Looking for fun things to do with your dog in Stockholm, Sweden? Keep on sniffing!
As the capital of Sweden, Stockholm is the most populous city in Scandinavia and home to 14 islands and over 50 bridges. Swedish meatballs, creamy “glass,” ABBA, and massive royal palaces – I’m only barking a few things I love about this graceful yet modern city. Sniff out my list of things to do with your dog in Stockholm, Sweden:
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As with any world-class city, Stockholm boasts many fantastically diverse neighborhoods – worthy of your dog’s wet nose to conduct a thorough investigation. Here are some of my suggestions:
Gamla Stan – Founded in the 13th Century, the popular island of Gamla Stan is the city’s fabulous Old Town. Although it’s considered tourist central, Gamla Stan is still worth a visit with your furry traveler. I enjoy making my mark on the main streets of Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan, where I wag my tail to their medieval vibe, cobblestone streets, classical live music, and colorfully unique buildings. From traditional Swedish restaurants to cozy cafes to trendy boutiques, I found most of them to be dog-accepting. YAY!
Norrmalm – Located in the central part of Stockholm, Norrmalm is a lively commercial area enriched with the local culture. In this neighborhood, you and your dog traveler will stumble upon fashion, design, arts, public squares, and urban parks. Gosh, I love this neighborhood! My go-to park is Kungsträdgården (Kungsan) – the enchanting King’s Garden, where outdoor restaurants, cafes, gardens, green spaces, and public plaza set off a jovial atmosphere.
Östermalm – Separated from Norrmalm by the long street Birger Jarlsgatan, Östermalm is one of Stockholm’s wealthiest neighborhoods. This upscale district is home to the most expensive shopping district of Bibliotekstan and the royal park island of Djurgården where the famous ABBA Museum calls home. But be intimidated by its luxurious vibe – this bustling neighborhood is worth exploring with your dog. I especially love sniffing out their historical redbrick food market Östermalm Saluhall, which offers fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood, and gourmet food.
Södermalm – Besides boutiques, cute cafes, and bridges, the island of Södermalm also owns bragging rights to Monteliusvägen and Fjällgatan, some of the highest points in the city with scenic views that will tilt any dog’s head (guilty!). Once considered a poor neighborhood, Södermalm is now top dog cool after gentrification. Hornstull is one of the hippest areas here, which is a known paradise for hipsters. Mariatorget is also a fun spot to mark up; it’s a busy square and city park with iconic statues, a central fountain, and numerous outdoor cafes and bars.
Hang out at a Dog-Friendly Pub
Bringing your dog inside a bar or pub in Stockholm is often hit or miss (probably more of a hit than a miss). At Movitz (Tyska brinken 34) in Gamla Stan, I wasn’t just warmly welcomed inside but was also hand-fed treats by a dog-loving bartender. However, just right outside a nearby pub (name undisclosed), a power-trippin’ security guard violently grabbed my human on the back merely because “no dogs are allowed.” They didn’t have any signs, btw and such use of force is completely unjust and unnecessary. Hence, it appears that dog entry to pubs is solely up to the discretion of the staff. But don’t be discouraged – I’ve found that more watering holes along with restaurants are dog-friendly than not.
Mingle with the Swedish Dogs
As an ultra gregarious dog, I am always ready to mingle with those furry Swedes! Since Stockholm is one of the greenest and dog-friendliest cities in the world, your dog will surely lead you to a myriad of city parks and green spaces to chase after some furry butts. In addition to parks that allow dogs, dog parks exist within larger parks. All parks here are generally well-maintained and clean so be sure to clean up after your dog. Here are 4 of my many stomping grounds where I like to bark Hallå to my canine Swedes:
Kungsträdgården – Located in Norrmalm, this urban park in the historical royal gardens is one of the city’s oldest public parks. Due to its central location, Kungsträdgården is a popular meeting place with outdoor cafes and restaurants. It also hosts numerous events throughout the year.
Djugården – ARF, located in Östermalm, this small island in the middle of Stockholm is a place to marvel and socialize with your dog. Formerly the Royal Game Park (created especially for the royal family), Djugården now boasts amusement parks, landscaped gardens, cultural museums, art galleries, and endless green spaces. Even though dogs can’t go inside the famed ABBA Museum, I can take my time roaming around the exterior grounds and sniffing out the surrounding natural beauty.
Tantolunden – Located in the southern part of central Stockholm in Södermalm, Tantolunden is a massive urban park near the hip neighborhood of Hornstull. With excellent picnic spots, waterfront walkways, and a large dog park, this oasis is one happening place year-round for both humans and dogs.
Mariatorget – Formerly Adolf Fredriks Square, the enchanting Mariatorget’s main attraction is a central fountain called “Thor’s Fishing,” which depicts the Viking God Thor. Also residing in Södermalm, Mariatorget a.k.a. Maria Square is a lively public square and city park with plenty of outdoor cafes, bars, and shops – making it the perfect place for the single furries (and humans) to mingle.
Watch the Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace
Since 1523, the royal guard has been stationed at the royal Stockholm Palace. Even though dogs aren’t allowed inside the palace, they are welcome to walk around the stunning palace grounds and watch the “Changing of the Guard” with their humans. This 40-minute dog-friendly event starts at 12:15 pm on weekdays and 1:15 pm on Sundays in the royal courtyard (although the times may vary slightly during the winter months). During the peak months, you may want to get there a little early for a better view. Look at me squeezing through for a peep!
Take a Fika or grab desserts
In Stockholm, a visit is not complete without taking a “Fika” or trying a cone of “glass” with your dog. Here’s a quick Swedish vocab lesson – “Fika” means a coffee break, “Kaffe” means coffee, and “glass” means ice cream. Just a note that “Fika” means more than just a regular coffee break. Essentially, it’s an integral part of the Swedish daily culture where the Swedes socialize with each other over Kaffe (coffee) and chops-lickin’ sweets like kanelbulle (Swedish cinnamon buns) and chokladbollar (Swedish chocolate balls). Luckily, most cafes and dessert shops either accept dogs inside or on their outdoor patio. WOOF, after hopping around various cafes and dessert shops with my humans, I can bark out with an upright tail that the Swedes undeniably take their Fika and sweets seriously. After all, they are the world’s biggest devourers of sweets and Europe’s biggest consumers of ice cream.
My go-to cafe is Cafe Nova in Gamla Stan (Järntorget 82); however, after several dog-welcoming Fikas on their lovely outdoor back patio, I was suddenly advised that dogs weren’t allowed on my last visit. 🙁 Nonetheless, I still love this cafe. Again, dog-friendliness seems to be hit or miss depending on the staff of the hour.
Island Hop the Stockholm Archipelago
ARF, the Stockholm Archipelago is the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea with 24,000 islands! Since dogs are allowed on ferries (as long as they’re leashed or inside a carrier), island hopping or cruising around the archipelago with your dog is practically a must. I love the cute castle town of Vaxholm (on the island of Vaxön) and Grinda, a tranquil island known for beaches and outdoor activities.
Walk along Skeppsbron
In Swedish, Skeppsbron is called The Ship’s Bridge. Located in Gamla Stan, Skeppsbron is a major waterfront walkway and quay for docking ships in the city. With a rich history dating back to the 17th Century, Skeppsbron is fabulously lined with 24 picturesque colored buildings. Since I stayed nearby, I frequented this place for a nice long stroll, some thorough investigative sniffs, and pretty waterfront pictures.
Practical Info for Traveling with Your Dog in Stockholm, Sweden
Swedish Dog Laws
The best part about being in Sweden is knowing that the Swedes lead the pack for animal rights. This compassionate country has the strictest animal welfare protection laws in the world, particularly regarding humane and equal treatment towards dogs and cats. In Sweden and neighboring Finland, crating your dog is ILLEGAL unless it’s done so for temporary reasons, e.g. transportation. As dogs are to be treated as equal members of the family, they must be taken out for exercise or relief at least once every 6 hours. In addition, dogs and cats who are kept indoors must have access to a window view that allows sunlight. Furthermore, outdoor dogs must have access to both sunny and shaded areas along with protection against extreme weather. The abandonment of dogs, cats, and other domestic animals is also prohibited.
In addition to ferries, dogs are allowed on other public transportation modes – buses, metro, and trams. As long as they’re leashed or inside a carrier, dogs can travel for free.
In addition to my usual transportation by paws, I took several Uber rides around the city and to/from Stockholm Arlanda airport without any issues. 🙂
In Stockholm, dog-friendly accommodations are ubiquitous, but you may have to pay a daily or weekly fee for your dog’s stay.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO SWEDEN FROM THE U.S. WITH A DOG:
ARF, are you ready to travel to Stockholm, Sweden with your dog? Since I was already traveling throughout Europe at the time, I flew from Amsterdam Schiphol to Stockholm Arlanda, which took an effortless 3 hours inside my carrier.
If you and your dog are flying from the United States, you will be entering Sweden as you would in any country in the E.U. (European Union). For dog import requirements, you’ll need a visit to an accredited veterinarian for the following:
E.U. Health Certificate
Rabies vaccination (or proof of vaccination if your dog already has one. Vaccination must be at least 21 days prior to entry)
ISO-compliant 15-digit Microchip (rabies vaccination must be administered after your dog is micro-chipped, NOT before)
Besides acquiring the required paperwork for dog travel, it’s also imperative that your dog gets a thorough examination from the vet to ensure that he/she is healthy enough to fly.
Once you’ve obtained the E.U. Health Certificate from the veterinarian, you must then get the paperwork endorsed by your local APHIS Veterinary Services Office. Your dog must arrive in the E.U. within 10 days from the date that the USDA Accredited Veterinarian signs the health certificate.
Before you book the flight for your dog with a pet-friendly airline (prepare to pay a fee, usually around $125-200 USD one way depending on the airline), sniff out my expert guide on how to travel with your dog.
HOW TO RETURN TO THE U.S. WITH A DOG:
Typically, to return to the U.S., your dog must appear healthy and have a valid rabies vaccination certificate. However, there may be additional requirements based on the state you’re flying into, which may be stricter than federal regulations. Always check the APHIS website for the latest info.
Once you and your dog arrive in Sweden (or anywhere in the E.U.), you can take your dog to an accredited veterinarian to exchange your existing E.U. Health Certificate for an E.U. Pet Passport. The Pet Passport especially comes in handy if you plan on returning to the E.U. with your dog in the future.
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob