After visiting Norway and Finland, Sweden was the next destination on my list. Thus, the special offer from Eurowings – cheap internal European flights from 24,95 € up – suited perfectly. By the way, Eurowings regularly promotes these special offers, so keep your eyes open. But it was not only the flight that allowed me a low budget-trip. Together with a two night booking at Hotel Micro, a nice backpacker hotel, I payed 150 € total. And Stockholm was definitely worth a visit! Three days are perfect to explore Sweden’s capital provided that you do not want to visit all of the museums. Otherwise, an additonal day is advisable.
My friend and I landed at Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 9 am and after a 45 minutes busride to the city center, we started to explore Stockholm. First of all, it’s important to mention that Stockholm is comparatively small and that distances are less than they seem on a map. So, it’s not a problem at all to discover Stockholm on foot.
The first part of Stockholm we went to was Drottninggatan, the main shopping road that connects Stockholms Gamla Stan (Old Town) with the city’s modern north. The closer we got to Gamla Stan the more souvenir shops we encountered and we directly noticed that postcards were really cheap here. We converted prices to Euro and ended up with regular postcards for 11 cents or 33 cents. Guess what we bought in heaps. 🙂
Gamla Stan was impressive and different from what I had expected. With its small alleys and yellow, orange and red houses, it reminded me of a Mediterranean small town rather than of a Nordic capital.
But it were places like the central market place, Stortorget, which brought back the typical Nordic charm. Stortorget is the oldest square in Stockholm’s historical city center and offers an opportunity to sit down and enjoy the capital’s cosy atmosphere.
In almost every alley, we found small bars, restaurants and pubs inviting us to step inside and enjoy the warmth. Stockholm in general appeared to us as a friendly and even famliar city where locals and tourists intermingled.
After walking around Gamla Stan, we stopped by the Royal Castle situated right next to Gamla Stan. Of course, the castle was not as impressive as Drottningholm Palace, the private residence of the Swedish royal family. However, it was interesting to watch the guards walk up and down in front of the entrances. Guided tours could be booked but we were also allowed to enter a small part of the “kungliga slottet” for free.
We decided to spend the next day on Djurgården island located east of Gamla Stan. On Djurgården island, there are various museums and attractions in close proximity to each other. Taking the Djurgården tram to the island is probably the most popular and quickest way to get there. We paid around 14 € for a day pass that is valid for subways, busses, trams and even ferries.
The famous open-air museum Skansen is not only the main attraction on Djurgården island but also the oldest open-air museum Sweden founded in 1891. So it was self-explanatory that it was the first destination on our list for that day. Skansen is huge and we spent hours walking around the very hilly area. Here, you are invited to discover things on your own but the staff and the actors were always friendly and very obliging.
Besides the typical and historical Swedish buildings and small villages, Skansen includes a small zoo where you can observe Nordic animals such as moose, reindeer, wolves and bears.
What I liked most about Skansen was the fact that it was not crowded at all. We really felt as if we were right in the middle of a small Swedish settlement somewhere in the woods. Skansen is a great place to dive into Swedish history and to travel all over Sweden in just one day.
When we left Skansen, we still had time for one more museum on Djurgården island. We decided to visit the Vasamuseum because we had been told that it was truly impressive. But there is a range of other attractions you could choose from: the ABBA museum, the theme park Gröna Lund, the Nordic Museum or the children’s Astrid Lindgren museum Junibacken.
However, we made a choice and we did not regret it. The Vasamuseum exhibits the ship Vasa, which sank in 1628. It has been restored and work is still in progress. The museum consists of seven floors build around it, each one dealing with a part of the ship’s and its crew’s history.
On our last day, we walked around the streets of the more modern parts of Stockholm and went to see Stockholm’s city hall, which is situated directly on the waterfront. The building itself was an eyecatcher but we also had a brilliant view on Gamla Stan. However, it was super windy and so we could not withstand the cold for a long time.
Back in Gamla Stan, the buildings protected us from the wind and so we went for a shopping. The typical souvenir shops were countless and shone in a Swedish blue and yellow. What really caught our eyes was a candy shop that sold Swedish candy for a comparatively low price. Beside chocolates and liquorice, there was a candy called Swedish spån, which was twisted. It did not only look great, it also tasted great!
After a relaxed shopping day that allowed us to calm down and capture the atmosphere of Sweden’s capital, we had to say goodbye to Stockholm and went back to Arlanda Airport. Stockholm is beautiful albeit smaller than I would have expected it to be. Its size is actually very pleasant as you are not necessarily dependent on public transport or a car. Stockholm locals are very friendly and together with the cozy atmosphere, you thus feel more than just welcome.