8 free and low-budget activities in Sweden
Sweden is generally quite expensive but there are still plenty of activities that don’t have to cost you a lot. Simply enjoying all the great sights is perhaps the best suggestion, but we’ve also listed a few other things to do when you’re on a tight budget or when you just don’t feel like spending money.
1. Many cities and towns hosts open fairs, festivals, markets, carnivals and exhibitions in Sweden. They’re more common during the spring and summer months but some of them can be found at other times as well, such as Christmas markets in December. Check the official website of the city or town you’re visiting for upcoming events and happenings. They’re more frequent in the major cities (Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö) but there are definitely gems to find in smaller towns as well.
2. Go swimming. There are tons of beautiful lakes and beaches in Sweden, all free to access. They’re easy to find throughout the country but it’s usually more convenient in the middle and southern parts due to longer periods of warmer weather. Some of the absolute best beaches are found on the islands of Öland and Gotland just off the southern coast.
During the winter it’s also quite popular to go winter swimming. A thrilling and very refreshing experience. Having quick access to a sauna will make it much less scary.
3. Many museums have free entrance, or a great discount, during certain weekdays or at a certain time of day. This usually doesn’t apply to the larger and more famous museums but there are many more to be explored.
There are a lot of museums in Sweden, browse around to find something interesting here:
Museums in Sweden
Museums in Stockholm
4. Outdoor movie shows and theater has become very popular in the past few years. Stockholm film festival arranges the annual Summer Cinema during a few days in August every year, but smaller shows and events are available also in other cities.
5. There are plenty of sporting events, competitions and races that are free and very entertaining to watch in Sweden. For example Stockholm Marathon every year in late May/early June, Vansbrosimningen (3 km open water swimming competition), Vätternrundan (300 km bicycle race around the lake Vättern) or Vasaloppet (a very famous 90 km cross-county ski race). Vasaloppet is actually the longest, oldest and biggest cross-country ski race in the world and attracts thousands of participants and spectators every year.
6. Enjoy the Nordic outdoors. The Right of Public Access makes outdoor experiences easily available to anyone in Sweden. The possibilities are endless; go hiking (there are tons of exciting places in Sweden only reachable on foot), swimming, camp out, collect mushrooms/berries or take a bike ride. You can also go fishing but a permit for around 60-100 SEK/day is usually required.
7. Visit one of the old castles and mansions in Sweden. Some of them have become museums or hotels and there might be an entrance fee and/or quite expensive to spend the night, but the beatiful surrounding gardens and estates are usually free to enjoy.
8. Disc golf (or frisbee golf) has become quite popular lately and there are in total about 130 courses all over Sweden. Almost all of them are completely free and always open – all you need is your own disc!
Other ways of minimizing your expenses
There are plenty of other ways to keep your expenses at a minimum when traveling in Sweden – at least if you’re able to be a bit flexible regarding travel dates and destinations. Couchsurfing, for example, is a great way to find free accommodation all over Sweden (and the rest of the world) by staying at other people’s houses. At the same time you’ll get a unique opportunity of meeting local citizens to show you around.
When it comes to getting around, Ridefinder is a good way of getting cheap transportation by sharing a ride with other people – either by picking up passangers in your own car or by joining another carpool. It might be difficult to find rides on your preferred dates but it can be a very fun and cost-effective way of traveling for those with a flexible itinerary.
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