If you’re looking for cheap family holidays the Swedish capital Stockholm could the perfect place – built over an archipelago of 14 islands and the only capital in the world with a protected national park within its borders, it’s stunningly clean, safe and full of things to do.
But Scandinavian good life doesn’t come cheap – Stockholm is not the cheapest of cities. Yet, with a little knowledge it can be easier on the wallet than many guidebooks might suggest.
Stockholm is a bike-friendly city with clearly marked cycle lanes and respectful traffic – hire bicycles in Stockholm at city bike for three days for £15 during summer from about 70 locations across the city (6am-6pm).
The super-efficient, quick and safe subway, Tunnelbana, is open all day and night – so don’t bother with taxis (minimum £18 a journey). But a single zone ticket costs £3.40, so instead buy a remsa ticket strip at stations or Pressbyrans (convenience booths). This gives eight subway or bus trips for £18. Or buy an unlimited three-day travelcard for £21.
Out and about
Internet cafes in Stockholm charge from £2.50 per hour – but if you’re aiming for cheap family holidays and you’ve got your laptop with you, tap into free wi-fi in Stockholm’s elegant central park, Kungstradgarden.
The Storkyrkan and Tyska Kyrkan churches in Gamla Stan are two of the city’s most beautiful buildings and both are free entry. Storkyrkan, Stockholm’s cathedral, houses a priceless statue of ‘St George and the Dragon, while Tyska Kyrkan has gorgeous stained glass, 119 biblical paintings and an ornate Baroque organ.
Royal Palace entry and tour is £14 for adults, and £7 for seven to18 year-olds – get a cheaper version of regal pomp for free though at the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony on weekdays and Saturdays between 23 April and 31 August, at 12.15pm and at 1.15pm on Sundays.
If you’re energetic, a Stockholm card can be worth investing in for £42 (online price for one day), giving you free travel on the city’s public transport system and entry into 80 museums and attractions – including the Stockholm Sightseeing Boat – and discounts on the Royal Canal Tour and Historic Canal Tour.
Stylish Sockholm’s high streets are full of Scandinavian design and not great for bargain hunting.
The exceptions are second hand clothes shops, which are the city’s best-kept secret – snap up a pair of Versace jeans for £20. Check out Stockholm Stadsmission shops and Street market, every second weekend during summer.
Food and drink
Follow the locals and order dagens ratt (‘daily special’) for the best lunch deals. For around £6-8 you’ll get a plate of fish or meat and potatoes, with a salad bar, bread and coffee thrown in – specials are advertised outside on blackboards; get there early or miss out!
Stockholm tap water is excellent so don’t waste money on bottled water. Buy one bottle (around £1.80) and reuse it – fill it from any taps for world-class tasty water.
Weekend getaways are a welcome bonus for budget travellers, as hotels often offer good deals on Saturday and Sunday nights, when the business trade is out of town.
Night on the town
Gamla Stan, the heart of the Old Town, is as beautiful after dark as during the day – wander through its beautifully-lit streets for the best free night out in town.
If you stop for a drink, remember alcohol prices in Stockholm are high – around £9 for spirits. Sticking to beer is a better option, though you’ll still pay about £5 for a half-litre.
Now to book your cheap family tickets for a holiday to Stockholm! Read our guide on the best deals here.