Seeing Stockholm on a budget: The ultimate guide

Stockholm has a reputation for being a pricey place to visit, but it doesn’t have to be.

Seeing Stockholm on a budget: The ultimate guide
Photo: mikdam/Depositphotos

Sure, a beer in a bar often costs around 65 SEK ($7) and no-one ever described a taxi ride in Stockholm as a ‘bargain’, but there are ways to see the city without spending a fortune.

Here’s how you can get more bang for your buck (or kronor, in this case) next time you visit Stockholm.

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Places to stay

If you’re looking for cheaper accommodation, don’t rule out a hostel; Stockholm has some wonderfully stylish, unique, and best of all, budget-friendly hostels to choose from. Check out The Red Boat Mälaren, STF Vandrarhem af Chapman and M/S Birger Jarl and tick ‘Stay in a floating hostel’ off your bucket list.

Photo: hespasoft/Depositphotos

The only thing cheaper than cheap, is free. If this sounds like your budget, give couch surfing a go and stay with a local. You could find yourself spending the night in a swish Stockholm apartment all for the grand total of zilch kronor. What’s more, you might make some new Swedish friends during your stay.

Getting around

So you’ve quickly and cost-effectively made it to the city on the Arlanda Express. Now it’s time to explore the city.

Stockholm is a city made for walking. Bring your walking shoes and pick up your free city map at the airport, Central Station, tourist centre or Swedish convenience store (Pressbyrån) and start discovering the streets on foot.  


If you suddenly discover your boots weren’t made for walking, hire a City Bike. With approximately 140 bike stands around the city, you can pick up a bike nearly anywhere. A 3-day access card will set you back just 165 SEK.

Stockholm’s public transport system is a little more expensive but well worth it if you want to travel as far and wide as possible. Quick, efficient and far reaching, you can purchase a 72-hour ticket for 250 SEK for adults or 165 SEK for students or pensioners and use Stockholm’s buses, trains, metro, trams and inner city ferries.

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Things to do

So, you’ve found a place to stay and picked your favourite mode of transport, now for the sightseeing. The good news is that in Stockholm there is a variety of free attractions like the Medieval Museum, Modern Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Armoury, ArkDes, the Swedish Parliament or the City Library, just to name a few.

Photo: steho/Depositphotos

Many other museums also offer certain times every week with free admission, so check their websites for details.

In Stockholm it is very rare to be more than 300-metres from a park or green area, even in the city centre. Popular spots include the island of Djurgården, famous with locals for open green spaces, waterways, parks and walking tracks. So pack a picnic and park yourself on Djurgården or at one of the many tranquil and picturesque inner city parks, such as Hagaparken, Humlegården or Kungsträdgården.

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Touring the city

If you’re short on cash and still want to see all Stockholm has to offer with an experienced guide, free walking tours are available from various locations, seven days a week.

See where Greta Garbo had her first job in a local barber’s shop and learn about the events which led to the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ being coined on the city tour, ending with the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.

Wander the cobbled streets of the Old Town (Gamla stan) while learning about the spine-chilling events of the Stockholm Bloodbath and taking photos of the famous architecture at Stortorget.  

Traipse the streets of the south island of Södermalm, discovering hipster hangouts and beautiful vantage points in the formerly rundown, working class area turned vibrant, artsy place you see today.

The Stockholm subway system is said to be the longest art exhibition in the world, spanning 110 kilometres, so check out the free guided tours that are offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Photo: JuliVasylegaBO/Depositphotos

While technically free, it is advisable to tip your guide a little at the end.

Eating and drinking

When you’re tired of supermarket food, try the Swedish tradition of dagens lunch. Many restaurants offer special daily lunch packages at competitive prices. It means you get to try some of Stockholm’s top restaurants at a fraction of their regular price. Make lunch your main meal and fill up on main course, bread, salad, coffee, tea and biscuits all for around 85-125 SEK.

If you’d like to combine your sightseeing with lunch, make your way to Kaknästornet, an old television and radio tower, now a restaurant and cafe. Make sure to book a table on their website and for 125 SEK you can ascend the tower at no extra cost and dine while taking in a panoramic view of Stockholm.

Photo: tupungato/Depositphotos

Drinking is notoriously expensive in Sweden, so if you don’t fancy selling a kidney to pay for a glass of wine, or heaven forbid, a spirit, be on the lookout for happy hours at bars or take a trip to the state-run liquor store, Systembolaget.

A word to the wise: Pre-plan your trip to the bottle shop. With strictly limited opening hours (which don’t include Saturday after 3pm or the whole of Sunday), you don’t want to be caught short!


Sweden takes flea markets to a new level. Especially during the summer months, you will find a flea market or loppis on nearly on every corner. Swedes love their vintage finds so much that sometimes whole streets will be blocked off for huge pop-up flea markets, with people selling out of stalls and car boots. If you’re looking for some vintage records or some authentic ABBA-esque clothes from the 70s, you’re likely to find some hidden gems here.

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There’s something to suit everybody when it comes to night-time activities. Comedy buffs can enjoy free standup in English at Big Ben on Södermalm; Parkteatern offers a variety of free musical and theatrical performances in beautiful outdoor settings, or you can stumble into many bars around Södermalm to listen to free live music.

Insider tip: Buy a green card at the amusement park Gröna Lund and for just 270 SEK you gain access to the park and a series of concerts by some of the world’s most famous artists. This year alone there have already been performances by Macklemore, Icona Pop, Marilyn Manson and Queens of the Stone Age.

Photo: scanrail/Depositphotos

Don’t miss a moment of sightseeing. Get to Stockholm’s city centre as fast and easily as possible by booking your airport transfer with Arlanda Express, the quickest route between Arlanda Airport and downtown.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Arlanda Express
For members


Everything you need to know about travel to, from and in Sweden this Easter

Easter tends to be the busiest travel holiday in Sweden. Here's the latest on the planned rail works, changing road rules and European strikes which could disrupt your journey.

Everything you need to know about travel to, from and in Sweden this Easter

If you’re travelling by rail

Sweden usually schedules railway maintenance work for national holidays, as fewer people are travelling to work, and Easter – with the arrival of warmer temperatures – tends to be the start of the rail works season in the southern half of the country.

The Swedish Transport Administration provides a detailed breakdown of Easter work planned. We’ve summarised the main points below. 


The Citybanan commuter rail system in Stockholm will be closed between Stockholm City and Odenplan between March 29th at 10pm and April 1st at 5pm, with Stockholm’s regional travel company SL promising replacement traffic.

All rail traffic between Jakobsberg in northwest Stockholm and Stockholm City will also be cancelled throughout March 29th and April 2nd. 


Maintenance work on the tracks between Partille and Alingsås and bridge repairs between Töreboda and Gårdsjö will see regional trains between Gothenburg and Alingsås and Gothenburg and Gårsjö cancelled between March 28th and April 1st. Replacement buses will be provided. 

Buses will also replace trains between both Varberg and Halmstad and Kungsbacka and Gothenburg from 2pm on March 28th to 2pm on April 1st, as tracks and switches are connected as part of the Varberg tunnel project.

The Västtågen commuter train will still operate between Gothenburg and Kungsbacka, with the Öresundståg trains taking that route. 

Work on the new Västlänken will also mean all trains between Gothenburg’s Central Station and the Gamlestaden station in the north of the city will be cancelled all day on March 29th and on April 1st until 2pm. 

West coast 

As well as the cancellations of trains between Halmstad and Kungsbacka (see above), trains will also be cancelled between Borås and Varberg between March 28th at 2pm and April 1st at 2pm, due to roadwork around Sundholmen. Replacement buses will be provided. 

Work will continue on the tracks between Uddevalla and Stenungsund, while the most southerly part of the same track, between Ytterby and Gothenburg, will also be closed between Good Friday and April 1st at 2pm. 

Central Sweden 

Work at Karlstad’s main station could see trains cancelled between March 28th at 10pm and April 2nd at 5.20am.  

East coast 

The Stångådalsbanan railway between Linköping and Kalmar could see trains cancelled between March 30th at 2pm and March 31st at 3pm.  

Here is a map of the planned work: 

Planned rail work in Easter 2024. Photo: Swedish Transport Administration

If you’re travelling by car

Easter is one of Sweden’s busiest travel holidays, and traffic tends to be concentrated to a few days, rather than spread out as at Christmas and Midsummer.

That means queues should be expected. It’s good to plan your journey in advance, allow extra time and make stops to rest.

The E4 road between Gävle and Tönnebro tends to be particularly busy as travellers head to and from the mountains for their Easter ski trip. 

The good news for those travelling by car is that this year, no major roadworks are planned over Easter — mainly because the holiday falls so early this year that temperatures are still too close to freezing across much of the country, making it difficult to lay down new tarmac. 

If you’re travelling by air 

This year, there are no strikes directly affecting airports or airlines in Sweden,  but industrial action in Spain and the UK might affect Easter travel if you are venturing abroad.  

Workers at airports in Valencia and Madrid, two of Spain’s busiest, have announced that they will strike over the Easter period. At Madrid-Barajas airport, the UGT union has called a strike by employees of the Platform Management Service (SDP) for Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th March between 7am-12pm.

At Valencia airport, flights could be affected between Thursday March 28th and Monday April 1st, between 11am-13am, when workers will walk out and protest outside the Terminal 1 building in Manises.

The Lufthansa airline struck a deal with ground staff on Wednesday, March 27th, averting the risk of strikes over the Easter holidays, which might have affected flights to and from Germany from Norway. 

Finally, border force workers at the UK’s Heathrow Airport voted on March 22nd to strike over the Easter holidays, although walkouts will not happen until after April 8th, you won’t be affected if you are only travelling over Easter, but might be if you stay another week.