As one of the classiest places in Europe, Stockholm has developed a reputation as a premier city break destination.
With all manner of attractions to choose from, ranging from delightful restaurants to lush green spaces, deciding what to do in this magical corner of Sweden is tough, but travellers don’t need to break the bank to make the most of it.
While Stockholm’s classy aesthetic suggests it could be an expensive trip, this could not be further from the truth, as the capital has plenty of cheap or even free things to do. Plus, with the city being made up of 14 separate islands, just walking around its beautiful streets is an adventure in itself!
However, it can be tempting to end up overspending, especially in a new destination. It’s easy for tourists to turn to the same shops and restaurants repeatedly out of convenience, even if they cost more than what is available elsewhere.
With this in mind, here are some great tips to help you save money in Stockholm without missing out on the fun.
Explore as much as you can
It is easy to find a favourite bar or restaurant and return to it several times. After all, you know how much it will cost and that you already enjoy it. However, falling into this trap can make your holiday more expensive and mean you do not see enough of a city’s culture.
With this in mind, make an effort to try somewhere new each day. Whether that means leaving the Innerstaden for the Old Town or simply walking into new areas of the city, you’re sure to find something different and potentially cheaper.
The Sodermalm neighbourhood, in particular, is an excellent option, offering vintage shopping, food from all over the world and a stylish atmosphere. It is here where you may find unique souvenirs and products unavailable anywhere else in the city, including rare vinyl at the fantastic Fade Records store.
One of the best ways to see everything Stockholm has to offer is through one of the free walking tours. Even though the city is spread across 14 islands, it is easy to traverse by foot and free tours are available, with the highly informative guides only working on tips. The advice could prove particularly helpful when it comes to finding exciting areas of the city that may otherwise have been missed.
For something a little spookier, perhaps try one of the ghost walks, which take tourists on a 90-minute trail through historic sites, featuring tales of horror and mystery.
Take a look through wonderful museums
All of the world’s best cities tend to have amazing museums and Stockholm is no different. The Vasa Museum is only 130 SEK (£12) for adults and free for under-18s and features the Vasa, the only 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged.
The vessel sunk outside the city in 1628 and was recovered 333 years later. Since then, individuals have worked tirelessly to restore the ship. As well as giving visitors the chance to admire the structure, there are ten exhibitions offering a great insight into life on the seas and a film covering its history.
One of Sweden’s most memorable exports is ABBA. The pop maestros were one of the biggest groups in the world back in the 1970s and the ABBA Museum celebrates their career with exhibitions, interactive experiences and memorabilia. Tickets are priced at 195 SEK (£17), which is great value considering the fantastic selection of activities available.
You can even sing at the Polar Studio, where you will be accompanied by virtual members of the group. Material will be recorded on your ticket via your personal ID number. This certainly is unlike any other museum and a must-visit for any fans of the popstars. Of course, there is a dedicated merchandise shop within the museum, offering quirky mementos dedicated to the legendary band.
If you’re looking for something free, the Swedish History Museum should not be missed. Tracking Sweden’s earliest origins to the modern day, alongside treasures and some enormous Viking exhibitions. The collection here makes for an excellent day out and is ideal for anyone interested in the early culture of Sweden.
Another option available completely free of charge is the Army Museum, which takes a look at the how the country was affected by war. Expect magnificent artifacts and authentic recreations of pivotal scenes in history.
Explore gorgeous green spaces
Even though it is easy to spend hours exploring Stockholm’s charming streets, visitors should make sure they take some time out to relax in the city’s beautiful green spaces.
Not only are the parks resplendent and picturesque; they’re also completely free of charge for the most part. Perhaps pack a picnic and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of Humlegarden in the Ostermalm district. Previously a royal garden, the area is now full of tourists and locals alike and includes a statue of the flower king Carl Linnaeus.
Even more tranquil is the island of Djurgarden, which is home to some of Stockholm’s top museums and boasts a number of amazing walking routes, including a majestic walk along the Djurgårdsbrunn canal. The majority of the land is made up of waterfront promenades and historic buildings, including many monuments of national interest.
Holidays are typically associated with relaxation and, while you want to put your feet up, the walking options across Stockholm are a great way to stay active and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Elsewhere, Brunnsviken makes for a fantastic day trip, with its park areas making up a segment of the National City Park. It’s a very popular spot for sports and picnics, with the blissful Brunnsviken lake nearby. Haga Park, which makes up part of the general area, dates back to the 1700s and features the prestigious Haga Castle.
Budding photographers, in particular, are sure to appreciate these magnificent sites. The stunning lakes and greenery provide a serene atmosphere and could help form part of a memorable photo scrapbook.
Enjoy great food for lower prices
Stockholm has a wonderfully varied food scene, offering dishes from across the world in some truly magnificent restaurants.
While deluxe dining options are certainly there for those who can afford them, eating on a budget is not difficult thanks to the wide selection of affordable options available. For something quick and tasty, Phil’s Burger in Sandhamnsgatan should not be missed. Expect the classic burger and fries combination for a low price, with several extras available on top.
Meatballs for the People is another mouth-watering eatery in the centre, serving up delicious Swedish meatballs with a selection of great flavours for reasonable prices. The atmosphere inside the diner is particularly laid-back, making it a perfect place to relax after a day of exploring.
Mongolian Barbeque is another amazingly cheap option, cooking up extraordinary buffet food. Visitors can look forward to Chinese and Thai delicacies alongside plenty of other international ingredients. The meals can be cooked exactly to the needs of customers, ensuring delicious food.
Elsewhere, La Neta serves up delectable Mexican specialities, including delightful burritos and tasty tacos. What’s more, there are branches of the restaurant in both Barnhusgatan and Södermalm. They’re the perfect fast food to keep energy levels up while exploring the delights of Stockholm.
In order to save money, it is advisable for visitors to carry snacks around with them during the day. After all, stopping every few hours for a meal can be expensive. Try to stick to breakfast, lunch and dinner and perhaps pack some fruit or sandwiches if you feel hungry at other times.
Swap high street brands for Swedish favourites
Sweden has a glowing reputation for its excellent art and design scene, with some of the best architecture in Europe.
Great design is part of the culture in the country and Stockholm offers Swedish art at its best. Whether you want to purchase some stunning designs or simply observe them in person, there are plenty of arty activities to be enjoyed in the city.
Award-winning furniture designer Monica Foster has a shop and showroom in the city, featuring some of her best works. If you want to delve deeper into the mindset of her art, pick up her book Lateral Thinking, which looks at how art and functionality work together in products.
Swedish art particularly manifests itself in the country’s fashion, with several brands trying unique designs that are completely unlike what is seen elsewhere in the world. One of the best places to see Stockholm’s artistry is Grandpa, a shop in Sodermalm where clothes from leading local brands are available. Nitty Gritty is another fantastic store in the area, offering classy clothes that properly encapsulate the Swedish take on fashion.
While some of these products are reasonably priced, some may be outside of your budget. Thankfully, affordable Swedish wares are often seen in Stockholm’s vintage retailers. The Lisa Larssons Second Hand and 59 Vintage Store have amazing clothes at reduced prices and simply perusing the range on offer will give you a fantastic insight into the city’s fashion.
Dive into the Stockholm music scene
There is a wide variety of bands playing the city’s independent pubs and clubs, covering genres from metal to pop.
If you are looking to see international acts, Stockholm has them in abundance at the Globe Arenas, but prices for these concerts tend to be quite expensive. To gain a proper insight into the thriving music scene, it is best to check out places such as Fasching and Wirstroms Pub, where local and international artists alike perform for typically low prices. Fasching predominantly books jazz artists, whereas the Wirstroms Pub usually puts on local blues and acoustic singers.
Debaser Medis in central Sodermalm is perfect for those on a budget and the music is typically rock-orientated. Though the venue is large, it has several stages spread over two floors, ensuring an intimate atmosphere. On some nights, local bands even play completely free of charge.
Elsewhere, the Pet Sounds Bar regularly puts on great shows, DJ sets and open mic nights. The mix here is especially eclectic, with everything from pop to punk shows booked regularly. Travellers visiting the establishment with an open mind could find their new favourite band.
Thanks to Stockholm’s diverse music scene, it is usually possible to visit venues any night of the week and find new music. The art and music scenes are both key parts of the city’s culture and can be enjoyed without breaking the bank.
Take home some cheap and unique souvenirs and gifts
Buying gifts for yourself and friends and family back home can be a lot of fun and serve as a great reminder of your time overseas.
Along with traditional souvenirs such as keyrings and bookmarks, Stockholm’s shops have plenty of fun and quirky presents reflecting the cultural values of the city. Here are just a few:
Parlan’s soft caramels: Stockholm is full of delightful treats, but top of the list is perhaps the soft caramels from Parlan’s, a 30s-styled sweet shop in the city. Aside from their great flavour, they’re packaged in style, making a fantastic gift for friends or relatives. At 50 SEK (£4.55), they’re also reasonably priced. If you’re looking for something different, perhaps try some of the delicious pastries on offer across the city.
Accessories from IKEA: For fans of interior design, the world’s biggest IKEA in Stockholm is sure to provide plenty of amazing gifts to choose from and the prices are cheap. While you may wish you could take back some of the wonderful furniture, it’s best to stick to your luggage restrictions and return home with a stylish plate or pillow!
Swedish clothes: As already mentioned, Swedish fashion is wonderfully unique and while some exports may be seen in a UK branch of H&M, the wares in Stockholm are often cheaper.
Dala horse: These toys are carved meticulously out of wood and come from the province of Dalarna. They’re perfect for children or as an ornament for adults, serving as a cute reminder of the trip. Prices can vary, so travellers should shop around before committing to a purchase.