Gay Stockholm • Essential Guide

Holidaying in Stockholm? Here’s the lowdown on getting by in the Swedish capital.



Capital of Sweden and the most populous of the Nordic cities, this colourful, cosmopolitan city is an international favourite for holidaymakers and gay tourists.

Spread over 14 islands, the area is steeped in history, with the first settlers arriving in the Stone Age. It’s the cultural, political and economic hub for Sweden, home to the Swedish monarchy, and well-known for hosting the annual Nobel Prize ceremony.

What’s more, as the home of ABBA, Scandinavia’s largest pride festival and the host of several Eurovision Song Contest’s, Stockholm is arguably one of the best gay-friendly cities in Europe.


Gay Scene

Stockholm is undoubtedly one of the most liberal, open-minded countries in Europe, where tolerance of LGBT individuals is internationally acclaimed. It’s love of ABBA and Eurovision are just two reminders of it’s camp, colourful history.

Although the gay area is smaller than cities like London and Berlin, the warm and loving attitude of most Swede’s makes Stockholm a favourite amongst gay visitors. Gay bars and club nights are very popular here and attract a mixed crowd; young and old, men and women.

The annual Stockholm Gay Pride is perhaps the best time to visit, taking place in July and August, it’s a festival of love and hope that has become one of the biggest events in Stockholm, regularly attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Check out information on this year’s event here.


Getting to Stockholm

By air

Stockholm Arlanda Airport, located 37 kilometres from Stockholm, handles over 22 million passengers a year. The airport has four terminals (numbered 2 to 5). Most international flights arrive or depart from terminals 2 and 5.

The Arlande Express Train goes to and from the city centre to airport. Journey time is around 20 minutes and costs SEK260. Service starts at around 5am. A taxi from the airport to city centre will cost around SEK500.

There are also three other airports that serve international and domestic routes; Bromma Airport, Skavsta Airport and Västerås Airport.

By boat

There are regular ferry services between European countries including Poland, Finland and the Baltic states.

Cruise ships are another popular transport choice for travellers hoping to explore Stockholm and beyond.


Getting around Stockholm

Stockholm’s public transport system is safe, efficient and free, operating into the early hours of the night making it an easy system to navigate even after a couple of drinks!

SL, Stockholm Public Transport, operates all buses, metro lines, commuter trains, trams and some ferry lines in the city. Buying a pre-paid ticket card (like an Oyster card for London) and top this up for when you travel.

You can also buy 24, 72-hour and 7-day tickets. Ticket machines, booths and most newsagents sell tickets.

From the central station you can walk to most places, but for attractions further afield you can act like a local and hop on a bike! Cycle paths are located everywhere, making this a bike-friendly city. There are several rental options available.


Where to Stay

Hotels are spread out across the city. For gay travellers, stay close to the Central Station for the best access to attractions and the gay nightlife. Cheaper options can be found further away from the historic part.

For our list of recommended hotels, view our Gay Stockholm Hotels page.


Things to See & Do

The Royal Palace – the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden, this impressive palace is one of the biggest in Europe, boasting more than 600 rooms.

A ticket to the palace gives guests entry to five museums. Rooms are exquisite, with lavish artworks, ornaments and designs on display. Don’t miss the daily changing of the guard for an authentic, spine-tingling experience.

Gama stan – the Old Town area is one of the largest medieval centres in Europe, with cobbled streets, cute buildings and tiny gift shops making this a favourite amongst locals and tourists.

You’ll also find some of Stockholm’s best gay bars located here.

ABBA The Museum & Swedish Music Hall of Fame – how could you resist the lure of this camp, vibrant exhibition to one of the biggest bands in music history? Sing-a-long to Waterloo and dust off your moves to Dancing Queen and enjoy one of the best attractions in Stockholm.

Book before to avoid the massive queues.

Nordiska museet – Another crowd pleaser, this is Sweden’s largest museum of cultural significance, with exhibits on fashion, furniture, jewellery and Swedish life.

Stokloster Castle – fans of Baroque will love this stunning 17th century castle, a reminder of the times of the Swedish Empire. The natural settings and surroundings are perfect for a picnic too!

The Royal Dramatic Theatre – this gorgeous building located near Nybroviken bay is one of the best examples of Swedish architecture, and as home to Sweden’s national theatre hosts plenty of concerts and performances each month.

The Thiel Gallery – a great art collection of Nordic late 19th and early 20th century paintings. Very unique.


When to Visit

Between May to September, Stockholm experiences average temperatures around 25C, which is why you’ll find the city centre crammed over the summer months. July in particular is very busy, when the Pride Festival and Stockholm Music and Arts Festival take place.

Snowfall tends to fall between December and March, so wrap up warm if you’re staying during the winter. Hotel prices are usually cheaper during this time.



Stockholm is within the European Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, check to see if you require a Schengen visa.



The local currency is the Swedish krona (SEK). It’s a fairly expensive city, so make sure you have enough finances for the duration of your trip. Cash machines and currency exchanges are available, and the majority of places accept credit card payment.


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