Stockholm is infamous as one of the most expensive European capitals, and for a good reason. From accommodation to meals, the choices given are far from being affordable and the capital of Sweden is under no circumstance a low-budget destination. However, even in that case, there are many places you could visit to experience the Swedish lifestyle to the maximum extent possible, without giving yourself a headache from the financial implications.
Yet they do exist! In Stockholm (just like in other European cities, such as London) you can find numerous museums that offer free entrance, either to all visitors or only to specific age groups. Starting off from the national museum of Sweden, the museum offers free entrance to everyone for its permanent exhibitions, and only to people under 20 years old for its temporary exhibitions (with the general ticket price being 100kr the basic ticket and 90kr the student one)
*10kr equal to approx. 1 euro*
Moving on to Nordiska, the museum of Swedish cultural history, covering a long period from the 16th century till today, is definitely worth your visit. The entrance is free of charge every Wednesday from 5 in the afternoon to 8 in the evening, while apart from this specific timeline, the basic ticket costs 140kr and the student one 120kr, with free entrance for underage youth (as in the majority of the museums in the city).
Another museum worth visiting is the Modern Art Museum – Moderna Museet– which does not require any ticket for all the permanent exhibitions, while it charges 100kr for the single ticket and 70kr for the student one for the temporary exhibitions.
Last but not least, the Nobel Prize Museum is situated right in the centre of Gamla Stan and offers free entrance every Tuesday, 17:00-20:00, as well as during the whole week when the announcement of the famous prizes takes place, and on Nobel day, December 10th. On the remaining days of the year, the ticket costs 130kr for adults and 90kr for students, however admittedly the museum is not worth the high entrance fee and you should therefore consider visiting only on the free-of-charge days.
*Although the entrance is not free of charge, a visit to the well-known Fotografiska museum should not be missed, both by photography lovers and not. The museum is home to numerous exhibitions by prominent professionals that change every now and then, and focus on a variety of themes, from beautiful landscapes to pressing social issues. Among the museum’s strengths is also its magnificent location, southern of the old town, as well as the fact that it stays open until 11 in the evening and is, therefore, suitable for a unique night visit. The price of the ticket is 170kr the general one and 140kr for students.*
! Attention, most of the museums in Stockholm are closed on Mondays !
Sights in Stockholm
As long as you are not afraid of heights, the ideal place to enjoy a spectacular view of the whole city is the Katarina elevator (Katarinahissen), which connects the Slussen area to the rest of Södermalm, the island situated right in the south of the Old Town. The elevator was constructed in 1881 and renovated in 1936; however, it has been closed to the public for several years, and is now open all day long, offering an amazing view, especially in the dawn and sunset hours.
If you are in the mood for something out of the ordinary, you should try to go for a walk in Skogskyrkogården, a cemetery (!) that has been transformed into a unique tourist attraction due to its historical and cultural value. It was first constructed in 1915 by two remarkable Swedish architects, and it is proudly the first cemetery that has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 1994.
In case you are nature and hiking lovers, Stockholm definitely has an abundance of choices to offer, with the most prominent one being Tyresta national park, which is situated around 25 km south of the city. It is the ideal place not only for hiking, but also for swimming in its numerous lakes, working out in the open, or ice-skating during the winter months, as well as a plethora of other activities, some of which are also free of charge. Even if you are just interested in walking around in nature, however, the park is certainly worth a visit, given that Scandinavia is famous for its magical natural surroundings and the verdant scenery.
Our last stop would be Drottningholm, the royal castle just 10 km outside of Stockholm, which constitutes the first Swedish attraction that has been placed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. It is situated on Lovön Island on the outskirts of the Swedish capital and is easily accessible by car, by underground and then bus, by bicycle, or even with a boat during the summertime. The castle, as well as its surrounding Gardens and the brilliant Chinese Pavilion inside of them, compose an attraction worth visiting, as long as you will be staying in Stockholm for more than a few days. Apart from the castle itself, which is remarkably well-preserved given that it was built in the 18th century, the location is also excellent for a day-trip due to the unparalleled natural beauty of the Swedish countryside, mainly during the summer months. A ticket is required only for entering the castle itself, with its price being 140kr for the single ticket and 70kr for the student one.
And since a rather tiring day around Stockholm’s sights is definitely going to give you an appetite, stay tuned for the 2nd part, with affordable food and drink recommendations, every hour of the day!
Special credits to: Maria Samakovli