Stockholm completely exceeded my expectations. I initially went because of a cheap flight deal. I had heard that Stockholm was a bit on the expensive side, so I only wanted to stay a handful of nights and be on my way. My strategy for this year abroad is to build passive income channels while reducing my expenses by visiting more affordable, nomad-recommended countries.
Before I go through my suggestions of things to do in Stockholm, I want to talk about the things I’ve learned and experienced (that you might find useful).
My Two Worries:
- Weather: I was worried that Stockholm would be cold even in the summer, but from May 31 – June 3 it was quite hot, around high 70’s.
- Expenses: I was scared that I’d be spending an extreme amount of money, but costs were a bit lower than expected. It was a bit more expensive than San Francisco, but still doable. E.g. water bottles cost around $3, one day metro tickets are around $14 (when single use tickets are around $.70 in Athens…).
What I Learned About Stockholm
- It’s Lit! An average summer day in Stockholm is bright from 6 AM until around 11 PM. It is insane.
What it looks like at 10:30-11 PM
- Fewer ATMs: There were fewer ATMs than I would have expected (as most European countries have them everywhere).
- But They Take Card: Most all places take credit card.
- They’re Beautiful: Maybe it was because I hadn’t been back to Europe in a while, but it seemed like everyone in Stockholm was beautiful. Perhaps this concept holds true in all of Europe and I had just forgotten. Models. Everywhere.
- Asian Food Exists! I was thoroughly pleased to see a decent amount of Asian restaurants…a lack of them would have made me cry.
- It is Safe! I never felt worried, even when walking alone at 2-3 AM (which I don’t ever recommend…I need to stop doing this lol). Taxi drivers may have bugged to get new business, but that’s about it.
- When High Schoolers Graduate, They Do it Big: Stockholm (and other Scandinavian countries) have really interesting traditions. When it’s graduation time, you’ll probably see a bunch of high school students dancing on the back of trucks. They call it “Flak”. It is not uncommon to hear loud music, horns blasting, people sitting on the outsides of their cars (so illegal in the US…) and people dressed in white, wearing caps. I wish I got to do this in the United States!
Can you see the party truck in the back?
- Vikings and Medieval Times! I had no clue Stockholm had a viking and medieval history. I think I have this particular fascination with medieval times because I played this game called T4C set in this era (I’m weird, I know).
Adorable viking figurines
Airport to Accommodations: After landing in Stockholm Arlanda Airport, I took a bus from the airport to the hostel. I stayed at City Hostel (which I recommend! You can see latest prices here). You can take a bus to the city (but check where your accommodations are to make sure the bus is what you should be taking). Buying bus tickets online is cheaper than buying at the airport (you can get them here). I purchased my round-trip tickets for about 198 SEK. If you end up purchasing these tickets, you will need to look for buses called Flygbussarna that head towards Stockholm City.
Metro Station Tickets: I ended up not buying metro tickets. I merely walked around and stayed in the city center.
As a traveler you can purchase single use travel cards. They are a bit expensive, but here are the prices:
- 24 hours: SEK115 (ages 21+); SEK 70 (20 and under, and 65+)
- 72 hours: SEK 230(ages 21+); SEK 140 (20 and under, and 65+)
- 7 days*: SEK300 (ages 21+); SEK180 (20 and under, and 65+)
The exchange rate is around –> SEK / 8.33 = USD.
Two Mistakes I Made…
- I took cash out of the airport currency exchange. I exchanged $40 USD for Stockholm currency, and they ended up taking a $5 commission fee which made the transaction not worth it. In Stockholm, cash isn’t really needed most of the time, so don’t make the same mistake I did!
- I did not know to bring a lock to the hostel as I hadn’t stayed in a hostel that required you to have your own. I ended up paying another $5 to purchase one. Make sure you check your hostels ahead of time to see what they include!
What To Do in Stockholm
1. Old Town (Gamla stan)
Old Town (called Gamla stan in Stockholm) is a beautiful little area that dates back to the 13th century. It has cobbled streets and narrow alleyways to explore. I just adore small streets like the ones of Old Town – I think they are a huge reason why I love Europe in general.
Explore the little shops in Old Town! There are tons of souvenir shops as well as unique boutiques.
There are plenty of bars around Old Town as well, in case you wanted to grab a beer!
2. A Peek at Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan)
While you’re around Old Town, you might as well take a peek at the Stockholm Cathedral. You can step inside but you have to pay a fee to go further in the cathedral. Just being there and taking a glimpse is all you really need:
3. Nobel Museum in Stortorget (in Gamla stan)
The Nobel Museum is dedicated to Alfred Nobel, the Stockholm-born visionary and founder behind the Nobel Prize. It has exhibitions of people like Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Marie Curie. We didn’t end up going inside though.
The museum is located in Stortorget which is also in Old Town. Stortorget is the oldest square in Stockholm:
4. Royal Palace (Also in Gamla stan)
Here is the Royal Palace, which we once again failed to go inside:
It is the palace and official residence for the Swedish Monarch. The second time we visited the spot, we had a chance to see some sort of rehearsal parade:
5. City Hall
City Hall contains a very nice photo opportunity, with a wonderful view overlooking Lake Mälaren. It is incredibly beautiful at night.
New friends hanging out at City Hall!
We had a lot of fun participating in the Stockholm pub crawl! I don’t want to get the supervisor in trouble, but let’s just say he hooked us up. I got to bust a move with some fun dance offs and salsa sessions!
Apparently I didn’t take enough pictures of the crawl! Oops.
I was told that Stockholm has one of the craziest nightlife scenes. If you want the ultimate clubbing experience, I heard Cafe Opera is a top choice. Apparently F12 is extremely fun as well, with deep house/house/hip hop rooms (according to some London people I met). I wasn’t getting enough sleep throughout the trip so I couldn’t get myself to go (but in hindsight I kind of wish I went).
I randomly stumbled upon Smaka (A Taste of Stockholm), an annual food festival that attracts over 350,000 people per year. I had the opportunity to attend at its opening…lucky me! With my Asian food obsession, I purchased a delicious Vietnamese meal at the event.
In 2016, Smaka was open June 2 – 5 , 11 am-11 pm and 6 June 11 am-10 pm.
8. Museum of Medieval Stockholm (Medeltidsmuseum)
I thought the Museum of Medieval Stockholm was really well done. It is also free admission on Wednesdays (during specific hours)!
The tiny figurine reenactments and representations of the town were well crafted:
And of course I had to take weird pictures:
9. Joe & The Juice
I was introduced to Joe & The Juice by my new friend who’s braved through multiple Joe & the Juices around Europe. Essentially it is a juice shop that only hires hot men, so of course, we had to go…
We spent a long time trekking to the spot. To our dismay, only 1-2 guys manned the booth as opposed to the regular 4-5 🙁 Perhaps we went on a bad day.
The juice wasn’t bad though, lol! Here’s us hanging out at the shop.
Now that I’ve traced my steps, I realize I’ve fit a decent amount of activities in a 3-night span! I had a wonderful time in Stockholm and felt like I used my time wisely during the trip. I made many new friends and learned a lot about Stockholm.
When traveling, I normally like to take my time, wake up when I want, walk around, and speak with locals. Because of this, I am pretty sure there are many activities I missed out on, so feel free to comment with other suggestions on what to do in Stockholm!