Stockholm has always been known as a city where great architecture and nature blend. Not by chance, some have even named it as the capital of Scandinavia. Despite its charm, coming over here even for a weekend can break your bank considerably. While many well-off tourists have already ticked this bucket list destination off the list, budget travellers still struggle to do so. However, by following the below tips and tricks everyone can visit Stockholm on a budget.
TIP: divide prices in SEK by 10 to get the amount in EURO.
Make use of public transport
One of the things that a traveller should get acquainted with while in Stockholm is its public transportation. Not only it is the cheapest way of getting around, but it can also serve as a replacement for pricy Stockholm excursions. For instance, instead of taking 1 hour-long boat tour for almost 300 SEK – hop on commuter ferries. These are shuttling on the routes such as Slussen – Djurgarden or Nybroplan – Frihamnen. I can guarantee that you’ll have more of local experience and will enjoy literally the same views. Additionally, ditch the world-famous hop on hop off buses and get on one of many bus lines circulating throughout the city. If you find yourself limited by time, jump on a bus no. 1 and enjoy the city while cruising around. I would highly advise buying a 24h or 72h ticket the moment you arrive in Stockholm. Keep in mind that a single ticket could set you back as much as 45 SEK. While period tickets cost 130 and 260 SEK respectively. Not only this will cover all of the above mentioned ‘excursions’, but will give you access to trams and metro as well. For more information, refer to sl.se.
On a similar note, you will definitely be pressured to buy a tour to the wonderful Stockholm’s archipelago. While this certainly is a bucket list item, do not be fooled and opt for a more economical option – local ferries. The company called ‘Waxholmsbolaget’ is pretty much serving every island that is worth visiting for a lower price. Thus, head to their website to plan your itinerary and purchase the tickets.
Eat out during lunchtime
Eating out in Stockholm could almost cost you as much as your flight tickets to get here. This is because the main course alone is priced at 200 – 300 SEK, depending on the quality of a restaurant. Then, adding starters, drinks or desserts could easily come to 500 SEK per person. Whereas, meal prices during lunchtime differ significantly. It is rather easy to find a lunch buffet for around 90-100 SEK in central Stockholm. Usually, you are able to select the main dish as well as enjoy a salad buffet and a coffee. Keep in mind, though, that Swedes eat their lunch as early as 11 AM and at 14:00 most lunch deals will be over.
Alternatively, one may try to hunt for discounted meals on ‘Karma’ app. In principle, participating restaurants, cafes or even supermarkets offer ready to eat meals for half the price. Based on your location, find an appealing product, pay via the app and go pick it up. Once again, early birds have an advantage as there will barely be any meals lefts before the end of a working day. If that is too complicated, check out K25 – a food market located directly in the city centre. Not only you will be able to choose from a variety of cuisines, but will also have some spare change for a pint or two.
Go out in Södermalm
The most common price for a glass (0.4l) of beer in Stockholm is 72 SEK, while cocktails are listed at around 150 SEK. While for most locals this seems completely normal, budget travellers or even wealthier tourists rather often roll their eyes after a quick glance at the menu. However, there is a ‘solution’ for all of you, who try to visit Stockholm on a budget – hit the Södermalm. The island, that is full of vintage stores, street art and hipsters, is also home for some of the coolest bars in the city.
I kid you not, but it won’t even take you 10 min to get a beer for 30-35 SEK, which is basically half of what you would pay in Stureplan, Östermalm or other fancier neighbourhoods. I would recommend starting in Götgatan and making your way down to Medborgarplatsen and SoFo. Alternatively, you may want to check out Hornsgatan and go towards Zinkensdamm. My personal favourites are ‘Baras Backen’ and ‘Kloster’ – give them a try!
Ride electric scooters for free
In the last year, the amount of electric scooter sharing companies in Stockholm has grown immensely. As a result, great competition between businesses ‘forced’ them to start various marketing campaigns offering free rides. While, normally, this way of exploring the city is not appealing to everyone, free rides will definitely attract even the biggest sceptics. The only thing you have to do is to download a company’s app (VOI, TIER, LIME) and send a referral to your friend (or a stranger). Once that person creates an account through your link – you both receive credits for rides. In addition, Stockholm has over 700km of paved cycle paths, so you are covered in terms of safety as well.
Explore the city from above
Having visited many European cities, I do know that enjoying a nice panorama view usually incurs a cost. Be it an entrance to an observation tower or a funicular to a viewpoint, it is rarely free. However, in Stockholm, you have plenty of options to choose from without spending a penny. Head to one of the rooftop bars such as ‘The capital’, ‘Tak’ or ‘Urban Deli’ and you will be sorted right out. Even if the places themselves are rather pricey, neither there is an entrance fee, nor you have to sit at a table with an obligation to buy something. So, push that number 8 button in an elevator and enjoy the views. Yes… Stockholm is that ‘low’…
DIY underground tour
Yet another cool thing to do if you want to visit Stockholm on a budget – explore the world of underground stations. The city’s subway system is truly unique as most of the stations look like an art scene. They either have paintings on the walls and ceiling or are enhanced by unusual light installations. Some of my favourites are Stadion, Solna Centrum and Hötorget. Just follow the link to see a full list. The good thing is that you do not need a guide or any knowledge of the city to do it. Just grab your public transport pass, mark the stations on the metro map and off you go!
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