A Beginner's Guide to Stockholm Public Transportation: Tips for Students and Visitors

Navigate Stockholm's efficient public transportation system with ease. Learn everything you need to know about getting around the city as a student or visitor.

A Beginner's Guide to Stockholm Public Transportation: Tips for Students and Visitors
Photo by Ilya Birman

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, boasts an extensive and efficient public transportation system, making it easy for both locals and visitors to navigate the city. In this Stockholm travel guide, we'll explore the city's public transportation options, focusing on student transportation in Stockholm.

Stockholm's public transportation system is designed to be accessible and sustainable. Almost all metro stations, buses, trams, and commuter trains are wheelchair accessible, while ferries offer assistance for disabled passengers. Moreover, Stockholm has committed to an eco-friendly approach, with a majority of buses running on biofuels or electricity, and plans to make the entire fleet fossil-free by 2025.

Types of Public Transportation in Stockholm

Stockholm's public transportation system comprises buses, metro trains (tunnelbana), commuter trains (pendeltåg), trams, and ferries. Managed by Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), these interconnected services make it easy to travel throughout the city and surrounding areas.


Stockholm's extensive bus network consists of over 500 routes, with more than 2,000 buses in operation. Buses are color-coded based on their routes: inner-city buses are blue, while suburban buses are red or green.

Night buses also operate after the regular services have ended, ensuring 24-hour transportation. The bus system services over 7,000 stops, providing comprehensive coverage of the city and surrounding areas.

Metro (Tunnelbana)

The Stockholm metro system, often referred to as the world's longest art gallery, consists of 100 stations spread across three color-coded lines: red, green, and blue. Each line is further divided into branches, totaling seven routes.

The metro covers approximately 110 km (68 miles) of track, making it the most extensive underground network in Scandinavia. With trains running every few minutes during peak hours and every 10-15 minutes during off-peak hours, the metro is an efficient and convenient way to get around the city.

Commuter Trains (Pendeltåg)

For students attending universities located outside of Stockholm's city center, the commuter trains offer a fast and reliable mode of transportation. The pendeltåg system comprises four lines with 53 stations, connecting Stockholm with nearby cities and towns. Covering approximately 241 km (150 miles) of track, the commuter trains transport around 300,000 passengers daily.

Trams and Ferries

Stockholm's tram network consists of two lines, Djurgården (line 7) and Lidingö (line 21), covering parts of the city not served by the metro. The Djurgården line is particularly popular among tourists, as it passes through several popular attractions.

Several ferry routes connect the city's islands, with the most prominent route being the Djurgården ferry (line 82). Offering a unique and scenic way to travel across the city, the ferries provide both practical and leisurely transportation options.

With a range of transportation options available, navigating Stockholm's public transportation system may seem daunting at first. However, the SL app and website make it easy to plan your journey and find the quickest route. Real-time information on departures and arrivals, along with service disruptions, ensures a smooth and efficient travel experience.

The SL Card

An SL card is a smart card that holds tickets and travel cards for Stockholm's public transportation system. There are several types of cards available, catering to the diverse needs of travelers and residents:

  • Travelcards: These cards are perfect for regular commuters and can be loaded with a 24-hour, 72-hour, 7-day, 30-day, 90-day, or 365-day pass. Travelcards offer unlimited travel on all modes of public transportation in Stockholm.
  • Single Tickets: If you don't need a travel card, you can purchase single tickets for one-time use. These tickets are valid for 75 minutes, allowing you to travel on multiple modes of transportation within the validity period.
  • Flex Tickets: Flex tickets offer a more flexible option, as they can be used at any time within 180 days of purchase. They come in sets of 8, 16, or 24 and can be used for single journeys.
  • Discounted Tickets: Students, seniors (over 65 years), and youths (under 20 years) can purchase discounted tickets and travel cards. You must provide a valid ID to qualify for these discounts.

You can purchase and top up SL cards at SL centers, ticket machines, and select retailers. It's important to remember to touch in and out with your SL card on card readers when entering and exiting the public transportation system.

The SL Application

The SL app is an invaluable tool for navigating Stockholm's public transportation system. It offers a range of features designed to make your travel experience as smooth and efficient as possible:

  • Journey Planner: The app's journey planner allows you to enter your starting point and destination, and it provides you with the most convenient route, including the various modes of transportation needed to complete the journey. It also offers real-time updates on departures and arrivals.
  • Travel Alerts: The SL app keeps you informed about any service disruptions or changes to schedules, ensuring that you can plan your journey accordingly.
  • Ticket Purchase: You can buy single tickets, travel cards, and other ticket options directly through the app, making it easy to access public transportation without needing a physical SL card.
  • Maps and Timetables: The app provides detailed maps of the metro, commuter train, tram, and bus networks, along with timetables for each mode of transportation.
  • Accessibility Information: The SL app includes information on wheelchair accessibility for each mode of transportation and stations, helping users plan their journey accordingly.

By using the SL card and app, you can seamlessly navigate Stockholm's public transportation system, ensuring that you have a comfortable and convenient travel experience throughout the city.

Tips for using the Stockholm Public Transportation System

Navigating Stockholm's public transportation system as an international student can be an exciting yet challenging experience. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get around the city with ease:

  • Get an SL card: Purchase an SL card and load it with a student-discounted travel card. This will give you unlimited access to the city's public transportation system and save you money in the long run. Remember to carry your valid student ID to qualify for the discount.
  • Download the SL app: The SL app is your go-to source for journey planning, real-time updates, and ticket purchases. It will make your commute much more manageable and help you familiarize yourself with the city's transportation network.
  • Learn the transportation network: Spend some time studying the maps of the metro, commuter trains, trams, and buses. Familiarize yourself with the major lines and stops, especially those close to your accommodation and university. This will help you feel more confident when navigating the city.
  • Plan your journeys: Use the SL app's journey planner feature to find the most convenient routes between your destinations. Be aware of peak hours and try to avoid overcrowded trains and buses during these times.
  • Keep track of zones: Stockholm's public transportation system is divided into three zones: A, B, and C. Make sure you have the right ticket or travel card for the zones you'll be traveling in.
  • Be aware of accessibility: If you have any mobility requirements, check the accessibility information on the SL app before planning your journey. This will help ensure you can comfortably access stations and vehicles.
  • Learn basic Swedish phrases: While most Swedes speak English, it's helpful to learn some basic Swedish phrases related to public transportation, such as asking for directions or understanding announcements.
  • Always validate your SL card: Remember to touch in and out with your SL card on card readers when entering and exiting the public transportation system. This will help avoid any fines or penalties for not having a valid ticket.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings: As in any major city, it's essential to stay vigilant and keep your belongings secure when using public transportation.

With these tips in mind, you'll be well-prepared to navigate Stockholm's public transportation system as an international student, allowing you to make the most of your time in this beautiful city.


Stockholm's public transportation system is efficient, reliable, and eco-friendly, making it an ideal choice for students and professionals living in the city. By familiarizing yourself with the various modes of transportation and utilizing resources like the SL app, you can easily navigate the city and make the most of your time in Stockholm.

Plus, you can always utilize Hemavi's matchmaking service for finding compatible roommates and accommodations near public transportation hubs. This will not only save you time on your daily commute but also help you connect with like-minded individuals in a safe and secure environment.