Stockholm may have the reputation of an expensive city, but you can also enjoy yourself with a smaller fair. There are plenty of free experiences and activities to discover. We selected ten outings in Stockholm that (almost) don’t have to cost anything.
Mix with locals at Tantolunden Park Just a two-minute walk from trendy Hornstull in western Södermalm is Tantolunden Park; in spring and summer the beating heart of Stockholm. In these warmer months, the park becomes lively and challenging: Stockholmers like to go here for a picnic, to work out in the open-air gym, or to swim at one of the park’s beaches. In winter, the harbour freezes and you can see local daredevils skating from a safe spot along the coast.
Discover the medieval streets in the Old Town CentreThe Old Town of Stockholm (Gamla Stan) is the perfect place to start your exploration. During the day, let yourself be carried away in the hustle and bustle of main streets such as Västerlånggatan and Stora Nygatan and stretch your legs from wall to wall in Stockholm’s narrowest alley: Mårten Trotzigs Gränd. It’s best to explore by evening, when the glow of the street lanterns reverberates on the cobbled streets. Whichever way you go, it’s always a good choice.
Take a free walking tourA walking tour is a good option for the budget traveler who likes to get under the skin of a city. Free Tour Stockholm offers three different tours exploring all parts of the city. Local guides love to share their knowledge and experience, really getting to know Stockholm’s history. Wander the alleys of Gamla Stan, visit trendy Södermalm or opt for a tour of the modern boroughs. The tours are free, but if you have had a lot of fun with them you can of course give a tip.
Visit Moderna MuseetOn the island of Skeppsholmen, right in front of the old town, you’ll find Moderna Museet, a museum that gives colour to this somewhat meaningless part of Stockholm. With pieces by world-famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, the museum’s permanent collection grants access to a variety of modern art from 1840 to the present day. Recommended is the free audio tour app, for more insight into the art pieces as you walk through the spacious rooms.
See ancient artifacts in the
Enter a forgotten world of imperial excess in the Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren). This museum is located in the middle of the Royal Palace itself and does not know its equal. It is sweden’s oldest museum, founded in 1628 by King Gustav II Adolf to house his spoils of war. The collection includes everything from chivalrous weapons and crown jewels to platinum carriages and even a chronological journey through the royal fashion choices. What you should definitely not miss is the king’s stuffed war horse!
Enjoy a first-rate viewIt won’t be long before you realize that Stockholm is every photographer’s dream. From the rocky mountains of Södermalm you have a fantastic view over the water and the old town. Snugly located behind the streets of old Södermalm you will find Monteliusvägen, a scenic route that runs dangerously high over the cliff. Sit back on a bench and take in the views, or wander along the winding paths up for the perfect panoramic photo of this wondrous city.
Stimulate your senses at Östermalm’s Saluhall Although Scandinavian cuisine is originally quite rural, modern Swedes have learned to enjoy more refined things these days. At Östermalm’s Saluhall you can try it out for yourself. Take a taste of Swedish delicacies such as sour herring and the national cheese favourite Västerbotten, or enjoy the variety of international delicacies they offer. This indoor market is the ideal environment way to dream away, surrounded by grandeur. It is the perfect starting point to get to know the emerging district of Östermalm better.
Stand in the pose for the Changing of the GuardLive a piece of Swedish history by watching the Changing of the Guard at stockholm’s Royal Palace. The change takes place in the courtyard of the palace and members of the Swedish army perform this impressive ceremony daily at 12.15 pm (on Sundays at 1.15 pm). It is an important and appreciated tradition: the bodyguard has been based in the palace since 1523. The Changing of the Guard can be seen all year round, but check the schedule (forsvarsmakten.se), because there are also special occasions with marching or salute shots.
Discover the wonders of nature at Naturhistoriska RiksmuseetThe Natural History Museum shows off nine permanent exhibitions, where you can discover your origins by learning about our ancestors – fun for both children and adults. Explore the secrets of the Swedish wilderness or marvel at the museum’s collection of animals – these specimens have been collected by Swedish scientists for over 200 years.
Visit the governmentThe Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) is not to be missed, conveniently located between the old town and the shopping main street (Drottninggata). You even have to go under the arches of the building if you want to move between these two areas. It is the ideal place for a photo, amidst many of the city’s attractions. But while you’re there, take the chance to join the free tour of Parliament (riksdagen.se). A tour takes about 45 minutes; be on time as there is only a limited number of places available.