Sweden is a beautiful and diverse Scandinavian country with just above 10 million inhabitants. It’s dense pine forests, remote wilderness and iconic coastal villages make it a stunning destination in summer, as well as winter. There is something for everyone here – whether you prefer being out in the nature, or hip cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Sweden is not only home to Ikea, H&M, Volvo and Greta Thunberg – it has also been my home for the past 6 years. This travel guide covers everything you need to know when you plan your visit to Sweden. In general the South of Sweden is known for it’s abundance of rapeseed fields, fresh produce and Malmö. The North for its famous for it’s Northern lights, the midnight sun and the dog-sledding experience. On the East lies Stockholm, with it’s stunning architecture and charming Gamla Stan and on the West is Gothenburg – the hipster city with breathtaking archipelago and amazing food.
Accommodation – Sweden is not a cheap destination and finding a cheap place to book can be a slight challenge. Bed in a dorm room in hostels in the bigger cities will cost you around $25 USD per night. Booking a private room in a mid-range hotel will cost you around $80 USD and a room in a nice hotel with breakfast will start at about $130 USD per night in Gothenburg or $180 USD in Stockholm. There are significant price differences between hotels in the cities or the countryside. Staying central will reduce your travel costs, however, if you are not location dependent, then book an Airbnb for as little as $40 USD per night for a private room. Sweden has some amazing unique hotels and if your budget can handle it, then you should definitely book the 72 Hour Cabin!
Food – When it comes to supermarkets, there can be a big difference in where you shop. Avoid Hemköp and Coop (they tend to have the highest prices) and try and go to ICA or Willys. A week of groceries (non-veg) will cost you around $60 USD. Eating out is much more expensive though. Lunch with salad buffet and coffee is usually around $8 USD and a dinner at a mid-range restaurant will cost you around $15 USD. Foodies will love Sweden and I can definitely say you should experience some good restaurants too. The cost of a meal will then start at around $25 USD. Typical cost for a glass of house red is around $6-8 USD and beer is cheapest on Andra Långgatan in Gothenburg, at around $4 USD. Cocktails are very expensive here and you can expect to pay at least $10 for a simple one (rum-coke) and $15 for a better one (more than 2 ingredients).
Good to know: you can’t buy alcohol in supermarkets in Sweden. You can only buy it at Systembolaget, which is a government-run liquor store. They have amazing offers and you’ll be able to buy alcohol from all over the world there! They even have people working there to give you recommendations on what to buy depending on what you’re eating. Amazing, right?
Transportation – If you plan on visiting more than one region or city in Sweden, then I’d recommend renting a car. You can either rent a car from a local on gomore.se or have a look at the car rental places. Expect to pay at least $25 USD per day and a full tank for a regular car will cost you around $60 USD. Parking in the cities is very expensive – in Stockholm it’s at least $50 USD per day and in Gothenburg around $20 per day. It all depends on location and can be free/cheaper outside the city. Trains and buses are very expensive in Sweden. A 90 minute ticket in Gothenburg costs $3 USD and in Stockholm a 75 minute ticket will set you back for $4.5 USD. Both cities are very walk-able though, so if you live central you won’t pay so much for public transport.
Suggested daily budget – $150 USD. This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a mid-range hotel, eating out for the entire day and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!
When to visit Sweden depends largely on what activities you plan to do. Summer, between May and August is undoubtedly the best time to visit. The days are long and the temperatures often rise above 20°C.
If you plan on visiting in the Winter, then make sure you pack a few layers and wellies. It rains often and the temperatures often go below 0°C.
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