Things to keep in mind while planning your vacation (solo or otherwise)!
A lot of blogs will tell you to pick up the Stockholm Pass before you go. It’s available in 1, 2, 3, or 5 day options. For the cost, it’s only really worth it for the 3 or 5 day options (to get the most bang for your buck), and to be honest, even then it might not be. I didn’t get it myself for my 3-day trip, and I don’t regret it. It’s worth figuring out what your ‘must-see’ Stockholm museums, boats, or tours are, and adding that up. Know that there are pay-what-you-can walking tours available, and cheaper ferries to some of the surrounding archipelago islands. But if you have a lot of things you want to see on your list? Pick up a Stockholm Pass.
WHEN TO GO?
Winters in Stockholm can be dark, cold, and very gray. Boat tours run occasionally, if at all. However, it can be much cheaper. The summer months are beautiful, but will be more crowded. Also remember if you’re going at Midsommar in June that the days right around the Summer Equinox are public holidays and a lot of sites will be closed. In warmer months, keep in mind when you’re booking that most apartments, and many hostels/mid-range hotels, as well as public buildings and the metro, will not be air conditioned.
HIGH COST OF SWEDISH LIVING
Stockholm has a reputation for being a very expensive city. You’ll find that in both hotel prices and in some of the transit costs. I did find the food, at least, was similarly priced to other cities such as New York, LA, London, etc. Yes, you can easily pay $100 at a nicer restaurant, but you can also find a lot of good restaurants that can get you a filling dinner for $15. And grocery store prices are quite low. For drinks, beer is actually fairly inexpensive in Stockholm (again, compared to other urban areas). Wine and cocktails will cost noticeably more.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
Swedes believe in equality in all things. This socialist utopia has a lot of upsides, but as a tourist, remember that service people are not going to go out of their way to do something extra for you - anyone who asks for favors, a bending of the rules, or in some way wants special consideration may be given a dirty look. If you’re out with Swedes, you might find that no one wants to be the one to make all the decisions - it’s better for the group to come to a consensus, and not be bossy. As Swede Alexander Skarsgaard explains, even the Royal Family apologizes for their high class lifestyle.
Fika is a mid-afternoon coffee and pastry break. It’s a tradition in Sweden. A few moments to sit and relax and appreciate life. It’s a tradition I was only too happy to take part in (although my coffee was tea). Chocolate balls, cardamom rolls, cinnamon rolls, and almond cakes are all standard fika pastries. Vanilla rolls, if you can find them, were my favorite.