Europe with Kids: Free things to do in Stockholm

Northern Europe is notoriously pricey. Countries like Sweden enjoy excellent standards of living, but for visitors, this can mean that things like transport, hotels and eating out can come at a premium. However, there are ways to off-set the costs of your trip to Sweden. Plan well in advance; it will afford you the opportunity to take advantage of dining out deals, learn the layout of the city in order to get around by bike or subway and drive a hard bargain on your hotel room by shopping around when arranging Stockholm city breaks. As for entertainment, here are some of the best things to do in the capital that won’t cost you a krona.


Go for a dip:

It might seem preposterous to take an al fresco dip when you’re so far north, but the locals can’t get enough of outdoor swimming in summer. Paddle your toes in either of Stockholm’s swimming beaches; Långholmsbadet or Smedsuddsbadet are renowned for their clean, clear waters and are popular with tourists.

See the changing of the guard:

Bear witness to this prestigious ceremony that takes place every day outside the royal palace from 12.15pm. A convoy of guards marches through the city and into the palace grounds at Gamla Stan in a ceremony that takes a full 40 minutes, all to the rousing beat of a military drum. Stand to attention, and be sure to bring your camera!

Check out the underground art scene:

Not only is it a cheap and convenient method of traveling the city, Stockholm’s subway comprises over 100 underground stops, all of which have been decorated in a different theme. Carved, Renaissance-style statues glare from exposed rock walls, Pac-Man ghosts peep from gleaming, tiled walls and painted vines and lilies sprawl over arches in bright greens and blues. It’s enough to make you envious of Stockholm’s commuters!

Have a picnic in Djurgarden:

You can reach this popular island by foot or boat, and spend some time following the many scenic paths that sprawl over its parkland. Although it’s home to many of the city’s top museums, amusement grounds and an animal park, it’s also the perfect spot to relax and reconnect with nature, as Djurgarden was once a royal game reserve. Take a picnic, wear your running gear or just enjoy a romantic stroll with your significant other.

Image by Hector Melo used under the Creative Commons license.