Don’t go to Stockholm as it is expensive they said………… WRONG!!!!!
First of all, that should never be a reason not to visit a place as I have learned that you can still have fun by budgeting. However, this perception of Stockholm or all of Sweden being expensive has to stop.
I found meals (healthy ones) for less than Eur10 and dined in the old town which normally is an expensive area since it’s visited by tourists and our bill was similar to what I am used to paying at home… actually less!
Here are my top tips to do if you are visiting this perfect city!
Where to stay.
I was lucky to be traveling with locals and this is where I joined them. Haymarket Scandic is situated bang in the city center, 7mins walk from Arlanda Express and the station. Whether you are traveling to Arlanda, Bromma or a low-cost airline which lands you Skavsta, you will always find a good connection with public transport. Avoid taxis, they are expensive.
I fell in love with the hotel, it has a mix of Art Deco & contemporary. The building was previously home to a famous department store dating back to the beginning of the 20th century so they recreated a visual identity that feels both timeless and contemporary. The turquoise, gold and pink décor gave me the feeling of being in a scene from the Great Gatsby. It is child-friendly, service is great, breakfast is typically Scandinavian, and everything is yummy. Is it expensive?! You could find cheaper but services in the lounge are normal city prices.
2. Refuel with Fika
If you are around Italians, be careful how to pronounce this word lol.
“FiKa” is a concept meaning to have coffee, usually with a cake on the side. Basically it is very similar to the Brits’ afternoon tea. This plays an important part of Scandi life like the siesta is to Spain or pub culture is to England. So do as the Swedes do and head to Cafe Saturnus (suggested by a colleague) for a large latte bowl and a legendary cinnamon bun – Trust me you cant get more traditional than this.
3. Kick back in the King’s Garden
It’s no surprise that a park this nice is essentially the King’s back garden. Kungsträdgården (or ‘Kungsan’ to locals) is an urban green space behind the royal palace that’s popular with Swedes and visitors alike thanks to its stunning cherry blossom-lined boulevard, central location and seasonal pop-ups, swinging from outdoor cafes in spring to an ice rink in winter. Return at night for one of Stockholm’s most famous clubs Cafe Opera underneath the Royal Swedish Opera House. I was there at a time when it was covered in snow, if you visit in spring the colours become more pastel and the trees bloom into beautiful pink cherry blossoms. Whatever the season this place is still instagram worthy!
4. Get Lost in Gamla Stan!
I SWEAR, I NEVER FELT SO COLD IN MY LIFE!!!! -5 degrees simply cause it happened to be the coldest week of the year BUT this did not stop us from Wandering around centuries of history nestled among picturesque, pastel architecture. This is situated on the tiny island Gamla Stan and is known as Stockholm’s ‘Old Town’, where you’ll Here the Swedish royal family’s palace,Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan) and the Nobel Museum are all within a few minutes walk of each other.
Stockholm’s young entrepreneurial scene is in full bloom in this area, with ultra-modern hotels, sleek new nightclubs and bustling bars opening all the time.
5. Walk Queen Street
The best way to explore central Stockholm on foot is by walking down Queen Street (Drottninggatan). The street stretches from the city center in the Norrmalm district all the way along to the district of Vasastaden. Considered one of the main bustling ‘high streets’ of the area, the road is lined with lots of stores, cafes, and restaurants. The majority of the street is car-free, so you can take in the sights of central Stockholm without having to dodge traffic as you stroll.
7. Shop Scandi style
I don’t usually waste time shopping when I am away. Especially since I am a city break junkie who would rather explore unknown roads than get lost in massive malls. Yet this time round, I was with my bestie who is basically a shopaholic and had no other option seeing the weather conditions and the fact that I was her guest but keep her company at her playground!
You may not know that some of your favorite stores are Swedish – making Stockholm the perfect place to shop. Names include H&M, Monki, COS and I loved Weekday however I don’t think it is Swedish. These stores have made me weak and ended up overspending, mostly because they are soooooooooooo cheap!!!! Cheaper than Zara and other Spanish brands yet style is what you need for an additional distinctive Scandi flare to your wardrobe. You’ll also spot a lot of secondhand shops across Stockholm, but you’re more likely to spot designer donations than tired-looking hand-me-downs in most of them.
8. A must-see for music fans
Spend some time with Sweden’s greatest export after IKEA at the ABBA Museum. Based insidePOP HOUSE, the exhibition follows the group’s history from folk singers to international icons and includes interactive elements including performing on stage with the band and mixing a studio recording. Even the hardiest of visitor won’t be able to resist its charm, fun and impossible to shake catchiness – just be prepared to have ‘Dancing Queen’ stuck in your head for the rest of the trip.