– Written by Victoria Philpott
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Stockholm in Sweden you’ll want to make the most of your visit. You can’t spend all day admiring the locals that’s for sure. Known worldwide as being one of the best looking populations with the coolest fashion and design there’s plenty to see just wandering the city, but if you want some purpose to your travels take a look at these top 10 cheap things to do in Stockholm.
1. The Stockholm Archipelago
Just a few sea miles from Sweden’s capital you’ll find the 90-mile long Stockholm Archipelago featuring more than 30,000 islands. This beautiful landscape is where the Stockholmers have their summer houses on the edge of the balmy Baltic Sea. From populated, thickly wooded land to bare, flat rocks, the terrain differs greatly. Make sure you take clothes for all weathers no matter what the season as the ride can be chilly, but the islands boiling hot. Ferries depart from the Blasieholmen peninsular.
Cost: From 110SEK (€110)
2. Cheap Stockholm eats
If you’ve ever visited IKEA in your home city you’ll already be familiar with ‘köttbullar’ (meatballs). You can find these all over the city with varying deliciousness. For more Swedish ‘husmankost’ (traditional fare) you should try the herring platter at Prinsen, the butter, cheese and herring smorgosboard at SOS and the meat, potatoes, fried egg and pickled beetroot at Bakfickan.
Cost: Depends on where you go!
3. Cheap Stockholm drinks
If you want to act like a local in Stockholm you need to take your drinks out on the water. Several of the docked pontoons and boats host bars and restaurants including the M/S Gerda, which once served in the Normandy landings. It’s now decked out with palm trees and sleek furniture for punters to relax and enjoy their surroundings. Flyt (meaning ‘Float’), at the edge of the Gamla Stan is always popular. It’s been made to look like an old steamboat, but is in fact a cleverly disguised pontoon. Be sure to join the café culture too and enjoy a ‘fika’ (coffee and chat at leisure) at legendary coffee shops like Hermans Trädgårdé or Mälarpaviljongen.
Cost: Depends what and how much you drink (could get expensive!)
4. Picnic like royalty
Raid the local supermarket for some tasty traditional delights – the weirder the better – and bring your picnic down to the green oasis of Djurgården. The island is just a short walk from downtown and has many brilliantly located picnic spots, some great tranquil walking and cycle paths, and the best views in the city.
Djurgården has been owned by the Swedish monarchy since 1452 and is royally cared for to a high standard. They’re currently running a new initiative called WIP (Work in Progress). It’s made up of 100 studios that host artists, dancers and musicians and are free to look around. You can also spend a few krona at the annual MARKET art fair filled with the most exciting Swedish and Nordic contemporary art.
Cost: Free to enter!
5. See Sweden in miniature
If you’re after a quick one-stop cultural tour of Sweden visit Skansen. More than 150 miniature traditional buildings – homes shops, churches, barns and workshops – have been carved and organised as the country. The little buildings were transported piece by piece from all over Sweden and you can watch bakers, glass blowers and potters as they make the little pieces. There’s also a zoo here, a railway and a museum.
Cost: From 10SEK (€1.20)
6. Take a public bus tour
There’s no need to fork out all your cash on a city tour bus; just take the public bus with the locals. You’ll get to see a lot more of the real Stockholm and you’ll save a lot of money too. Hop on the blue buses, no 1, 2, 3 or 4, as they cover most of the city centre. You can use the access card on all the buses and just ask one of your fellow passengers if you have a question about what you see. Who knows, you might even make a friend! At peak time buses run every 5 minutes and between them cover most of the city.
Cost: 24-hour access-card SEK 100 (€12)
7. Look round the shops
But of course, if you’re on a budget there’ll be no buying. Myrorna Skärholmen has a huge range of second hand goods worthy of your attention. New items are delivered every day making it easy to find the coolest stuff to show the folks back home. Including, but not limited to, furniture, bags, clothes, CDs, books, kitchenware, decorative gadgets and children’s toys and clothes. There are a few Myrorna stores throughout Stockholm, but this is the biggest.
The Modern Retro Vintage Store is another cool second hand shop brimming with nostalgia. Everything you never knew you wanted from the 40s to the 70s are held within these walls. From shoes, to jackets, to bags, records, jewellery, kitchenware, hats and shirts, lamps, and belts. This is my kind of museum.
Cost: Free to look!
7. Check out the events at Parkteatern
The annual free events at Parkteatern include theatre, dance, music and other performances up on the big stages in various spots around Kungsholmen. Last year they had 104 performances at 21 different locations – all for free. Bring your blanket, picnic and friends and make sure to get to the events early to guarantee a spot.
9. Drink in the park
Swedes love to hang out in the sun and drink beer, especially in Vitabergsparken. Everything goes at this park, including music, barbecues and drinking. It’s the place for any self-respecting hipster to see and be seen. Grab a beer from Folkungagatan and an ice cream from Nytorget before mounting the hill and you’re sorted.
10. See some Stockholm culture
If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Stockholm head to Kulturhuset – but beware of emptying your bank account when you get there with all there is to buy. There’s a café and exhibitions, a few theatres, a cinema, music performances, an impressive library with art books and newspapers from all over the world and a unique comic library among other cool stuff. Prepare to feel inspired…
Cost: Free, unless you buy!