Lucie Loves... Travel // How to see Stockholm's hottest hipster sights on a 3-night city break and not break the bank
With cheap city breaks to Europe becoming even easier to come by, it's not surprising that more and more of us are jetting off each month, and posting then about our adventures abroad on Instagram.
In November 2017, I flew to Sweden to explore Stockholm with three of my friends. My friend Laura was turning 32 and wanted to do something outside of London to celebrate this thirty-something birthday.
We pondered over a few Scandinavian destinations for our winter city break – at one point, even considering a short multi-city road trip that would incorporate driving between three cities in three different countries (Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen). It turns out that, on this occasion, this was a bit ambitious to try and achieve in the 3-nights we had to play with. So Stockholm it was!
Where can I find flights from London to Stockholm?
I booked flights from London Heathrow to Stockholm Arlanda Airport with British Airways, for £127.05 return, including taxes (hand luggage only) because I like to collect the airmiles and Avios points. It's worth noting that an earlier trip that I took last year was to Madrid and booked through the British Airways Sale (the sale is on again now and ends 30 Jan, you can pick up city breaks for £99pp including flights and hotels to many popular European destinations).
Travel from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Stockholm Central
The Arlanda Express train is the easiest way to get from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Stockholm City Centre. A ticket costs around SEK 280 (around £25) one-way.
I want a Stockholm hipster hotel in a good location
We booked three nights at Stockholm's new Downtown Camper by Scandic hotel, which cost SEK 4,560 (£412 per twin room for three nights - approx. £138 per night). Described as "a signature hotel for urban explorers" I'd liken the Downtown Camper to The Hoxton or Ace Hotel, in terms of look & feel. It's incredibly stylish, centrally located and caters for a young, professional, creative crowd.
Check out the vlog I made of our 3-night city break in Stockholm.
How much should I budget for a 3-night city break in Stockholm?
I don't think I've fretted so much about how much a city break was going to cost, as I did about Stockholm. We've all heard the rumours of pints of beer costing an arm and a leg, or a yoghurt that costs a month's wages... Yep! I was slightly apprehensive about returning from this trip bankrupt.
Day One // Thursday
On the first night of the trip, having arrived a little earlier than the other girls, I ordered a plate of three small loaded hotdogs (the cheapest thing on the Downtown Camper by Scandic hotel menu) and a pint of craft beer. It cost around £17, and I was still a bit peckish!
Fortunately, our room at the Downtown Camper included a really good breakfast, and so we made sure to stock up on a hearty breakie (usually coffee, fruit juice, Belgian Waffles topped with fruit compote and cream) before we headed out exploring each day.
Day Two // Friday
We headed to pick up our Stockholm Pass, kindly gifted to us for the purpose of this visit, from the guys at the Stockholm Tourist Board Office. The office is conveniently located just around the corner from the Downtown Camper by Scandic Hotel. The Stockholm Pass costs from SEK 595 (approx. £54pp) for a one day pass and up to SEK 1,295 (£117pp) for a 5-day pass. You can also save more money by adding on a 24 hour or 72 hour Stockholm travel card.
- Free entry to over 60 of Stockholm’s most popular attractions
- Free bus tour and boat tours of Stockholm city, islands and canals
- Free guidebook to help plan your sightseeing adventure
- Optional Travelcard to get around Stockholm with ease
We spent the first part of the afternoon walking through central Stockholm, dropping into Ace & Tate (trying on some new glasses), Byredo (smelling incredible perfumes and candles!) Mango, H&M, H&M Home, & Other Stories, Samsoe e Samsoe, and a gorgeous florist, before making our way to Stockholm's hipster hood of Södermalm (pronounced soda-mow).
For lunch we stopped off at the much-recommended Meatballs for the People. I ordered the classic meatballs & mash potatoes and a bottle of New Zealand beer, which cost SEK 204 (approx. £18). If you go, don't forget to try their free, and ever-so moreish, cream cheese and Swedish crackers. Nom! Nom! Nom!
After lunch, we stepped out onto the now darkened streets of Södermalm (It goes dark in Sweden around 3pm in winter months!) and made our way to Parlan's Konfektyr, a traditional Swedish toffee shop. Who needs dessert when you can spoon free samples of delicious, home-made toffee into your mouths? It's well worth a visit, just to see the girl making toffee behind the glass screen.
After scoffing all the toffee we could manage, we headed into ACNE clothing and Tambur Store – a Scandi home & interiors concept store, nearby. We window shopped to our heart's content, both wishing that we had pockets deep enough and homes big enough to accommodate all of the beautiful things we had seen.
Our next stop was Fotografiska – Stockholm's famous photography museum. Entry to Fotografiska is included in the Stockholm Pass, so we just waltzed right in and explored the exhibitions. Nick Veasey's 'Inside Out' – he Xrays weird and wonderful things (which had been recommended by a photographer friend of mine, Martin – take a look and follow his Instagram @martindhspencer, it's beaut! We also saw Ida Borg's 'Hygiene - A Circle of Life', and The Autumn Salon. If you're a lover of photographer or, like me, have studied the art form, I would be sure to add a visit to this stunning museum to your Stockholm itinerary. The bar upstairs at Fotografiska (seen in the slideshow below) plays really cool, laid back tunes and does a fantastic Old Fashioned cocktail. It's not on the menu, so you'll need to ask the bar staff.
Later that night we walked back through Stockholm's old town, Gamla Stan. Now, if you're looking for traditional Stockholm, then I'd recommend exploring this area of the city. It's far prettier than the modernised streets of Central Stockholm.
We popped in for a cocktail at Tweed bar. It was standing room only in this self-proclaimed 'highly-comfortable bar' – and it turns out you really need to book in advance, if you'd like a table reservation in this fancy boozer. But, we'd heard such good things about the cocktails and, upon entering, were very taken with the interior, so decided to prop ourselves up by the busy little bar area, and sip our exceptionally well-made drinks.
Our cocktails cost around SEK 340 for two (£30 - so around £15 per cocktail) not cheap, but worth it. We then made our way back towards the city centre, and feeling ravenous by this point, headed for a reasonably priced dinner at 1889 pizza. Dinner at 1889 cost around £15 pp for two large (and very tasty) pizzas, with tap water.
Day Three // Saturday
On Saturday we bought a 24-hour travel card each for SEK 140 (approx. £13) and headed back over to Södermalm via the metro, to explore a few vintage clothing shops, Papercut book store, Filippa K, Fabrique Bakery (you must try their cinnamon buns and chocolate brownies! (SEK 70 - approx. £6 for the two) and have dinner in a new Italian restaurant called SPAGO. We shared a bottle of Prosecco and I ordered the SPAGO (veal tagliatelli with a beautiful creamy truffle sauce). Lunch cost around SEK 330 pp (approx. £30 pp).
Our friend, Mel, who had arrived a little later, wanted to walk back through Gamla Stan. I'd been informed by one of my friends on Instagram that KaffeKoppen was the perfect stop-off for a hot chocolate, SEK 43 (approx. £3.80) and what a bowl of hot choc it was!
We made our way back to our hotel and got changed for that evening's dinner. Again, heading back to Södermalm, we were surprised at how quiet the streets were – even at the weekend. I guess something you'll note about Sweden, is that life in winter revolves around the cosiness of spending time indoors. We found a table a a little restaurant called Grannen, a very quirky and bustling restaurant, that felt like we'd stumbled upon someone's home.
A couple of the girls ordered the meatballs, Laura had the burger and an Old Fashioned, and I opted for the steak with rosemary potatoes and a glass of red wine. Dinner cost around SEK 400 (approx. £36 pp) and was very good, considering we'd happened upon it by accident. I'd definitely recommend this place!
After dinner we headed to Snotty's Sound Bar, just up the road, for a night cap. This bar has walls covered in music paraphernalia and a great playlist. I ordered a couple of Maker's Mark and Cokes for SEK 150 (approx. £13 for two). By this point it was getting late and absolutely freezing outside – even in our thermals! We were ready for our beds. Going out out in Stockholm in winter doesn't seem to be the done thing? I'm guessing it's probably a completely different story in summer – but still just as expensive!
Day Four // Sunday
On our final morning, we polished off a quick breakfast and then made our way to Skyview at Globen - the world's largest spherical building – for the best views of Stockholm, and then over to the island of Djurgården, to visit the Vasa Museum (both were included in our Stockholm Pass).
Things to note before travelling around Stockholm
is really easy by metro and on foot. However, if you're a bit of an Uber addict like me, it's worth noting that Uber in Stockholm isn't like Uber in London. Cars are few and far between, with waits of up to 20 minutes. Our driver cancelled on us a couple of times, so we ended up walking instead. It's pretty cold in Stockholm in November, as you'd imagine, so definitely wear suitable walking shoes, as you'll be spending a lot of the time exploring the city sights on foot. I wore my Dr Martens and they were perfect.
Trying to find cheap eats in Stockholm in the spur of the moment, when feeling very hungry, can be quite stressful. I would recommend downloading google maps and researching a few places beforehand, in the neighbourhoods you are thinking of visiting. Otherwise, you'll end up paying through the nose for some fine-dining food, and busting your budget.
So how much did it cost in total for 3-nights in Stockholm?
For flights, transfers, 3-nights hotel in a central Stockholm location, (mid-range to pricey) food, drink and attractions, you should expect to budget around £500-600 per person (minus the cost of any additional shopping you expect to do). The average cost of lunch was around £15-20 per person, with dinner costing from £30-40 per person.
Over to you!
If you've got any questions or any other must-see places in Stockholm, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!
Photography © Lucie Kerley