Östermalm: A Haven for International Students

Discover Östermalm, Stockholm's gem for international students. Explore its top-notch educational opportunities, vibrant culture, and tips on navigating accommodation and living costs in our latest blog.

Östermalm: A Haven for International Students
Photo by Lesley Williamson

Stockholm has seen a significant increase in its international student population, now housing about 11% of the student population. This growth reflects the city's and the area's appeal to international students. The vibrant and upscale neighborhood of Östermalm in Stockholm is a locale increasingly favored by international students.

From its distinguished educational institutions to its rich cultural tapestry and lively social scene, Östermalm offers a unique blend of academic rigor and leisurely charm. In this comprehensive guide, we uncover why Östermalm stands out as a prime choice for students from around the globe seeking an enriching study experience in Sweden's capital city.

Check out our Östermalm listings on Hemavi!

What makes Östermalm a suitable city for international students?

Östermalm, a central district in Stockholm, is an appealing area for international students for several reasons:

  • Location and Educational Institutions: Östermalm is centrally located in Stockholm, offering easy access to various universities. It's in close proximity to prestigious institutions like the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, making it a convenient choice for students attending these universities.
  • Student Housing Options: Despite being one of the most expensive areas in Stockholm, Östermalm offers a range of student housing options, particularly near Norra Djurgården. These accommodations are provided by organizations like SSSB, which allocates apartments based on queuing days, and also by private individuals who rent out to students.
  • Outdoor Activities and Green Spaces: The area boasts a lot of green areas, like Norra Djurgården, offering outdoor activities such as biking, walking through forest trails, and visiting lakes. These amenities provide a balanced lifestyle for students, offering recreation and relaxation opportunities.
  • Commuting Convenience: Being in the heart of Stockholm, Östermalm has excellent public transport connections, making it easy for students to commute to different parts of the city, including various university campuses.
  • Food and Social Life: The area has numerous restaurants and cafés catering to a diverse range of tastes and budgets. This variety is particularly beneficial for students looking for affordable dining options.
  • Cultural and Global Environment: Östermalm is home to many embassies, adding to the international vibe of the area. This multicultural environment can be comforting and engaging for international students.

While Östermalm is indeed an attractive area for international students due to its location, amenities, and cultural diversity, the cost of living can be higher compared to other parts of the city. However, the availability of student housing and the area's overall charm and convenience make it a sought-after location for those studying in Stockholm.

What is the cost of living in Östermalm as an international student?

The cost of living in Östermalm, Stockholm for an international student can be broken down into various categories:

  • Accommodation: The rent in Östermalm, being a central and upscale area of Stockholm, can be quite high. For a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, you can expect to pay around 15,700 SEK per month. Prices for apartments outside of the center are slightly lower, averaging around 10,500 SEK per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Groceries and Food: The monthly expense on food and groceries can range between 2,000-3,000 SEK.
  • Hobbies and Entertainment: Costs for hobbies and entertainment can vary. For instance, a cinema ticket costs about 120 SEK. Gym subscriptions can be cheaper with student discounts, with prices around 900 SEK for a five-month subscription. Bouldering sessions are approximately 170 SEK, and a one-month subscription is around 400 SEK.
  • Overall Monthly Expenses: On average, an international student in Stockholm, including Östermalm, can expect to spend between 8,000 SEK and 13,500 SEK per month. This estimate encompasses accommodation, food, transportation, and other personal expenses.
  • Additional Academic Expenses: International students also need to account for academic-related expenses, which can include course materials, examination fees, and other study resources. These can average between 1,000 and 1,500 SEK per month.

Considering the higher cost of living in central Stockholm areas like Östermalm, it's advisable for international students to plan their budgets carefully and explore various options for accommodation and lifestyle choices that suit their financial capabilities. It's important to note that these costs can vary based on individual lifestyles and choices.

An approach to lowering living costs that is popular among students is to live in shared accommodation, where the rent, bills and utilities can be split between two or more roommates. If you're looking for shared accommodation in Östermalm, Hemavi can assist by matching you with roommates who share your lifestyle choices, and offers a streamlined fully digital scam-free process for private shared rentals across Sweden.

Photo by Lesley Williamson

How can I find accommodation in Östermalm as an international student?

Finding accommodation in Östermalm as an international student can be challenging due to the high demand and costs. However, here are some strategies and resources that can help:

  • University Resources: Check if your university offers housing services for international students. Universities often have dedicated offices or online portals for student housing.
  • Student Housing Organizations: Look into student housing organizations like SSSB (Stockholms studentbostäder), which is the largest provider of student housing in Stockholm. They operate on a queuing system, so it's advisable to register and start collecting queue days as early as possible.
  • Online Housing Portals: Utilize online housing portals and websites dedicated to accommodations suitable for students, such as Hemavi. These platforms list various types of accommodations including apartments, shared flats, and student dorms.
  • Social Media Groups: Join social media groups and forums where students share information about available accommodations. Platforms like Facebook have dedicated groups for housing in Stockholm where landlords and outgoing tenants post about available places.
  • Networking and Word-of-Mouth: Leverage your personal network. Ask friends, seniors, or alumni from your university if they know of any available accommodations. Sometimes, information about the best deals spreads through word-of-mouth.
  • Temporary Accommodations: Initially, you might need to stay in temporary accommodation like hostels or short-term rental apartments while you search for something more permanent. Websites like Airbnb or Hostelworld can be useful for this purpose.
  • Local Newspapers and Bulletin Boards: Don’t overlook traditional methods like checking local newspapers and bulletin boards in community centers or cafes for rental advertisements.
  • Be Prepared for High Demand: Given the high demand and the competitive nature of the housing market in Stockholm, especially in Östermalm, be prepared to act quickly when you find a suitable place. Have your documents and deposit ready.
  • Consider Neighboring Areas: If finding accommodation in Östermalm is too challenging or expensive, consider neighboring areas that are well connected by public transport but might be more affordable.

Östermalm, known for its affluent and upscale vibe, offers a variety of attractions that are popular among international students residing in the area. Here are some notable ones:

  • Djurgården: This island is a serene oasis in the city and is home to several of Stockholm's top museums and attractions, like Skansen (the world's oldest open-air museum) and the Vasa Museum, which houses a 17th-century ship.
  • Östermalm's Saluhall: A renowned food market offering a wide array of Swedish and international delicacies. It's a great place to experience Swedish cuisine and culture.
  • Royal National City Park: This vast park area is perfect for jogging, picnicking, and enjoying nature. It's a great spot for students to relax and take a break from their studies.
  • Strandvägen: A picturesque boulevard along the water, ideal for walks. It offers stunning views of the Stockholm archipelago and is lined with historic, beautiful buildings.
  • Stureplan: Known for its vibrant nightlife and exclusive clubs, Stureplan is a popular spot for students looking to experience Stockholm's nightlife.
  • The Royal Dramatic Theatre: For those interested in the performing arts, the Royal Dramatic Theatre offers a range of plays and performances, often including English subtitles.
  • Art Galleries and Museums: Östermalm is home to several art galleries and museums, showcasing everything from contemporary art to historical exhibits.
  • Shopping on Biblioteksgatan: This street is known for its high-end shopping, featuring both international brands and Swedish designers.
  • Humlegården: A historic park in Östermalm, perfect for a leisurely stroll, sports, or studying outdoors.
  • Archipelago Cruises: From Östermalm, you can easily access ferries for a day trip to the Stockholm Archipelago, a beautiful and relaxing getaway.

These attractions offer a mix of cultural, historical, recreational, and modern experiences, making Östermalm a dynamic and interesting area for international students to explore.


With its blend of prestigious educational opportunities, vibrant cultural scenes, and a plethora of attractions, Östermalm stands out as a top choice for those seeking both quality education and a dynamic lifestyle.

While the cost of living might be on the higher side, the value gained from residing in such an illustrious neighborhood is immense. From enjoying the serenity of green parks to engaging in the bustling nightlife, students have a myriad of ways to unwind and immerse themselves in Swedish culture.

For international students, living in Östermalm is not just about earning a degree; it's about creating memories that last a lifetime in one of Stockholm's most iconic neighborhoods.

The journey to finding suitable accommodation in Östermalm, although challenging, is a rewarding endeavor. And we can help with that! Check our listings on Hemavi, where you can be matched with roommates who share your living preferences and interests!