Lucie Loves... Travel // How to see Stockholm's hottest hipster sights on a 3-night city break and not break the bank

Lucie Loves Stockholm city break

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.

 Our cosy hipster-friendly twin room at the Downtown Camper by Scandic hotel

Our cosy hipster-friendly twin room at the Downtown Camper by Scandic hotel

 Stockholm waterfront

Stockholm waterfront

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.

 Hot dogs for dinner at Campfire – Downtown Camper by Scandic's hotel restaurant

Hot dogs for dinner at Campfire – Downtown Camper by Scandic's hotel restaurant

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.

 It goes dark around 3pm in Stockholm in the Winter months, so be sure to head out early to see the city in the daylight

It goes dark around 3pm in Stockholm in the Winter months, so be sure to head out early to see the city in the daylight

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.

Find out what's included in the Stockholm Pass

  • 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).

 Classic meatballs for lunch at Meatballs for the People

Classic meatballs for lunch at Meatballs for the People

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.

 Parlans Toffee Shop, Sodermalm

Parlans Toffee Shop, Sodermalm

 Tambur - design, accessories and interiors - concept store, Stockholm

Tambur - design, accessories and interiors - concept store, Stockholm

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.

 Fotografiska – Photography Museum, Stockholm

Fotografiska – Photography Museum, Stockholm

 The Fotografiska museum shop has an abundance of photography books, prints and souvenirs 

The Fotografiska museum shop has an abundance of photography books, prints and souvenirs 

 Nick Veasey - Inside Out X-ray exhibition at Fotografiska, Stockholm

Nick Veasey - Inside Out X-ray exhibition at Fotografiska, Stockholm

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.

 Fotografiska – A photography lover's dream!

Fotografiska – A photography lover's dream!

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.

 Standing room only at Tweed Bar, one of Stockholm's most delectable, hipster cocktail joints

Standing room only at Tweed Bar, one of Stockholm's most delectable, hipster cocktail joints

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.

 Pizza for dinner at 1889, Stockholm – one of the cheaper dining out options in the city

Pizza for dinner at 1889, Stockholm – one of the cheaper dining out options in the city

Lucie Loves Stockholm 1889
 Humana Second Hand, Vintage Clothing Store, Stockholm

Humana Second Hand, Vintage Clothing Store, Stockholm

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.

Lucie Loves Stockholm Papercut
 Papercut books & magazines, Stockholm

Papercut books & magazines, Stockholm

 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!

 Sign store, Stockholm

Sign store, Stockholm

Lucie Loves Stockholm Fashion
 A must-eat when in Stockholm are the Cinnabun's from Fabrique bakery (it's right next door to Spago restaurant!)

A must-eat when in Stockholm are the Cinnabun's from Fabrique bakery (it's right next door to Spago restaurant!)

 Italian for lunch at Spago, Stockholm

Italian for lunch at Spago, Stockholm

Lucie Loves Stockholm Spago
 Hot chocolate at Kaffeekoppen, Gamla Stan

Hot chocolate at Kaffeekoppen, Gamla Stan

 Pretty window at Kaffeekoppen in Gamla Stan - Stockholm's picturesque old town

Pretty window at Kaffeekoppen in Gamla Stan - Stockholm's picturesque old town

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!

Lucie Loves Stockholm

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).

 Walking to the Vasa Museum on a sunny day in Stockholm

Walking to the Vasa Museum on a sunny day in Stockholm

 Feeling on top of the world at Stockholm's highest building, Globen

Feeling on top of the world at Stockholm's highest building, Globen

 Tickets to Vasa Museum are included in the Stockholm Pass

Tickets to Vasa Museum are included in the 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.

 Glorious autumnal colours in Stockholm

Glorious autumnal colours in Stockholm

 Stockholm

Stockholm

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