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Wednesday, 08 August 2007

Stockholm on a Budget - Page 2

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I’ve met too many people who’ve decided to cut Scandinavia out of their European itinerary because of fear of high costs. So, this spring when I caught a sale for a $199 round-trip ticket to Stockholm from NY ($389 with taxes) I grabbed it and was off on another adventure – to prove Stockholm is possible on a budget.

stockholmAt the top of my list is the open-air museum Skansen – an old-style village that has influences from every part of Sweden where you can take a walk through the past and see glassblowers, potters, bakers, tiny houses, windmills, old-time shops and post offices. Animals found in Sweden like reindeer, bobcats, and bears can be observed in a large zoo area at one side of the huge park. Of all the museums I visited, Skansen was the most uniquely Swedish. Kids love it as well and you could easily spend the entire day here if you planned on seeing everything and having lunch overlooking the city.




Close by is the Nordiska Museum with its Swedish cultural exhibits housed in a picture perfect building and the unique Vasa Museum with a ship’s mast on top. Named after the Swedish Viking ship ‘Vasa’ which was recovered and restored from the bottom of Stockholm’s harbor where it capsized centuries before and is now on display in this huge room surrounded by a multitude of displays about ship life at that time.

Another good choice is the Royal Palace where you can visit the Royal Apartments, Armory, Chapel, Treasury, Museum of Antiquities, and the Hall of State. A visit is a window into the life of royalty and the fact that the apartments are still used today to entertain visitors make them even more interesting.

The National Museum is the place to go for art with the largest collection of artwork in Sweden. Swedish artists are featured as well, as they also are at the Moderna Museet, if you like modern art. There are also a number of smaller, more specific museums that I explored such as the Medelhavsmuseet (Museum of the Mediterranean) which has an exhibit of sculptures and objects mainly from Greece and Egypt; the Ostasiatiska Museet with its far east antiquities; and the Nobel Museum which is all about the Nobel Prize, the man who started it, and those who’ve won it and their works.

stockholmBe sure to check out Riddarholm Church and its gorgeous metalwork steeple and inside the medieval abbey you can see the tombs of the Swedish monarchs. Also, stop by the Kulturhuset to check the schedule for the various performances and cultural activities going on while you’re in town or for an impromptu concert outside.

During my visit I mainly stayed in the center of town, but if you have time you can venture further out and visit the islands of the Stockholm archipelago, some unspoiled car-free getaway islands are only a couple hours boat ride from the city center. You could also take the ferry across to Drottingholm Palace – private residence of the Swedish royal family. Or, a steam ship further out to Gripsholm castle in Mariefred.

I stayed at two different places for my four nights in Stockholm. The first: City Backpackers Hostel was a place that offered inexpensive midweek rates and a number of advertised amenities, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. I barely got any sleep (which probably has more to do with my roommates than the hostel) because the people in my room either stayed up late and were noisy, or got up at five in the morning and were noisy. But the hostel didn’t come through on some of its claims like ‘free espresso and cappuccino’ because the machine didn’t work (and the sign on it saying it would be fixed promptly looked like it had been hanging there for quite a while and remained there throughout my stay). Also, I had to switch rooms each night, which was a pain – making my bed three times and having to wait around each morning until the check in time at the next room. I’d booked about three weeks beforehand, but I met people who’d booked the week before who didn’t have to switch, so I guess my pleas of “if you get any opening in the same room, please switch things around so I don’t have to change rooms” went unheard.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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