Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden
Photo by: Svetlana Bykova (Stock Exchange)

Good day to all! As planned, today’s Disabled Travelers blog will visit Stockholm in today’s post as part two of my upcoming European odyssey. The city of Stockholm is home to over 20% of Sweden’s population and is spread across 14 islands on a very wide area. Handicapped travelers might expect some trouble navigating under such conditions, but as the second-most-visited city in all of Scandinavia, Stockholm is a model of modern excellence for travelers of all kinds.

Four commercial airports serve the Stockholm area, and their exact location can be confusing. If you are using budget airlines, beware of Stockholm-Skavsta, which is a full 60 miles south of the city itself. While all Stockholm area airports have mobility impaired access and other useful features for the hard-of-hearing and visually impaired, it can be difficult finding wheelchair taxis or other transport to get to the city.

Following are the airports and their pages for travelers with disabilities:

Arlanda (23 miles north)

Bromma (about 5 miles west)

Skavsta (60 miles south)

Västerås (70 miles west)

According to the official Internet gateway of Sweden, there’s a far-reaching plan to improve accessibility and become the most disability-friendly European capital by 2010; unfortunately, that article is from 2006! So let’s see if they accomplished their goal … the official Stockholm visitor site has a useful access guide to the city, and also issues manuals to business owners about how to improve access. The Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, one of the country’s leading handicapped organizations, has good news about public transport and assistive devices. Services, wheelchair accessible attractions, and walking tours operated by volunteers are discussed on this page.

Sweden is one of the few major European economies that still maintains its own currency separate from the Euro. This makes things a little bit more complicated if you’re traveling through multiple countries, but it also means that the typical tourists’ budget stretches a little further here. If you’ll be staying a while, there’s no reason not to aim for top of the line hotels in central Stockholm, convenient to rail services.

TVTrip showcases over 80 wheelchair accessible hotels in the area. Hotels Stockholm Online is devoted to area hotels, and the Radisson Blu Viking is one of the city’s top-rated and most central hotels, located only a short distance from several historic landmarks. Also check out the Intercontinental Grand Hotel and Courtyard Stockholm. On the flip side, beware of budget hotel chains offering accommodations for only 1-2 people per room, which are fairly common in the city and do not offer enough space for wheelchair users. There are also many hostels not equipped to service visitors with special needs.

For info on wheelchair accessible attractions, browse Things to See in Stockholm. A complete access guide is available at Accessible Sweden, which has information on wheelchair accessible cruises through the Stockholm Archipelago, among many other enchanting sights and tour options. Cultural sites, events, and festivals are covered by the Kulturforvaltningen Access Guide. Also read the fairly recent blog post Stockholm With a Wheelchair for some street-level perspective.

That’s it for Stockholm, at least until I visit there in person and follow up! In our next post we’ll be following my itinerary with a visit to Krakow, the second largest city in Poland. We may also stop over in Warsaw, the capital, for a little while. After that, my trip returns to some great places we’ve seen and done before here on Disabled Travelers: Dublin and London — so it’ll be about time for a quick review. From there, I’ve got some more Western European destinations in mind, and a few more “small countries.” Adventure on!


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Comment by trina brand

Posted on May 11th, 2010

My husband uses a walker and needs a scooter.Are scooters available in Europe/

Comment by Si

Posted on May 12th, 2010

Hi, Trina,

While it’s definitely my inclination to say that scooters are available in Europe, the availability and how easy they are to use will to depend a very great deal on what areas you travel through. I have definitely seen mobility scooters in the United Kingdom and would venture to say that most public transit options accommodate them; but conditions vary from country to country and from region to region. If you have more information on your travel plans, I can definitely look into it for you; otherwise, check back soon for a future post where I’ll try to do a country-by-country breakdown on scooters.


Comment by Beth

Posted on July 8th, 2011

So my husband and I (are Americans and) may be asked to visit Stockholm for a business trip. My husband walks short distances (around the house) with a walker, but for longer distances needs a mobility scooter. I wonder how your travels went as far as sidewalk ramps and roll-in showers at the hotels etc. Also, any suggestions on how to arrange rental of a mobility scooter would be great. My husband works for a big corporation, so their travel staff will book the flight and hotel for us, but then it’s on us to make sure things will actually work, accessibility-wise, and we don’t speak or read Swedish, so any advice would be great!


Comment by Si

Posted on July 14th, 2011

Hi, Beth,

I’m out of town right now with limited internet access, but I’ll be in touch with a detailed response to your query soon.

Thanks for reading!