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My Sweden: 'Årsta isn't a part of the city tourists tend to explore'

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My Sweden: 'Årsta isn't a part of the city tourists tend to explore'
Catherine Edwards in Årsta, a peaceful, green district just a small distance from the hustle and bustle of the centre. Photo: Private
16:28 CEST+02:00
In a new series of guides, The Local's Members introduce each other to towns and neighbourhoods across Sweden through their own eyes and experiences. Today, The Local's own Europe Editor Catherine Edwards talks about life in Årsta.

Where in Sweden do you live? 

I live in Stockholm, in the southern neighbourhood of Årsta.

When and why did you move to your neighbourhood?

I've been in Stockholm for two and a half years now. The housing shortage in the Swedish capital means there's a waiting list of around ten years for one of the rent-controlled flats, so if you don't want to buy property, you end up in sublets which are usually short-term.

One advantage of this is that you get to experience different areas of the city; I've lived in Kungsholmen, Enskede, and Södermalm. I moved to Årsta in March 2018, mainly because I was able to find a longer than average rental contract on an apartment there, and also to try out living slightly outside the centre.

 

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What do you love the most about your neighbourhood?

The main advantage of living in Årsta is having a relaxed, more rural pace of life just a short distance from the city. It has a high number of green spots, including Årstafältet (soon to undergo major redevelopment) and the lovely Årsta Skog.

There's also a good community feel. In the main square, Årsta Torg, there are often market stalls and flea markets, and you'll find Folkets Hus, home to a cosy cinema with a retro atmosphere. In 2019 there will be even more going on than usual as Stockholm City Theatre is set to relocate there while its main hub, Kulturhuset, is renovated. 

A flea market in the main square.

Opposite is the library, in a building which also hosts events ranging from yoga and fitness classes to family activities, and the Årstabo cafe which is well worth visiting for fika. I can imagine the area appealing particularly to families with children, as there are so many playgrounds and schools close by.

What annoys you the most about your neighbourhood?

I moved from the more central Södermalm district, and in comparison Årsta has far fewer options for shopping, eating and drinking – the downside of the more peaceful lifestyle. The essentials are all there though.

Another potential downside is not being on the tunnelbana network; you can take the tram to connect to the two main lines or use the commuter train (which takes three minutes to get to the heart of Södermalm and around ten to the central train station), but if you're travelling late at night, it means relying on night buses.

How should I spend a day in your neighbourhood?

Årsta isn't a part of the city tourists tend to explore, but if you're based in Stockholm it's worth discovering the green spaces south of the centre. Årsta Skog really comes into its own in the autumn, when the trees turn deep shades of red, orange, and brown and you can walk by the waterside between Gullmarsplan and Liljeholmen. You might also catch a glimpse of some Swedish wildlife! At Liljeholmen, there are a few more options for food and drink as well as the Trekanten lake, which freezes over completely in winter – the city clears a path making it a good place to walk, skate, or ski. 


Årsta from over the water. Photo: Catherine Edwards

Although there aren't a huge number of restaurants in Årsta, the ones that are here are seem to be of very high quality. My favourite is the restaurant Il Risotto, one of the best places I've found for Italian food in Stockholm with very reasonable prices, and Två Små Svin offers Danish open sandwiches and a good beer selection to enjoy on one of Stockholm's most beautiful terraces. Alternatively, rumour has it that Palmyra is the place to go for Stockholm's tastiest kebab.

There are also a few cute cafes: Årstabo and Årsta Konditori in the centre, and if you cross Årstafältet you'll reach Gamla Östberga Bageri and Enskedeparkens Bageri.

What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your neighbourhood?

Look out for the sculptures around the area, especially near the main square. And Årstafältet is a good barbecue spot as well as catering for sporty Stockholmers – amateur teams in several sports come here for training and games.

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