I’ve been to many countries in Europe and many countries around the world. Sweden is one place I’ve been looking to visit but haven’t got around to until now.
Plot twist – It just happens that a global pandemic is going on at the time I decided to visit.
However, I went anyways. But let’s put this crazy pandemic aside, and look at the city based on what we got to do and the overall experience. Is it worth visiting?
Vast & versatile city
Stockholm is one of the biggest European cities I’ve visited and an incredible one too. The vibes differ from one part of the city to another, from the seaside to nature parks, modern architectural buildings, to historic old towns. There’s something there for everyone. The city is so vast in size that I didn’t get to see everything after spending two weeks over there.
One interesting thing about Stockholm is it’s a city built on many islands connected by bridges, which has excellent views. Because of this, there is so much more in store than the city center alone.
I want to focus this post on things to do, but before we get to do that, let’s have a look at how to get around the city.
The transportation system in Stockholm is so far ahead of the transport in Europe. It’s clean, fast, reliable, and you have different means of transport to choose from – Whether be the bus, metro, train, or boat, yes, boat. When you have an SL transport card, you get access to all of them for much cheaper, and it can be reloaded similar to the system in Seoul.
Now you know about getting around Stockholm and how great the transport system is. Next is pricing, and Stockholm is the most expensive city I’ve visited. We usually opt for cheaper affordable destinations, so our guides reach more people, and you don’t have to worry as much about money.
For Sweden, you do have to worry about money, especially if visiting for the first time.
Most things to do in Sweden are 2 – 3 times the price of them in a typical European city. That coffee you got in Italy that was 2 euro is 6 euro in Sweden, that museum you visited in France that was €10 is 20 in Sweden. And if you want to go out for a drink, it’s triple the price of one anywhere else in Europe.
But this isn’t a Sweden only thing; it’s just what comes with visiting Scandinavia in general. However, we believe you can make an expensive city cheap depending on how you budget your budget.
Quick Tips on Making Stockholm Cheaper
- Travel with a friend – Splitting makes everything cheaper.
- Stay in an Airbnb instead of a Hotel.
- Visit free museums & free sights.
- Cook more than eating out.
- Shop at LIDL – prices stay consistent with other parts of Europe.
- Eat out during lunchtime.
Side note – Everything and I mean everything is contactless payment in Sweden, cash is rarely used and I love it.
Things To do in Stockholm
Now you know how to get around Stockholm and how to save money. Let’s talk about things to do. This is going to be a short list of things we loved in particular. We may make a second post of a full guide of different things to do in the future.
Since we mentioned sightseeing/museums being pricey in Stockholm, if you want to get the best value on things to do, the Stockholm pass by Stromma gives you a good deal.
You get free entry to 60+ top Stockholm attractions, free boat and bus tours of Stockholm, and a free Guidebook. A perfect way to lower costs.
Since we mentioned transportation earlier, let’s talk about metros.
The Swedish metro lines are unique and gorgeous. They are all differently themed, ranging in style and looks. Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings, and reliefs by over 150 artists.
Perfect for Instagram. Ideal for exploring on a rainy day. And free, considering you are already paying for a ticket anyways.
Skansen is the first open-air museum in Sweden that is open year-round. You can discover Sweden’s history and find out how Swedes once lived. Skansen is so enormous that you could spend a full day exploring. There are shops, cafes, viewpoints of Stockholm, a church, an aquarium as well as a children’s play area. There’s also a zoo with animals native to Scandinavia.
If you come during summer, you’ll find volunteers dressed in authentic costumes displaying the old ways of crafting; it’s fascinating to watch.
I wouldn’t recommend you visiting on your own, as it may get overwhelming in terms of size so you may get bored if nature isn’t your thing. However, there’s nothing more fun than going on an adventure with family or friends, and Skansen is an excellent place for that.
If you want a free alternative to Skansen, visit the location Skansen is situated in. Djurgården is a beautiful island home to historical buildings, monuments, galleries, Gröna Lund amusement parks, yacht harbors, and forests. It has a chill, tranquil atmosphere. One of my favorite parts of Stockholm
Visiting a European city isn’t complete without visiting the old town of that city. The small Island of Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town. And one of the largest and best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe with narrow cobbled streets and colorful 17th- and 18th-century buildings. In Gamla Stan, you’ll find the Nobel prize museum, restaurants, cafés, bars, and places to shop.
You’ll also find the Järnpojke, the “Iron Boy”. A sculpture in Gamla stan by Liss Eriksson, which is only 15 centimeters (5.9 in) high. It is the smallest public monument in Stockholm.
In a social media age where most of us are viewing photographs from our phones and relying on high res screens to showcase it in the most detailed way, the size doesn’t change regardless of how detailed it may look.
Sometimes it’s better to get off your phone and see photography in its physical form. It’s a different experience. That’s what Fotografiska offers. It’s a contemporary photography exhibition program, It’s not a museum because it has no collections, does not conduct research and is for-profit.
You don’t need to be into photography to appreciate what’s there. If you love stories, that’s what these pictures tell. They are not just random photos, but rather collections put together to form a story or evoke a feeling.
Although, what I saw is most likely what you will not see as different exhibitions = different photos. But that’s great, as you can always go back to this place and be amazed by new content.
Boat tour to Stockholm archipelago
As we mentioned earlier, Stockholm. Stockholm is a city built on many islands. A great way to visit those Islands is by boat. Either an SL public transport boat or the variety of tour boats that take you to various destinations. It’s a must when visiting Stockholm, especially in the summertime.
You see a different side to the city on water that you don’t see on land, and its a great change in perspective. As well as exploring an island.
The Island we visited was fjäderholmarna, which was stunning and only 30 mins away, the closest Island to the city.
Conclusion – Should you visit Stockholm?
There’s a lot of other things we did and visited that aren’t listed and things we didn’t get to do due to Covid-19 and just the size of the city alone. Stay tuned for an extended post on things to do.
Despite the con of how expensive things are over there compared to the rest of Europe, if you’re smart, you can definitely visit on a budget and still enjoy what the city has to offer.
Stockholm is a new favorite city of mine after visiting that is worth visiting, and it may just be a favorite of yours too.