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One of Stockholm’s most popular things to do is to explore the Stockholm subway art. Of course, with an overwhelming majority of the stations having some type of artistic design or installation, seeing all of them would be quite the feat! So, I’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you make the most of your time seeing some of the best Stockholm metro art.
Stockholm Subway Art Tour: A Step-by-Step Guide
Stockholm’s metro system has been dubbed the world’s longest art gallery and for good reason! 90 of its 100 subway stations are decorated over the span of 60+miles with murals, tilework, mosaics, sculptures and more. What’s particularly interesting for Stockholm visitors is the artwork has been completed by more than 150 different artists. This means each station has its own artistic design, its own vibe, and its own meaning.
Even better is the motivation behind the subway art installations. The Stockholm underground art movement was fueled by the Swedish art community. They strongly believed in public art because of its accessibility to everyone, not just those who could buy art or afford to visit museums. It was this push that finally convinced lawmakers to consider more than just typical advertisements on the walls.
Where does a Stockholm subway art tour fit into my Stockholm itinerary?
There are so many things to do in Stockholm, but it’s easy to fit a couple of hours of subway art into your Stockholm plan. Stroll the morning away in Gamla Stan and visit the Royal Palace, then spend a couple of hours just past mid-day on your own subway art circuit before taking a fika break.
Or, you could even visit Drottningholm Palace in the morning and return by subway, starting your subway art adventure from Brommaplan on the Green line.
You could also see a couple of stations each day by planning out where your travels will take you and knowing which of those stations have art you’d like to see.
No matter what, though, check the weather during your Stockholm visit. A subway art adventure is especially perfect for rainy or chilly days.
When should I tour the Stockholm subway?
The best time to tour the Stockholm subway is outside of peak commuting times. Makes sense right? You want to see the art and take photos of the stations and not have to worry about crowds. Think in between 11 am and 3 pm. Otherwise, weekdays after the evening rush hour and weekends will also have fewer people.
How long will it take to see Stockholm’s subway art?
That all depends on how many stations you’d like to see. If your plan is to see just a few stations along the same line, an hour 0r so will be fine. But, if you’d like to subway hop around to stations on different lines, set aside 2 hours. You’ll need to wait for trains and have time to explore each station.
Keep in mind your Stockholm metro ticket determines how long you can stay in the subway. If you have a 24-hour, 72-hour or 7-day pass, you have unlimited use of the subway, bus, tram, and some ferries during the time your pass is valid. However, If you have just a 75-minute single use ticket, then you’re limited to that time. It’s possible to encounter random spot checks where you’ll need a valid ticket to exit or else risk a hefty fine.
How do you get around in the Stockholm Subway?
Stockholm’s subway system is one of the simplest public transportation systems to navigate. There are just a few lines and the computerized signs and announcements make it easy to see when the next train will arrive and to hear which station is next.
If you’re traveling to the furthest stations on a particular line, the most important thing to check is the final destination on the train. It must match the final station on the line you need or else it’s the wrong train. For example, the Blue Line splits and only the train with the final stop of Akalla stops at Solna Centrum. With a Stockholm subway map in hand or a subway app on your phone, you’ll clearly see these splits.
What are the best Stockholm Subway art stations to see?
I’ve listed the stations in the order shown on the Stockholm Metro map. In some cases, there will be stations in between those listed. At a glance, you can see the Blue Line has the most stations to visit, but don’t let that fool you. Skipping the stations on the Red and Green Lines would mean missing out some gorgeous subway art! Keep reading for step-by-step directions on touring all of these stations.
What’s the best way to do a DIY Stockholm Subway Art tour?
Assuming you’d like your Stockholm metro art tour to include all of the stations listed above, start at Kungsträdgarden. It’ll be possible to do a bit of a loop this way.
Kungsträdgarden means “Kings Garden” and is one of the prettiest stations in Stockholm. The design commemorates a royal palace and a formal French garden which once stood at street level.
Because Kungsträdgarden is the end of the Blue Line, you’ll have just one direction to go from here. Take the Blue Line to T-Centralen, Stockholm’s main subway station.
I’m convinced T-Centralen is designed to steal hearts! First-time visitors can’t help but be wowed by the bright blue and white platform with its flower and leaf design.
After taking a little time to explore T-Centralen, get on a Red Line train toward Mörby Centrum. Stop at each of the following stations, Östermalmstorg, Stadion, Tekniska Högskolan, Universitetet, and Mörby Centrum.
From sketches to optical illusions to wall-to-ceiling murals, the Red Line has some of the most photogenic art in all of Stockholm’s subway stations.
When you’re finished, ride the Red Line back to T-Centralen and switch to the Blue Line toward Akalla. You’ll want to stop at each of these Blue Line stations, Rådhuset, Solna Centrum, Hallonbergen. In particular, Solna Centrum has to be the most striking subway art with its bright red walls.
Because the Blue Line splits, you’ll need to route back on the Blue Line in the direction of Kungsträdgarden to a station called Västra Skogen. Here you can switch to a Blue Line train heading toward Hjulsta which will allow you to see the remaining Blue Line stations, Solna Strand and Tensta.
After this, head back on the Blue Line, again toward Kungsträdgarden, and switch to the Green Line at Fridhemsplan. Go one station in the direction of Alvik, Äkeshov, or Hässelby Strand to Thorildsplan. You won’t want to miss this station’s throwback video game tile design!
Finish up by taking the Green Line train toward T-Centralen, stopping at Odenplan and Hötorget along the way.
Of course, you could take each subway line and do them separately as your time allows. Or as suggested above, do this itinerary in reverse starting from Brommaplan on the Green Line after a morning spent at Drottningholm Palace.
Either way, save time in your itinerary for this distinctly Stockholm activity!
So, have you seen Stockholm’s subway art? Which station is your favorite?
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