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Stockholm Gay Travel

Stockholm gay guide to LGBT friendly hotels, things to do, gay bars, clubs & gay life.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is a wonderfully LGBT-friendly city, with gay friendly hotels, bars and restaurants all around. People here express themselves freely, and it’s not uncommon to see overt displays of pride throughout the city, like rainbow backpacks and rainbow flags on building fronts.

Stockholm gay traveler
Stockholm gay traveler
Swedish flag in Stockholm

The Stockholm gay scene is more subdued than in other large European cities. While it’s easy to find local gay life in the few vibrant gay bars and gay-friendly cafes, the overall size of the gay scene is smaller.

Swedish flag in Stockholm

The city doesn’t have a true gay district, but a decent bit of the LGBT venues are located in the south part of Gamla Stan and the north part of Södermalm, which I’ll describe more about below.

gay scene in Stockholm
Stockholm lgbt pride support
gay scene in Stockholm

Sweden is known to have some happy people, and it’s easy to see everywhere you go. Even during rainy and cold workdays, you’ll still see people smiling while grabbing coffee or just walking with each other.

Stockholm lgbt pride support

Gay Stockholm: Hotels & Where to Stay

Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town and one of the best places to stay in the city.

This tiny island is quaint, quiet and easily walkable. You can walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes. It’s also super easy to get to other parts of the city, since all roads lead to Gamla Stan!

Gamla Stan neighborhood
Gamla Stan neighborhood
Gamla Stan vacation apartment

Renting a Gamla Stan vacation apartment will give you a fantastic, local experience. There are tons of lofty spaces with windows that open up directly onto the streets below. They’re often much cheaper than standard hotels, too.

Gamla Stan vacation apartment

Stockholm Gay Friendly Hotels

Hotel Diplomat

Hotel Diplomat is one of the most picturesque and centrally located LGBT friendly hotels in Stockholm. I walked past this hotel several times while exploring the riverfront. Hotel Diplomat is just to the north of the city center in the trendy Ostermalm neighborhood.

Stockholm gay friendly hotel

Radisson Blu Hotels

Stockholm’s Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel as well as the Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel are both luxurious gay-friendly hotels near the city’s central train station.

gay friendly hotel room
Radisson Blu LGBT friendly hotel
gay friendly hotel room

They both have unbeatable, truly jaw-dropping modern designs as well as fitness centers, multiple bars and lounges on the property.

Radisson Blu LGBT friendly hotel

Hotel Rival

Hotel Rival is a highly rated hotel that offers more of a boutique feel with a lot of character. Many of the hotel’s rooms have balconies with fantastic views of the city.

Boutique LGBT friendly hotel
Hotel Rival Stockholm
Boutique LGBT friendly hotel

This LGBT friendly hotel is closer to Stockholm’s gay bars down in the Södermalm area. It’s perfect for quick access to the city’s most popular gay cruising bar, which I’ll mention later in this gay guide!

Hotel Rival Stockholm

Stockholm Gay Travel Experiences

Gay travelers will find that Stockholm has a huge variety of things to do, no matter the season. Here are some of my favorites and recommendations.

Monteliusvägen

Monteliusvägen is a stunning viewpoint trail and lookout point where you can get the absolute best views of Stockholm. The view of the city is particularly beautiful at night when the lights of the city reflect on the water.

Monteliusvägen Stockholm
Monteliusvägen Stockholm
Stockholm gay tourist

I loved Monteliusvägen so much that I came back a second time to take some more photos before I left Stockholm. To get there, you’ll need to travel up some relatively steep roads. It’s easy to do with a Bird Scooter or even on foot.

Stockholm gay tourist

Fotografiska

Visiting Fotografiska, Stockholm’s contemporary art exhibition venue, was one of my favorite experiences in the city. You’ll find work from all sorts of world-renowned photographers at Fotografiska. And while specific exhibits change, they’re all extraordinary.

photo in Stockholm fotografiska
photo in Stockholm fotografiska
fotografiska exhibit in Stockholm

Check out which Fotografiska exhibitions will be happening during your visit. You can pre-purchase tickets online as well, so you can skip the line and walk right into the exhibition space.

fotografiska exhibit in Stockholm

The Fotografiska building also a gorgeous rooftop bistro with great views of the city. It’s a great place to grab something to eat afterward

Walk Around Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town, an island of beautiful cobblestone streets in the center of the city. Get a view of the impressive wooden spires atop Riddarholmen Church.

visiting Gamla Stan
visiting Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan store front

If you’re not staying in this area of Stockholm, then you should definitely make a point to spend some time walking around Gamla Stan. There are tons of small boutique shops and cozy restaurants to peruse in this area.

Gamla Stan store front

Stunning Nature Walks

Embrace nature at Kungliga Djurgården, Stockholm’s most beautiful park. You can get here in only 15 minutes by scooter or car.

LGBT traveler in Stockholm park

Riding around the park on motorized scooters is most convenient in my opinion, making it easy to see different areas of the park. You can also leave them anywhere inside. Grab a scooter using the Bird App or the Lime App.

Kungliga Djurgården Stockholm
Kungliga Djurgården Stockholm
LGBT traveler in Stockholm park

Park Rålambshovsparken is another beautiful, memorable park I recommend visiting. It’s on the opposite side of the city. There’s plenty of open space where locals hang out, play games and enjoy views of the water.

park in Stockholm

The adjacent French Restaurant Boulebar is fantastic. They’re popular for brunch, but also a fantastic place for a snack or a couple beers.

Boulebar
park in Stockholm
Boulebar

Walk along the gorgeous promenade nearby, which is just to the north of Park Rålambshovsparken. I loved the small seating areas perched on docks over the water.

Stockholm attractions for gay travelers

Shop Designer Clothing Stores

Norrmalmstorg is the best place in Stockholm to get some chic new clothes. A ton of major retailers as well as high-end and luxury clothing stores are in this neighborhood. Even if you’re not looking for anything specific, this area of the city is beautiful to explore.

Visit Stockholm’s Royal Palace

A visit to Sweden’s capital isn’t complete without a quick tour of The Royal Palace. Here you can see the Royal Apartments as well as multiple floors of museum space showcasing impressive Medieval relics.

Stockholm Royal Palace
Stockholm Royal Palace
Stockholm attractions for gay travelers

The ABBA Museum

Every gay traveler I know that has visited Stockholm loved going to the ABBA Museum. If you’re not already familiar, ABBA is an internationally famous pop group from Sweden who produced famous songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia”!

Grab a skip the line entry ticket and start learning all there is to know about our beloved ABBA.

Stockholm Gay Bars & Clubs

While the city is incredibly gay-friendly, Stockholm only has a few gay bars. But, even though they’re sparse, gay bars here fill up with a friendly crowd. Here are the must-see venues.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is Stockholm’s traditional and most popular gay bar, especially on weekends. There are multiple large rooms with tables along the walls, surrounding open spaces for dancing.

Secret Garden gay bar
gay bar in stockholm
Secret Garden gay bar

The bar has more of a tavern vibe earlier in the evening and a livelier feel as the night progresses and the live DJ starts playing. Different rooms sometimes play different music, ranging from Eurovision hits to pop and Latin favorites.

gay bar in stockholm

Everyone at The Secret Garden enjoys the plentiful outdoor seating too, even into the cooler months. They’re conveniently located right in the center of Stockholm too.

Side Track

Side Track is another popular gay bar in Stockholm’s Södermalm neighborhood, just south of the city center. Bartenders here are so friendly and welcoming.

side track gay bar
gay bar in Stockholm
side track gay bar

The bar is physically underground and has several rooms. The front area has plenty of tables where you can order food, and the bar is in the rear where you can mingle and make some new friends.

gay bar in Stockholm

SLM: Stockholm’s Gay Cruising Bar

SLM is one of the best gay bars in Stockholm to visit on the weekend, especially if you’re looking for some cruising action!

Stockholm gay cruising bar

Make sure to look at their dress code beforehand. Each event here is themed and everyone must conform to the dress code rules. Their naked parties are the most popular.

SLM stockholm
Stockholm gay cruising bar
SLM stockholm

Since SLM doesn’t stay open too late and the line to get in can take a while, it’s best to get there earlier rather than later. You don’t want to be stuck in line and only have a short time to enjoy Stockholm’s famous gay cruising bar!

Club Backdoor

Club Backdoor is the premier Stockholm gay club. Here you can really let loose and party on Friday or Saturday nights!

Stockholm gay nightlife

There are two separate dance floors at Club Backdoor and while it is primarily a gay club, you’ll can often find a bit of a mixed crowd here.

Cover charge to enter is about 180 KR before midnight and usually goes up to 220 KR after midnight. Parties here will go as late as 5 AM.

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Stockholm Travel Tips

Taxis Are Expensive

Sweden is quite an expensive country, so you can expect most things in Stockholm to be quite expensive. Taxis in particular are costly. I personally avoided using them except for traveling to the city’s train station.

taxis in Sweden
taxis in Sweden
gay traveler on Lime scooter

Using electric motorized scooters is a great way to move around the city more affordably. Using the Bird or Lime application, you can buy a day pass for unlimited rides over 24 hours. I used these several days while going between attractions and bars in Stockholm.

gay traveler on Lime scooter

Alcohol in Sweden

Buying alcohol in Sweden is not as easy as in other European countries. Sweden’s government strictly controls the sale of beverages with an alcohol content of greater than 3.5% by volume.

Stockholm LGBT travel tips
buying alcohol in sweden
Stockholm LGBT travel tips

In bars, this doesn’t apply and you can get anything you like. But if you’re a traveler who loves to pick up beer or liquor at the local supermarket or convenience store, you’ll have to remember to go to a Systembolaget location instead.

buying alcohol in sweden

Systembolaget is the only store that is permitted to sell high alcohol content beverages. There are roughly a dozen locations in Stockholm though, so you shouldn’t ever be too far from one.

Arlanda Express

The Arlanda Express train is the fastest and cheapest way to go from Stockholm International Airport to the city center. The train travels at super-fast speeds and it’s easy to carry a lot of luggage onto the spacious train cars. You also can’t beat the price in comparison to a taxi.

Arlanda Express train
Arlanda Express train
lgbt friendly barber shop

Need A Haircut While Traveling?

If you’re in the market for an awesome haircut, stop by Adam’s BarBerare. The barbers here are a group of friendly Middle Eastern guys who speak various languages, including English. Everyone’s super talented and the shop is gay friendly.

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Need more ideas for gay destinations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel guides.

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