Terminal 5: Flight’s On Time
Most people will be flying into Stockholm’s main airport, Arlanda. Arlanda Airport is 37 kilometres north of Stockholm city centre, and there are a multitude of transport choices to bring you into the city centre to suit all budgets and time constraints. Terminal 5 is the main hub for International flights, and comes with all the modern trappings you expect from an international airport.
If speed is of the essence the Arlanda Express is your best bet depositing you at Central Station (T-Centralen) in only 20 minutes. The fare structure is a bit complex: you are looking at 280 SEK for a walk-up single, with reductions for early booking and if more than one person is travelling together (it can cost as little as 500 SEK for four people together). Youth tickets are 150 SEK for those of you lucky enough to be under 25!
Make sure you buy a ticket either online or from one of the vending machines before you get on the train or there is a 100 SEK extra charge. Trains leave the airport approximately every 15 minutes, starting at 05:05 with the last departure at 01:05. Just follow the yellow signs from arrivals down to the platform.
For a better value option you can take the space-age looking public transport train called the Pendeltåg from Arlanda directly to a number of locations throughout the city including Central Station (40 minutes). Just follow the signs to Sky City where you can buy tickets at the transport information desk. A single ticket costs 165 SEK but don’t do this! Combine this with the SL access card (we’ll come on to this later) and the journey here will cost just 85 SEK, or even free if you are under 20 year olds. This option is handy if you want to travel to Kista (Helenelund station), Solna or Södermalm (Stockholms Södra station).
The cheapest option involves a bus to a nearby pendeltåg station to avoid the airport supplement. If you buy an SL transport card you can take the bus 853 from Arlanda to Märsta Station (leaving every 15-30 minutes) and pick up the pendeltåg into town from there. This journey takes just over an hour to Central Station. You can pick the bus up from any of the terminals, and SL transport cards can be bought either at the SL Centre at Sky City or at the tourist information centre in Terminal 5. You don’t have to pay anything additional than the cost of the SL access card.
You can also get the Flygbussana coaches from the airport to town which take around 45 minutes and costs 119 SEK for a single, or 215 SEK for a return. They leave about every 15 minutes and run all through the night. The buses do have Wi-Fi and are relatively comfortable.
Taxi prices are not standardised in Sweden, but all the taxis at the airport should have a sign in the window showing their fixed price from Arlanda to the city centre (usually 450-550 SEK). If you think the price is too high you can just choose another taxi in the queue.
If you travelling by budget airline, you may arrive into Västerås or Skavsta airports. These are not in Stockholm in any way, despite the name. For both airports you should catch the Flygbussana coaches from just outside arrivals to City Terminalen, Stockholm’s coach station, which is handily located just next to the Central Station and tunnelbana (T-bana) exchange T-Centralen. For both airports it is around an 80 minutes journey time, 159 SEK single, 285 SEK return.
Boat is also a crazy option for travellers coming from Finland, Estonia and Latvia. If you are taking a leaf out of the Estonian delegation’s book and arriving by boat, there are couple of ports in Stockholm. If you arrive at Värtahamnen or Frihamnen (Tallink boats) you can buy an SL ticket at the bus stop, and catch a bus into the centre. Stadsgårdsterminalen (for Viking line boats) is just a 10 minute walk from the centre of town. Ports further out also cruise to Lithuania and Poland.
What Is Stockholm’s Mystical SL Access Card?
The SL public transport network is one of the world’s finest. Anywhere you want to get in the city, you can almost guarantee that you can take public transport. You can check your journey on the SL website, which helpfully has full functionality in English. You will probably need the maps of the trains/trams and bus routes (which are gorgeous) as well.
The SL system is best value if you buy an access card as single journeys are quite expensive, with the starting price for the shortest journeys starting at 36 SEK. You will probably want the 72hr (230 SEK) or 7 day (300 SEK) card, which gets you on all tunnelbana (underground) buses, trams, pendeltåg and even some boats throughout Stockholm county. If you are under 20 or over 65 you can get reduced tickets. Don’t forget to buy a ticket or access card before you travel from a ticket machine (at T-bana and tram stops, and some bus stops). You can do this in either Swedish or English and you will need a bank card to make the purchase. It is impossible to use cash in the Stockholm public transport system.
There is an option for less frequent travellers to purchase access card credit at SL machines as well. Tickets within the city limits would then cost more palatable 25 SEK for a single journey. They are complicated, and not something we would recommend for a first-time visitor making more than one journey a day, but it is possible if you know you will use the public transport only sparingly.
Because the SL access card covers the whole Stockholm County, some political wrangling is required by Stockholm City, and it’s not yet clear whether accredited press/fans will get free transport included. This may end up being a downside, but on the positive side it means you can make journeys hours beyond the city limits on one transport system. Yes, Skavsta and Västerås airports are still beyond this!
The T-bana runs from 05:00 until 01:00 during the week and all night on Friday and Saturday. Stops are identified with a large blue T, and many stops even in the suburbs are served by two or more entrances and exits. When you come to a T-bana station, scan your card on the blue pad to the right hand side of the automated barrier. This will then slide open and you can enter. It is a one-way system, meaning there is no need to scan out at the end of your journey. Notably each station has been decorated by artists, which have become a tourist attraction in their own rights.
Buses will take you anywhere you need to go in Stockholm. The key transport hubs you will probably use are Gullmarsplan, just north of Globen, Slussen to the south of Gamla Stan, and the T-Centralen/Central Station complex. There is also a nightbus system running all the major routes throughout the night meaning you will be able to get home whenever you stop partying. You can check your nearest bus route on the SL website.
When entering a bus, scan your access card on the blue panel next to the driver. It will beep ‘nicely’ when all is OK, and louder and more aggressively if your ticket is not valid. All buses are amazing for having the next stop shown on a screen behind where the driver sits, and for announcing them in a clear Swedish accent. All major bus stops will have near-perfect timetables, which outline all the stops the bus is going to arrive at as well to make it super easy.
Taxis are an expensive option. Authorised taxis will have a yellow numberplate, and a price in the rear passenger window. This price is for a 10km, 15 minute journey and should be around 300-350 SEK. Feel free to move on from any taxi with a higher price some can be over 500 SEK for the said 15 minute journey. The prices will vary between firms, so if you don’t like the price, you can choose another taxi. Taxi Stockholm (15 00 00) and Taxikurir (08 30 00 00) are reputable firms, and both have their own booking apps available. Taxi Stockholm will be the partner for EuroClub as well and Stockholm City are co-ordinating a taxi rank to be directly outside the door. Uber is also available, and covers most of the Stockholm city area.
There are hire bikes available throughout Stockholm through the Stockholm City Bikes scheme. You can get a 3 day pass for 165 SEK, or a season pass for the whole summer for 300 SEK. You can then borrow any of the bikes around the city for three hours at a time. As with other cities, pick up and drop off points are distributed around the city, with Gulmarsplan the closest to Globen. Skeppsbron will be most handy for EuroClub just a five minute saunter. The latest pick up time is 10pm, with drop off by 1am.
Möt Mig i Gamla Stan
The journey you are going to make most is in all likelihood between Globen and the fan complex in Gamla Stan. This journey is best made using the Green T-bana line. Globen has its own dedicated stop, but you can also catch the train at Gullmarsplan – a 7 minute walk north of the stadiums. Gullmarsplan would be a good idea post-show as there are three T-Bana routes leaving from there, rather than just one at Globen. This means you don’t have to wait for less frequent and undoubtedly more busy trains from the eponymous station.
In town, the obvious stop might actually be Gamla Stan but that involves navigating across the tourist trap Old Town and its cobbled streets and shallow, but significant, hills. The journey time from Globen should be around 12 minutes by tunnelbana. Consider getting off at the Slussen stop just before Gamla Stan which might be a smidge quicker or T-Centralen just afterwards and then walking through the Eurovision Village in Kungsträdgården (take the Sergels Torg exit and walk 200m down Hamngatan).
If you did get off at Slussen, not only might it be an easier walk (over the bridge to Gamla Stan, and Skeppsbron road along the waterfront will take you directly to Euroclub), but you can also grab a bus going north across the waterfront. Numbers 2, 53, 55 or 57 will get you there rapidly.
Eurovision Village at Kungsträdgården is just a couple of minutes further by bus or on foot, and it is worth stressing that unlike Copenhagen and Vienna these locations are as central as this capital city could offer. Kungsträdgården and EuroClub/Fan Cafe will be hubs for that frustratingly hard to find free Wi-Fi during the Eurovision fortnight.
Beyond The Bubble
One third of Stockholm is water, and you should utilise the chance to take a boat ride at some point. If you load your SL access card with a timed pass of at least 24 hours, it will take you on three boat lines for no additional cost. On a sunny day these boats get pretty packed out with tourists, but they are well worth it!
Firstly, the scenic but short ferry ferry ride from Slussen to Kungsholmen and Grona Lund/ABBA Museum gives great views of the old town and of the picturesque city park Djurgaden.
A second ferry takes you from next to the City Hall, over the water to the north edge of Södermalm. Not a particularly useful trip, but you do get a nice view of the centre of the city.
The final boat is the longer Sjövagen commuter route from Nybroplan along the water to Nacka, the furthest end of Djurgarden and Lidingo. Our tip would be to take it from Nybroplan to Djurgården (the stop is only available on weekends) where you can have a walk, or pick up the number 69 bus which will take you back to town via a scenic route.
The city centre tram (line S7) will take you from Kungsträdgården to Djurgården, the leisure island of Stockholm. Get off of Gröna Land for the ABBA museum, Mamma Mia The Party, Skansen and Gröna Land amusement park. You can go for a walk on the island, and take the number 69 bus back to T-Centralen.
Stockholm should deliver one of the easiest travel experiences for the Eurovision tourist. All the main venues are easily located in town close to transport hubs and infrastructure is well-established. For a city built on islands public transport has been a key part of Stockholm’s expansion. The end result will be fast and efficient transport options for all Eurovision fans attending the city.
Our next edition of the Travel Guide will expand on this to look at the best things to do both in and around the beautiful city of Stockholm.