The thing about places like Stockholm, places that are known for being quite expensive, is that although some things are pricey they also tend to have lots of really awesome free attractions too, so having a great time without spending too much money isn’t as difficult as you might think. If you want to see Stockholm on a budget, learn about the place and really see the city, take some tips from this list of ten great things to do in Stockholm on a budget.
Free walking tours are the best. You get a whistle-stop tour of a new place which helps you get your bearings, plus you’ll hear a few of the city’s interesting stories. There are three different tours you can take with Free Tour Stockholm; the city tour takes you through central Stockholm, you can take a tour of just the Old Town, or you can explore the very cool Söder area of the city. Hey, you can even do all three if you like. Just don’t forget to tip your guide – they only earn what you think they were worth!
You’re in Sweden, so you’re definitely going to have to Fika. The Swedes take their Fika (it’s a coffee break, but better) seriously, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to indulge. Just make sure that you indulge at least once at Vete Katten. It’s a super bakery, and they’re particularly famous for their Semla and princess cakes. Get a little bit of baked loveliness and a good coffee here, and do Swedish Fika like an absolute boss, for just under a tenner. If you can’t choose between the Semla cake and the princess cake, we advise that you forget the tenner budget and get both. You’re on your holidays. We think you can stretch that little bit extra to make the most of one of the great things to do in Stockholm on a budget!
The Skansen Open Air Museum is a museum, a zoo, a great place to get beautiful views of the city. It costs 100SEK to get into, which is just under a tenner, and for that you can immerse yourself in a different world. The site includes a full replica of a 19th century town, complete with shoemakers, glass blowers, tanners and silversmiths, all demonstrating their trade. The zoo is home to a range of Scandinavian animals like brown bears, bison, reindeer, wolves and lynxes. This is a brilliant one for families in particular, but really, anyone will enjoy it.
Swedish architecture and design is famous all over the world (and not just thanks to Ikea), and you can explore its history and growth at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design on Skeppsholmen island in central Stockholm. The design centre is in the same complex as the Modern Art Museum which is also free to enter, so you can have a full morning or afternoon here without putting your hand in your pocket at all.
Everyone knows about London’s famous Changing of the Guards ceremony, but Stockholm has its own version that’s just as interesting, just as formal, and just as photo-worthy… but a lot more blue. It happens at the Royal Palace (close to the Gamla Stan) every day at 12:15 (Monday-Saturday) and at 13:15 on Sundays and public holidays. The whole thing takes about an hour and you can expect music, horses and a bit of general fanfare. If you want to see more after that, you can go into the Palace’s Royal Armoury for free too –
Ok. This one definitely depends on the time of year you visit the city, but if the temperature is friendly enough, you can go swimming at loads of beautiful spots around the city. Little beaches, inlets and wooden jetties provide great spots to settle for a few hours, where you can swim in beautifully clear water and maybe have a little picnic while you’re at it. VisitStockholm have more information on some of the city’s best spots for a dip here.
We don’t always send our readers to fast food chains, but when we do it’s because they’re worth going to. Max Burgers is Sweden’s very own fast food joint, and not only is it a cheap meal – it’s actually a pretty good one too. Aside from anything else, it’s worth going here just to compare it against the other large global Burger Chains that it competes with. For science, like. You’ll get a burger with chips and a drink here for around €7-9. They do salads too, if you’re into that sort of thing…
The Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s exceptionally charming Old Town, and a part of the city that you’re bound to end up spending a little time in whether we tell you to or not. But we’re telling you anyway. The Old Town is full of beautiful buildings, little bustling cafés, souvenir shops full of trinkets, interesting churches, and small museums. If you feel like spending that tenner, you could use it towards admission to the Nobel Museum which costs 100SEK (just about a tenner) and includes a free guided tour. Or just spend it on another Fika. Your call.
Stockholm’s subway system is extremely cool – and at over 110km in total length, it’s often referred to as the world’s longest art gallery. Over 90 of the stations have been transformed with mosaics, sculpture, murals, installations and more, and it’s really impressive. You can do a very interesting guided walking tour of the metro art for free (all you need is a metro ticket), but if you want to go it alone, just get a metro pass and go exploring!
The Reuben sandwich might be an American creation but there’s a place in Stockholm that makes one to rival any NY deli – Katarine Olkafe is a nice little pub that serves really good beer, and has an exceptionally strong sandwich game. If you’re looking for something really filling but you’re on a budget, their Reuben should sort you out. It’s inches thick with homemade pastrami, cheese, mustard, mayo and sauerkraut. The sandwich is 95 SEK, just under a tenner, so if you want drinks and sides it’s going to cost a little more than that. If you feel like splashing out, allow us to recommend the Mac and Cheese side.
There's plenty of activities to keep you busy during your trip to the Swedish capital, regardless of how much is in your wallet. Just follow these 10 great things to do in Stockholm on a budget to make the most of your next city break.
Flights to Stockholm
- Dee Murray