Copenhagen is the home of hygge. There is no exact word for it in English, but it conveys the idea of comfort, coziness, and charm and applies to any situation, whether at home or out, with friends, family, or alone. An example would be sitting by the fire when it's snowing out with a loving partner, a good book, a cuddly blanket or sweater, and a cup of tea or coffee.
After you've been comforted to the max and checked out Copenhagen's former royal palaces, museums, and gardens, it's a relatively easy trip to Stockholm, which exudes a different vibe, despite their shared Nordic roots. Stockholm boasts that it is a place where you find new perspectives and different ideas. It's a mind-opening city that's all about new experiences.
You can travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm in several different ways. If you're booking in advance, the train is likely to be the most convenient and the cheapest way. For last-minute trips, you may be stuck with the grueling bus ride. Flying is the quickest option, and low-cost airlines occasionally have super deals. If you can't decide which way you like best, you can go to Stockholm via one option and return to Copenhagen via another.
How to Get from Copenhagen to Stockholm
- Train: 5 hours, 30 minutes, from $20
- Flight: 1 hour, 15 minutes, from $68
- Bus: 9 hours, 15 minutes, from $32
- Car: 7 hours, 408 miles (657 kilometers)
A high-speed train connects Copenhagen and Stockholm, shuttling passengers from one city center to the other in about five and a half hours. Trains leave Copenhagen and cross the massive Öresund Bridge into Malmo, Sweden, before continuing on to Stockholm, almost flying over the water before descending into an underwater tunnel.
Trains are reserved on Sweden's rail service, SJ. Ticket prices for the high-speed train start at 195 Swedish krona, or about $20, potentially making it the cheapest method of transport between these two Nordic capitals. However, you have to book tickets for weekday trips and weeks in advance to take advantage of those prices, as the trains quickly get more and more expensive. A last-minute ticket can exponentially increase in price, costing up to $150 for second-class seats. If you're flexible with your travel dates, look around at different days to score the best deals.
If you plan to continue traveling by train—perhaps to Oslo or other Northern European destinations—it may be worth getting the Eurail Pass, allowing you to travel a set number of days on trains across the continent.
You can fly to Stockholm from Copenhagen and back via a direct flight, and they are offered daily. It takes about one hour and 15 minutes to fly between these two cities, making it the quickest travel option. However, once you factor in getting to and from the airport, going through security, and waiting at your gate, taking a plane is only marginally faster than taking the train.
Pay close attention to the fine print of your flight details before booking, as the cheapest tickets usually come from low-cost airlines with strict rules and few amenities. Airlines like Norwegian Air charge extra even for flying with a carry-on bag, so add up all of your costs and fees before making your purchase.
The arduous ride from Copenhagen to Stockholm via bus lasts over nine hours, with a couple of different buses that leave throughout the day by FlixBus. You can choose to depart in the early or mid-morning and be on the bus all day, or leave at night and arrive in Stockholm early the next morning (with the steep costs of lodging in Scandinavia, this may be the best option for budget travelers). It's not the most comfortable way to get to Stockholm, but if you're making last-minute travel plans it may be the only affordable option. Definitely take a look at trains and flights before making arrangements on the bus; you may just get lucky and find a deal.
Buses leave you at the Stockholm Cityterminalen bus depot, which is conveniently located downtown adjacent to the Central Train Station and easily accessible to the rest of the city.
Renting a car isn't the cheapest or fastest option for getting to Stockholm, but it's the only way that gives you the freedom to stop and explore the vast Swedish countryside and charming little towns you'd otherwise pass right through. The entire journey takes about seven hours if you drive without breaks, but if you have time to stop for a night along the route, it's a great way to break up the drive and experience a completely different aspect of Swedish culture from what you'll find in Stockholm.
If you're traveling with a group and can split the cost of the rental and gas, then driving becomes a much more affordable option as well. Sweden doesn't use toll roads on its national highways, but there is one toll for crossing the Öresund Bridge—a whopping $60. Also, if you aren't planning to return to Copenhagen, rental companies often charge hefty fees for dropping off a vehicle in a different country from where you picked it up.
What to See in Stockholm
One of Northern Europe's hippest cities, Stockholm offers something for all ages and tastes. If you're into history, you can board a real 17th-century ship at the Vasa Museum that sank and was later rediscovered. For a cultural experience, witness the daily changing of the guard in front of the Royal Palace before entering to tour its 600 rooms. Art lovers can explore one of the city's many museums or just head down into the metro, which has been dubbed "the world's longest art exhibit" and includes works from over 150 artists. Once the sun goes down, check out Stockholm's one-of-a-kind nightlife scene by visiting a live music lounge or a sub-zero ice bar.
Even though you're crossing an international border, Denmark and Sweden are both part of the Schengen Zone, which means free passage should be allowed between the two countries without any additional border checks. However, since 2016, Sweden has enforced passport checks when entering the country. Have your passport—and visa if you need one—handy when crossing the Öresund Bridge, whether by car, train, or bus; Swedish immigration officials will likely ask for it.