Over the decades Sweeden has provided us with two major social inspirations - equal marriage and Abba. Sweden is one of the most socially and politically progressive countries in the world and one of the first nations to legally recognize gay marriage. It also brought us Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid in the form of Waterloo during the Eurovision Song Contest. Two of our reporters Adrian Gillan and Andrew Collins have been to Stockholm to enjoy the Smörgåsbord of delights that this city offers.
The Venice of the North: grand architecture built on islands, cleaved by canals, joined by bridges. Stockholm's gay scene is spread throughout the city like splattered pearls, but especially in Södermalm & Gamla Stan districts. And Swedish men are a glory to behold: initially reserved, yet animals in bed, reports OutUK's Adrian Gillan.
Stockholm City Hall - Henrik Trygg


Just east of centre the Modern Art Museum on Skeppsholmen brims with everything from Picasso to present day arty pants. Over the water from the Warhols, Vasamuseet at Galärvarvsvägen 14 features a perfectly-preserved, 400-year old warship which sadly sank in Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage, along with many crew. Magnificent and ghostly, it exceeds expectations! The Nobel Museum on Börshuset in Stortorget opened in 2001 to celebrate a centenary of Nobel Prizes and is full of constantly-changing, inspirational exhibits.

Near the main railway station, ICEBAR Stockholm in the Hotel C Stockholm at Vasaplan 4 is made of ice - and so is the glass that your drink is served in. The bar has has a constant temperature of -5°C (23°F) and room for up to 60 people. Your entry fee includes a drink and a 45 minute visit. Children are welcome, and are served a colorful non-alcoholic drink. All visitors borrow an ice cape and a pair of gloves to keep themselves warm and to protect the ice from their body heat. This is not just a drink in a bar in central Stockholm – it’s a slice of northern Sweden’s polar magic and a totally unique experience. You are greeted with cool crisp air, a beautiful and unique interior, artistic design and a memory for life.

The hotel also offers a delicious night out with cold drinks and warm food, and on the terrace they offer regular Ice Sculpting classes for about 45–60 minutes. 10–50 people work in teams of two and the objective is to create an art piece out of ice. Stockholm isn't just about being cold and playing with ice! For other water activities why not take in the city's myriad of surrounding islands from the water on an Archipelago boat tour. There are regular departures from Stromkajen, outside the Grand Hotel.


Super trouper! Check out chic modern Rival Hotel, part of a café-eatery-cinema complex co-owned by Benny from ABBA!

The Garbo Suite. Book the Rival Hotel at special rates here

One of the city's finest and most historic lodgings, Berns Hotel on Nåckströmsgatan has cutting-edge rooms, complemented by the intimate old drawing room where great playwright Strindberg oft relaxed; and the dramatic, gold-gilt theatrical breakfast-salon-cum-ballroom-cum-club-venue where the likes of Dietrich and Chevalier have hitherto entertained. Throws regular, spectacular gay club nights! Or, just south of centre, Clarion Hotel on Ringvägen is vast swish, modern and gay-wooing.


Chokladkoppen is a packed Old Town hang-out, famous for homemade sweets and cakes, plus eponymous white hot chocolate that'll make your willy wonka. Not far away on Nytorget you'll find Urban Deli which has a fantastic selection of fresh fish and other traditional sweedish delights and although a mixed crowd, seems popular with gay men.

The Secret Garden has twice been awarded Gay Place of The Year. They proudly stand for respect, diversity and love in all its varieties in a cozy, colorful environment with a lounge & outdoor seating, serving global mains & nibbles and some veggie options. The Blue Oyster is also an award winning bar located in the Hornhuset develpment on the Långholmsgatan. Cocktails, drag bingo, drag Queens and dj’s are all there on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.


One of Europe's most unique gay nightlife events: the three-level Sunday tea party on the moored old steamship Patricia (actually built in Middlesbrough). The crowd is young and up-for-it. And there's no better place to snog than on the upper deck, as watery ripples reflect twinkling Stockholm lights. Occasional "foam parties" all add to the swell: where semi-naked men writhe hard against each other, up to their necks in bubbles!

The subtly named Club Backdoor is a Gay night club located in the Tele2 Arena, Johanneshov, in the southern part of Stockholm. It's Scandinavias biggest Gay club, open every Friday and Saturday. They have regular themed nights including Locker Room night, Stroke a Pose, RuPaul Night, Madonna experience and many more.


South of centre, Stockholm's raunchy leather/Levi/uniform club SLM (pictured right) is a maze of dark, smoke-filled rooms that sport enough cuffs, slings and things to keep you tied up for hours. Visitors welcome: if they don the right garb, and pay a small entrance fee.

Biograf Manhattan has several movie booths with gloryholes, darkrooms and non-stop trans, bi, straight and gay sex videos, as well as a nice cruising area for more relaxed socialising.

Blue Vision is a gay cruise club that features cinema, video booths, private cabins, dark room, glory holes, BDSM tools and a sex shop. They hold regular Underwear, Nude, Jockstrap and Mixed Nights - it doesn't matter if you are gay, straight, bi, trans, kinky, couple, swinger, like BDSM or fetishes. All nice & respectful people are welcome! They have Stockholm's largest bed, tandem sex-slings, a bondage cross (St. Andrews cross) and a room where you can show off to the cinema's other visitors if you feel like it, without them being able to participate. It's extra fantastic for exhibitionists and voyeurists! Of course, there are also screens where a large selection of films is playing all the time.

To take airs, take the tube to Hornstull station, then cross the bridge onto Längholmen island and veer west towards the cliffs where there are some truly amazing sights! As ever, tryer beware!


Berns Hotel (Nåckströmsgatan 8; T: +46 (0)8 566 32200; Website)
Biograf Manhattan (Hantverkargatan 49; T: +46 8 653 92 10; Website)
Blue Vision (Fridhemsgatan 44; T: +46 8 652 86 20; Website)
Chokladkoppen (Stortorget 18; T; +46 (0)8 20 3170; Website)
Clarion Hotel (Sodermalm; T: +46 (0)8 462 1000; Website)
Club Backdoor (Johanneshov, Arenavägen 75; facebook)
Hotel C Stockholm (Vasaplan 4; T: +46 8 505 631 00; Website)
Urban Deli (Nytorget 4; T: +46 (0)8 59 909 180; Website)
Patricia (Stadsgårdskajen 152; T: +46 (0)8 743 0570; Website)
Rival Hotel (Mariatorget 3; T: +46 (0)8 545 78900; Website)
SLM (Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 18; T: +46 (0)8 643 3100; Website)
Strandbryggan (Strandvägskajen 27; T: +46 (0)8 660 37 14; Website) THIS VENUE IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED
The Blue Oyster (Långholmsgatan 15c, Hornhuset; facebook Instagram)
The Secret Garden (Kornhamnstorg 59; T: +46 8 20 99 02; Website)

Stockholm Pride happens every year, late July or early August, focused around a city centre parade and concerts at Tantolunden Park. More info at StockholmPride.org.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines offer daily flights to Stockholm from all major UK airports. Check out the best prices at FlySAS.com. Alternatively, KLM also fly from London, but you will find that the flights aren't cheap.

For more info on Stockholm & Sweden: Stockholm Information Centre or VisitSweden.com.

Book Hotels In Stockholm At Special Rates With Bookings

Revised October 2023.

Andrew Collins' review of Stockholm


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