Stockholm’s metro system is visited frequently by photographers due to its artistic nature. When you dive deep into the stations, it’s easy to see why people head into the metro for reasons other than moving about the city. Some of the most popular Stockholm Instagram spots are buried underground in the subway.
The metro art first appeared in the 1950s, and the latest pieces were installed as recently as 2017. Large-scale murals, modern sculptures, and light displays are just some of the subjects that can be photographed inside Stockholm’s subway stations. You’ll also find elements of symmetry, repetition, and leading lines that all look stunning in photos.
When I roamed the city on a short trip a few years ago, my mission was to seek out some of Stockholm’s amazing metro art photo spots. I was completely blown away by what I found. I didn’t get to visit every station (around 90 of the city’s metro stations are magnificently decorated), but the ones I did visit provided fantastic photo opportunities.
Many of the most photogenic stations are located near downtown, so you can visit a handful of locations within a half day or full day. If you’re planning on exploring the subway in Stockholm on a photography trip, here’s the best Stockholm metro art photo spots for you to explore!
Stockholm Metro Art Photography Tips:
- You will need to buy tickets to get inside the stations and view the metro art. A single journey ticket costs 37 SEK but is only valid for 75 mins of travel, so it may be worth getting a 24-hour travel card for 155 SEK. Tickets can be purchased via the SL app or from ticket machines at each station.
- Don’t rush. There will be moments when you’ll have to wait for someone to step onto the escalator or through the train doors. Be patient and put aside plenty of time to capture your shots.
- Avoid peak hour. Over 900,000 passengers use Stockholm’s subway system each day. Crowds will make photography much more difficult and you will surely annoy commuters if you get in the way. Choose a quieter time in the middle of weekdays or early/late on weekend days to explore the stations.
- Prepare for indoor low light photography situations. Many of the underground metro stations aren’t brightly lit, so you’ll likely need to take along a tripod and a lens with a wide aperture.
- Long exposures can be a great way to photograph the Stockholm metro. Experiment with slow shutter speeds to capture the movement of trains and people as they come and go within the stations.
Best Stockholm Metro Art Photo Spots:
T-Centralen (Central Station)
T-Centralen is Stockholm’s central hub. Make your way to the Blue line to see the white and blue walls decorated by artist Per Olof Ultvedt in the 1970s. On the upper level, silhouettes represent the workers who constructed the rail system. On the lower level, strings of leaves curve overhead as passengers make their way to the platform. The soft colours and patterns are meant to bring about a sense of calm to the commuters.
There are plenty of spots for photography down here. Some of the favourites are the dappled curved ceiling next to the platform and the bottom of the escalators as they disappear upwards towards the exit.
Kungsträdgårdsgatan is arguably the most interesting of the Stockholm metro art stations. Artist Ulrik Samuelson incorporated the history of the site, which once held the Makalös Palace, into his design. The theme includes artefacts from the palace on display, as well as replicas of the old palace statues and a red, green and white colour scheme that reflects the french garden that once stood above the station.
There are plenty of photo spots in Kungsträdgårdsgatan, but looking towards the escalators that exit the upper level is one of the most popular places for photography.
Rådhuset was my favourite place for photography in the Stockholm metro. Artist Sigvard Olsson’s rock-like interior walls coloured in vibrant orange-red made an interesting contrast with the modern appearance of the escalators. I thought that it felt like a futuristic space cave on Mars.
The bottom of the escalators are the best photo spot at Rådhuset. You can look at them straight on for perfect symmetry and leading lines, or at an angle with a wide angle lens to capture the expanse of the station (which actually sits at 20 metres below sea level!).
Solna Centrum is similar in appearance to Rådhuset. Both stations have the same cave-like interior, but the walls at Solna Centrum feature some unique decorations.
Artists Karl-Olov Björk and Anders Åberg depicted a hilly forest landscape which tied in with the environmental discussions that were happening in 70s-era Sweden. The station has the feeling of a completely artificial environment, but with elements of the natural world above revealed in the artworks. Head down to the platforms for the best shots of this Stockholm metro photo spot.
Perhaps one of the most famous Stockholm metro photography locations is the overhead rainbow at the platform in Stadion station. The artists, Åke Pallarp and Enno Hallek, wanted to bring the sky underground to the subterranean station hence the pale blue covering the walls. Coincidentally, the area hosts Stockholm’s annual pride festival so the art is an appropriate welcome for attendees.
Take an extreme wide angle lens to capture the art as you stand underneath it. You can also arrange a person to wait for the train on the platform standing directly underneath the rainbow. They should look tiny in comparison to the art in the foreground.
The art at Thorildsplan station brings about a sense of nostalgia for those who spent their childhood frequenting arcades. In 2008, the artist Lars Arrhenius used square tiling to represent pixelated characters from classic games such as Space Invaders, Pacman, and Super Mario.
This metro station is above ground so it’s one of the few that can be photographed using natural light. The decorative tiling can be seen on the sloped walkway into the station, or from the platform. The station has a particularly photogenic set of stairs inside that make a great shot when a person is climbing them.
Although the walls in Tensta Centrum have the same rocky appearance as some of the other older stations, this one is decorated rather differently. As the area is known for being a place where immigrants have settled, artist Helga Henschen adorned the walls with images and messages that are meant to feel welcoming to people from a range of backgrounds.
The art has an almost graffiti-like appearance, with pieces scattered randomly against the rough white walls. Popular photography subjects include the large sun that sits in between platforms and the shapes of animals and people that feel somewhat like ancient cave drawings.
The new Citybanan track at Odenplan station is one of the newest additions to the Stockholm metro system. The art installations here are obviously more modern than the others. Artist David Svensson connected a pattern of neon-style lights along the ceiling which are meant to represent a heartbeat on a monitor.
This art installation is most impressive around the escalators that take commuters between the upper and lower levels. The lights can be photographed from above or below and are easier to capture than some of the other installations as the fluorescent globes spread a soft artificial light around the area.
Ashlea is an excitable Australian with a passion for photography, sustainability, and travel. She is the creator of A Globe Well Travelled – a blog for those who want to be more adventurous while exploring the world.