best Places to Stay in Norrmalm
- BUDGET: City Backpackers – This is my favorite hostel in Stockholm. Its mattresses and pillows are super cozy, and it has a huge kitchen, tons of common space, a free sauna, free pasta, and laundry facilities. It’s a very popular hostel, so book in advance!
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Terminus – This is located right across from the central station, from which you can make it to the airport in as little as 20 minutes. You’re also just a short walk from Drottninggatan. The rooms here are soundproofed, so you don’t need to worry about all that city noise either.
- LUXURY: Scandic Grand Central – This charming hotel is located in a building from the 1880s but boasts a fitness center, sauna, and also bike rentals.
Best Neighborhood for Peace and Quiet: Vasastan
You’ll find plenty of green space in this part of town, and it’s much quieter and less touristy than neighboring Norrmalm. While there isn’t a whole lot to see or do nearby, it’s easy to get around from here, and accommodations are still quite affordable.
The Best Places to Stay in Vasastan
- BUDGET: 2Kronor Hostel Vasastan – This hostel is located in a historic brick house built in 1865. It’s a good option if you want something more upscale, as the rooms are quite spacious (many also have regular beds as well as bunk beds). The interior design has that classic Nordic minimalist feel, balancing rustic touches (like exposed stone and brick) with modern amenities. It’s a bit quieter too, making it a great place for anyone not looking to party late into the night.
- MID-RANGE: August Strindberg Hotell – With a cozy dining hall complete with a fireplace, as well as an outdoor garden area, this hotel is a great option for anyone looking to shop or explore the downtown area. Located in a charming building from the 1880s, it’s is located right near the major shopping street of Drottninggatan. It also serves a great buffet breakfast.
- LUXURY: Best Western Plus Time Hotel – This is the perfect option for anyone looking for unparalleled luxury in the heart of the city. Located on a quiet residential street, almost every room boasts a sauna, a relaxation room, a heated bathroom floor, and a balcony.
Best Neighborhood for Partying: Östermalm
This is one of the more posh areas of town, known for its high-class shopping district and affluent residents. It’s also the place to party as well, with tons of great bars and nightclubs calling the neighborhood home. If you plan on indulging during your stay, this is probably the neighborhood for you!
The Best Places to Stay in Ostermalm
- BUDGET: STF Gärdet Hotel & Hostel – This budget-friendly hotel has more of a hostel feel, with a fully equipped kitchen and common areas. There is free Wi-Fi and breakfast as well. It’s not right in the center of Stockholm, but that just means you’ll be away from the crowds and have more space to explore.
- MID-RANGE: Pärlan Hotel – This family-owned, three-star hotel has a classic feel with a modern twist. With wooden floors, fireplaces, and quaint balconies, it really does emulate the charm of Stockholm. And it’s just a couple metro stops from Gamla Stan too.
- LUXURY: Elite Eden Park Hotel – Boasting a gym, a sauna, free Wi-Fi, and an Asian-inspired restaurant run by Swedish chef Melker Andersson, this hotel is a great option for anyone looking to indulge. The breakfast buffet is incredible, and the staff are helpful and incredibly professional.
Best Neighborhood for Relaxing: Kungsholmen
Located across the water from Norrmalm, this is more of a laid-back area. It’s growing in popularity and offers plenty of restaurants and cozy cafés. It has a lot of green space, including some walking trails. It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for something a bit quieter away from the busy city center (yet still convenient enough to get anywhere with ease).
The Best Places to Stay in Kungsholmen
- BUDGET: Lodge32 Hostel – This is a simple, eco-friendly hostel with a no-frills atmosphere. It’s a short walk to the central station and great for anyone on a tight budget who doesn’t need anything fancy.
- MID-RANGE: Hotell M/S Monika – This is no average hotel, as it’s located on a refurbished ship from 1908. It may be cozy, but it’s absolutely charming and one of the most unique accommodations in town. There’s a huge breakfast each morning too!
- LUXURY: Courtyard by Marriott Stockholm Kungsholmen – Next door to Rålambshovsparken, a spacious park, the Courtyard is a stylish choice for anyone looking for luxury but also some peace and quiet. The rooms are spacious, and there’s free Wi-Fi and a fitness center to help you relax and enjoy your stay.
Best Neighborhood for Summer Fun: Djurgården
After Gamla Stan, this island is probably the most popular area of the city for visitors. It’s home to the Vasa Museum, the ABBA museum, and Skansen (an open-air historical museum), where there are live concerts throughout the summer. There is even an amusement park on Djurgården too (Gröna Lund).
The Best Places to Stay in Djurgården
- BUDGET: There aren’t too many budget options on Djurgården. Your best bet is to try Airbnb or stay in a nearby neighborhood like Gamla Stan or Östermalm.
- MID-RANGE: Pop House Hotel – This hotel is actually located in the same building as the ABBA Musuem (hence the name). It has a chic modern design and is just a five-minute ride from Stockholm’s center.
- LUXURY: Hotel Hasselbacken – This beautiful hotel is right beside Skansen and Gröna Lund. It has a spa and fitness center, as well as a great restaurant with both traditional Swedish cuisine and international fare. It also has a kids’ playroom with toys and movies if you happen to be traveling with children.
Best Neighborhood for Cafes/Shopping: Södermalm
Södermalm (usually just referred to as Söder) is the artistic heart of Stockholm. You’ll find all sorts of shops and boutiques here, as well as some great cafés. It’s generally a bit more affordable and is a favorite district of locals. It’s also the area of Stockholm made popular by the Millennium Series (which includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).
The Best Places to Stay in Södermalm
- BUDGET: Skanstull Hostel – Skanstull is my second-favorite hostel in Stockholm. It was remodeled a few years back and has a brand-new, larger common area and kitchen (one of the nicest I’ve seen in a hostel in a long, long time).
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Söder – This hotel doesn’t look like much from the outside, but you’ll be surprised once you arrive. It’s modern and cozy, with comfortable beds and tons of great restaurants nearby. The Swedish breakfast here is delicious too.
- LUXURY: Clarion Hotel Stockholm – With a spa, fitness center, and some great views of the islands, you’ll be able to kick back and indulge at the Clarion. It has a top-notch restaurant that boasts an impressive menu of Central and South America cuisine, and there’s a terrace where you can eat and relax in the summer.
Whether you’re a budget backpacker or looking to indulge in a little Scandinavian luxury, Stockholm will have something to keep you entertained.
While it’s not the most budget-friendly city in the world, it has a lot to offer. No matter what your interest or travel style, you’ll be able to find a neighborhood that suits your needs — as well as an amazing place to stay to help you make the most of your time in one of Scandinavia’s best cities.
Book Your Trip to Stockholm: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:
- City Backpackers
If you’re looking for more places to stay, here for my favorite hostels in Stockholm.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Stockholm?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Stockholm for even more planning tips!
Photo credit: 5 – Alexey Reshetnikov, 7 – Wikipedia