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How to Rock Stockholm on a Budget

I ended up in Stockholm on a serendipitous layover, which I decided to extend for a few days. Although I went there with almost no expectations, I would now rank it as one of my favourite European cities. Sweden is one of those countries that travelers tend to overlook, mainly because they’ve heard it’s extremely expensive. Stockholm definitely isn’t a cheap city, but I think it’s possible to see pretty much any place on a budget. Here are some of the strategies I used to save money in Stockholm.

Accommodation

Couchsurfing is almost always a fantastic way to dramatically cut costs in an expensive city. Aside from sparing you the price of accommodation, the hosts can often provide tips on affordable things to see and do in the area. Plus, who doesn’t love making new friends around the world?

Unfortunately, Brent and I didn’t have any luck finding a Couchsurfing host in Stockholm. After some initial accommodation research, I discovered that even dorm room beds were about $25 per person. I have no doubt these hostels were probably awesome, but $50 for the two of us seemed pretty expensive for sleeping on bunkbeds and sharing a bathroom with four other people.

We ended up finding an AirBnB rental with a small private room and a bathroom shared with only one other guest for much less than the price of two dorm room beds. More importantly, we had full access to a kitchen, which was an extremely important aspect of my next cost-saving strategy….

Food and Drink

At the airport in Stockholm, we picked up a few tourist brochures that suggested “budget-friendly” restaurants where we could get meals for about $18 a plate. Since $18 isn’t what I would consider an affordable meal, eating out every night wasn’t really an option for us.

Instead, we pretty much lived at Lidl, a German chain of discount supermarkets. In the morning, we went there to pick up fresh bread or fruit for breakfast before going sightseeing, and then we’d return later in the day to buy ingredients for cooking dinner at our AirBnB rental. Our host was even nice enough to let us use some of her Tupperware, so we could bring leftovers to snack on as we explored the following day.

We did, however, want to try Swedish food at least once (although we heard that most Swedish people actually don’t even like traditional Swedish food), so we followed a recommendation to check out a street stand called Nystekt Strömming, which is located right outside Slussen Station. The stall sells fried herring along with a number of a choice of sides like ligonberry and beetroot for about $5-10 a plate. We also brought a few kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon rolls) from Lidl for dessert.

Drinking also tends to be relatively expensive in Sweden, so we made it our mission to find the cheapest Happy Hours in the city. It was pretty easy to find bars selling pints, wine, and cocktails early in the evening for about $3-4 each.

Activities

This paragraph might read a little bit like an ad for Free Tour Stockholm (it’s not!), but I thought their tours were incredibly fun and informative. Each walking tour lasts for about 1.5 hours and focuses on a different neighbourhood. The tours really made me feel like I understood Stockholm’s culture a little better – both past and present – plus gave me ideas for places I wanted to revisit on my own later. The guides also often pointed out which attractions and museums were worth paying the admission fee to see.

To be fair, Free Tour Stockholm isn’t completely free. The guides only make money through tips and I definitely didn’t feel comfortable walking away without giving something. Even still, you can just pay whatever you can afford, and I think it’s still amazing value.

Also, in case you didn’t already know, Stockholm is insanely beautiful. It’s truly one of those places where you can just go wandering through the streets and be fully entertained without having to pay anything at all.

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17 Responses to How to Rock Stockholm on a Budget

  1. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer November 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM #

    Great tips! I have not been to Stockholm yet (was thinking of visiting next summer), but I was actually about to research inexpensive options for visiting. I have found AirBnB to be a great way to travel through Europe on a budget 😀

  2. Isa November 16, 2014 at 11:51 AM #

    Lovely post, I plan to go to Stockholm next year for a weekend and I will keep your tips in mind, stay travelicious 🙂

  3. Olivia November 16, 2014 at 11:54 AM #

    I’ve never been to Stockholm, but i admit i’ve been reading some interesting posts about it lately… I might give it a try for something like a long week end, since i live in Europe, it should be possible… Thanks for the post, and definitely remembering Free Tour Stockholm 🙂

  4. Susan November 16, 2014 at 12:07 PM #

    The pictures look so pretty! I’ve always wanted to go to Stockholm. We’re thinking about using AirBnB for an upcoming trip, do you suggest using it?

    • Jessica Dawdy November 17, 2014 at 5:43 AM #

      Definitely! That’s what we did and I think it was much better value than a hotel or hostel.

  5. Eva November 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM #

    i also would recommand Hermans vegetarian buffet for a huge and affordable meal.

  6. Emma Lindsey Rose November 16, 2014 at 2:01 PM #

    Thanks for these tips, it makes going to Stockholm a bit less daunting!

  7. I loved Stockholm!!! I went there a few years ago with the fam to see some friends, and we ended up staying in this old primary school that has been renovated into a hotel… Heard of it? I can’t remember the name haha, frustrating! I loved the city though, thanks for helping me reminisce x

    ——————

    21 year old travel blogger

  8. Eden November 16, 2014 at 9:18 PM #

    Thank you for these tips! Sweden has definitely been on my travel radar for quite some time now, I would love to visit one day.

  9. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life) November 17, 2014 at 4:02 AM #

    Great advice! We hope to got o Stockholm next year and these suggestions will really help with budgeting. It’s great how you laid all the info out to where it’s easy to follow. Thanks!!

  10. Elizabeth November 17, 2014 at 8:42 AM #

    These are great tips! I recently visited Copenhagen- another amazing place that everyone says it too expensive. I found so many great things to do on a budget.

  11. Leah of The Mochilera Diaries November 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM #

    Great article Jessica! I desperately need to sign up for Couchsurfing because I know it will be essential once I start traveling Europe. I’ve yet to find anything affordable on Airbnb for just one person, it seems it’s almost always a better option than hostels if you’re traveling with others but for solo travel hostels are usually cheaper, which is a shame.

    • Jessica Dawdy November 19, 2014 at 7:06 AM #

      Good point! I think hostels or Couchsurfing are probably best when you’re traveling solo (especially Couchsurfing, it’s much easier to find a host as a single surfer), whereas AirBnB is usually better value than a hostel for friends or couples.

  12. Katie @ The World on my Necklace November 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM #

    Wow it’s not as expensive than I thought then! It is a city that I would love to go to one day. i would like to explore the surrounding islands too

  13. Whitney November 23, 2014 at 8:31 PM #

    Thank you for all the tips! I’m planning to go to Stockholm after my semester abroad is over. I was scared of how expensive everything would be but your post has reassured me otherwise!

  14. Sofia November 25, 2014 at 12:22 AM #

    Cooking your own food really is the best way to lessen the expenses when traveling, but our wallets do get hurt when it comes to drinking.. like, it’s only where we do spend.. a little. 🙂

  15. Shannon December 2, 2014 at 1:28 PM #

    Planning a trip to Sweden (and the rest of Scandinavia) next year. This was super helpful!
    I heard that Stockholm was expensive… but free tours are one of my favorite things to do in new cities!

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