Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. No matter how often I come here, I am always amazed by it. Everything is just so photogenic and picturesque. Stockholm spreads itself across fourteen islands and has a ton of museums, attractions, and art. Simply walk around and get lost among the historic streets and buildings. It’s not the cheapest place in the world to visit but it’s worth every penny coming here and there are many ways to visit on a budget.
Hostel prices – Dorm rooms begin at $40 USD per night, and most private rooms are $120 USD for a double room. There sadly aren’t many budget accommodations in Stockholm. Hostels also add a $6.50 USD surcharge for bed linen. My favorite is City Backpackers followed by Skanstull Hostel. Interhostel, while the cheapest in the city, is not that great.
Budget hotel prices – Double rooms at budget hotels start around $110 USD and go up to $130 USD per night. After that, the sky is the limit.
Average cost of food – Cheap kebabs, pizzas, and outdoor grills (hotdogs, sausages) cost between $7-10 USD. Groceries cost around $70 USD for a week. Beer is around $8 USD, and drinks/wine begin at $15 USD. You can find cheap hot dog/sausage stands all around the city for around $3 USD. A meal at a nice sit down restaurant with table service and a drink will run you around $32 USD. Lunch menus cost around $15 USD.
Transportation costs – You need to purchase a reloadable card for $3 USD for tickets, as they are not for sale on the buses. A week-long pass is the best deal at $45 USD, but you need to make sure you use it a lot to get value out of it. Transportation passes can be used on buses, ferries, and trains. Most cabs costs around $35 USD and should be avoided as the trains and buses run all night.
Money Saving Tips
Purchase the Stockholm Card – This pass gives you access to the city’s public transportation system and free entrance into 99% of the museums and canal tours. It’s is well worth the money and will definitely save you a lot more than it costs you if plan to do a lot of sightseeing.
Stay with locals for free – Accommodation is so expensive in Stockholm, you should consider Couchsurfing.com, a site that connects travelers with locals who offer a free place to stay. If you can cut out your accommodation costs, you will save a lot of money. It’s also a great way to get to know the local culture.
Drink beer – If you are going to drink, stick to beer. It costs about half as much money as mixed drinks or wine at the bars and restaurants.
Avoid the big restaurants – Eating out in Stockholm is very expensive. If you want to eat out, try to stick to the outside grills you see on the side of the street. You can find a variety in them and they are only about $25 USD per meal.
Try the lunch buffets – If you choose to eat out, the lunch buffets are an economical way to do so, costing around $13 USD. They are a popular option with locals. If you are a vegetarian, try Hermans.
Avoid the clubs – Most clubs have a $30 USD cover. Don’t waste your money.
Get a Metro Card – If you don’t plan to get the Stockholm card, make sure you get a week’s metro pass. At $45 USD for a week’s train ride, it is a better deal than the expensive $5 per ride. If you don’t plan to use the train that much, you can get an 8-use ticket for $28 USD.
Refill your water bottle – Water is about $3.50 USD per bottle. Buy one, and just reuse the bottle. Plus, you help save the environment too!
Avoid the taxis – With the subway open all night long, don’t take the cabs. A typical ride is $32 USD or more and not worth the price. Unless you are far from the train and it’s snowing out, the price is hard to justify.
Top Things to See and Do
Walk around Gamla Stan – This was the original area of the city and here you’ll see centuries old buildings, the Noble museum, the Royal Palace, cobblestone streets, and the ancient homes of the aristocracy. It is one of the most beautiful and historic city centers in Europe. I never tire of visiting it.
Tour the Archipelago – Stockholm is surround by beautiful islands and waterways. You haven’t really see the city if you haven’t explored the neighboring islands. You can find tours from many points in the city. The good tours are the full-day ones that take you out to more secluded islands. Boat tours are only open during the summer.
Spend the day at Djurgarden Island – An island right in the middle of Stockholm, there is a lot to do here. You take a walking tour, eat at a relaxing restaurant, enjoy the amusement park, and visit a historic Swedish village. There are a lot of good walking paths here too and it’s a popular spot for a picnic.
Enjoy Stockholm’s wild nightlife – Stockholm is known for their nightclubs and bars. It may be expensive but Swedes love to go out and party. Hit the clubs and party with the locals. Watch out for the blackjack tables (they have them at every club!). Fun places are Strand, Anchor, Retro, Underbar, 54, Utecompagniet, Rose, and Soap Bar. The main nightlife area is Strueplan.
Admire the ship at the Vasa Museum – This museum houses the world’s only preserved 17th-century ship. The Vasa was a ship built so poorly it sank a mile out of dock. The cold sea preserved the ship and you can see the whole thing here. The museum all does a wonderful job of putting the ship into historical context.
Tour the Royal Palace – Built between 1697-1754 and located on the east side of the Old Town, the Royal Palace is open to the public. A combined ticket to visit the treasury, reception rooms, and museum costs $22 USD. The palace is closed when dignitaries are being hosted.
Wander around Skansen – Skansen was the first open-air museum in the world. It’s also a zoological garden specializing in Nordic fauna, such as moose, reindeer, bear, wolf, lynx, and wolverine. Located on the island of Djurgården, it features over 150 historic buildings from previous centuries. Hosts and hostesses in historic costumes further enhance this attraction, and domestic occupations such as weaving, spinning, and glass blowing are demonstrated.
Visit the Museum of National Antiquities – If you’re interested in Scandinavian history, this museum covers the stone age to the Vikings. In the Gold Room, you’ll find gold treasures from the Bronze Age to the 16th century.
See the art at the National Museum – The National Museum contains art by Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas, and Gauguin, as well as well-known Swedish artists such as Carl Larsson, Ernst Josephson, C F Hill and Anders Zorn. The collection is quite good, especially if you like Scandinavian artists.
Explore the Medieval Museum – Located underneath the Royal Palace, this museum is one of the better history museums in the city (most stink). You learn a lot of good detail about medieval Sweden and life in Stockholm.
Tour city hall – Stockholm’s city hall is a historic brick building that has guided tours every day until 2 pm. You can go up to the tower, which provides pretty amazing views of Gamla Stan and the rest of the city.
Walk along Monteliusvägen – This is a mile long walking path that offers fantastic views of Lake Mälaren. It’s a romantic place to watch the sunset and is a popular spot to get engaged.
Check out some cool photography – Fotografiska is a large photography gallery with numerous expansive exhibits that showcase some of the best works in contemporary photography. There’s a bar on the top floor that also offers a great view.