While Scandinavia is some way down on the list of potential destinations for digital nomads and remote workers, largely for cost reasons, living in Sweden has many benefits and there are plenty of good options there in terms of finding a new base. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the best cities and cheapest places to live in Sweden.
5 of the Best Cities to Live in Sweden & Work Remotely
Sweden’s major cities all have something to offer and for many people, the capital Stockholm easily ranks as the most appealing destination.
With around 2.4 million people living in its metropolitan area, Stockholm is the largest city in not just Sweden but all of Scandinavia. Big city lovers need look no further in truth and it has comfortably the widest range of options when it comes to everything from bars and restaurants to museums and cultural attractions.
Situated on the Stockholm archipelago, the city is made up of many different islands, most of which have their own unique character. Heading to the suburbs and beyond, you will also discover Stockholm is actually a great place for nature lovers too and it has been ranked as one of the most beautiful places in the country.
While some locals will also argue that Stockholm is far from the authentic Swedish experience, the main downside to living in the city is the cost, particularly when it comes to renting accommodation. Stockholm is one the most expensive cities in Europe to rent accommodation in alongside the likes of Dublin, which features in our rundown of the best cities to live in Ireland. You can expect to pay the equivalent of 1000 Euros per month or more if you want your own flat in Stockholm while you’ll struggle to find a decent room in a flatshare for less than 500.
Estimated Living Costs (explanation below) – 1250-2000 Euros/month (12500-20000 Krona)
For a more affordable and altogether quieter option, you may want to consider Ostersund, a small city in the historic province of Jamtland in Central Sweden.
It takes around 5 hours by the fastest trains to reach Ostersund from Stockholm (Sweden is a much larger country than many realise!), so you will be a little bit isolated in terms of having easy access to anything like a major city. However you can make huge savings in terms of living costs with Ostersund among the cheapest places to rent in Sweden with average rental prices around 50% less than in the capital.
Despite having a population of only around 50,000, there is a bit more life to the city than you might imagine with a large student population of around 7,000 at the Mid Sweden University. Truth be told though, the main reason to come to Ostersund is for easy access to the surrounding lakes and nature reserves. If you don’t mind the cold (temperatures drop below zero most days between November and April), it’s a nice place to “get away from it all”.
Estimated Living Costs – 950-1450 Euros/month (9500-14500 Krona)
Sweden’s second city is a legitimate rival to Stockholm for anyone looking to lead an urban lifestyle but also have easy access to the coast and another large archipelago of small, pretty islands.
One of the best things about Gothenburg is its outstanding, eco-friendly public transport network which makes getting around the city very simple. With a transport pass, you can not only ride the trams, buses and trains around the city and into its suburbs, but also hop on ferries to the nearby islands without paying any extra.
It’s also a good destination for people who enjoy a somewhat alternative or even rebellious vibe. Rundown neighbourhoods and industrial areas have been renovated and reborn as hubs of Swedish design, arts, music and food. Nowhere is this more evident than the old, working class district of Haga which has been transformed into one of the most popular areas for both locals and visitors alike.
Estimated Living Costs – 1100-1700 Euros/month (11000-17000 Krona)
For those put off by the high price of accommodation in Stockholm, but keen to live close to the Swedish capital, Uppsala is a great option.
Located only 70 km to the north, there are extremely regular train connections taking just 40 minutes to get from Uppsala’s Central Station to the heart of Stockholm. Arlanda Airport, the largest in Sweden, lies midway between the two cities making Uppsala a good location for anyone who will be travelling frequently and wants easy access to an airport with good international links.
You ought to be able to comfortably save an extra 200-300 Euros per month by living in Uppsala as opposed to Stockholm with rental prices around 40-50% less. A pretty riverside city, Uppsala is another university town with a rich history. It has some nice parks and a cycle-friendly layout and while not anywhere near as varied as Stockholm, it does have some good options in terms of nightlife, even during the week although much of that is geared towards students.
Estimated Living Costs – 1100-1650 Euros/month (11000-16500 Krona)
Finally we head south to Malmo which has the mildest climate of any of the five cities featured in this post on the best places to live in Sweden – although it does still get very cold during the winter months.
Malmo is Sweden’s third largest city after Stockholm and Gothenburg. It perhaps doesn’t have quite as many obvious charms as those two cities but one major advantage is its location within the Øresund Region which encompasses the Danish capital Copenhagen as well as Malmo and its surrounding area. The two cities are connected in about 30-45 minutes by the iconic Øresund Bridge meaning you can easily spend the afternoon in Sweden and the evening in Denmark or vice-versa.
Slightly more affordable than Gothenburg and much cheaper than Stockholm, Malmo ranks among the best places to live in Sweden for anyone looking for both a relatively lively city base and affordability. It’s also perhaps the most diverse city in all of Scandinavia having accepted large numbers of refugees from the Middle East and Eastern Europe, giving it a slightly different feel to some of the more “Swedish” cities further north.
Estimated Living Costs – 1050-1600 Euros/month (10500-16000 Krona)
Estimated Living Costs Calculation:
To help calculate the cost of living in Sweden and the cities featured in this post, we’ve used the data on the excellent Numbeo as a guide. This information is collected from actual residents in each of these cities although it’s perhaps slightly less reliable for the smaller cities with smaller populations.
The estimated living cost calculations above and in the table below aim to cover the total living costs including the cost of renting accommodation, which can be very high in Sweden. Those looking for flatshares and more interested in the cost of living in Sweden for international students may want to use the lower figure. Digital nomads who may only be spending a few months in the country, particularly those looking to rent their own flat, may want to veer more towards or even above the upper figure if you want a bit more luxury.
It’s worth noting that none of these budgets for living in Sweden factor in the cost of any travel or health insurance packages. These will vary depending on your personal circumstances, nationality and ability to access free healthcare in Europe.
What are the Cheapest Cities to Live in Sweden?
The following table shows the estimated cost of living in 10 of the largest cities in Sweden:
|City||Estimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros)|
As you can see, the likes of Norrkoping, Jonkoping and Helsingborg rank amongst the cheapest cities to live in Sweden, at least as far as the biggest 10-15 are concerned. You can find cheaper living costs but might need to head out into a small town way off the beaten track to do so.
The main takeaway here is that Stockholm is by some distance the most expensive city in Sweden. Otherwise, there’s not a huge amount of variation and there are only relatively marginal savings to be made by choosing one of the smaller cities over somewhere like Gothenburg or Malmo.
Read More: Cheapest places to live in the Netherlands