At first glance, Stockholm is a pricey place to go for a holiday. I’m all about the budget options, which is why I have to confess that I only found myself in Sweden because my friend won a competition.
Included in the prize were:
• Return flights for him and 49 of his friends from London City Airport to Stockholm with British Airways
• Two nights’ accommodation at the 4* Clarion Hotel Sign in the centre of Stockholm
• A city pass with free or discounted entry to most museums and attractions, as well as public transport passes
• Free entry to the newly opened ABBA Museum
So, perhaps I’m a little biased to answer the question ‘How expensive is Stockholm?’
But I’ll do my best.
To begin with, accommodation is surprisingly reasonably priced. Hostels in Stockholm start from around £23 for a bed in a large dorm room and £32 for a private twin. That’s really not bad by Europe standards.
One thing that wasn’t included in our fantastic little free holiday was food and drink, and I think it’s the cost of these that’s the main reason tourists’ eyes water.
On our first night, we headed out to a few of the central bars. From speaking to locals, we got the impression that Café Opera was the place to be seen, and as luck would have it, they were opening a new terrace bar the evening we arrived. It was a comfortable and trendy venue, but at £42.50 for a bottle of house wine and £7.10 for a not-quite-pint-sized beer, it was enough to get even the most devout alcoholic back on the straight and narrow.
The good news is that you can save a lot of money by snacking and making your own food instead of eating out three times a day. And, if you like a drink in the evening, you might consider bringing alcohol with you from home. Just remember to check the limits on what you can bring through customs and be aware that there are inflated prices on duty free drinks at the airport when you tell them you’re heading to Sweden.
It’s not a bad idea having a few of your own cheaper drinks before you go and sample the nightlife. Swedes don’t tend to head out very early, so you have plenty of time for a pre-night out gathering.
Being discouraged from drinking and staying out too late is also a massive bonus when it comes to sightseeing. We were up bright and early to explore the city, and there were some very picturesque sights.
On our second night, a small group of us found our calling at a karaoke bar called Golden Hits. If you love karaoke, this is one of the best – and I’ve been to a lot of them all over the world.
Ignore any pretentious comments about it being ‘the last resort’ or packed with an older crowd. I haven’t paid the equivalent of £15 for entry to a venue in a long time, and it was worth every krone.
Just a few pointers:
• Swedes are ridiculously good at karaoke. They can sing AND they can entertain.
• Locals aren’t offended when you murder hits by the Swedish legends ABBA and Roxette, but Wonderboy by Tenacious D is apparently taking it too far.
• If you’re struggling, my friend found that a simple ‘Why is no one clapping?’ can get the crowd going again in seconds.
So, Stockholm might not strike you immediately as the first-choice budget destination, but it makes a very interesting and pleasant city break and it doesn’t have to rinse you dry if you plan ahead and spend wisely.