From the pristine moors of the far north, where the Northern Lights reign in winter, to the pink granite islands of its archipelagos, to the elegant cities and landscapes dotted with pretty red houses, a travel to Sweden is never forgotten in life.
Personally I have been there once, twice, three times and I will go back again and again.
Sweden is a country rich in history (the Swedes have been able to make the most of their cultural heritage and have preserved it in an exemplary way) and nature: add the kindness of the people and the possibility of experiencing a thousand adventures and you will have the recipe for a perfect trip.
- General information in a nutshell
- How much does it cost to travel to Sweden?
- Low cost advice
- What to do and what to see in Sweden
General information in a nutshell
When to go: in Sweden the summer is pleasant and the winter cold. In the north, polar temperatures can be reached in winter so cover up well. In summer, temperatures are cool in the evening so it is always best to bring a jacket.
Money, Credit Cards and ATMs: the official currency is the SEK.
You can basically pay with your credit card anywhere.
Safety: Sweden is undoubtedly one of the countries where you don't have to worry about security. The rules of common sense still apply.
Although Sweden is an extremely safe country, don't forget to take atravel insurance, for example the one I used from Viaggi Sicuri: it is true that it exists and it is covered by MEET THE TEAM, but this does not guarantee the same coverage as good insurance (I had Safe travels).
How much does it cost to travel to Sweden?
Sweden is not an economic country, like the rest of the Scandinavian peninsula. On the other hand, all the services are at the highest levels and at the highest quality standards.
However, there is still some possibility to save even if this involves making some sacrifices.
In this travel guide to Sweden you will also find a series of tips on how to save money on your trip to Sweden!
Hotels, hostels and campsites
The price for a shared dormitory in the hostel and with a shared bathroom is around 20/25 euros. The price for a double room in a cheap hotel is around 60 to 100 euros, but in big cities (like Stockholm, to understand) the prices can be higher.
Generally, the cost of sheets must be added to the price of hostels and some hotels, which are charged separately.
Breakfast is sometimes included in others not. If it is not included, my advice is not to do it in the hotel, but to go out to some cafes.
However, there are various options. Some hotels give the option to choose private rooms with shared bathroom.
A good idea is to choose the campsite. In Sweden you can also camp safely and the prices are not very high. In the campsites you will be asked to buy the Camping Key Europe, which, however, will give you discounts on other services (for example on ferries).
You can also buy your Camping Key Europe online.
Eating in restaurants in Sweden is expensivebut if you avoid the more expensive dishes like meat or cheese the cost is lower.
In some restaurants the main dishes start at around 18 euros. However, just to get an idea, I spent 25 euros in Stockholm for a beer and a salad.
The way to save is to buy slices of pizza or hotdogs in the various 7eleven or eat in fast food restaurants. Many shops offer prepackaged sandwiches and meals for less than 100 SEK (around 10 euros).
Wine and spirits are very expensive: if you want to save on this because you can't do without a glass of wine, buy it at liquor store, a Swedish state-owned joint stock company that has a monopoly on the retail sale of alcoholic products.
To do this you will be asked for proof of identity as they can only sell alcohol to people over 20 years of age.
From various airports to cities: Flygbussarna is the bus company that offers regular transport from various airports to major cities (Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg). The price of the ticket depends on the route, but for example a single ride from Skavska to the center of Stockholm costs around 10 euros for an adult.
On the Flygbussarna online site with a simulation you can see all the costs and also buy your ticket online.
You can also take the train from Arlanda to central Stockholm. Is called Arlanda Express and in 20 minutes it takes you from the airport to the city. The price varies, but for two adults it is around 35 euros (350 SEK).
For more information and tips for visiting Stockholm you can read my post: tips for visiting Stockholm
Extra-urban transport: Sweden has an extremely efficient rail network. SJ trains, the state railways, go almost everywhere, but there are also various private companies.
Read my experience on the night train from Stockholm to Swedish Lapland!
Alternatively you could choose to travel by bus: the largest company is there Swebus which offers more than 180 routes among the most beautiful destinations in the country.
Tours and activities
Green spaces in Swedish cities offer plenty of opportunities to explore, have picnics and be with the family.
Outdoor activities are very popular in Sweden (as in every Scandinavian country) and offer endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, skiing, kayaking even in the cities.
The cost of the museums here also varies from 80 to 195 SEK.
Tips for saving
1 - In Stockholm, take part in a free walking tour: come a Sofia in Bulgaria, but also in practically all the big cities of Europe, if you want to save money, take part in a free walking tour.
There are several tours that you can choose from, but my favorite is the one that takes the traveler for two hours in the old city (Old Town) and provides all the information to know both the city and its history.
2 - Buy a transport pass: transport in Sweden is expensive, but especially in the cities it is possible to take cards that allow for a fixed price to make unlimited use of public transport (metro, bus and tram).
In fact, this card certainly guarantees a lower cost than single rides.
Some cards also allow you to have discounts on some attractions such as museums for example.
3 - Avoid alcohol: alcohol is already very expensive. Even if sometimes you can find beer for 4/5 euros, it is easier than you will find it for 7/8. Avoiding them is therefore a way not to drain your wallet.
4 - Use a housing network: I don't love it and have used it very few times in my life, but the couchsurfing offers a fantastic way to avoid spending money on accommodation.
In any case, you will have to be very adaptable, it is not always easy to live with people who do not know each other. Couchsurfing has other positive sides besides the fact of being free of charge such as having real contact with people.
Alternatively, also search a house for rent on Airbnb it saves a lot (although I don't use it for other issues).
5 - Look for buffet lunches, groceries and markets: exactly in some cities (first of all Stockholm) it is possible to find restaurants where for less than 10 euros you can have lunch. They are the buffet ones, but even in the markets or in the small groceries you don't spend a fortune.
Sign up for all cheap options in Stockholm these names:
- Herman’s: a vegetarian buffet costs around 15 euros.
- Vigårda: hamburger with salad or fries for less than 10 euros.
- Urban Deli: take-away dishes with salad for around 8 euros "per piece".
- Meatballs for the People: the Swedish meatballs of your dreams with sauces and mashed potatoes, all take-away!
What to see and what to do
There are so many things to see and do in Sweden that making a choice is not easy at all.
I put here the things I think are best, but I'm sure there are many others (and if you find them tell me in the comments!).
Visit the Vasa Museum: the most visited museum in the whole Scandinavian peninsula with over one million visitors a year is located in the capital: Stockholm. Imagine being catapulted 400 years back and finding yourself in front of a real vessel, the most terrible fighter ship of the time, the flagship of the powerful Swedish naval fleet. A project followed with awe by the opposing populations.
Too bad (or luckily for us) the Vasa sank 20 minutes after her launch. It might seem like an epic fail (and to all effects it was) but this allowed us to find it practically intact on the seabed and to amaze us and leave us astonished in front of its magnificence.
Hunt the Northern Lights in Kiruna and Abisko: in the far north, in a region dominated only by forests and reindeer, whenever it gets dark, the sky is clear and solar activity is high, one of the miracles that only nature is capable of giving is observed: thenorthern Lights. Due to the shape of the mountains, Abisko is one of the best places in the world to observe the bizarre and spiteful Northern Lights. I can say without a doubt that this was one of the best experiences of my life!
Brave the cold e experience a real adventure trip in Swedish Lapland: Swedish Lapland is not just about Northern Lights! As written in this article on the northern lights for me the rule applies: choose based on the destination not on the aurora.
Skelleftea is a natural paradise where only forests reign: here you can organize wonderful adventures both in summer and in winter such as cross the woods on a sleigh pulled by sweet Huskies, take a horse ride, see the midnight sun and much more.
"Slow down the pace" with the fika: fika (although some will laugh at this term) is the coffee break and, as in England with “tea time”, here it is an institution.
Having coffee with pastries of various kinds for Swedes is a way to slow down and spend a few pleasant minutes with work colleagues and friends.
Visit Karlskrona: Karlskrona is a slightly unusual destination. Defined as the sunniest city in all of Sweden, this small community lives in a haven of tranquility, resting right in front of the sea and its archipelago. It goes without saying that I spent two wonderful days here taking part in an excursion that took me to sleep on a desert island in a lighthouse, to swim with the seals and to whiz on the waters of the Baltic Sea at more than 100 kim per hour!
Take part in the Midsummer Festival: the name is a little reminiscent of Shakespeare it is true, but the Midsummer Festival is one of the most loved parties by the Swedes. It is practically celebrated everywhere by dancing, eating, drinking and enjoying nature. It is always held on Fridays between 19 and 25 June: look for some Swede who can take you there or ask around.
Trekking on the Kings Trail: a path of 440 km to be covered on foot through the most unspoiled nature of the whole country. It takes more than a month for the brave to decide to walk it all. For those like me who are a little less brave, it is also possible to just make them into small pieces. Along the way, however, there are shelters in which to rest, stock up on food or various kinds and also (if you are tired) to find a passage to the nearest town.
Visit Kosterhavet: a marine park around the Koster Islands, about two hours away from Gothenburg. There are marine corals inside the park, but the villages on the islands are truly picturesque. In reality, the whole area is very beautiful and it is worth exploring it perhaps by renting bicycles!
Stroll through the oldest and most characteristic core of Gothenburg: the neighborhood Haga. It is also worth spending a full day in the shop windows and on the cobbled streets of the oldest quarter of the city. The whole neighborhood is characterized by typical restaurants (in short, the ones I like) and cafes where various types of typical sweets are sold, including my favorites, those with cinnamon.
Spend at least 3 days in Stockholm: one of my favorite capitals in Europe, Stockholm is an elegant and vibrant city. Do not miss all the things it has to offer, such as its museums (of which I have already mentioned the Vasa) and take the opportunity to visit its archipelago by boat.
Celebrate the arrival of spring, the day of Valborg: unfortunately I have never been there (ah but I will go there sooner or later) but every year on April 30 the Swedes give life to various celebrations to welcome spring. Think this festival dates back to the Middle Ages and is characterized by the lighting of large bonfires practically everywhere. Some Swedes celebrate it at home or on their own business, but ask around and you will surely find someone who will tell you how to get to the various parties.