It’s true that Stockholm is on the expensive side, but luckily there are plenty of ways to experience the city on a budget. Jessica, our local editor, has come up with her top 15 things to do for free in Stockholm!
1. Galleri Kontrast
Galleri Kontrast is a fine little gallery devoted to documentary photography. Housed in a former bank with lofty glass ceilings and intimate underground vaults, it’s worth a visit even if only to experience its stunning architecture.
Photo credit: Marcus Haraldsson & Christo de Klerk
2. Solna Centrum Station
Stockholm’s subway system is sometimes referred to as the ‘world’s longest art gallery’. The city’s artists have transformed the drab concrete walls of more than 100 underground stations into vibrant works of art. You’ll find colourful mosaics, paintings and sculptures covering interesting themes – the most popular being the ‘gates of hell’ installation at Solna Centrum Station.
Photo by Dimosthenis Papamichail
Located just 15 minutes from Slussen in the Nacka nature reserve, Hellasgården is the place to go if you’re looking to escape the hubbub of inner city Stockholm. Here you’ll find a lake, endless expanses of forest, an inexpensive sauna, and extensive walking, running, cycling and skiing tracks.
Photo credit: Joopey
Stockholm is a hilly city, full of hidden staircases and steep ramps. In an attempt to try and help commuters get around a busier part of town, a gigantic metal tower with an elevator was constructed to create a shortcut between Katarinavägen and Mosebacke Torg. The original elevator dates back to the late 1800s and was run by a steam engine. Despite having been shut down due to safety concerns, Katarinahissen is remains an iconic part of the city’s landscape and makes for an interesting photo opportunity. If you want a fun way to navigate your way around town without getting too weary, why not hop on a Segway tour of Stockholm?
Photo credit: Jakub Kadlec
5. Gamla Stan
Considered one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Europe, Gamla Stan dates back to 1252 and is must-see during your stay. This part of the city, also referred to as the Old Town, features narrow streets with cobbled stones surrounded by picture-postcard buildings that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Be sure to a stop at the 18th-century Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace), where you can watch the changing of the guard at 12.15pm daily (13:15 on Sundays and public holidays) in the courtyard. To hear the fascinating stories behind the quaint streets of the Old Town, why not book a walking tour with a local guide?
Apart from being home to several of Stockholm’s most famous museums and attractions, Djurgården offers perfect grounds for peaceful picnics and long walks. Known as the ‘green lung’ of the city, this wooded island features extensive stretches of forest and parkland – making it a favourite recreational spot amongst locals. If you’d like to ride a bike around this beautiful part of Stockholm, there are some great tours run by locals that you can book while you’re in town.
Photo credit: Tommie Hansen
7. Free outdoor gyms
Fancy a workout while you’re in Stockholm but don’t want to pay to join a gym? The city has over 40 free outdoor gyms where you can push your body to the limit whilst enjoying some fresh air. If your workout leaves you with a big appetite, why not consider sitting down for an authentic Swedish feast with a local.
8. Långholmen beach
Långholmen beach is a family friendly sand spot that attracts a mixed crowd of all ages. The fact that the beach is located on Långholmen, a former prison island, gives this place a mysterious feel.
Photo credit: Marcus Linder
9. Moderna Museet
Moderna Museet (the modern art museum) has one of the world’s finest collections of 20th and 21st century art and a photograph dating back to 1840. They offer free entry on Fridays 18.00–20.00, so be sure to time your visit well.
Photo credit: Francisco Anzola
The largest maritime museum in Scandinavia happens to be located in Stockholm and entrance is free! Exhibits include ships’ interiors, navigational instruments, weapons, figureheads, marlinspike seamanship, and lots of nautical art. In total, there are 100,000 objects, including over 1500 models of ships and boats! If you’re hungry for more sea-themed adventures while you’re on vacation, check out this Viking History Tour of the pretty town of Sigtuna!
Skogskyrkogården is a picturesque cemetery set in pine woodland just a 14-minute subway ride from the city centre. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this cemetery is a reminder of thefragility of life – as well as a celebration of nature and innovation.
Photo credit: Michael Caven
Once a working class neighbourhood, Södermalm (aka Söder) is now a hipster’s paradise that brims with creative energy. With its trendy vintage clothing boutiques, cool independent galleries and intimate little bars, there’s plenty to see and do in this part of town. If you time your visit for sunset, be sure to walk along the Monteliusvägen cliff path where you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the city in the golden light. And if you feel like learning about the history of the area as well asexploring all the super cool things, why not take a Hipstoric Walking Tour with a local guide!
Photo credit: André Vasconcelos
Stadsbiblioteket is Sweden’s largest public library with more than half a million books. Not only is it a cosy working and studying station, it is also an architectural masterpiece.
Photo credit: Emma Ramoy
Vitabergsparken, one of Stockholm’s most beloved parks, attracts locals with its peaceful and green setting. It’s an ideal spot for picnics, people watching or simply soaking up the sun. In addition it offers an impressive view of the city.
Photo credit: Holger Ellgaard
Stockholm has some of the cleanest waterways and seas in Europe and there’s no better place to head for a dip on a sunny day thanthe family-friendly beach at Smedsuddsbadet. There’s a large lawn for sunbathing as well as shower and toilet facilities. Pack a picnic and enjoy the water!
Cover photo credit: Stefan Lins