8 Free Things to See and Do in Stockholm

Stockholm
Stockholm | ©Eugenijus Radlinskas/Flickr
Judi Lembke

Stockholm has a reputation for being a bit on the pricey side but there are plenty of things to do, even when on a budget. From learning Swedish to working out under the clear blue skies to touring a nature reserve, you don’t have to break the bank when visiting Stockholm.

1. Take a walking tour

Art Gallery

Free Tour Stockholm has several tours to choose from, ranging from exploring the subway (home to the world’s largest art gallery) to getting an in-depth look at Old Town (Gamla Stan). Tours are conducted in a variety of languages and private tours with a unique focus can also be booked. Learn about Stockholm’s fascinating history – completely free of charge.

Free Walking Tour. Mälartorget 8, Stockholm, Sweden. +46 73-731 78 80

Stockholm’s Old Town | ©Mike Norton/Flickr

Learn Swedish

Sure, you probably won’t be fluent in a week but the Stockholm library system’s Språk Cafés (Talk Cafés) will give you the opportunity to pick up some key phrases, something that will go far towards making you more comfortable when shopping or dining out. The cafés are held at various libraries around the city and attract people from all over the world.

Språk Café

Talk Café at Stockholm’s libraries

2. Visit the Swedish History Museum

Museum

There are more than a dozen free museums in Stockholm, with even more offering free entry on certain days, but now that you’re nearly fluent in Swedish why not learn everything there is to know about Sweden, starting at the beginning? The Swedish History Museum is home to one of the world’s largest exhibitions, has the excellent gold room – and there are even outdoor Viking games during the summer.

Watch the changing of the guards

Sweden’s Royal Family may be among the more low-key royal families of the world but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of pomp and circumstance. From May through late August the Changing of the Guard happens on weekdays at 12:15, while on Sundays it’s at 1.15pm.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard at Stockholm’s Royal Palace

Visit an outdoor gym

Swedes love to work out, so it’s no surprise that the government supports the health of citizens by maintaining dozens of outdoor gyms throughout the city and the surrounding areas. The gyms are designed to give you a full body workout and are generally located next to walking and running paths so you can take care of your cardio as well.

Free Outdoor Gyms

Outdoor gym in Stockholm

3. Tour the Swedish Parliament

3. Tour the Swedish Parliament
©Olof Senestam/Flickr

In keeping with Sweden’s strong commitment to transparency, the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) is open to anyone wishing to observe a debate or public hearing. Even better are the guided tours, which will give you the history of Sweden’s Parliament, as well as how it operates and what is going on right now.

Tour Parliament. Riksgatan 1, Stockholm, Sweden. +46 8 786 40 00

Sweden’s Parliament | ©Olof Senestam/Flickr

4. Explore Hellasgården

4. Explore Hellasgården
©Joopey/Flickr

Just 15 minutes from the center of Stockholm, Hellasgården is a massive nature reserve that offers a wide variety of outdoor activities throughout the year. While some cost – such as renting a kayak – the reserve itself is huge, full of hiking trails and a lake where you can swim for free.

Hellasgården. Ältavägen 101, Nacka, Sweden. +46 08 716 39 61

Hellasgården – Nacka Nature Reserve | ©Joopey/Flickr

5. Visit a photography gallery

Museum

While Fotografiska (The Photography Museum) gets most of the attention, don’t overlook Galleri Kontrast, a free gallery that focuses exclusively on documentary photography. The gallery holds regular exhibitions and while much of the work is for sale, you’re free to browse and simply enjoy.

Galleri Kontrast – devoted to documentary photography | ©Stefan Leijon/Flickr

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