October 19, 2021
While Stockholm is a culinary and cultural highlight for travellers, the expenses for a city trip can quickly add up here since the taxes for alcoholic drinks and food are rather high compared to other European capitals. If you know how, you can also manage visiting the Swedish capital on a budget though. Read more about how to navigate Stockholm with budget-friendly activities and still get the best out of culture, food and nature in the city.
Free tours in and around Gamla stan
To get a good overview of the city on a budget, walking tours through Stockholm’s most historical part, the Gamla stan, are the way to go. The Old Town goes all the way back to the 13th century when the first houses were built on the island of Stadsholmen. From here, you can go on a journey through time and learn all about the city’s history and development over the centuries. Wander through the narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets and learn all about Stockholm’s history-charged past full of Vikings, ghosts and royalty at the same time.
Free walking tours are the perfect way to explore the Swedish capital without breaking the bank while learning more about some of its most important attractions such as the German Church, the Royal Palace or the Storkyrkan during the one and a half to two hours long tours. Depending on how much you liked the walking tour, you can tip your tour guide.
Another great option to learn more about the city is an Audio Tour. The Red Sightseeing Gustav III. Tour for example guides you through the Old Town, following the footpaths and legacy of the eccentric king. You not only get to see the hidden corners of the Old Town in your own pace but you also learn more about the political climate and Sweden’s struggle at the time.
Stockholm is home to some of the world’s best museums, including the Vasa Museum, the ABBA Museum and many more. Unfortunately, the admissions to these places are rather pricey, so they are not ideal for a budget-friendly city trip. However, the Swedish government has initiated a program to make admission to some of the country’s museums free.
This includes popular attractions such as the Nationalmuseum where you can find paintings, sculptures and drawings from the 15th to 19th century, the Moderna Museet, the capital’s museum for modern and contemporary art from Sweden and the whole world, or the National Museums of World Culture that consists of three museums in Stockholm alone and gives you a glimpse into other and cultural variation – be it historical or modern, national or international.
Stockholm Public Library
Created by the world-renowned architect Gunnar Asplung, Stockholms stadsbibliotek, the Stockholm Public Library, is a specimen of the design style called Swedish Grace that was especially popular in the 1920s that amazes with a cool and simple yet elegant formal language.
The library is not only a Swedish architectural icon but was also awarded the title of one the most beautiful libraries in the world by a travel magazine, with both a façade and gorgeous interiors to marvel at.
The world’s longest art exhibition
Believe it or not but the subway is the place to go to satisfy your cravings for art - with 110 kilometres, Stockholm’s subway system is the longest art exhibition worldwide. Travelling by subway not only takes you one side of the city to the other for cheap but it also takes you on a voyage through the 1950s. Artists have been involved into the design of the stations ever since this artistic experiment started in 1957. The hundred subway stations give frequent visitors and tourists alike the opportunity to marvel at beautiful murals, statues, unique designs and underground installations.
The Solna Centrum for example is covered in a luminous green and red landscape – the forest and the red evening sun are going down behind the tree’s crowns, addressing environmental issues, deforestation as well as the rural exodus in Sweden. Another note-worthy stop is the Mörby Centrum. The subway station’s ceiling and walls are embedded in colourful tilework that create an optical illusion, symbolizing the journey itself.
Explore the parks and squares
Another budget-friendly activity is exploring Stockholm’s several recreational areas and parks. Did you know that more than two thirds of the city are made up of water or green areas? Depending on the time of the year you’re visiting, you can for example take a walk amongst the blooming cherry trees at Kungsträdgården, the King’s Garden. The locals also love to spend time outside in either Hagaparken and Djurgården, Stockholm’s most famous parks. Especially when the sun is shining, all the parks are buzzing with life!
Fancy a magnificent view over the city? The Skinnarviksberget is Stockholm’s highest natural point with 53 meters above sea level. From here you can see many of Stockholm’s highlights, including the Old Town, Kungsholmen as well as some points of interests like the Stockholm City Hall. And the best part? Escaping the busy hustle of the capital to this picturesque and quiet area is a fun and marvellous activity all year round!
Take advantage of lunchtime
Sweden’s taxes for food and drinks are quite high compared to other European countries, making eating out in the capital one of the biggest cost points while travelling. Fortunately, there’s a convenient solution for this: instead of eating your biggest meal at dinner, take advantage of Dagens Rätt or Dagens Lunch, the daily lunch deals a lot of restaurants offer.
During this time, the dishes of the day are served at much more affordable prices than during dinner time. The deal usually includes coffee as well as bread with butter and sometimes even a fresh salad. Just be on the lookout for signs and advertisements in front of the restaurants or signs in the windows.
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