Public Transportation in Stockholm: Getting to and around Sweden’s Capital

Stockholm has an excellent public transportation network of commuter trains, subways, and buses, making it easy to get around the city and its suburbs. For trips on the city’s abundant waterways, there are passenger ferries and excursion boats into the archipelago on the Baltic Sea side and into Lake Mälaren. The city also has extensive rail, bus, and air links to destinations throughout Sweden and beyond.

Stockholm_Main_Train_Station_(main_hall)
Main hall at Stockholm Central Station. Photo by JRodSilva/Wikimedia Commons

Long-Distance Trains and Buses

Sweden’s largest railway station, Stockholm Central, sits at the western end of Stockholm’s downtown shopping district, with its main entrance on Vasagatan. From here, trains depart for major cities and towns throughout Sweden, with connections to other parts of Europe. The station has an Internet café, currency exchange, luggage lockers, convenience stores, dining options, and other services. Tickets are generally cheapest when purchased online but can also be purchased in advance at the ticket office at Stockholm Central and other stations; many trains do not offer ticket sales on board.

At the north end of the rail station is Cityterminalen, Stockholm’s main bus terminal. Buses depart from here to destinations all over Sweden. The terminal can be accessed through the entrance on Klarabergsviadukten or from Stockholm Central Station.

Commuter Trains, Subways, and Buses

Stockholm subway station. Photo by Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se
Stockholm subway station. Photo by Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Public transportation within Stockholm is run by SL (Storstockholms Lokaltrafik). Commuter trains (pendeltåg) whisk passengers between Stockholm Central Station and areas to the north and south of downtown. Access to the commuter rail lines is one level down from the main station hall. On the same level, an undergound pedestrian passage connects Stockholm Central Station with T-Centralen, the central metro (tunnelbana) station, where Stockholm’s subway lines converge. From here you can travel all over the city. Local city buses also serve routes throughout the metropolitan area, along with a limited number of streetcars.

Single tickets are available for all SL travel, with the fare (SEK 36-100) determined by the number of zones the journey involves and where the ticket is purchased (at a ticket machine, by mobile app, or in person from a station agent). Central Stockholm is Zone 1, while the suburbs fall into Zones 2 and 3. Tickets can be purchased at the SL Center at T-Centralen, at SkyCity at Arlanda Airport, and at most subway and commuter rail stations. Tickets cannot be purchased on board buses.

Stockhom city bus. Photo by Gerfriedc/Wikimedia Commons.
Stockhom city bus. Photo by Gerfriedc/Wikimedia Commons

Travelers planning to rely on public transportation will save money by purchasing an SL Access card, which can be loaded with either travel credit (with fares deducted as you go and cheaper than the single-ticket prices) or with a timed travelcard. The card costs SEK 20 and is available where SL tickets are sold, as well as at agents such as Pressbyrån and 7-Eleven. The travel credit option is suitable for travelers who only plan to make occasional short trips. For those who plan to make more extensive use of public transportation, travelcards are available for 24 hours (SEK 115), 72 hours (SEK 230), 7 days (SEK 300), 30 days (SEK 790), and longer periods. These can be loaded onto a card in advance and, once activated, permit unlimited travel in all SL zones during the selected period.

Passenger Ferries

SL Access cards can also be used on the Djurgården ferry between Slussen, Djurgården, and Skeppsholmen, as well as on the Riddarfjärdslinjen commuter boat between Kungsholmen and Södermalm, and on the Sjövägen passenger ferry between Nybroplan, Lidingö, and Nacka.

Year-round passenger ferries operate from downtown Stockholm to various islands in the archipelago. (See the article Stockholm by Boat: Getting Out on the Water in the Venice of the North on this website for details.) For trips to Finland, Estonia, and other Baltic locations, there are cruise ferries run by Viking Line and Tallink Silja Line departing from terminals in central Stockholm.

Djurgården ferry. Photo by Henrik Trygg/Stockholm Media Bank
Djurgården ferry. Photo by Henrik Trygg/Stockholm Media Bank

Airports: Arlanda International

Arlanda Express. Photo by Niklas Alm
Arlanda Express. Photo by Niklas Alm

Stockholm’s principal airport is Arlanda (ARN), located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city center. The largest airport in Sweden, Arlanda has over 80 airlines serving more than 180 international and domestic destinations. The airport has excellent public transportation links into downtown Stockholm, including the Arlanda Express train, airport buses, and commuter trains.

The fastest way into the city, the Arlanda Express runs four to six times an hour between Arlanda and Stockholm Central Station and takes just 20 minutes. The regular adult fare (ages 26 and up) is SEK 280 one way or SEK 540 round trip, but substantial discounts are available for advance purchases online (the further in advance, the larger the discount). Discounts are also available for two to four people traveling together (Thursday to Sunday only).

Commuter rail train. Photo by Gustav Gullberg/Wikimedia Commons.
Commuter rail train. Photo by Gustav Gullberg/Wikimedia Commons

Travelers can also save money by taking the commuter rail between Arlanda and the city center. To board the commuter rail directly at Arlanda, head to the SkyCity complex between Terminals 4 and 5. A single ticket costs SEK 135. If you have (or buy) an SL Access card, you can use travel credit or a timed travelcard for the base three-zone fare, but you must pay a supplemental fee of SEK 85 to board at Arlanda. The journey involves an easy (same platform) change of train at Upplands Väsby station.

For travelers with an active SL Access travelcard or credit, the cheapest option is to take SL bus 583 from outside any of the terminals to Märsta Station and board the commuter rail there. The entire journey takes just over an hour and requires no airport supplement.

Arlanda is also served by the Flygbussarna airport buses to various city center locations, as well as to Bromma Airport (see below). The fare from Arlanda to Cityterminalen is SEK 99, and the trip takes approximately 45 minutes.

Airports: Bromma and Skavsta

Within Stockholm city limits, the much smaller Bromma Airport (BMA) primarily serves destinations within Sweden, although there are also flights to Aarhus and Billund in Denmark, Helsinki in Finland, and Brussels in Belgium. Public transportation access to the airport from downtown Stockholm is by a combination of local SL bus and subway or commuter train. Use SL’s online trip planner to find the best route.

The low-cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz fly into Skavsta Airport (NYO), located near Nyköping, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Stockholm, with flights to and from destinations throughout Europe. The easiest way to get to Stockholm from Skavsta is to take the Flygbussarna airport bus directly from the airport to Cityterminalen in Stockholm (about 80 minutes’ travel time), although it’s also possible to take a local bus or taxi to the railway station in Nyköping and catch a train to Stockholm.

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Note: Prices are accurate as of June 2016. 

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