Embracing the International Student Experience in Gamla Stan

Discover Gamla Stan: A blend of historic charm and modern student life. Navigate living costs, find ideal housing, and explore cultural attractions in Stockholm's enchanting old town. A unique study experience awaits.

Embracing the International Student Experience in Gamla Stan
Photo from Hotels.com

Nestled in the heart of Stockholm, Gamla Stan is not just a picturesque neighborhood with its cobblestone streets and historic charm; it's also an increasingly popular choice for students from around the globe.

In this blog, we will delve into the reasons why Gamla Stan is an ideal destination for international students, covering everything from its unique appeal to practical aspects like living costs, finding accommodation, and exploring local attractions.

Moving to Stockholm and looking for shared accommodation? Check out our listings on Hemavi!

What makes Gamla Stan a suitable city for international students?

Gamla Stan, Stockholm's oldest district, presents a unique blend of historical charm and modern innovation, making it an attractive destination for international students. Founded in the 13th century, it is steeped in history and boasts many of Stockholm's oldest establishments, including the Royal Palace. Its picturesque streets are lined with historic buildings, some dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and potentially even older​​​​.

For students, Gamla Stan offers a range of attractions and activities. The Nobel Prize Museum is a highlight, celebrating human achievements in natural sciences and culture through interactive exhibitions. Students can avail of discounted entry rates here and at the Royal Palace, which includes museums showcasing medieval history and the regalia​​.

The district is known for its vibrant street life, with Västerlånggatan being a central hub. This street is filled with cozy cafes, shops, and charming alleyways, ideal for socializing and exploring. The area is also home to Stortorget, Stockholm's oldest square, surrounded by cafes perfect for people watching and enjoying a traditional Swedish 'fika'​​.

Gamla Stan's car-free streets enhance its appeal, offering a peaceful and scenic environment for students to explore on foot. The area is known for its colorful, narrow streets, small squares like Stortorget, and quaint cafes and bars, providing a romantic and inviting atmosphere​​.

What are the living costs of living in Gamla Stan as an international student?

Living in Gamla Stan, Stockholm, as an international student involves various expenses. The cost of living in Stockholm for an international student ranges from approximately SEK 8,000 to SEK 13,500 per month. This estimate includes accommodation, food, transportation, and other personal expenses.

Accommodation Costs in Gamla Stan

Students can choose between dormitories, shared apartments, or private rentals. The cost of accommodation can vary widely, ranging from SEK 3,000 to SEK 9,000 per month. It's important to note that while the city center areas like Norrmalm, Gamla Stan, and Djurgården are great for day outings, they are not common residential areas for students due to higher costs and the presence of tourists and businesses. Most students opt for places like KTH Campus, Södermalm, or areas north and south of the city center​​​​.

From a student's perspective, living in a student corridor room can cost around SEK 3,300 per month, while single or double-room campus accommodations can be closer to SEK 6,000 to SEK 7,000 per month.

Other Expenses

For food and groceries, students should budget around SEK 2,000 to SEK 3,000 per month. Transportation costs can be around SEK 700 to SEK 1,000 per month, depending on the frequency and mode of travel. Public transport, with a student discount, costs about SEK 650 per month. Other personal expenses, including clothing, entertainment, and leisure activities, may require an additional SEK 1,500 to SEK 2,500 monthly​​.

It's crucial to note that these costs can vary based on individual lifestyle and preferences. Also, students often find ways to save money by cooking at home, using student discounts, and participating in free or low-cost recreational activities. One approach students have taken to save on living costs in Gamla Stan is residing in shared accommodation. If you're looking for shared accommodation in the area, check out our listings on Hemavi.

Photo showing a few cafes in Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden
Photo by Jeppe Wikström

How can I find accommodation as an international student in Gamla Stan?

Finding accommodation in Gamla Stan as an international student can be challenging due to the area's popularity and the high demand for housing in Stockholm. However, there are several strategies and resources you can use to increase your chances of securing a place:

  • University Resources: Check if your university offers housing services for international students. Some universities have dedicated departments or online portals to assist students in finding accommodation. For example, Stockholm University provides guidance and resources for students seeking housing​​.
  • Student Housing Organizations: Explore student housing organizations that offer accommodation specifically for students. These organizations, such as Stockholms studentbostäder (SSSB) and Hus24, often have various housing options, including dormitories and shared apartments.
  • Online Housing Portals and Websites: Utilize online platforms and websites dedicated to housing in Stockholm. Websites like Hemavi are popular among students for finding rentals, as their listings are verified and 100% scam-free, and allow for a fully streamlined digital rental experience.
  • Social Media and Online Forums: Join social media groups and online forums where housing offers are often posted. Facebook groups, for instance, can be a great resource for finding available rooms or apartments. Groups specifically for expats or international students in Stockholm can be particularly helpful.
  • Networking: Leverage your network. Reach out to fellow students, university alumni, and contacts in Stockholm. Sometimes, word-of-mouth can lead to opportunities that are not advertised publicly.
  • Temporary Accommodation: Consider temporary housing options as a short-term solution while you continue your search for a more permanent place. Hostels, short-term rentals, or Airbnb can provide a place to stay when you first arrive in Stockholm.
  • Stay Flexible and Open to Alternatives: Given the high demand for accommodation in central areas like Gamla Stan, be open to living in nearby neighborhoods that are well-connected by public transport. This can widen your options and potentially lead to more affordable living arrangements.
  • Local Real Estate Agents: Contact local real estate agents who specialize in rental properties. They can provide valuable assistance and guide you through the rental process, although this might involve additional fees.

Remember, the rental market in Stockholm can be highly competitive, especially in popular areas like Gamla Stan. It's crucial to start your search as early as possible and be prepared with necessary documents like proof of income or student status, references, and a deposit. Always be cautious of scams and never transfer money without verifying the legitimacy of the offer and seeing the accommodation in person or via a reliable virtual tour.

Gamla Stan, the historic heart of Stockholm, offers a variety of attractions and activities that are popular among international students. Here are some of the top things to do:

  • Stortorget Square: This is the oldest square in Stockholm and a perfect place for people-watching. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and is a great spot to immerse yourself in the city's history and architecture​​.
  • Historical Museums and Attractions: Gamla Stan is home to several notable museums and historic sites, including the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, the Medieval Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Nobel Prize Museum, and The Royal Armoury. These places offer a deep dive into Sweden's rich history and culture​​.
  • Guided Tours: For a more structured exploration, consider joining a guided walking tour. There are free walking tours available in Gamla Stan that offer insights into the area's history and architecture. Some tours even have a historic or spooky twist, adding a unique element to your exploration​​​​.
  • Dining at Local Restaurants: Gamla Stan hosts many inviting restaurants offering a range of cuisines. Whether you want a traditional Swedish meal or something more international, you'll find plenty of options here​​.
  • Exploring the Cobblestone Streets: Simply walking around the narrow, winding streets of Gamla Stan is an experience in itself. The area's colorful buildings and historical atmosphere make it a delightful place to explore.
  • Shopping for Souvenirs: Browsing for unique souvenirs, especially moose memorabilia, is a fun activity in Gamla Stan. The area offers a range of shops where you can find interesting and quirky items to remember your visit​​.

These activities not only provide entertainment but also a deeper understanding of Swedish culture and history, making them perfect for international students looking to immerse themselves in their new environment.


Gamla Stan, with its historic charm and vibrant student life, is an exceptional choice for international students. Although it may present challenges like higher living costs and competitive housing, the rewards are plentiful. From cultural immersion to academic growth, Gamla Stan offers a unique, enriching experience. Embrace this opportunity to blend studies with the exploration of Stockholm's rich history and culture, and make your time in Gamla Stan a memorable and rewarding journey!

Are you an international student moving to Stockholm for your studies? Check out listings in Gamla Stan and nearby neighborhoods on Hemavi!