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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Stockholm Weekend Travel Guide - How To Do Luxury Stockholm On A Budget

mustard suede missguided jacket

Jacket / Trousers / Sunglasses

I promised to try and see more of Europe on my travels this year. European wise so far this year, I finally ticked off some of Italy, have visited Barcelona a few times and I'm heading back to Greece. It seems my adventures usually take me to America or to tropical climates (totally fine) but there's still so much of Europe I need to explore. I'm close to ticking off 30 countries in my short lifetime but there's still so much of Europe I'm yet to see. Copenhagen, more of Italy and Mykonos are firmly on my list. The opportunity came around to visit Stockholm recently and I couldn't say no. I've never visited Sweden before and I do enjoy being able to tick a new country off my list! Read more. 
stockholm city
Hoppa kindly sent me over to Stockholm after their research showed Stockholm as the 5th most expensive city in the world. They challenged me to have a luxurious time there without breaking the bank. They asked me if a trip to Stockholm is possible with a small budget? Read on to find out more and see price comparisons too.

I'm going to compare my great value finds against more expensive alternatives and will mention the price difference to highlight the two kinds of holiday that you can have in Stockholm. It’s time to challenge common perceptions that Stockholm is the 5th most expensive destination in the world! Here is my Stockholm travel guide.

Getting to Stockholm: Flights are really cheap nowadays, I tend to book everything really last minute but my top tip for getting the cheapest flights (for any trip!) is to go on and then see which day is cheapest, for example Monday may cost £800 whilst Tuesday may cost £100. If you're flexible with dates, this is definitely the best way to do it. We flew with Norwegian from Manchester and adjusted the times to ensure we got maximum time there (cheaper flights tend to be at really bad times so you may have to fly out with one airline and back with another) but the flights we got were really well priced. I'm sure you all know by now but I massively rate Norwegian, I usually fly in their premium seats but even their standard cabin is better than most economy flights plus they came out cheapest so I was happy to be flying out there with them. 

hoppy airport transfer

Airport transfers: We used hoppa for our airport transfers. It was ridiculously smooth and got rid of any stress and also, stopped us from getting ripped off at the airport. The amount of times I've jumped in a cab (happened to us in San Fran) at the airport and been scammed or over charged as a tourist. Hoppa are available at most airports, you can pre-book for the cheapest transfers and you can choose to travel in luxury or the cheapest way possible. Whether you want a private car, a shared transfer - you name it, they've got it. I'm heading to Greece with my family this month and we will definitely be using Hoppa! A lovely man stood waiting with a sign at the arrivals and everything was so easy.

hotel with urban deli

Where to stay in Stockholm? I've got pretty good at finding luxurious but cheap hotels. I am someone who really appreciates luxury hotels, so my way of finding them is by being a member of most loyalty programs (be it Starwood rewards, IHG rewards etc) and too. I get loyalty points every stay, resulting in free stays and then it makes it cheaper. You also get first access to coupons, they literally send me 10-25% off vouchers via email most days and I always get memberdeals too. I do adore SmallLuxuryHotels and they often have sales or, you can just look at date ranges to see when it cheapest for a luxury stay. I also highly recommend using air bnb. As long as you book somewhere in advance with great reviews then you're fine. You can get super comfort and super luxury in great locations on air bnb plus you can save money by cooking in your own kitchen!  We stayed at a hotel booked last minute but it was wonderful, the hotel was called Hotel With Urban Deli and was a basement hotel. This was a little daunting for claustrophobic me but it was actually fine. It was cosy and clean and so central so we could walk everywhere. Sometimes it's better to pay a little extra for a central hotel as otherwise you'll spend a lot of money on taxis and transport. I'd also recommend looking for somewhere with breakfast included, Hotel with Urban Deli appealed to us as the breakfast buffet was fresh, healthy and epic. It means you can fill up until lunch time if you're on a budget! 

Best food in Stockholm: Whilst we weren't on a budget ourselves, we wanted to try out the best cheap eats to show that luxury travel is available on a budget, so we mixed and matched in order to be able to compare. Stockholm may be the 5th most expensive city in the world but if you spend a lot of time in London, you'll think it's pretty cheap. Seriously! What's great nowadays is that a restaurant doesn't have to be a Michelin star to be luxurious. Luxury is a personal opinion and as much as I adore fine dining, I also judge 'luxury' on great service and great quality food. Often, independent restaurants are cheaper but lead the way with quality, service and often prices too, they're sometimes deemed 'cooler' and the better places to be seen too! We tried a lot of food in Stockholm and here's the low down on the places we ate at...

stockholm brunch club
stockholm brunch club food

Stockholm Brunch Club - So many people recommended Stockholm Brunch Club. For me, this place was priced the exact same as London, if not a few pounds cheaper. With juices totalling around £5, acai bowls around £9 and eggs around £7. This is the standard London brunch price. I found the food here to be super fresh, very healthy, full of variety and the atmosphere was great.

rose lemonade
Haymarket hotel

Greta in Haymarket Hotel - If you're looking for a luxury experience you must visit Greta in the Haymarket hotel. The best bit? You can go and grab a soft drink and just enjoy the experience. There's no waiter service so you can grab yourself a marble table and then go and order whatever you fancy, whether it's lunch or just a drink. We went for scones and coffees, a coffee here is around £6 so it's pricier but it's such a luxury place and a must visit.

Babel Deli - Babel Deli is somewhere we didn't actually get the chance to visit but we heard incredible things. You can get huge mezze salads and wraps for around £7 and the food is meant to be full of flavour. This is such a trendy place with high quality food but low prices.

drop coffee
drop coffee soldermalm

Drop Coffee - When it comes to coffee, there are two places I'd recommend, first of these is Drop coffee. It's located in a really 'hipster' neighbourhood and is top quality coffee. Coffee prices vary depending on what you get but we spent around £3-4 here on it.

coffee at fabrique

Fabrique - We spent around £9 in Fabrique on 2x coffees and a large cinnamon pastry to share. They recently got Fabrique in London but as it started in Sweden and is definitely the most Instagrammable coffee shop to exist, we had to try it. Top quality coffee and delicious cake, count me in. 

urban deli stockholm

Urban Deli - We got snacks from the Urban Deli which I'd describe as similar to WholeFoods. The place is incredible and full of fresh food. It's not too expensive to stock up on fruit, bread and fresh meats. We found fresh meats such as salami to be really cheap, around £3 per packet which is good in comparison to the UK. We nibbled on these with some French bread. Matt got a delicious fresh meat sandwich and this was the equivalent of £4.50.

Rolfs kok stockholm

rolfs kok restauarant

Rolfs Kok - This is definitely one of the best meals we had in Stockholm. It's an incredible, relaxed restaurant and ranks on the Michelin guide. The bill was hefty, the equivalent of £400 between three but we did have wine and wine is very expensive in Sweden. I went for an onion soup (around £12) and the boys had meat which was around £25, so again, similar price to a luxury restaurant in London. This place was epic, the service was first class and the food was such high quality.

Omnipollos Hat
Omnipollos Hat pizza

Omnipollos Hat - A local bar serving the best craft beers and pizza. A medium sized pizza will set you back around £9 which is pretty average for a pizza, it's handmade, super fresh and full of quality ingredients so I think the price is pretty good for this. You have to go here for pizza if you're in Stockholm!

Hermans stockholm
hermans stockholm vegetarian

Herman's Vegetarian Restaurant - We headed here for lunch as it's half price (around £18 each for an all you can eat buffet). It is a Vegetarian buffet but there's a lot of choice (no dessert included sadly) but it's well worth it for the fresh bread, soup and amazing veggies on offer.

shopping in stockholm

Best things to do in Stockholm on a budget: We ended up walking around the whole of Stockholm which saved us a lot of money, we only used Uber once (which is pretty expensive out there!). I wouldn't say there's loads to do in Stockholm, unless you love museums and then you could be bus every day! But here are some of the best things I'd recommend doing in Stockholm that are either affordable or free. 

Luxury shops - Wandering around the area where the luxury shops are is brilliant, as well as wandering around the main shopping street, Drottninggatan. This is the main shopping street and it's worth wandering around here and checking out all the cool Swedish stores.

Skansen - I didn't go here but apparently it's a cute little day trip to a village set up.

Free walking tour with Free Tour Stockholm  - There are free walking tours available, lucky for me, I had a tour guide with me! Knowing a local is always good!

Haymarket hotel stockholm

Art walk of underground system - ‘world’s longest art gallery’ - Again, if art is your thing, each station has a piece of art so it's worth seeing! 

Langholmen Beach - (can swim there too) - It was far too cold when we were there but I must go back and visit this! 

Modern Art Museum - I read online that you can visit here for free on Fridays, this is worth checking out! 

stockholm waterfront

Visit museums, gardens and cafes at Djurgarden - I love the idea of sitting in a garden with some delicious snacks and this is the place to do it! 

old town sweden
gamla stan
Jacket / Jumper / Sunglasses 

Explore the Old Town shops - Gamla Stan is a beautiful area of Stockholm. It really reminded me of the old port in Montreal. Imagine a cute, old school, vibrant town? Just get lost here and enjoy! 

Enjoy ‘best view of Stockholm’ at Fjallgatan - My wonderful friend Will took us up here, it's meant to be the best place for views of Stockholm and the water.

Trendy coffee shops in Sodermalm - I'd definitely recommend heading to Sodermalm for a wander around, I found so many epic eateries around here. Thank you to my wonderful friend Will, for showing us the best local hidden gems in Sodermalm. You made our time so special in Stockholm. 

h&m home

Money saving tips in Stockholm: 

Stockholm doesn’t really have a tipping culture, so there is potential to save this way. Most of the places we went to added on service charge though but if you're being super tight with your money you don't have to tip like you do in the USA, that's for sure!

Food markets - It's worth looking out for delis and food markets such as Ostermalm Saluhall and Hotorgetshallen Market for cheaper eats. We went to Urban Deli which was more of a luxury food market but it is still cheaper than restaurants. You could grab a lovely sandwich and watch the world go by in a local park.

‘Dagens lunch’ - Daily lunch deals (main, side and drink) are available at so many restaurants in Sweden. If there's somewhere you really want to go but the price isn't quite right, check out their lunch menu instead!

latte art

‘Fika at a Fik’ aka coffee and a cake in a pastry shop! Try this yummy snack. It's a Swedish tradition to have a rest in the middle of the day to enjoy coffee and cake. Embrace it. 

breakfast at urban deli

Fill up on breakfast - We filled up massively on breakfast and didn't even have 3 meals all day! It's such an easy way to save money when you're travelling. 

Happy hour - so many places offer happy hour! Look out for this as alcohol is so expensive in Sweden. It definitely is cheaper to get wines off the menu too, so see if they have any 'off the menu' bottles available. 

Average daily spend in Stockholm: On our huge America roadtrip, we budgeted $200 per day and we were away for a month. We struggled to stick to this and found America to be extortionate, our total trip cost well over £10,000. Stockholm however, wasn't as bad, particularly if you're used to London prices! When I visit a new city, food is a huge part of the culture which is why I don't mind spending money on good places. I hate wasting money on bad food which is why I always go for local recommendations or use TripAdvisor. 

Affordable luxury in Stockholm, is it possible then? Can you still have an enjoyable, luxurious experience without spending as much as Hoppa’s Cheap vs Expensive report states is the average daily spend? In my opinion, yes you certainly can. You can definitely go to the luxury restaurants and just choose the cheaper menu options or, head to the luxury hotels for just one drink rather than 5. Look out for lunch menus, walk everywhere (it means you get your exercise in too!) and go for hidden gem restaurants which tend to be cheaper but top quality food. All in all, I definitely wouldn't say Sweden is one of the most expensive places I've visited. You can read more from Hoppa online here.

Watch my video below to see exactly what we did on our week in Stockholm:

Have you ever visited Sweden? Have you visited Stockholm? Do you like the sound of it? Do you like European countries?

You might also like:

Amalfi Coast, Italy 
Best Things To Do In Barcelona 
How To Plan The Best USA Roadtrip 

Lots of love, Em x

*I worked with Hoppa on this wonderful trip but as always, it's 100% my honest opinion.

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