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Sweden, summer 2023: trying to estimate costs

I am considering a trip to Sweden in July 2023; ten days on the ground, including Stockholm and the countryside. Does anyone have a sense of what the Daily Expenses Per Person - transportation, sights & entertainment, meals, lodging - may run? I will be traveling with a friend. Many thanks in advance for any guidance you may have.
- Elizabeth

Posted by
6529 posts

Short answer: It depends.

Transportation, where do you want to go and how? It can cost very little or a lot. The same with meals, there are many options, but restaurants usually have good lunch deal at around 100 kr or so. Dinner is usually around 200-300 for a main course. But again, it varies a lot. Cafés are often good option for a lighter meal. Lodging, depends a lot on how you want to stay and where. It varies a lot around the country.

Posted by
965 posts

We were in Sweden in September 2022 and were very comfortable with a budget of around USD $200- per night for hotels. We stayed in Hotel Rival in Stockholm and Radisson Blu in Gothenburg. In both hotels breakfast was included in the room rate.

In Stockholm we paid:

  • SEK90 (USD $8.50) for two cups of very nice coffee.
  • For a basic dinner for two people in a bistro (one of us had meatballs and the other pasta with a glass of wine each) we paid SEK850 (USD $80-).
  • SEK280 (USD $26.50) for two people for entry to Drottningholm Palace.

Can't comment too much on the rest as I got COVID and so spent five days in my hotel room and not seeing any sights.

Posted by
27342 posts

Sweden isn't cheap; people are well paid, which means costs tend to be higher than in most of the US. That applies to hotels, restaurants and transportation. Sightseeing costs are fairly typical for a capital city, I think. Some places have separate winter (lower) and summer (higher) entry fees.

Unless you're heading to an intensely popular summer destination like Visby, Stockholm is likely to be your most expensive destination, so I'd focus on it. Go to booking.com and take a look at hotel rates for that city for your dates in areas like Gamla Stan and Ostermalm. (There are less expensive areas.) If you see a chain hotel you like, you may be able to save 5% or so by joining its affinity club, and reserving through a hotel's own website is fairly often somewhat less expensive, but booking.com is an easy place to get an idea of costs. There may be substantial differences between midweek and weekend rates.

For sightseeing, go to the websites of the attractions you plan to visit and see what they charge. For example, the excellent and very popular Vasa Museum is Kr 190 in the summer. Skansen, the open-air museum, is Kr 245. The Nationalmuseum (art and decorative art) was free last year but is now charging Kr 150, or just Kr 100 90 minutes before closing (not enough time to see the entire museum). There are currently about 10.6 krona to the US dollar, so you can divide those numbers by 10 to get an idea of the cost in dollars at the moment. For the first two museums, you'd almost certainly be using city transit. which is Kr 38 each way. (If you're a heavy user of trams, buses and boats, a transit pass would probably save you money.)

I opt out of hotel breakfasts wherever possible to save money, but many Scandinavian hotels do not give you that choice. The hotel breakfasts are varied and generous. I imagine most tourists eat a light lunch after a heavy breakfast, so lunch needn't be expensive. There was a carry-out salad spot near my hotel on the edge of high-cost Gamla Stan where I could get a hearty salad, roll and soda (package deal, else I would have skipped the soda) for around Kr 125.

In the more touristy areas of Stockholm, I think you'll probably not spend much less than Kr 400 per person for dinner in an actual sit-down restaurant with table service--and that doesn't include alcohol--unless you go somewhere like a pizzeria or casual Middle Eastern spot. There are definitely opportunities to spend less; you can buy food at a supermarket (I ate a lot of cheese and Wasa crispbread in both Norway and Sweden), but will you? On a short trip, most folks want to take the opportunity to try local dishes rather than the sort of thing they could get at home (and for less money).

Posted by
6529 posts

Hotel breakfasts are in general very good. Regarding restaurants, alcohol costs a lot, so if you want some wine with your dinner the price will go up.

Also note that there is a difference in price depending on geography, e.g. Gamla stan is full of tourist traps serving mediocre food at inflated prices (as well as some restaurants that are actually worth visiting). And outside Stockholm, resturant prices are usually a bit cheaper.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies - Badger, AussieNomad, and acraven. I appreciate your time and insights. Today I decided to take the plunge and join my friend on her trip to Stockholm and Dalarna. The Stockholm schedule has yet to be determined, but I now have some guidelines. In the "countryside" Carl Larsson's home and Anders Zorn's home are destinations I would like to see.

I enjoyed the cheese and Wasa crispbread comment. I agree; I eat that at home. (I am Norwegian-American, my friend Swedish-American.)

As Rick Steves always says, Happy Travels!

Mange takk! (Many thanks!) - Elizabeth

Posted by
6529 posts

Good luck! Stockholm and Dalarna is not a bad combination. SAS flies direct between Newark and Stockholm and Dalarna is a short train trip away.

Posted by
27342 posts

I didn't go inside the Zorn home, but I enjoyed the art museum a great deal. It was the reason I went to Mora (and spent a very expensive night there in a very ordinary hotel). I didn't have a car, and I found Mora itself not a particularly interesting town. I'd work on lodging in that area ASAP.

Posted by
6529 posts

Zorn's home is really worth a visit if you have the time. I went on a tour there a couple of years ago and it was just not a visit to his home, but also a lot about his life. He became very rich so the house is pretty impressive.

Mora in itself is not the most interesting town in Sweden, but a good base for northern Dalarna and the Siljan area.