Stockholm is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and for the budget traveler it may seem like a place to avoid. The capital of Scandinavia has, however, plenty of gems to discover and is a perfect destination for a short break, especially in summer. With a bit of planning and some smart choices, you can stay on a reasonable budget.
Here are my tips to avoid spending too much money in Stockholm.
1. Save on guide books
- There are plenty of places in Stockholm where you can get a good free map: airport, bus station, tourist centre…
- Pay a visit to the great tourist site visitstockholm.com, filled in with information.
- You can also check all my posts related to Stockholm here. 🙂
2. Go around the city for less
- From Arlanda airport: take the bus (110SEK) or the pendeltag i.e. commuter train (125SEK)
- Consider buying a public transportation card, not individual tickets. It costs 115SEK for 24h and 230SEK for 72h when a single ticket will cost you 25SEK. If you plan to get a pass, buy it at the airport and take the commuter train to Stockholm city, the ride will only cost you 75SEK.
- Don’t take cabs. Taxis are really expensive in Stockholm. For nights out, the subway goes around the clock on Friday evenings and Saturday evenings. It doesn’t run as often as during the day, but you can always get home!
3. Take a boat tour in Stockholm, for free!
Forget the tourist boat! Some boat liaisons in Stockholm are part of the public transportation scheme. With a subway pass (24h, 72h, 7 days…) you can ride them for free, and the roads are quite similar to the private boat tours!
- Djurgården ferry between Slussen and Djurgården: enjoy the view of the old town, Södermalm, Djugården and Gröna Lunda with this 15min ride. If you decide not to buy a pass, you can buy the ferry ticket for 45SEK at Slussen.
- SjöVägen Ferry: Leaving from Nybroplan, this 45 min boat tour stops at Djugarden, Nacka Strand, Lidingo. It gives you a view of Stockholm from the water as well as a feeling for the green suburbs of the capital. Nacka is the perfect place for a fika stop. More details, schedule and map can be found here.
4. Rent a bike for less:
Biking is a fantastic way to discover Stockholm from April to October. Get a City Bike card and bike for 3 days for the price of half a day of rental. For 165SEK the City Bike card gives you access to the shared pool of bikes for 3 days.You can take and return bikes in 100+ locations, the only rule is to return them at another City bikes point within 3h. You can buy the card at several locations including some 7 – Eleven, Stockholm visitor centre, SL centres… Read more here.
5. Planning on visiting some pay attractions?
- By presenting a valid student ID, you can get a student price on lots of attractions. For example: Drottningholm Palace 60SEK (120SEK), Vasa Museum 100SEK (130SEK), Fotografiska, 90SEK (120SEK), Royal Palace 75sek (150sek).
- Not a student but planning on visiting 4 pay attractions or more? Check out my post on Does the Stockholm card worth it?
6. Save money when you go out
- If you want to eat out, consider lunch deals below 100SEK on week days, they are great value for money. Bread, water and salad buffet are almost always included
- Have fika (it’s one of my Stockholm’s musts), but maybe not too often. In average, a coffee break with a bun will cost you 60SEK.
- Cafe String in Södermalm is a popular place for students. It features a great brunch buffet on weekends between 10.00 13.00 for 80SEK, coffee included. Website
- Don’t forget that tap water is total drinkable: don’t order water bottle at the restaurant.
- When going to a bar, be aware that a beer will cost you in average 60SEK, a cocktail 110SEK.
- Don’t go clubbing or go early, most of the clubs have free entrance before 10pm.
7. Free things to do in Stockholm
- Watch the changing of guards in front of the Royal Palace.
- Take a walk in one of the many parks of Stockholm.
- Take a free guided tour (don’t act like an asshole, leave a tip).
Disclaimer: I have no deal with any of the places mentioned above, these are my own tips gathered during my time in Stockholm.