A little bit about Stockholm: Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden. It is spread over 14 islands, connected by 50 bridges! There is a lot to see here, from the charming ‘old town’ (Gamla Stan) to the bustling shopping areas and the abundance of calming green space. It’s a beautiful city.
Stockholm might not necessarily be on your list of places to visit if you’re on a budget. It is known as an expensive city for a reason, but it doesn’t have to be that way! I recently spent 3 days in Stockholm for Stockholm Design Week, and I came away with some spare Swedish crowns to exchange back into English pounds when I got home! Here are my tips on how I did Stockholm as cheap as possible:
Getting There: Use a website such as Sky Scanner to search for the cheapest flights. If you’re flexible on when you fly, be sure to click ‘compare times’ to get the cheapest deals! My return flight cost me £146 with SAS.
Airport Transfers: Stockholm has five airports. We flew in to ‘Arlanda’ which is the most common. The cheapest way to get from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm centre is with the ‘flygbussarna’, which takes 45 minutes and costs £8 if you’re under 25, or £10 if you’re over 25. You can either buy your tickets at one of the self-service machines with your credit/debit card, or if you’d prefer to pay with cash, you can also purchase them at the information desk (where they speak perfect English, don’t worry!)
Where to stay: As I have only stayed in Stockholm once, I only have one experience of where to stay. I did my research and chose Skanstulls Hostel due to its good reviews and competitive price. We paid £153 for 2 people, for 3 nights (in a private double room). The hostel was lovely. It was decorated well, one of our bedroom walls was covered in green triangles! There was free wifi and use of computers. Free tea, coffee and pasta for all, along with a cupboard of anything previous guests had left behind! I have nothing bad to say about this place. Plenty of toilets, friendly staff, clean, comfortable and in a good location!
How to get around: This depends a lot on what you are going to be doing, and where you are going to be going! Stockholm is a reasonably large city (Sweden’s largest!), although most sights are within reasonable walking distance of each other, so there may be no need for you to take public transport. That said, we were there in February, with temperatures as low as -10°C it was a bit cold to be strolling around all day so we decided to use the subway. A 72 hour ticket will cost you £23 (there is also a 24 hour ticket available for £9.50.) and allows you to get on and off as often as you like, which is great if you are only there for a few days and want to get around quickly! We definitely got our money’s worth!
Eating: As we had the use of a kitchen in our hostel, we made the most of it! There are plenty of supermarkets around Stockholm, including Lidl. A loaf of bread will set you back around £2, a box of cheerios was £2.50. The only time we ate out was on the last day, we had toasted sandwiches which were around £7 each. If you are planning on eating out, look out for a ‘dagers lunch’ which is a set menu and will be cheaper than most other things!
Another thing to bare in mind is that service charges are almost always included in the bill, so unless your waiter was mind-blowingly brilliant at their job, there is no need to tip.
Drinking: Again, we tended to buy drink to take back to our hostel, rather than drink in bars. The strange thing about Sweden is that you can’t buy wines or spirits in supermarkets, and they are only allowed to stock beer with a maximum alcohol strength of 3.5%! To get your stronger tipples, head to a ‘Systembolaget’ which sell a wide selection of wine, beers and spirits. A cheap bottle of wine is around £4 (although do look out for the non-alcoholic wines, which are also around the same price!).
If you do want to drink out, we found a nice bar called Mest that sold beer on tap for £3.70 before 9pm. Otherwise you can expect to pay £5 or £6 for a beer.
Other useful tips: Almost everyone in Stockholm can speak English well, so don’t worry too much if you don’t speak Swedish. Just to be polite, thank you is ‘Tuck’.
If you enjoy fleamarkets, there is one every Sunday (rain or shine) at Hotorget.
When ordering a beer, ask for ‘stortstark’, which is the house beer on tap.
Most information desks and ticket stations have a ticket system in place. Take a ticket, and wait for your number to come up on the screen. The chaotic queuing system may look like a bunch of people standing around for no reason, but is actually very efficient!