Stockholm On A Budget – How To Survive The Capital Of Scandinavia With $25 A Day


Today, Vanessa of Nordic Wanders is sharing with us top budget travel tips on how to survive the capital of Scandinavia for less than $25 a day. Vanessa is a 22 year old German with a love for the North. She plans on moving to the Arctic at the end of the year and travels through more southern parts of Scandinavia at the moment. Her love for photography and filming inspired her to create the blog On the Road again. She goes back in time and shares past travels in her Photo of the Week series and tells you everything you need to know about the capital of Scandinavia in her Stockholm Series. If you’re interested in journeys and her upcoming life as an expat in the High North, go check out her blog.  

I know – Scandinavia is not a common destination for budget travelers. A lot of people tell me they would love to go there but are afraid they cannot afford it. I recently spent a whole month in Stockholm, Sweden, and I discovered a few tricks along the way with which you can save a lot of money. So let me give you a few tips today on how you can survive Stockholm with a tight budget!

Stockholm at night
Stockholm at night. Photo credit: Johan Klovsjö.

How to get there to Stockholm

Obviously there are always cheap flights with Ryanair or Germanwings from a few destinations in Europe, most of them for roundabout $50 (return ticket). But remember that Ryanair airports are quite often in the middle of nowhere so you keep in mind the transportation costs. And then you have to pay an extra fee for your seat reservation or additional luggage and there are no meals or drinks included. Therefore I prefer to book flights to Stockholm with Lufthansa or SAS. If you book a few months in advance, you can get really cheap tickets which include 23kg luggage, meals, drinks and a seat reservation. SAS furthermore offers you a 50% discount if you are younger than 26 – how awesome is that?!

View from Skinnarviksberget on Stockholm

You can of course also go by bus or ferry although I would only recommend this if you live in the Netherlands, (northern) Germany, the Baltics or Poland. If you live further south or in the UK, flights are probably cheaper. But if not you can get ferry tickets for about 25$ (single ticket) and, if you come from Germany, then you only have to take the train from Trelleborg or Malmö to Stockholm which costs around 25$ (single ticket) if you book 2 or more months in advance. Bus tickets from Germany to Stockholm cost $55 (single ticket in advance) with Eurolines. Keep in mind though, that off-season tickets are always cheaper!

See also  6 Reasons To Love and Travel To Brussels

Where to sleep in Stockholm

You cannot compare hostel prices in Scandinavia with other European ones. Hostels in Stockholm range from about $30 per night for a bed in a dorm room to $55-$80 per night for a single or double room. Therefore I prefer to stay with Swedish hosts. During my 4-week stay in Stockholm, I lived with a Swedish family and paid as much rent as I would have to at home. I booked through Airbnb, a platform like VRBO, where people can let their rooms or apartments and where you can simply book them. I can totally recommend you to do the same.


Airbnb provides an emergency number in case something goes wrong and removes hosts who do not answer to your booking request. Furthermore you have to rate your host officially and then a second time anonymously for Airbnb purposes only. You have to state whether or not you felt safe during your stay and whether you had any serious problems with your host in the second rating round. Airbnb is then able to remove hosts if they get any serious complaints. I like their system and always felt safe booking through their site. You have the choice between your own apartment, your own room or just a couch in someone’s living room.

The latter is of course free if you use Couchsurfing. Although it is great to not pay anything for your accommodation, you should keep in mind that Couchsurfing does not provide you any service or emergency contact and the chance to fall for fraud is much higher. So please read the host’s description and references carefully and do some research on the area.

Stockholm is by no means a dangerous city but there are neighborhoods with high crime rates that you should avoid, especially if you are traveling solo. If you use Airbnb, keep in mind that the cheaper the accommodation is, the farther away is it from the city centre and you then have to pay for the metro card, which is quite expensive ($15 for 24 hours and $25 for 72 hours). I recommend you to look out for rooms in Södermalm, which is a young and hip neighborhood south from the city centre. Room rates are comparatively cheap there and you can easily walk to get to Stockholm’s Old Town and the major tourist attractions.

And you can even camp in Stockholm! There is a camping site in Bromma which is quite far from the city centre (10km) but which is also where Drottningholm Castle, the home of the King and Queen of Sweden, is situated.

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Where to eat in Stockholm

You can save a lot of money for drinks in Stockholm as you can simply drink tap water. It is not only free but also healthy and even Stockholmers themselves bring a water bottle to re-fill everyday they go to work or school. You can also get free tap water in restaurants and night clubs which is just amazing! Food is of course expensive in Stockholm so it is best to prepare food on your own rather than eating out.

Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan

You should avoid Swedish supermarkets and kiosks like ICA and 7-Eleven but instead search for a LIDL. It is by far the cheapest supermarket and there are quite a few in the city centre, for example on Sveavägen in Vasastan or Folkungagatan in Södermalm. You can get rolls, cheese rolls, croissants and donuts there for less than a dollar and bread, butter and cheese are also much cheaper than elsewhere.

If you want a warm meal and have no cooking facilities at your accommodation, go for lunch. You can find special lunch offers – soup of the day or “Dagens Rätt”, the meal of the day – in every restaurant around Stockholm. And although I would not recommend to eat out in touristy neighborhoods like Gamla Stan in general, I have to admit that I had the biggest and most delicious pizza just there for $11. It was enough two persons as it was so big that it did not even fitted on the plate! It was a little diner in an alleyway of Gamla Stan and I was the only tourist in there. So look out for places that do not advertise in English because you can be sure that those are non-touristy restaurants and it is cheap and good where the locals eat, remember that! Another tip for non-vegetarians are hot dogs. There are dozens of hot dog stands around every corner in Stockholm and you should make use of them!

They come as classic hot-dog or full meal with mashed potatoes, salad or whatever you want. Just look out for them and I promise, you will make a find very quickly.

What to do and see in Stockholm

This is of course the most important and most expensive thing of any journey. Stockholm however is a city where you do not need to spend much on entrance fees. Taking a stroll around the Old Town and the Royal Palace, watching the changing of the guard, sitting at the waterfront at either Lake Mälaren or the Baltic Sea or taking a promenade on the shopping mile or even better, in the woods: All free and easily accessible on foot.


If you however want to visit a museum, go on Wednesday evening. Many museums, like the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum), offer free entrance every Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm (not in the summer though). If you want to visit the Stockholm Archipelago go by ferry, as the locals do, instead of taking a tourist tour. You can save up to $10 this way and you can disembark on a little island where you can pick-nick and lay in the sun in peace rather than being stuck on a crowded tourist boat where you are not able to disembark at all.

The Royal Palace

And if you want to have a look on the city from above, take the elevator at Slussen in Södermalm rather than paying an entrance fee at the Stadshus, Kaknästornet or even worse Globen Skyview. Taking the Katarinahissen, which the elevator is called in Swedish, is free and offers you a brilliant view on the Old Town.

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Another possibility is climbing the hill Skinnarviksberget which is even more beautiful, free and surrounded by footpaths but yet close to the city centre.

Things to keep in mind

Stockholm is of course not the cheapest destination for budget travels but with a few tips and tricks you can save a lot of money. Here is a little summary of the most important things to keep in mind when planning a journey to Stockholm:

  • #1 Do not allow yourself to be deceived by cheap Ryanair tickets / always remember the costs for transportation, luggage, seat reservations, meals and drinks.
  • #2 Book your flight with SAS in advance and save up to 50% if your are under 26.
  • #3 Hostels in Stockholm are more expensive than elsewhere so make use of platforms like Airbnb, VRBO or Couchsurfing.
  • #4 Södermalm is a relatively cheap area in close proximity to the city centre.
  • #5 Save money by drinking tap water and doing grocery shopping at LIDL.
  • #6 Eat where the locals eat and always at lunchtime.
  • #7 You do not need expensive sightseeing tours. Stockholm can be easily explored for free and on foot.
  • #8 If you visit a museum, do so on Wednesday evening and always ask for a youth or student fare.
  • #9 Visit the Stockholm Archipelago by ferry rather than by tourist boat.
  • #10 Explore the green areas of the city like Djurgarden and enjoy a view over Stockholm at Slussen or Skinnarviksberget.

And most of all: forget your city map! Stockholm is beautiful everywhere and you do not need guided tours, fees or maps to have a wonderful time there!

German Church in Gamla Stan

So what do you think? Would you consider Stockholm as a destination for your next trip?


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Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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71 thoughts on “Stockholm On A Budget – How To Survive The Capital Of Scandinavia With $25 A Day”

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Hey Andrew! Great I could help you with my tips. AirBnB is definitely a great alternative to hotels and hostels. I use it all the time when I’m travelling through Scandinavia ;)

  1. Avatar of Stef

    Thanks for all the advice. Stockholm is definitely a city I want to visit one day. And I’ve actually haven’t done it yet due to the costs, so now I have some great ideas in mind how to save some money there.

  2. Avatar of Jen Seligmann

    Great budget tips! I’ve always wanted to visit Stockholm and Scandinavian but have been a little put off by the fact that it is so expensive, and I’m not even a hardcore budget traveller.

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Thank you! Hope your next vacation finally leads you to Scandinavia. It’s a beautiful area and I can only recommend a visit ;)

  3. Avatar of Sam

    This is great! I was just thinking about ways to save money in Stockholm the other day because my partner and I are going there for our first ever housesitting gig in August! I wouldn’t have thought about booking a flight with SAS before, but savings 50% sounds like a pretty good deal!

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      I agree. SAS has the reputation of being expensive but if you book soon, you can get pretty cheap tickets!

  4. Avatar of Dennis Kopp

    Thank you for the great budget tips Vanessa! I was actually debating to travel northern Europe in the summer, but I am fairly worried about the money aspect. The biggest expenses appear to be the accommodation, food and probably the transport. As you seemed to have found some cheap ways to stay and eat in Stockholm, did you also happen to find cheap ways to travel onwards?

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Of course! As I said you can get up to 50% discount on SAS flights if you’re under 26 and of course you have to book well in advance. Train tickets within Sweden are also cheaper if you book now and on the internet as they get more expensive with time and you also have to pay an extra fee for buying at the counter. You say northern Europe so you might be interested in Norway as well? There you can get so called “minipris” train tickets which are up to 50% cheaper than the normal ones but you can also get them only well in advance. And in every Scandinavian country you should consider going by bus instead of train as it can be cheaper and if you’re coming from or near Germany you can also go by bus to Sweden which is cheaper than going by train and can be cheaper than flying depending on where you live. Consider Eurolines if you want to do that. I hope this answers your question, if not you’re welcome to contact me on my blog! ;)

    2. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      Same here Dennis. I was hesitating to go to Sweden or Norway once again, but I was worrying about the money so I chose Portugal, Malta and Germany instead! :)

  5. Avatar of Franca

    I always wanted to go to Stockholm indeed, but I always ended up choosing cheaper destinations instead because I never have the budget. I can’t believe how expensive hostels are, good jobs there are different options that can even be more fan like Couchsurfing.

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Hostel prices in Scandinavia are unbelievable indeed. I hope you make it to Stockholm one day nonetheless!

    2. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      If I ever make it to Stockholm, I’ll definitely follow Vanessa’s accommodation tips :).

  6. Avatar of Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans

    Great tips – I’ll definitely keep these in mind when I go back to Scandinavia, especially since Stockholm is so high on my list of places to visit there.

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Actually it was me who wrote this post but anway, great to hear that my tips are useful for your trip! Hope you’ll have fun in Stockholm :)

    2. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      Definitely Carl! Gosh, I can’t wait to meet ya! Such a shame we didn’t make it in Amsterdam :-(.

  7. Avatar of Katie

    I haven’t flown with RyanAir, but it sounds a lot like Air Asia – nickel and dime for everything! I wish I could take advantage of SAS! It’s good to know that Stockholm has free and drinkable tap water, even at restaurants, which seems to be quite uncommon in some destinations. Great advice!

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Thank you! I wish one could get free tap water in German restaurants too. It saves you so much money while travelling!

    2. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      You definitely need to check out Ryanair when you make it to Europe. There are so many flights starting from just 1 euro across Italy, Portugal, Poland, England and Spain :).

  8. Avatar of Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    There are a lot of great tips included in this article! I have never heard of Airbnb but I plan to do more research and find out more about it!

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Thank you! I just love Airbnb and it’s so much safer than couchsurfing. They provide you with an emergeny phone number and you have to rate each host publicly and anonymously after your visit so that Airbnb can delete hosts who are questionable ;)

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Unfortunately this is a very common misconception about Scandinavia. Glad I could “open your eyes” ;)

  9. Avatar of Jon Blomquist

    I loooove Stockholm!! It’s my favorite European city so far, although I may be a little biased due to my ancestry. Just one little thing you passed up in the article – Beside the hotdogs, you can’t forget the amazing, delicious, end-of-the-night hangover preventative, Tunnbrödsrulle! One of Sweden’s greatest creations!

    1. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      Hey Jon! Thanks for sharing. I’ve just googled Tunnbrödsrulle. Omomomo! They look like Mexican wraps :) so yummy!

  10. Avatar of Mary {The World IS A Book}

    These are all great tips. We never made it to Stockholm (only Malmo) but it’s wonderful to know that there are cheap alternatives to visiting what looks like a beautiful city. Glad to see there are many free attractions.

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Thank you Mary!! Malmö is a wonderful city. Can’t wait to visit it again for the summer! Unfortunately it’s often overlooked because everyone rather wants to visit Stockholm ;)

  11. Avatar of Christine | GRRRLTRAVELER

    Thannnnnks so much for this post. This fall I’ll be trying to get to TBEX/Greece and Sweden/Norway are two countries I can potentially fly into. Not thrilled to be working with the Euro, so glad it’s kinda doable under $25/day.

    I remember ya’ll have a post on budget/bus transportation too. I’ll have to dig for that one.

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      So glad I could help you with this post. Hope you’ll have a great time in Greece and Scandinavia. Just a little note: you won’t have to deal with Euros in Scandinavia. They have their Swedish and Norwegians crowns ;)Though it probably doesn’t make it any easier ;)

  12. Avatar of Runaway Brit

    There is some great advice here.

    I live in Södermalm and can confirm that Stockholm does not run cheap, but if you look around you can cut costs quite a lot. Lidl is definitely one of those places. I can do my weekly shopping at ICA and it will cost me 600 kronor (€60), or I could shop in Lidl and have never spent more than 300 kronor there. You should avoid eating out, unless you go for street hot dogs. If you want to go for a nice restaurant meal without breaking the bank then Vapiano’s does great pizza, pasta, and salads for a medium budget. Branches can be found all across the city.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that a Dagensrätt (daily lunch menu mentioned in the article) will come with free salad and bread so you can fill up on that!

    If you visit Sweden in the summer then you should take advantage of ‘allemansrätten’ (freedom to roam) which means that you can camp pretty much anywhere. You’ll save yourself a load of money on accommodation! If you do purchase the travel card for the tunnelbana (metro) remember that it covers buses and some boats too. You can go out into the archipelago with the card, saving yourself expensive tourist-boat fees.

  13. Avatar of Anna @ The Blonde Banana

    These are great tips. I just got back from a trip to Norway and Denmark and was in shock over how expensive everything was. Your post gives me hope that I could go back to Scandinavia someday without going into massive debt!

  14. Avatar of Victoria

    I love this post guys. Scandanavia is on everyone’s lips right now and it’s easy to get discouraged by the outageously high prices, but this post has done a lovely job of throwing that out of the window. Now we don’t have any excuse! I really like the way you broke everything down and concentrated on the things many of us are interested in namely: sleep, food, transport, and sights.
    I’m also delighted that you mentioned how to get to Stockholm from both the UK and Germany. I live in Berlin so I consider that a nice touch!
    Thanks very much for sharing. :) :)

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Thank you Victoria! I’m glad you have a use for my tips! If you live in Berlin, you can also take the train to Copenhagen/Malmö and go on to Stockholm from there. Either wsy, I hope you enjoy Stockholm if you visit!

  15. Avatar of Rebekah Voss

    What great tips, Agness! I am in love with the idea of Sweden and haven’t yet gone because like so many others, I’ve been afraid of the cost ($15 for a 24 hour metro card?! Good God!) But your tips are really comforting, not to mention really unique. The tap water thing alone would save me a huge chunk of money.

    1. Avatar of Van @ On the Road again
      Van @ On the Road again

      Thanks Rebekah! I’m so glad you liked my post! I hope you can put Stockholm on the itinerary for your next trip now. It’s such a gorgeous city!

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