Fun Free Things To Do In Stockholm
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Stockholm can be an expensive city, but the Swedish capital needn't burn a hole in your pocket. We spoke to two travel bloggers, one native, the other a knowledgeable visitor, and heard their take on the city's finest free attractions and activities. Where applicable we also did a bit of research and picked out a few of our own favourite ideas.
1) Stockholm Subway Guided Art Tour. (T-Centralen Metro Station; Norrmalm, 111 20 Stockholm)
Probably our favourite activity in this list was the first suggestion we received from Stockholm-based travel writer Lola A. Åkerström via Twitter (@LolaAkinmade). It's often said that the Swedish capital's subway system doubles up as the world's most extensive art gallery. 90 of its 100 stations feature incredible painted works as well as mosaics, sculptures, bas-reliefs and much more. Hundreds of artists have contributed to this feat of cultural mobilisation, and each one has used their space not only for decorative self expression, but also to explore important contemporary themes. For example, artist Siri Derkert utilised Östermalmstorg as a platform (literally) to explore issues concerning women's rights, world peace and the environment.
After messaging Lola she informed us about a free guided tour conducted by certified art guide Marie Andersson. Every year from June 3rd to August 30th on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays Marie takes inquiring visitors on a fascinating journey through the winding tunnels. All walks begin at 15:00 from SL Center Sergels Torg at T-Centralen Metro Station and are hosted in English. The only thing you need is a valid train ticket- okay, it's not 'completely' free, but where else can you join such a great value tour.
You can read about Lola's own experience on the tour by following this link to her Slow Travel Stockholm Blog.
2) Rum för Barn, "Room for Kids". (Kulturhuset, 111 57 Stockholm)
Want to visit Stockholm but know you'll have young kids in tow? Lola Åkerström also informed us about this wonderful attraction ideally suited to infants. The Rum för Barn is a play space located on the fourth floor of the Kulturhuset City Theatre in central Stockholm. In addition to a massive library the 'Room' features a hands-on art studio where your toddler can paint, craft and build. Don't worry about language barriers, the Rum för Barn was specially designed for tots the world over. Their books, for example, are available in Swedish, Arabic, English, Finnish, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.
One thing to note is that although the Room is free to access it does get very busy, especially around weekends and holidays. Consult their traffic light signs to gauge how busy any given day is. It's open Monday-Friday (13:00-17:00) and Saturday-Sunday (11:00-17:00). Read Lola's full description of the Room here.
3) A stroll around Royal Djurgården Park.
This next suggestion was recommended by both Lola and Brazilian travel blogger Allane Milliane via Twitter (@packingsuitcase). It's simple, but very elegant. Take a walk around Royal Djurgården Park and experience the terrific majesty of Stockholm's premier green space. During the summer months slap together a picnic and set up in a clearing amongst the trees. There's no shortage of such places considering Djurgården combines manicured parkland with the wilder aspects of a forest. Alongside one of the world's most distinctive arrangements of flora there's also many sparkling canals and picturesque harbour sides.
By wandering across to the western end of the park (or starting there) you'll encounter some of the capital's most iconic museums, such as the Vasa Maritime Museum, the Abba Museum, and Skansen Open-Air Museum & Zoo.
4) Wander around Gamla Stan.
Allane's second suggestion looks across the water to Gamla Stan (Old Town). Simply by wandering around Stockholm's historic centre you're guaranteed to run into a number of free-to-enjoy-experiences. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready for the medieval frescos and uniquely decorated gables that adorn many of the ancient buildings in this district. During summertime get yourself along to the Royal Palace on the northern end of the island for 12:15. At this time you'll be able to watch the Changing of the Guard, a stately 40 minute display that involves a foot parade and a marching band. If the guard is mounted then the procession sets out from the Cavalry Barracks at 11:35.
Right next to the Royal Palace is the adjoining island of Helgeandsholmen, on which you'll find the renowned Museum of Medieval Stockholm. This expansive in-door attraction was built up around the largest archeological excavation in Stockholm, essentially turning the area into a living, interactive cultural and ethnographic exhibition. Walk around the reconstructed streets of 15th century Stockholm and trace the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens, see an actual warship from the 1520s, and view life-like displays that represent every aspect of the era's culture. What's the best part? Since January 1st, 2015 the museum has been completely free to access!
5) Snap a picture of the Golden Crown on Skeppsholmen Bridge.
A simple suggestion by Allane to top everything off. Make your way along Skeppsholmen Bridge (located between Gamla Stan and Djurgården) and take a selfie with the famous Gold Crown. It's so simple yet it makes for nice little adventure and a cracking new Facebook profile pic. You can read more about Allane's own tips and experiences by jumping over to her Sweden Blog.