Want to head to the wonderful land of meatballs (too stereotypical?) but worried that it might cost a bit more than the usual Europe city break? There are so many ways to keep costs down when visiting Stockholm, so you can still enjoy it to the max even though you’re spending the bare min.
What you need to know before visiting Stockholm
The currency is Swedish Krona (SEK) but don’t bother exchanging your ££’s just yet. Most places in Sweden take card payments with a surprising amount of places not even accepting cash – oh, so modern! Get yourself a good travel money card or check your bank’s transaction fees.
There is absolutely NO public drinking in the city. It is illegal and locals seem to follow this rule so as tempting as it is to sip on a chilled beer in one of their many parks and viewpoints, give it a miss and save yourself the risk of a fine.
You can save a bit of money and get yourself a 3-day travelcard when you arrive, which is super handy if you’re just doing a weekend city break. They cost SEK260 (approx. £20) for unlimited travel on the metro and also select ferries. There’s also a handy SL (metro) app to download; great for route planning.
There is SO much to see! Get your walking shoes on because it’s the best way to see the city.
The best FREE things to do in Stockholm
Gamla Stan (Old Town) is on the top of all lists when it comes to what to do in Stockholm. It’s one of those beautiful spots where you can just walk the whole day and still come across picturesque spots around every corner. Walk past the Royal Palace, the House of Nobility and Stockholm Cathedral. We stumbled across a great (and quite romantic) viewpoint after crossing onto Skeppsholmen island and walking up to Östasiatiska Museet. It’s a perfect way to end the day as the sun sets over Gamla Stan.
Långholmen is another must-visit island. We walked the whole way there to make sure we didn’t miss any great scenery and it was a great choice. Walk through Rålambshovsparken (a park in Fridhemsplan – opt to get the metro to this stop and walk to Långholmen from here) which is situated right next to the Riddarfjärden bay/lake. It’s so peaceful sitting here and watching boats pass. After a pit-stop here, continue your walk to Långholmen for more scenic views plus there’s a small sandy spot (it’s almost beach-like), so you can take a break here and go for a dip.
Fontänen Karlaplan – hop off the metro at Karlaplan, grab an ice-cream and pop yourself on a bench overlooking the fountain. There’s not much to it but it’s pretty and it’s on your way to Djurgården (see below)
Go on an art tour in an unexpected place…the metro stations! Stockholm has a famous selection of stations with magical artwork underground. See this blog post here on where to find them.
Djurgården, yes, it’s another park but this park is wonderful. It sits right next to a huge bay of water plus main attractions such as the Vasa Museum, Gröna Lund and Skansen. Try and track down an ‘Ofo’ bike, download the app and get an hour free ride (approx. 50p per hour after the first free hour). Great way of seeing the city too.
The best things to do in Stockholm on a budget
Kayak or canoe down the Djurgårdsbrunnsviken – the bay situated next to Djurgården park. Kayak’s cost SEK125 (£10) for an hour and canoes cost SEK150 (£12) for the hour and because this bay is situated in such a central spot – you’ll catch amazing scenery as you float down the water.
Sjöcaféet also known as the Lake Cafe, is where you can rent your kayaks from (and bikes if you can’t get your hands on an Ofo) but it’s also a perfect place to sit down and enjoy a meal and a drink after your active day. Sit down with a Swedish Rekorderlig in the sunshine and enjoy!
Trädgården is the place to head for a unique night out. Located under the Skanstull Bridge, this open-air nightclub has a proper festival vibe to it. With benches and seating dotted around, you’ll get a mixture of people dancing the night away with people who’ve just come to chill and drink with friends under a bridge (way cooler than it sounds, promise). Entry costs vary depending on the time you arrive but it’s SEK145 (£11) between 11pm and midnight and expect a bit of a queue as it’s super popular. Once you’re in, you’ll be transported to a magical garden party with different areas for different music.