Where to stay in Stockholm for first time: 6 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Stockholm as a first-time visitor can be a daunting task. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Stockholm for first-timers and tourists.

I’ll provide you with my recommendation for the best and safe areas to stay in Stockholm, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Stockholm and suggest some of the best hotels in Stockholm for all budgets.

Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden, located on the east coast of the country and is built on 14 islands, which are connected by numerous bridges. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, with the archipelago that surrounds the city providing a picturesque backdrop. 

With a rich history dating back to the 13th century, Stockholm is home to several historic sites, including the Royal Palace and Gamla Stan, the old town, as well as the Swedish government and the official residence of the Swedish monarch.

The city hosts numerous museums, theaters, and galleries, including the famous Vasa Museum, the ABBA Museum, and the Nobel Museum.

The city has an extensive public transportation system, including a subway, buses, trams, and ferries, making it easy to get around. The Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Sweden, connecting the city to international destinations.

The Nobel Prize ceremonies are held annually in Stockholm, with the Nobel Banquet taking place at the Stockholm City Hall. This is where the Nobel laureates receive their awards.

Is Stockholm safe to visit?

Yes, Stockholm is generally a safe city to visit with low crime rates. However, like any major city, there are petty crimes such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, so it’s important to stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.

Additionally, there is also the threat of terrorist attacks, so always stay informed, monitor the local media, and follow the advice of local authorities. Overall, Stockholm is a safe place to visit, so you can expect an enjoyable experience while taking reasonable precautions to ensure your safety.

Where to stay in Stockholm for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Stockholm for first-timers and tourists are Gamla Stan, Norrmalm, Södermalm, Östermalm, Vasastan, and Kungsholmen. It’s still important to exercise common-sense safety precautions regardless of where you stay.

Gamla Stan, or Old Town, is the most popular choice for first-time tourists who want to be in the heart of the city’s historical attractions and close to the Royal Palace. It’s a picturesque and safe area that is characterized by cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and charming squares.  

Norrmalms is the city center, central business district and shopping hub of Stockholm. It is home to Drottninggatan, a major shopping street, as well as cultural institutions like the Royal Opera House and Stockholm Concert Hall.

Södermalm is a safe district that is known for its trendy and bohemian atmosphere. It’s a great base if you’re interested in hipster cafes, unique boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife scene. You’ll also find beautiful parks and scenic viewpoints here.

Östermalm is a more upscale and residential area with many designer boutiques and gourmet restaurants. It’s a good option if you prefer a quieter, luxurious experience and are interested in visiting the Östermalm Saluhall food market.

Vasastan is a residential neighborhood that’s safe and quiet. You won’t find as many tourist attractions here, but it’s a peaceful place to stay.

Kungsholmen is a peaceful, residential island with a mix of parks and waterfront areas. It offers a more tranquil experience and is still well-connected to central Stockholm via public transportation.

While most areas in Stockholm are generally safe, you should avoid the notorious Rinkeby Triangle in Rinkeby, Tensta, and Husby suburbs due to its problem with gangs and criminality. As a tourist to Stockholm, you will probably never find yourself in these areas.

During my trip to Stockholm, I stayed at the mid-range Lady Hamilton Hotel, located in the heart of the Old Town. It is close to many major attractions such as the Royal Palace and Nobel Museum. Easy access to hop on/hop off the bus to get around Stockholm.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Stockholm for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Stockholm first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Stockholm first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Stockholm, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Stockholm have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Safe areas to stay in Stockholm for first-timers and tourists:

1. Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is a wonderful area to stay in Stockholm for first-time visitors. It is one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe. Its narrow, cobblestone streets and well-preserved buildings transport you back in time, making it a charming and picturesque place to explore.

Gamla Stan is home to several of Stockholm’s most famous attractions, including the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, and the Nobel Museum. You can easily walk to these sites.

The neighborhood is surrounded by water, with scenic waterfront views and the opportunity for boat trips around the archipelago. You can also enjoy a leisurely walk along the shores of Gamla Stan.

Gamla Stan has many delightful cafés and restaurants offering traditional Swedish cuisine. Try some classic dishes, like Swedish meatballs or herring, while taking in the historic ambiance.

You’ll find a variety of shops in Gamla Stan selling souvenirs, handicrafts, and Swedish design products. It’s a great place to pick up unique gifts.

:While Gamla Stan is generally quieter at night compared to neighborhoods like Södermalm, there are still some cozy bars and pubs where you can relax and enjoy a drink in a historic setting.

Gamla Stan is well-connected by public transportation, with nearby subway and bus stops that can take you to other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Stockholm in Gamla Stan for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hôtel Reisen in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, 5-star hotel, conveniently located on the waterfront area in the Old Town, a short walk from the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan Metro Station and a bus stop. It has fabulous breakfast, and private parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Victory Hotel, great 4-star hotel located in the heart of the picturesque Old Town, easy walk from Gamla Stan Metro Station. It has laundry services, fabulous breakfast, heating system, and 24-hour front desk.
  • Budget ($): Mälardrottningen Yacht Hotel & Restaurant, popular 3-star accommodation, located on Riddarholmen Island, next to the Old Town. It is within walking distance from  Gamla Stan Metro Station, and Stockholm Central Station. It has stunning views of Riddarfjärden Bay.

2. Norrmalm 

Norrmalm is Stockholm’s central business district and a popular area for both tourists and business travelers. It is at the heart of Stockholm, within walking distance or a short public transport ride to places like the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan, and Djurgården island.

If you enjoy shopping, Norrmalm is home to some of the city’s most popular shopping streets, including Drottninggatan and Biblioteksgatan. You’ll find a wide range of shops, from international brands to local boutiques.

Norrmalm is home to the Royal Opera House, the Concert Hall, and the Museum of Medieval Stockholm. If you’re interested in the arts and culture, you’ll have easy access to these venues.

Norrmalm features a mix of modern and historic architecture, offering a contrast to the older neighborhoods of Stockholm. You can see both the old and new sides of the city within this district.

This area is home to T-Centralen, Stockholm Central Station, serving as a major transportation hub for the city. It connects regional, national, and international train services, including long-distance trains, regional trains, and commuter trains. 

Keep in mind that Norrmalm is a busy and bustling area, so it may not offer the same historic charm as Gamla Stan or the bohemian atmosphere of Södermalm. But, it provides a central and convenient base for exploring the city, and it’s an excellent choice for shopping and city life.

Best places to stay in Stockholm in Norrmalm for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Bank Hotel, a Member of Small Luxury Hotels, 5-star accommodation, located in the Östermalm district, a short walk from Strandvägen, Stureplan, Kungsträdgården park and Royal palace. It has Exceptional breakfast, 24-hour front desk, and private parking.
  • Mid-range ($$): Haymarket by Scandic, popular 4-star hotel, situated beside the Hötorget Square in central Stockholm, within walking distance from Sergels Torg Square and Stureplan. Also close to  the train station for Arlanda train from/to the airport.
  • Budget ($): Generator Stockholm, extremely popular 3-star accommodation, located in the Norrmalm district, featuring both dorm and private rooms. Within a short distance from Drottninggatan Shopping Street and Stockholm Central Station.

3. Södermalm

Södermalm is a trendy and vibrant neighborhood known for its hip and bohemian ambiance. It’s filled with quirky boutiques, independent shops, and creative spaces. It is the perfect base for those looking for an alternative and artistic side of Stockholm.

Södermalm boasts a wide variety of cafés and restaurants offering diverse cuisines. The neighborhood is also known for its fika culture, so be sure to enjoy a Swedish coffee break.

Södermalm has a thriving nightlife scene with numerous bars, pubs, and clubs. Whether you’re into live music, craft cocktails, or dancing the night away, Södermalm offers a range of nightlife experiences.

It is home to several parks including Tantolunden and Mosebacke Terrace, where you can also take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, enjoy picnics, or simply relax in green spaces.

Södermalm has a strong arts and cultural scene, with art galleries, vintage shops, and theaters. Fotografiska, Stockholm’s acclaimed photography museum, is located here.

If you’re interested in unique, locally-made items and vintage clothing, Södermalm is a great place to shop. It’s known for its design and fashion stores.

While Södermalm is an excellent choice for many travelers, it’s important to note that it may not be as close to the most traditional tourist attractions. But, it offers a different, more contemporary side of Stockholm and a relaxed, local atmosphere that many visitors find appealing.

Best places to stay in Stockholm in Södermalm for first-time travelers:

  • Mid-range ($$): NOFO Hotel, WorldHotels Crafted, great 4-star charming boutique hotel short walk from Medborgarplatsen Metro Station and Götgatan shopping street. It has Superb breakfast and private parking.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Frantz, WorldHotels Crafted, 4-star hotel in the heart of Södermalm with trendy restaurants and boutiques.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Hellstens Malmgård, 3-star 18th century hotel, located in the vibrant Södermalm district, a short walk from Zinkensdamm Metro Station and Tantolunden Park. You can use the metro to get to the Old Town which is only a few mins ride away. 

4. Östermalm

Östermalm is one of Stockholm’s upscale and residential neighborhoods, known for its elegant architecture, high-end shopping, and refined dining. It’s a popular choice for those looking for a more luxurious and peaceful stay in Stockholm. 

This area is a shopping haven, featuring some of Stockholm’s most prestigious shopping streets like Birger Jarlsgatan and Biblioteksgatan. You’ll find high-end fashion brands, designer boutiques, and exclusive department stores like NK (Nordiska Kompaniet).

A must-visit for food enthusiasts, the Östermalm Saluhall is a historic food market where you can sample traditional Swedish dishes, fresh seafood, and other delicacies.

Östermalm offers a few lovely parks and green spaces, such as Humlegården, Rosendals Trädgård, and Royal Djurgården, where you can take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the outdoors.

Östermalm’s location offers easy access to many major museums and attractions including Swedish History Museum, the Army Museum, Junibacken, Vasa Museum, ABBA The Museum, Skansen open air museum, and Gröna Lund Amusement park.

Östermalm borders the waterfront, providing picturesque views and lovely walking paths along the shoreline. You can also catch a boat tour to explore the archipelago.

Best places to stay in Stockholm in Östermalm for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Diplomat Stockholm,  5-star historic hotel located on the upscale Strandvägen boulevard, easy walk to the Royal Theatre. You will also be close to local bus stops and a ferry dock for archipelago-bound boats.
  • Mid-range ($$): Clarion Collection Hotel Tapto, 4-star hotel situated in Östermalm, 4 mins walk from Stockholm Stadion and the metro station. You can enjoy Swedish fika, tea and coffee with baked goods at the hotel each afternoon. Easy access to A metro and bus stop for further exploration. 
  • Budget ($): Pärlan Hotell, 3-star family-run hotel located within a short walk from Östermalmstorg Metro Station and Strandvägen waterfront promenade.  

5. Vasastan

Vasastan is a charming and predominantly residential neighborhood in Stockholm, making it an appealing choice for visitors who want a relaxed, local experience. 

Vasastan is home to several beautiful parks and gardens, such as Vasaparken and Observatorielunden. These offer pleasant places to enjoy a leisurely walk or a picnic.

The neighborhood features a few cultural attractions, such as  Stockholm Public Library,  Bonniers Konsthall-Contemporary Art Gallery, and the Jewish Museum. The Observatory Museum has a historical astronomical observatory and exhibitions about the universe. 

Best places to stay in Stockholm in Vasastan for travelers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Best Western Plus Time Hotel, popular 4-star hotel centrally located in a quiet residential area, right by Vanadislunden Park. Easy access to Odenplan Metro Station and numerous bus stops nearby.
  • Mid-range ($$): Blique by Nobis, Stockholm, a Member of Design Hotels, 4-star hotel in Vasastan, offering Superb breakfast and private parking which is a bonus for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Ruth, WorldHotels Crafted, 4-star hotel that has comfortable family rooms. It is away from the touristy area, a 10 mins walk to the handy Metro station.

6. Kungsholmen

Kungsholmen is a peaceful and primarily residential island, situated to the west of the city center. It is a good area for visitors who prefer a quieter and more serene experience. 

Kungsholmen is surrounded by water, offering picturesque waterfront views and opportunities for leisurely walks along the shores of Lake Mälaren. 

The island is home to several green areas and parks, such as Rålambshovsparken and Kronobergsparken, where you can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy outdoor activities.

Kungsholmen’s peaceful environment and green spaces make it a suitable choice for families. There are playgrounds and recreational areas for children.

Best places to stay in Stockholm in Kungsholmen for tourists:


In conclusion, Gamla Stan, Norrmalm, Södermalm, Östermalm, Vasastan, and Kungsholmen are the best places to stay in Stockholm for first timers and tourists. These are generally safe neighborhoods that offer a wide range of accommodations and easy access to major attractions.

You can continue reading about Stockholm and other Scandinavian/Nordic cities in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Stockholm. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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