My Best Free Bits of Stockholm

On our recent day trip to Stockholm we had time to go for a stroll in Gamla stan, the old town, but gave Södermalm a miss. We explored Junibacken properly for the first time but didn’t go to Skansen. Junibacken and Skansen have entrance fees but I think you get good value for the money in both. Making the choices on what to do in the short time we were in Stockholm made me think of all the best things to see or to do there, I mean apart from the shopping, nightclubs and other costy touristy things.

Overall, Stockholm is a clean and well-kept city, easy to get around in, services are available and in my opinion people are typically friendly. But Stockholm is also an easy place to get rid of your money (not in the sense of there being many pickpockets, there are not, Swedes are mostly honest and Sweden safe, but in the sense of everything being pretty expensive).

Entrance to dodgy hostel in Gamla stan

Finding a place to live in Stockholm is hard, as is finding descent budget accommodation for travellers. There has been two utterly dodgy hostels I’ve stayed in during my travels, and one of these was in Gamla stan in Stockholm. It cost as much as a cheap hotel in other places and… well, to give you a few details, to get to our room, you had to go to the common bathroom on the floor and open the door between two wash basins. Honestly. I won’t go into details of the cleanliness but I think the entrance will give you a hint (internet booking can deceive you…).

fortunately a few years ago the Finnish budget hotel chain Omenahotel opened a hotel in Stockholm as well, we tried it the last time we spent a few days in Stockholm, and I definitively think it is the best option I’ve found there so far. I blogged more in detail about the concept of the hotel chain when we tried the one in Copenhagen.

One thing that makes Stockholm so beautiful to me is that it includes so many islands. A quiet oasis downtown is Skeppsholmen, which has a few museums. The Modern Art one even often has some art outside. It also has a bridge connection to a smaller island, Kastellholmen, with a small fort like (not too sure of its use but I think it was used by the navy ages ago) Kastellet on it.

Art on SkeppsholmenIMG_1099

Going to Kastellholmen


In Stockholm I have especially fallen in love with Vaxholmen (which actually consists of several islands but lets keep it simple here), that doesn’t have tourist sites as such as far as I am aware of but has a picturesque little centre with cafes etc., many of old wooden houses from the late 19th and early 20th century and just beautiful and pur nature. You can get to the island (or other small lovely islands in the Stockholm archipelago) by city bus or boat. Some of the boats are a part of the public transport system, some are not.


KungsträdgårdenAs for places to chill in, the King’s garden quite in the centre is a good option. They often have various events, music and markets there too. For a bigger park and picnic I recommend the Haga Park in Solna. There is also a museum, possibilities for a boat tour, a spa and the Haga castle were the current crown princess with her family lives, but have to admit that I have never explored any of these options with entrance fees.

There is one more place I like to visit in the Stockholm region: Sigtuna. Sigtuna is Sweden’s oldest town, and you can get there within an hour by first taking the city train to Märsta and then continuing by bus for a few more minutes. It is just a pretty place to wander around, and a visit to the cafe Tant Brun (“Aunt Brown”, do you know the story?) is a must.

Sigtuna centreSigtuna

Cafe Tant Brun

There is great outdoors just around the corner. When working in Stockholm I loved to go inline skating from Sigtuna. They had well-kept paved paths going through the woods so doing 20-30 kms without taking the same path was easy to do.

Paved paths through the woods

(Sorry for the extremely poor quality of some of the pics, some of them are pretty old. But I wanted to use them because at least I get a certain feel from them. You are welcome to link to newer and better pics!).

What are your free favourites in Stockholm?



  1. […] trip” means spending a day somewhere but travelling the nights then St Petersburg and Stockholm are entertaining […]

  2. Vilma, these are great ideas because Stockholm can be quite pricey. I particularly like the idea of going to Sigtuna – I love towns like that. Thanks for the inspiration! ~Terri

    1. Sigtuna is definitively worth a visit! Glad you found some ideas you liked!

  3. Thanks for all the great things to see. I was staying in UPPSALA while in Sweden, so I only spent about 1 day in Stockholm. So much to see.

    1. Yes, Stockholm does offer a fair bit. But isn’t Uppsala a nice town too? At least I’ve heard it is great to study in.

  4. Okay, having to get to your room via the bathroom, well, now that’s a story!

    1. Yes, and I left out how it was to sleep next door to a common bathroom…

  5. I have never been to Stockholm, but it looks good (even in older photos 🙂 ). I also don’t know the Auntie Brown story. A quick google suggests it’s the oldest cafe, but I can’t seem to get much further than that!

    1. I actually didn’t even know in Elsa Beskow’s stories were translated into English (how lazy can one be when one is by the computer and can’t be bothered to google???!), so I just translated the name myself. As you bothered to try, I had to too, and I did come up with a translated book:

      1. They weren’t as far as I know (and if you google Auntie Brown or Aunt Brown the words are too common to give meaningful results) so I used google translate, but I got a lot of info about the cafe only. Thanks for the link!

  6. As soon as it is warmer I think we will have to visit the northern part of Europe, including Stockholm for sure! Thank you for all the less expensive suggestions!

    1. Sounds like a plan. Glad you liked it!

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