$350 flights really tickle my fancy. Even if they’re to some of the most expensive cities in Europe – aka Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Scandinavia is a notoriously expensive region for pretty much everyone. Most attractions are NOT free, the average meal costs upwards of $15, and you’re looking at paying more than $30US for a dorm bed, which can certainly add up after a few days. We definitely had our fair share of pastry meals to try and keep costs down.
When to Visit Scandinavia
This is a loaded question, as it really depends on what is most important to you!
Peak season in Scandinavia is the summer, as the days are longer and weather is nicer than in shoulder season. However, this is the time of year when the most people go on holiday here, so you’re likely to see higher prices, lower availability, and more crowds.
Shoulder season in Scandinavia is late spring and early fall, as the weather is still better than winter and the days, while shorter than summer, are still normal. Prices are a bit lower than in peak season and there are usually less crowds to be found.
Off season in Scandinavia is…interesting to say the least. We visited in mid-January, so literally the worst time of the year to go as it is cold and the days are very short–we had about 5-6 hours of light each day, and that was if there wasn’t snow or rain. While this may seem like a negative, there were virtually no crowds or other tourists, and we ended up having a lot of places to ourself. Prices were much cheaper, which definitely softened the blow of Scandinavia, but I wouldn’t say it was cheap by any means.
If you want a somewhat more affordable trip but have better weather and conditions, traveling to Scandinavia would be best in May or September. You’ll get longer days but less crowds, which makes for the best experience all around!
Where to Stay
In Stockholm, I have nothing but great things to say about Castanea Old Town Hostel. There were only about 15-20 other people staying at the hostel, so it was quiet and a good place to sleep. It was located in the heart of Gamla Stan (Old Town), so it was an amazingly charming location for around $35/night for a dorm bed.
The selection of centrally located hostels in Copenhagen was slim, so we ended up choosing the Generator Copenhagen, which was okay for $35/night. I prefer smaller hostels/non-chains, so it was absolutely massive and we spent a lot of time at the Espresso House down the street just hanging out. It was difficult to meet people there, as the bar wasn’t only for guests–there were tons of locals who had no interest in meeting travelers.
Stockholm has a number of transit options, including buses, trams, and a metro system. Tickets for public transit cost around $4US/trip (31-44 SEK). However, the city is VERY walk-able, so pack a good pair of shoes and explore the city.
The metro and buses are definitely the easiest way to get around Copenhagen, with fares depending on length of journey. Copenhagen isn’t quite as walk-able as Stockholm, so relying on the public transportation is always good! Cycling is also popular, but the conditions are similar to Amsterdam–bikes are EVERYWHERE and you have to be prepared to ride alongside the locals.
What to Do
A charming Old Town and museums GALORE!
- Wander the streets and alleys of Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm
- Djurgården – home to many museums and attractions
- Vasa Museum – $15 (150SEK)
- home of the famous Swedesh warship that sunk in the harbor on its maiden voyage, uncovered 300 years later fully intact
- Nordic Museum $14 (140SEK) or FREE on Tuesday!
- explores social history of Sweden
- Viking Museum $16 (159SEK)
- meet the Vikings through movies, scenery, projections and sound effects as well as archaeological objects
- Spirit Museum $12-26 (120SEK-260SEK)
- learn the history and culture of Alcohol in Sweden
- Skansen $22 (220SEK)
- World’s oldest open-air museum displaying traditional Swedish architecture
- ABBA: The Museum $31 (310SEK)
- interactive exhibition about the pop band ABBA
- Swedish Army Museum FREE!!!
- museum of military history
- Canal Tour
- Cities built on water are often seen best from the water.
- Vasa Museum – $15 (150SEK)
Copenhagen consists of castles, cobblestones, and canals.
- Nyhavn FREE!!
- Get your Instagram pics at the popular canal street
- Danish War Museum $8 (55DKK)
- Danish military history from the 1500s until today
- Christianshavn FREE!!
- self-proclaimed autonomous, anarchist district of Copenhagen
- Old Carlsberg Brewery $15 (100DKK)
- first microbrewery of Copenhagen, founded in 1847
- see vintage equipment used for brewing over the last 150 years
- holds the largest bottle collection in the world
- DO A TASTING!
- Rosenborg Castle $17 (120DKK)
- renaissance castle nestled in the heart of Copenhagen
- Tivoli Gardens $20 (135DKK)
- world renowned 19th-century amusement park and garden area
- CLOSED IN WINTER!
- Little Mermaid Statue
- Rundetaarn $6 (40DKK)
- get the BEST view of Copenhagen from the platform at the top
- built as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century