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STOCKHOLM

10 hacks that make life in Stockholm much easier

Stockholm can be a difficult city to crack, due to long dark winters, high prices, and cultural codes that take a while to adjust to. But these tips will help make things run more smoothly.

Make the most of Stockholm throughout the year with our hacks.
Make the most of Stockholm throughout the year with our hacks. Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se

Venture outside the centre

Stockholm is a compact city, and outside the centre you will find that restaurants, cafes and other amenities are often few and far between. But there are exceptions and it’s well worth getting to know some of the livelier suburbs, each with their own character. Try Hökarängen’s pedestrianised high street, sample the pubs and cafes of Hammarbyhöjden and Kärrtorp, experience Fruängen’s laid back vibe, and wander around the villas of Lidingö for starters. All of these spots are close to sprawling forest walks and water as well.

To the north of the centre, there’s Eggeby Gård at Järva, while Tensta Konsthall is a great arts centre. It’s also worth checking out Stockholm’s House of Culture’s local branches outside the city centre (more about this further down).

You can head out for a day trip or to sample new food (some of Stockholm’s best foodie spots are utanför tullarna, such as the Scarfo gelateria in Bromma, Erssons in Fruängen for fish lovers, and upmarket restaurant with a view Göteborg in Hammarby Sjöstad), or you might decide to base yourself in the suburbs permanently for the combination of community feel, proximity to nature and cheaper rents or house prices.

Join the library

With a library card, you get access to books from all of the city’s libraries, including a wide selection in English and other languages. For a small fee (and for children’s books it’s free of charge), you can have them sent to your local library for pick-up. Beyond the books, libraries also host free activities such as language cafes, book groups, and storytelling events for children, often in languages other than Swedish.

More of an outdoorsy person? The Fritidsbanken is like a library for sports equipment ranging from ice skates to snowboards, where you can borrow items for free for up to 14 days. The closest ones to Stockholm are found in Tyresö, Botkyrka, and Upplands Väsby.

Kulturhuset

This deserves a special mention because as well as housing a centrally located library, Stockholm’s House of Culture has large sections devoted to children of different ages, with books in over 50 languages and cosy reading corners as well as spots for other creative play, making it a great place for families to spend the afternoon.

You’ll also find regular exhibitions, theatre productions and concerts catering to all ages, as well as a rooftop cafe. While Sergels Torg in the city centre has the most going on, the branches in Skärholmen, Husby and Vällingby are also worth a visit if they are more local to you.

Kulturhuset's Rum för Barn (Room for Children) is full of possibilities. Photo: Ann-Sofi Rosenkvist/imagebank.sweden.se
Kulturhuset’s Rum för Barn (Room for Children) is full of possibilities. Photo: Ann-Sofi Rosenkvist/imagebank.sweden.se

Recycle right

Sorting and disposing of your recyclable waste correctly is a must in Sweden. If your housing association doesn’t own its own recycling bins, the chances are you’ll be using Stockholm’s återvinningsstationer or recycling stations. Save yourself a wasted trip or the trouble of trying to cram your rubbish into an overflowing bin by checking when it was last emptied using the FTI website, which is the company responsible for these stations.

Along similar lines, use the Stockholms Stad website to find out when the mobile miljöstation will be in your area, for recycling hazardous waste like old cosmetics, paint or small electrics without needing to travel to the larger recycling centres on the city’s outskirts.

Learn the public transport tricks

If you have a monthly or annual SL card, you can use it on Stockholm’s commuter ferries. The most popular runs between Slussen, Skeppsholmen and Djurgården, but you can also take longer trips, including from Klara Mälarstrand or Nybroviken, perfect for exploring the city or showing visitors around without booking a pricier river cruise. And the boat trip between Hammarby Sjöstad and Södermalm is free, with or without an SL card.

When travelling to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport using public transport, you need to pay a surcharge if you take the pendeltåg (commuter train) the whole way, because the airport express train owns a stretch of the tracks. However, you can get there for free if you have an SL card and are OK with a slightly longer journey, by changing to a roughly 15-minute bus from Märsta pendeltåg station.

Of course, the sprawling archipelago is not to be ignored, and many islands can be visited on public transport. Catch a bus to Vaxholm or Värmdö, take the bus or a (long but rewarding) bike ride to Älgö, or take the Waxholmsbolaget boats for free using your SL monthly or annual card between May and September.

Maximise age-linked discounts

Like many cities, you can score deals if you’re a student or senior, including with cheaper admission to museums, cinemas, and discounts on items from clothes to electronics. But what you may not realise when you first move is that Stockholm also offers discounts for many young professionals.

Look out for ungdomsrabatt (youth discount), which is often the same rate as a student discount but offered to everyone aged under 26, whether or not you are still in education. That includes treats like youth tickets with SAS airline, and significantly discounted tickets to cultural venues like the Royal Swedish Opera, arthouse cinema Bio Rio, and football matches. Perfect for making a starting salary go further and experiencing all that the city has to offer.

Buy unwanted

Buying secondhand is a great option in a capital city which loves thrifting culture and promotes sustainability as much as Stockholm. You can sometimes get a bargain at the vintage shops in areas like Hornstull, but try the charity shops (Stadsmissionen, Röda Korset and Myrorna for starters) and embrace the loppis or flea market culture for the cheapest price tags.

Don’t forget the apps either: there’s Karma, which advertises hefty discounts on food which would otherwise go unsold by shops or restaurants; Too Good To Go, which also allows you to buy surplus food from your favourite cafes and restaurants, and Olio, where private individuals can offer their unwanted but still usable items for free or a small price.

Embrace the sharing economy

In a big city, it’s not always economical to buy your own car, and parking in Stockholm is difficult, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely limited to public transport. Car-sharing solution Aimo allows you to rent electric cars and use their free parking spaces around the city, and there are other options for rental cars from garages for example. The various e-scooter companies such as Voi and Lime divide opinion but make it easy to zip around the centre.

For the more adventurous, there are even options to rent your own boat for an afternoon or longer (you’ll need to pass a sailing test first) using boatshare companies like Skipperi so you can sail to spots off the beaten track and escape the crowded beaches in the warmer months.

On the smaller end of the scale, it’s always worth checking if your neighbourhood has a local Facebook group where you can see if someone has an item you need before you buy it new. Many suburb centres, and even housing associations, have spots where you can drop off and collect unwanted plants and books, and your housing association may have a stock of tools that you can borrow.

Join the club

A common gripe of Stockholm residents is that it’s hard to meet people, and that the culture lacks spontaneity with Swedes typically preferring organised fun. But if you can’t beat them, join them, by signing up to a group activity like a choir, running group or sports team. This is often cited by foreign residents as the key to finally making local friends, and at the very least you’ll get to try something new.

These don’t even need to be pricey activities: Parkrun is a volunteer-led 5k run in Haga Park and during the summer you can often find free or donation-based outdoor yoga and zumba classes.

Know where the toilets are

Don’t allow your days out to be ruined by traipsing round in search of a clean public toilet. Stockholm’s public toilets often cost money to use (though you can often pay by card if you don’t have the right cash), but you can find toilets at the state-run museums, some of which are free to enter, most libraries (you may have to ask at the desk), as well as in almost all shopping centres (where they will still often cost money but are generally cleaner than the ones on the street). Failing that, try asking in the lobby of a hotel.

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WORKING IN SWEDEN

Ten easy-access cafés and libraries to study or work from in Stockholm

Whether you are a student looking for a place to study or someone who works remotely and is looking for a new atmosphere, Stockholm caters to a diverse range of preferences and needs.

Ten easy-access cafés and libraries to study or work from in Stockholm

At times, it’s necessary to seek out a fresh workspace or study environment to enhance our focus and productivity.

Here’s our selection of Stockholm cafés where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and the aroma of the beans in the air, to libraries where you can completely get into the zone and options that give you a chance to network in an office-like space.

Stockholm City Libraries

If you like to work in a quiet and peaceful place, then one of Stockholm City’s Libraries might be the place for you. It offers work and study places, free Wi-Fi and they also have printing facilities. A library card is not required to access the library, but if you want to borrow or reserve books then it is needed.

More information and to find the closest library to you, can be found here.

Stockholm University Library

The library on Stockholm University’s campus is open to everyone. This library has a mix of quiet work areas as well as noisy sections. Most seats have power outlets available, students and those who have access to Eduroam can use that network, but a temporary login can be found at the library entrance. In addition, there is a café and two shops situated within the same building.

More information can be found here.

Location: Universitetsvägen 14D, 114 18 Stockholm

KTH Library

Another university library which is open to everyone is the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s library.

Here you can find a number of quiet places to work and study, with the majority of seats equipped with power outlets. Eduroam’s wireless network is available throughout the library along with a guest network, details on how to connect to this can be found at the information desk.

Café Stories is located in the entrance hall, but be aware that no foods, such as sandwiches, wraps or salads are allowed in the quiet sections of the library. Snacks and drinks which have lids are allowed in.

Find additional details here.

Location: Kungliga Tekniska högskolans bibliotek, Osquars backe 21, 114 28 Stockholm

Goto 10

Goto 10 allows its members to access work lounges, hold events, record podcasts and test a 3D printer all within their premises (they’ve also got hubs in Malmö and Linköping). The membership is free and in return you are asked to contribute to creating content for Goto 10.

Their lounges include Wi-Fi, seating with power outlets, microwaves and a coffee machine.

Information about Goto 10 and how you can become a member can be found here.

Location: Hammarby kaj 10D, 120 30 Stockholm

Scandic Hotel

The hotel group Scandic offers co-working spaces and a hotel room office in their hotels. Prices for their co-working spaces start from 99 kronor per day and it includes free Wi-Fi, power outlets, coffee and tea, printing and copying services, and a 10 percent discount on food.
The co-working spaces are available in all 270 Scandic hotels, in six countries and 26 of those are in Stockholm.

More information and a price list can be found here.

Bröd & Salt

The café chain Bröd & Salt has shops all across the city. The chain also offers a workspace subscription called Club Salt, which gives you access to six of their co-working spaces. These workspaces are located in Torsplan, Jarlsgatan, Odenplan, Kungsholmen, Fleminggatan and Uppsala if you want to venture outside the capital. They offer shared spaces to work, with power outlets and Wi-Fi, and the subscription comes with a discount on a variety of menu items sold at Bröd & Salt.

Subscriptions for the co-working space start from 599 kronor per month.

More information can be found here.

Espresso House

You can find Espresso House in many corners of the country. They may be part of a chain with everything that entails, but they are popular spots to work from, which is evident from the many laptops that can be seen when you enter. The cafés usually offer free Wi-Fi and some seats have a power outlet as well. It is important to note that it could get a bit loud in the café.

Find your closest Espresso House here.

Waynes

Another café chain in Sweden and in Stockholm is Waynes. The company has a number of shops across the city and like many cafés it provides free Wi-Fi and a certain amount of power outlets. If you do not want to travel too far, but still want a nice coffee shop to work from then Waynes fits that description.

Find out more here.

ilcaffé

Another popular café to work from is ilcaffé. Located in Bergsgatan, Drottninggatan, Långholmsgatan and Södermannagatan, this café has free Wi-Fi and a number of power outlets. The café offers a range of sandwiches, treats and coffee, so there is no wonder why it has become a popular work hub.

Information about ilcaffé can be found here.

Urban Deli

The hotel, restaurant and café chain Urban Deli has five shops in Stockholm. They are located in Sveavägen, Nytorget, Sickla, Centralen and Hagastaden. The shop in Sveavägen in particular is a popular spot used by those who want to enjoy a coffee or a meal and work or study away. It has free Wi-Fi and power outlets at certain seats.

You can find more information here.

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