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Stockholm: 5 budget tips to keep things cheap

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Save on entry to Drottningholm Palace by purchasing a Stockholm Card. Photos by Tom Meyers
Save on entry to Drottningholm Palace by purchasing a Stockholm Card. Photos by Tom Meyers

Stockholm is not exactly famous for attracting budget travelers. Packed with top-class hotels, four-star restaurants and high-end shopping, the Swedish capital offers a luxurious retreat, often at prices that would make a Cheapo cry (for help).

However, as discussed is our Stockholm budget tips article, it is possible to visit Stockholm without blowing your budget. Having just spent several beautiful days in the capital, we’ve come across a few tips to keep it cheap:

The Rex Hotel offers rooms from $137 a night.

1. Find a central, cheap hotel or hostel.

First things first, aside from getting to Stockholm, your biggest expense will probably be your hotel. Surprisingly, the city offers plenty of budget hotel options, most of them situated in the center city and all clean as a whistle. While “affordable” hotels can still easily set you back $150-200, there are cheaper options. Regardless of where you stay, you can expect superior service, clean rooms and an included breakfast.

We’ve visited and reviewed dozens of budget hotels in Stockholm, from three-star charmers like the Rex Hotel in Vasastaden to the Archipelago Hostel Old Town, located in Gamla Stan (which offers both dorms and affordable private rooms). Here’s a list of recommended budget hotels in Stockholm that we’ve visited and reviewed.

2. Fill up at breakfast.

Happily, breakfast is included in the room rate at most hotels in Stockholm. And the Swedes know how to lay out a breakfast buffet. At most hotels in town, you’ll be able to stock up on several varieties of yogurt, cheeses, sliced meats (salami, ham and sausages), musli and other cereals, several kinds of jams, rolls and breads, and (of course) strong, black coffee.

Breakfast is a great opportunity to fill up for the day. It’s worth going lighter (and cheaper) at night—you can make up for it in the morning!

The Vasa Museum is included in the Stockholm Card.

3. Buy a Stockholm Card.

Planning to visit the Vasa Museum (110 SEK / $15)? Skansen Open Air Museum (140 SEK / $20)? Drottningholm Palace (145 SEK, with Chinese Pavilion / $20)? The Stockholm card has you covered at these and 75 other attractions.

The Stockholm Card not only simplifies and speeds up the sightseeing experience by allowing cardholders to skip ticket lines, it can also present some real savings, depending upon your itinerary and cultural appetite.

A three-day pass will set you back 750 SEK (about $105), while a five-day pass runs 950 SEK ($133). Admission to most of the city’s sights are included in the pass, as is public transportation around the city and city sightseeing bike rides and tours. The pass also grants special discounts on other tourist activities, such as a boat ride to Drottningholm Palace.

Read more about the card’s benefits and prices on the Stockholm Card’s Web site.

4. Reach for beer, not wine.

For a country so Absolut-ly identified with liquor, alcohol is surprisingly expensive in Stockholm and throughout Sweden. However, not all booze is priced equally, and beer is always quite a bit cheaper than wine or a mixed drink.

At many bars in central Stockholm, for example, a beer might run about 50-60 SEK ($7-9), while a glass of wine goes for about 85-100 SEK ($12-14). Fancy a mixed drink? Get ready to pour out about 110 SEK ($15)… or more.

5. Get thee early to the club.

Many clubs and trendy bars in central Stockholm charge a cover to enter once things get bumping (usually around midnight), especially on weekends and Wednesday nights (the “hot” night for going out during the week). If you don’t mind showing up when most of the locals are still at home (having much cheaper drinks before heading to the club), you can skip this charge simply by showing up early.

Your tips?

Do you have a tip to add to our list of ways to keep it cheap in Stockholm? Share with us in our comments section below!

Note: This post is part of a series sponsored by airberlin, which is promoting its flights from New York to Stockholm. For more information, including schedules and special rates, visit airberlin.com.

About the author

Tom Meyers

About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]

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