Elena Mitryukova is a Euroculture student who loves the international experience of the two years of the Master programme. She loves travelling, looking for adventures and running from the routine. “The most amazing adventure for me is the people I meet on the way and what I learn from them,” she says. “Right now I am living in Krakow, Poland. Originally I am from Volgograd, Russia. And I am not sure where I will be in several years. To be honest, I like this. I had barely travelled until 21 and until my first big trip to the United States for 4 months. And then I could not stop myself. I like planning trips and can give a lot of tips on how to spend less or to find something special while travelling. I will be happy to share my experience.”
This is a short report about several days I spent in Stockholm, some tips on how to save money there and what to do. I do not claim being the best expert and certainly do not compete with the students studying in Uppsala. However it is from my friends who asked, persuaded and questioned me on my trip, that this report was born.
Stockholm is a beautiful city, tolerant, democratic, open-minded, interesting and worth visiting. However, probably not all of this is true in February… Before arriving in the city, I had been advised three times to come in summer instead. However I still enjoyed it and would like to see what Stockholm is like during the warmer seasons.
Accommodation and getting to know the city
My hostel was in a central location, close to the main station, which was essential for this trip. However, I did not like it much. Instead I will advise one that my friend was once promoting to me (could be a bit pricy, but it is made of former prison cells) – http://langholmen.com/en/vandrarhem/.
An important thing to remember about accommodation in Scandinavia is that hostels usually charge extra for linen and towels. Thus, when planning the trip, try to find a place where it is included or pack your own.
To get to know the city, I took two free walking tours. It is a popular concept around the globe when people pay tips to the guide instead of paying for the tour. The Stockholm one was not the best, but absolutely ok, informative and interesting – http://freetourstockholm.com/. So all main attractions were covered.
It is no secret that food is expensive in Sweden. Unfortunately, being there at the weekend I could not enjoy the lunch offers that almost all cafes/restaurants have. From around 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on week days the lunch menu is half-price.
Nevertheless, I found several other options to save money on eating:
Supermarkets (the salad bar, for example, is a good deal if you take the lighter products, and considering that they measure shrimps at the same price as tomatoes or lettuce – well, I had a very “shrimpy” salad);
Fast food, if it is an option for you (MAX is a local network of McDonalad’s style food, but a bit better and more Swedish);
Food courts or markets (there is one in the centre near the concert hall, where I bought a huge piece of gratin with salmon and lots of shrimps – http://www.hotorgshallen.se/);
Scandinavian-style fast food (near the metro station Södermalmstorg there is a kiosk with herring, you can add different sides to your dish, one of each is cranberry jam, the kiosk is very visible and difficult to miss – http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189852-d2201594-Reviews-Nystekt_Stromming-Stockholm.html). In this area if you climb a little up the hill you can have a nice view of the city.
Remember that there are no public restrooms, so be sure to use the ones in the museums and cafes you are visiting. Sometimes even not necessarily visiting, just passing by.
Things to see
The Old town is a must, especially during the daytime when all the shops are open. There are lots of souvenirs here, the prices are almost the same everywhere, but you can find some special deals. Here you can also find the smallest statue in Stockholm (“Little boy looking at the moon” will make your dream come true if you give him a coin and touch his head) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A4rnpojke.
If you decide to check the change of the guards in Stockholm, you may find the schedule here – http://www.stockholmgamlastan.se/lang_en/se_gora/hogvakten.php. It is important to come there at least 15 minutes in advance and keep your best spot. To be honest, it was not very impressive and it was way too cold and windy, but sometimes they march and play ABBA music, this one I would love to see (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxHowu6Ip-U).
The metro is actually one of the city’s most affordable attractions, some of the stations are carved and look like caves. In the evening when all the museums are closed and the city, which is barely lit, becomes dark, having a metro ride could be a nice option – http://www.visitstockholm.com/en/See–do/Attractions/art-in-the-subway/. If you are taking a ferry from one island to another it is cheaper to buy it in the machine than at a counter nearby. Students have a discount!
When I was asking about the best museum I should go to in Stockholm, everyone said – Vasa. So I did. The ship is very impressive, amazingly preserved from the 17th century. It is rather dark in the museum, there are several more corners inside the museum worth visiting (the reconstructed interior of a cabin, 17th century life, etc.), but still the main attraction is Vasa itself. The museum guides give free tours in different languages, check the timing in advance – http://www.vasamuseet.se/en/visit/Guided-tours/ (I was lucky to be on time for the last one that day) and do not forget that they have special prices for students. The museum opens until 5:00 p.m.
For me a more interesting place was the ABBA museum. Consider going there if you are a fan and put aside about 2 hours for the visit. It will be much better to go there with a company as solo travelers get a bit less of fun. It is a very interactive museum. You can record yourself singing ABBA songs, being in their video clip and even performing with their holograms on stage. You have a special code on your ticket that gives you access to your personal page on their website where you can download all the recordings. The museum is expensive and cashless: it is much cheaper to buy the ticket online in advance and you cannot pay there in cash, even for a small souvenir.
I was late for my bus to the airport, but luckily there were several people that did not fit on the bus. So, the bus company provided us with a taxi to the airport for a bus ticket price. If we had paid for the taxi, it would have been 5 times more expensive than my Ryanair flight. Something nice, which can happen only in Sweden, I guess.