Hopping from island to island in the city centre of Stockolm is one of the most enthralling urban experiences in Europe. You’ll be drawn first to the fairy-tale lanes and cobbled squares of the Gamla Stan, where crooked merchant’s houses jumble down wonky streets before the great palaces of the Swedish royals. Next could be hipster Södermalm, where creative meatball kitchens rub shoulders with coffee roasters and tattoo parlours. Or maybe you’ll be pulled to the wide shopping boulevards and grand opera houses of Norrmalm. Or perhaps the ABBA museum, the pretty parklands, and the legendary Vasa Museum (home to a fully reclaimed ship from the 17th century) will take you to Djurgården. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Airbnb offers a chance to bag accommodation with a difference in this vibrant hub of Sweden. It’s got all sorts of flats and houses on offer, ranging from cool penthouses in the historic centre to group pads near the main nightlife and gastronomy quarters. This guide is a great place to start if you’re looking to book, what with insights on the city’s best neighbourhoods and even some hot tips on the finest Airbnbs around.
It sure is. Despite some talk of placing regulations on future short-term lets in cities like Stockholm, Airbnb remains totally legal for travelers in Sweden. Legality aside, the nature of shared housing models in the capital can mean that there’s a limited number of listings on offer via the platform. That’s why we’d recommend trying to book as early as you can to get the best of the bunch, particularly if you’re planning a trip in the popular summer months or around the Christmas holidays.
Where should I stay in Stockholm Airbnb?
Stockholm is a city spread over islands. The most famous of them is the Gamla Stan(1), which is the old heart of the town, where festive markets pop up on cobbled squares by gingerbread cafés. Modern life bustles over the water from that in Norrmalm(2) and Östermalm(3), both boroughs that strike a fine balance between high-class shopping and nightlife. SoFo(4), to the south, is the place for hipsters and coffee lovers. Quiet Vasastan(5) is perhaps best for budget travelers and families. Then you’ve got the greater Stockholm Archipelago(6) – a land of wind-lashed isles and cold seas.
This is one darn beautiful area
Fantastic sights like the royal palace
Great fine dining and lively bars
Really, really touristy
The Gamla Stan is something truly special. One of the best-preserved historic districts in Scandinavia – nay, Europe as a whole – it rolls across a hill-topped island in the heart of the capital. Narrow cobbled lanes and small squares are hidden all over, and streets like Stora Nygatan and wiggling Österlånggatan are nothing short of a photographer’s dream. But the Gamla is no museum piece. This is the most touristic part of the city, and it’s lived in, too. You’ll find souvenir boutiques, rambunctious beer bars, more cafés than you can shake a Swedish flag at, and fine-dining restaurants galore. Airbnbs near Stortorget square are the most central of the lot.
The beating heart of modern Stockholm sits on Norrmalm. It’s a large wedge of the inner city, ranging for almost 2.5km from the edges of the Gamla Stan. But there’s plenty to pack in. First off, the capital’s bustling high-street shopping clusters around the drags of Drottninggatan and Klarabergsgatan. There’s a duo of taste-bud-tempting food halls: Down-to-earth Kungshallen and hipster K25 with its multicultural eats. It’s also the home of Stockholms Centralstation, from where it’s possible to whizz out to all corners of the metropolis.
SoFo – short for the area south of Folkungagatan – is a cut-out of the island of Södermalm. It’s on the south side of the Stockholm city centre and reigns as the town’s coolest enclave. It’s not much to look at. In fact, the area is a strikingly normal patchwork of tenement houses and parks. But all that conceals a mix of sophisticated breweries, roaster cafés, and art workshops. SoFo also boasts boutique craft shops and galleries along bustling Götgatan, while Thai noodle kitchens mingle with spicy masala menus on the food front. Come the evening, it’s all about live jazz and indie amid the hipster bars around Stig Claessons Park.
Tree-lined boulevards of grand Scandinavian mansions roll out through spacious Östermalm. One of the city’s most important and prestigious boroughs, it’s a huge slice of the centre of Stockholm that comes replete with department shopping (check out chic Bibliotekstan for that) and thumping mega clubs (head to Stureplan if you’re keen to dance the night away). The area also lays claim to the leafy island of Djurgården. You probably won’t be able to find any Airbnbs there, but it’s worth knowing for the iconic ABBA Museum and the Vasa Museum – two of Stockholm’s top cultural draws.
Vasastan is a hit with both budget-conscious and family travelers. The reason? You tend to get a lot more bang for you buck up in this less-visited corner of the city. Okay, so you’ll need to catch a train or a bus to see the historic Gamla Stan, but then Vasastan is relaxed and leafy, and has Airbnbs that come with extra square metreage and bedroom space. Sights that are on the doorstep include the Stockholm Observatory (one for the science buffs) and the pretty pavilions of huge Hagaparken (one of the biggest parks within Stockholm city limits).
If you’re not too fussed on seeing the medieval streets of the Gamla Stan and the Swedish royal palace, you could get a taste of raw Scandinavian nature in Stockholm. That’s all thanks to the city’s greater archipelago. It includes hundreds of islands and bays, which extend eastwards into the Baltic Sea. They can be reached by car or boat, and come dotted with timber-built fishing villages, dashed by pine forests, and surrounded by wave-bashed coves. Some of the Airbnbs in that area are romantic to the T, what with log fires and sea views in the mix.
Delve down a narrow alley in the atmospheric Gamla Stan and you’ll be greeted with the small outdoor patio, covered in cobbles and ringed by wrought-iron fencing, of this charming studio flat. Compact and cosy, it features a comfy bed and small kitchenette, along with a relaxing seating area and coffee table. For exploring the aged heart of the Swedish capital, the location can hardly be beaten!
Exclusive Accommodation with Beautiful Views of the Stockholm Archipelago
You’ll wake to views of the wild Stockholm Archipelago in this gorgeous cabin come villa. Nestled in a remote cove on the rugged isle of Värmdö, it’s quite far from the city. But then you might not be pining for urban life too much. You’ll have your own outdoor hot tub and private interior sauna, which hit a real zenith when the snow starts a-falling in the colder months. Talk about romantic!
Put the family in the very beating heart of old Stockholm by picking this four-bedroom pad in the Gamla Stan. It’s got all the comforts you could want when city breaking with the clan. There’s a big lounge with a dedicated dining area, a separate kitchen for cooking those meals in, and a balcony with seating and skyline views. Sleeping arrangements are perfect for groups of six or eight, what with a mix of doubles and twins in the offing.
It’s possible to rent all 200 square metres of this 400-year-old building in the midst of the charming Gamla Stan. That gives space for up to 16 guests at any one time, all spread out across four bedrooms and extra lounges that have sofa beds and pull outs. The property touts a fully-equipped kitchen, free WiFi throughout, and a dining area with seats for 20.
If you’re keeping an eye on the Swedish krona, a hop up to the less-trodden district of Vasastan could be a great idea. That’s precisely where this backpacker hostel offers its self-contained apartment unit. It gives the same privacy of a standard flat but without the hefty price tag. It’s got eight beds in total, along with its own kitchen.
Stockholm isn’t the cheapest of European cities! Hotels can often cost oodles more than in other capitals across the continent. That’s probably one reason why Airbnbs are so sought after. They typically offer reduced nightly rates, but can also come in cheaper thanks to their ability to host larger groups. In addition, self-catering facilities mean you won’t need to fork out so much on hitting the restaurants, and there are sometimes generous discounts on long-term stays in Stockholm Airbnbs (50% or more isn’t unheard of!)
A hotel in Stockholm is probably a better idea for your city break if you want to be treated to the height of luxury. Take somewhere like the Sparrow Hotel. Sumptuous suites, 24/7 room service, and a chandelier-lit lobby lounge all await in that highly-rated establishment, which sits just on the cusp of Norrmalm’s chic dining and shopping districts.
Stockholm will immerse you in mazes of cobbled alleys where coffee shops rub shoulders with royal palaces and salt-washed quaysides. It will also open up a buzzy nightlife and shopping scene, along with museums dedicated to 17th-century warships and the band ABBA. Talk about eclectic…