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The eight real 'no-go' zones in Stockholm

The Local · 4 Feb 2016, 16:22

Published: 04 Feb 2016 12:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2016 16:22 GMT+01:00

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The UK's Express newspaper recently described Sweden's main train station as a "no-go zone", while according to the Daily Mail, "all-male migrant teen gangs are spreading terror" there.

However as The Local reported on Tuesday, police argued visitors should not be worried about their safety. Judging by our Facebook page, not all of you agreed. But we also had plenty of messages from readers who were angry and upset about sensationalist reporting on Sweden lately. If you're one of them, this is for you.

Put the complex refugee debate to one side for 10 minutes, and check out our alternative guide to Stockholm's best-avoided spots.

1. Systembolaget at 2.55pm on a Saturday

Sweden's state-run alcohol monopoly shuts up for the entire weekend at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. Cue plenty of jostling in the aisles and a long queue at any counter if you're among those disorganised enough to leave your shop until the last minute. Already got a hangover from the night before? Welcome to the shopping trip from hell. 


Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

2. Slussen, without a map

How many bridges, walkways, underground tunnels, cobbled side streets and steep hidden staircases does one neighbourhood need? Slussen, which connects Stockholm's historic old town to the hipster island of Södermalm is a minefield for newcomers and locals alike. Prepare to get lost.


Photo: Janerik Eriksson

3. Trädgården night club at 11pm on a hot summer's night

Oh those balmy summer nights in Sweden. All five of them. When it's warm and the sun doesn't set until past 10pm, Stockholmers love to party. But with only a few large outdoor venues in the city, you could find yourself waiting in line for up to two hours to get into the best of them, especially Trädgården in Skanstull. The upside is that sunshine seems to be a cure for Swedish shyness, so at least you might make some mates in the queue.


Photo: Husunderbron/Facebook

4. Terminal 2 at Arlanda airport more than an hour before your flight

Swedish efficiency means that trains and buses to Stockholm's biggest airport usually run on time and there's rarely a long line at security. Great news! Except when you get to the other side and there is absolutely nothing to do except buy a ridiculously expensive beer or coffee. The duty free shop is tiny and probably still pricier than wherever you're heading. Take a good book or prepare for serious boredom.


Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

5. Gamla Stan's pubs at dinner time

Stockholm's old town may be stunning, but it is also a tourist trap. Whereas a pub meal is often a cheap option in many cities, you could easily find yourself paying 200 kronor ($24) for a very average burger in this area. Head to nearby Södermalm for cheaper options or better quality dishes at a similar cost (that's if you can find your way through Slussen first).


Photo:  Fredrik Sandberg/TT

6. A taxi by yourself after midnight

Safety issues aside (it's common sense in all major cities not to travel alone when it gets late), a solo taxi ride home from a night out in Stockholm could wipe out your entire socialising budget for the following week. Already expensive prices shoot up after midnight, whether you're using a local taxi firm or an app like Uber.


Photo: Bertil Ericsson/TT

7. Lake Mälaren on foot when it's above freezing

Yes you can ice skate or even walk between Kungsholmen and Södermalm islands in Stockholm during the winter. But do you realise just how cold you'll get if you fall through the ice?

Do not attempt this challenge unless you are absolutely certain the ice is thick, and you know what to do if you do get stuck (tip: check out our video guide to staying safe on the ice).


Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

8. Stureplan on Midsummer's Eve 

Looking forward to a long holiday weekend of partying in the Swedish capital when summer finally arrives? Be warned, you might be the only one there. Swedes love to celebrate their favourite national festival in the countryside. Stockholm will be empty, except for tourists. Start making friends with someone who has a summer house. Now.


Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

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