There is talk that Stockholm is a very expensive city. However, there are ways in which you can easily do it on a limited budget. I’m just a teacher living on a teacher’s salary. I can’t afford to do the expensive holidays and always research to find the budget option. Four days in Stockholm was enough to get a good feel of the city.
There are many flights from all over Europe to Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. You can get really cheap deals, getting there is not going to empty your wallet.
I didn’t fly in. As I had spent a few days in Finland, I decided to take a ferry from Turku in Finland. It was a 10 hour ferry ride with Viking Lines across the Baltic Sea, taking in amazing scenery as you bypass many little islands. Actually, not just amazing scenery – stunning scenery. Amazing would be an understatement. The ferry is like a cruise ship with restaurants and shops and great wifi. A single trip from Turku to Stockholm set me back 14 euros. Viking Lines also give you the option to book a bus trip from the cruise port in Stockholm to the main train station for an extra 6 euros which is really worth it.
If you are flying in, I suggest booking Flybussarna online in advance of your trip. Taxis are really pricey and the bus is also much cheaper than the train. You are looking at 99 SEK for a single bus ticket to the city centre.
Hotels in the city centre are quite expensive and out of my budget. When I book accommodation, I look at location and price. I want it to be near a station if I am going to be relying on train transport, as well as a short walk from the city centre. Sounds impossible, right? After doing some research I found the perfect place to stay in the Old Town, aptly named Old Town Lodge. This is a hostel in a building that dates back to the 1600s. There’s a communal kitchen, free wifi, breakfast is included and you are literally 250m away from the Royal Palace. You can also help yourself to free hot drinks whenever you want. The Gamla Stan Metro Station is a quick 5 minute walk away. The Old Town Lodge is surrounded by restaurants, cafes and bars, and is perfect if you like exploring the old parts of town. You can feel the history all around you.
Four nights at the Old Town Lodge cost me a total of 2332 SEK including taxes and breakfast. For this I got a small private room across from a communal bathroom. It was clean, comfortable and just perfect. I highly recommend the Old Town Lodge and would stay there again.
Public transport is easy to access and quite affordable. You can also hire a bicycle if you wish. I bought a 72 hour Hop on Hop off bus ticket for 360 SEK. This is something I often do when I am only spending a short time in a city as it is a way to see as much as possible in a short time. For me the expense is worth not having to hassle with getting from attraction to attraction. It also gives me an idea of what there is to see, how far things are away from each other and generally how to find my way around the city. Once I knew where everything was, I found that a lot of the city was walkable and I managed to find my way around on foot as well.
Foraging for food and drink
If you eat your main meal at lunchtime, then food is not that expensive in Stockholm. You can find a dish of the day with bread, salad and free water for about 90 SEK. There are many lunch specials on offer. Dinner, and the prices seem to double in some places. However, there is enough of a selection of restaurants and hotdog stands for you to still be able to eat at a reasonable price. Just be aware it will probably cost more than your lunch did.
For the alcohol lovers, the news is not so good. Beers and ciders cost upwards of 50 SEK. My advice is to save your alcohol consumption to Happy Hour and find pubs offering great Happy Hour specials.
Things to do
The Old Town is wonderful to explore and you can while away many hours wandering around the narrow alleys, admiring the history and old architecture whilst discovering funky little shops. The good news is that this is free.
Stockholm has so many museums, if you are not careful, visiting museums is all you’ll do. Many of the museums are free, but there are others you have to pay for. It all depends on what you are interested in. Be selective, you can’t do them all. Some you might want to think about that do charge an entry fee are the Skansen Open-Air Museum, the Vasa Museum where you can see the only preserved 17th century ship in the world, the Fotografiska which is a museum of photography and Moderna Museet which is the museum of modern art where you can see art by Picasso and Dali amongst others. My favorite one was pricey, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. That was the ABBA Museum. Entry is 250 SEK.
All in all, I loved my visit to Stockholm and did not find it as expensive as all the hype. My recommendation is to stay in the Old Town and use it as your base. Stockholm, I will be back!
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