How to travel for less on the Arlanda Express

So you've touched down at Arlanda airport and are eager to see the sights. Time is of the essence so why waste a single moment of it?

How to travel for less on the Arlanda Express
Photo: Patric Johansson

Fortunately, the Arlanda Express will get you to the city centre in just 18 minutes. That’s two minutes less than the train used to take to get from the city’s main airport to Stockholm central station. Plus, you can save money when you buy two tickets so it pays to travel in pairs. A single is normally 299 kronor ($32) while you can get two tickets for just 379 kronor ($40).

Click the banner below to buy two Arlanda Express tickets for just 379 kronorDid we mention the trains are environmentally friendly to boot? Stockholmer Greta Thunberg would (surely) approve. 

Going green is all the rage nowadays but the Arlanda Express was way ahead of the game when the first train rolled off the tracks exactly 20 years ago. Before then the only way to access Arlanda airport was via car or bus, or if you were prepared to spend a small fortune on a taxi…

And the service has evolved with the times. Not only is the Arlanda Express faster than before, you can now buy tickets on your mobile before you land so you can just hop aboard. Trains run six times every hour during peak times and every 15 minutes at other times.

Benefiting the environment was a core goal of the service, which halved travel times between Arlanda and the Swedish capital compared to other transport options. The service even comes with the royal seal of approval; the first passengers back in 1999 were the King and Queen of Sweden. 

Since then more than 63 million passengers have used the Arlanda Express. Only green electricity coming from renewable sources is used to power the train, which can reach 200 km/h as it flashes by to its destination. 

A wise man once said that ‘it’s not about the destination, it is about the journey.’ And while it is unlikely that the author of that quote was thinking about the benefits of a good wifi connection, which is free for all Arlanda Express passengers, the sentiment rings true for all travellers of any vintage. 

Stepping onboard the Arlanda Express directly from the platform is an extension of your travel experience. From the air-conditioned carriages through to the soft lighting and images of the Swedish provinces, passenger comfort is at the heart of your 18-minute journey. 

Photo: Arlanda Express

Even the 190 custom made seats have a story to tell. Each one is labelled with a date on which a different historical event occurred. Take seat 1475-03-06 with the tag March 6, 1475 – the date of the birth of Italian artist Michelangelo. If you are curious to know what happened on the date your seat is tagged with then visit the Arlanda Express site here

Back in 2006, the train’s interior was redesigned by the iconic Swedish firm Björn Borg International. Such attention to detail earned the Arlanda Express a prestigious red dot design award for the firm’s ‘Trains of the Future’ concept that has Scandinavian design at its core.

So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets for the Arlanda Express here.  

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Arlanda Express.


The architect trying to finish the Sagrada Familia after 138 years

Jordi Faulí is the seventh chief architect of Barcelona's iconic Sagrada Familia since Antoni Gaudi began work on the basilica in 1883, and he had been expected to oversee its long-awaited completion.

The architect trying to finish the Sagrada Familia after 138 years
Jordi Faulí is the seventh architect director of the Sagrada Familia following Antoni Gaudi and, for many, the one destined to finish it. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

But the pandemic has delayed efforts to finish this towering architectural masterpiece, which has been under construction for nearly 140 years, and it is no longer clear whether Faulí will still be in charge when it is finally done.

“I would like to be here for many more years, of course, but that’s in God’s hands,” says Faulí, 62, a wry smile on his lips.

He was just 31 when he joined the architectural team as a local in 1990 — the same age as Gaudi when the innovative Catalan architect began building his greatest work in the late 19th century, a project that would take up four decades of his life.

“When I arrived, only three of these columns were built and they were only 10 metres (33 feet) high,” he explains from a mezzanine in the main nave.

“I was lucky enough to design and see the construction of the entire interior, then the sacristy and now the main towers.”

When finished, the ornate cathedral which was designed by Gaudi will have 18 towers, the tallest of which will reach 172 metres into the air.

READ ALSO: Pandemic to delay completion fate for Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia

The second-highest tower, which is 138 metres tall and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, will be officially inaugurated on Wednesday with the illumination of the gigantic 5.5-tonne star crowning its highest point.

It is the tallest of the nine completed towers and the first to be inaugurated since 1976.

The long-awaited completion of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia will no longer happen in 2026 because the coronavirus epidemic has curtailed its construction and frustrated funding, basilica officials admitted. Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP
Construction halted by Civil War

In 2019, the Sagrada Familia welcomed 4.7 million visitors, making it Barcelona’s most visited monument.

But it was forced to close in March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, with its doors staying shut for almost a year.

This year, there have been barely 764,000 visitors, municipal figures show.

And as entry tickets are the main source of funding for the ongoing building works, the goal of finishing the basilica by 2026 to mark the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death — he was run over by a tram — has been abandoned.

“We can’t give any estimate as to when it will be finished because we don’t know how visitor numbers will recover in the coming years,” Faulí says.

It is far from the first time Gaudi’s masterpiece has faced such challenges.

During the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, construction work stopped and many of Gaudi’s design plans and models were destroyed.

For critics, this major loss means they do not view what was built later as Gaudi’s work, despite the research carried out by his successors.

READ ALSO: Central spire will make the Sagrada Familia tallest church in the world

UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, has only granted World Heritage status to the Sagrada Familia’s crypt and one of its facades, both of which were built during Gaudi’s lifetime.

But Faulí insists the project remains faithful to what Gaudi had planned as it is based on the meticulous study of photographs, drawings and testimony from the late Modernist architect.

UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, has only granted World Heritage status to the Sagrada Familia’s crypt and one of its facades, both of which were built during Gaudi’s lifetime. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Some local opposition

Nominated chief architect of the project in 2012, Faulí took over at the head of a team of 27 architects and more than 100 builders.

Today, there are five architects and some 16 builders working to finish the Sagrada Familia.

“It is a lot of responsibility because it’s an iconic project, which many people have an opinion about,” says Faulí.

Building such a vast monument which draws huge numbers of visitors is not welcomed by everyone, with some arguing that the hoards of visiting tourists are destroying the area.

Many also oppose plans to build an enormous staircase leading up to the main entrance, the construction of which will involve the demolition of several buildings, forcing hundreds to relocate.

“My life is here and they want to throw me out,” says one sign on a balcony near the Sagrada Familia.

Faulí said he understands their concerns and wants to find “fair solutions” through dialogue.

And if he could ask Gaudi one question? Faulí pauses to reflect for a few moments.

“I would ask him about his underlying intentions and what feelings he wanted to communicate through his architecture,” he says.