Is Sweden Expensive: Is the High Cost Worth It?

Unveiling the affordability of Sweden, this article takes you on a journey to explore the cost of travel in this Scandinavian destination. Discover budget-friendly alternatives and tips for accommodations, transportation, dining, and attractions. From hidden gems to delicious culinary experiences, Sweden has more to offer than meets the eye.
Is Sweden Expensive
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Welcome to Sweden, a country renowned for its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. However, one question that often arises when planning a trip to Sweden is, “Is it expensive?” In this article, we will dive deep into the cost of traveling in Sweden and provide you with valuable insights, tips, and budget-friendly alternatives to help you make the most of your Swedish adventure.

Currency and Exchange Rates

Sweden’s currency is the Swedish Krona (SEK). Before embarking on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the current exchange rates to have a better understanding of the costs. Keep in mind that exchange rates fluctuate, so it’s wise to check them closer to your travel dates. At the time of writing, 1 USD is approximately 8.60 SEK.

When exchanging your currency, it’s recommended to do so at authorized exchange offices or banks to ensure fair rates and avoid scams. It’s also worth noting that some credit cards offer favorable exchange rates and may be a convenient option for your transactions during your stay.


When it comes to accommodation in Sweden, you have various options to suit every budget. From luxury hotels to cozy hostels and rental apartments, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking to save money, consider staying at budget-friendly hostels or exploring rental apartments, which can provide a more affordable and authentic experience.

In popular tourist areas such as Stockholm, Gothenburg, or Malmö, prices tend to be higher due to the high demand. However, venturing slightly off the beaten path or exploring smaller towns can often lead to more budget-friendly options. Additionally, booking in advance can help you secure the best deals and avoid last-minute price hikes.


Sweden boasts an efficient and well-connected transportation system, making it convenient to explore the country. The options include trains, buses, and flights. Public transportation fares are reasonable, and with the extensive network, you can easily navigate between cities and regions.

For intercity travel, trains are a popular choice due to their comfort and reliability. Sweden’s national rail service, SJ, offers different ticket categories, including economy and flexible options. By booking your train tickets in advance or taking advantage of promotional offers, you can often save money on your transportation expenses.

If you plan on traveling shorter distances or exploring rural areas, buses can be a cost-effective option. Bus companies like FlixBus operate in Sweden, offering affordable fares and connections to various destinations.

If you prefer the convenience of flying, there are domestic flights available between major cities. However, keep in mind that flying can be more expensive compared to train or bus travel. It’s advisable to compare prices and consider the overall time and cost of traveling by air before making your decision.

If you’re an adventurous traveler, cycling is also a popular and eco-friendly way to explore Sweden. Many cities offer bike rentals, and there are well-maintained cycling paths throughout the country, allowing you to immerse yourself in stunning landscapes while keeping your expenses low.

Dining and Food Expenses

Swedish cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors, ranging from traditional dishes to modern creations. Dining out at restaurants and cafes can be a memorable experience, but it’s important to consider your budget. Prices at restaurants in Sweden can be on the higher side, especially in major cities. However, with a little planning, you can still enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank.

Lunchtime offers an excellent opportunity to sample Swedish cuisine at more affordable prices. Many restaurants and cafes offer lunch specials or “dagens rätt” (dish of the day) menus that include a main course, salad, bread, and sometimes even coffee or tea. This is a cost-effective way to experience the local flavors while keeping your expenses in check.

Exploring local markets and food stalls is another great option for budget-conscious travelers. In Stockholm, for example, you can visit Östermalm’s Food Hall, where you’ll find a variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and affordable bites. Similarly, in Gothenburg, the Fish Market offers a wide selection of seafood and local specialties.

If you have access to kitchen facilities, consider cooking your own meals. Visiting supermarkets or grocery stores such as ICA, Coop, or Hemköp allows you to purchase ingredients and prepare your favorite dishes. Not only is this more budget-friendly, but it also gives you the opportunity to experiment with Swedish ingredients and flavors.

Attractions and Activities

Sweden is a treasure trove of attractions and activities that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or art aficionado, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. While some attractions may come with entrance fees, there are also plenty of free or budget-friendly options available.

Stockholm, the capital city, offers a wealth of attractions, including the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan (Old Town), and the Vasa Museum. While there may be admission fees for some museums and historical sites, exploring the city’s charming neighborhoods, wandering along the waterfront, or picnicking in one of the many parks won’t cost you a dime.

Nature lovers will be captivated by Sweden’s breathtaking landscapes, from the picturesque archipelagos to the majestic mountains in the north. Many natural sites, such as national parks and hiking trails, are free to access and offer unparalleled beauty. One notable example is Abisko National Park, known for its stunning Northern Lights displays during the winter season.

Additionally, keep an eye out for special events and festivals happening during your visit. These events often showcase local traditions, music, and cultural performances, providing an immersive and memorable experience at little to no cost.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Shopping enthusiasts will find a wide range of options in Sweden, from high-end designer stores to unique boutiques and local crafts. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the type of item you’re looking for.

If you’re on a budget or enjoy finding unique treasures, consider exploring flea markets, thrift stores, or local artisans. Stockholm’s Södermalm district, for instance, is known for its vintage shops, where you can find pre-loved clothing, furniture, and accessories at affordable prices. These shopping experiences not only offer more budget-friendly options but also allow you to support local businesses and find one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

When it comes to Swedish souvenirs, traditional items such as Dala horses, Viking-inspired jewelry, or Swedish crystal are popular choices. While some of these items can be pricey in touristy areas, seeking out local artisans or visiting smaller towns can often lead to more affordable options. Remember, it’s not the price tag that matters but the memories and experiences you take home with you.

Budgeting Tips and Resources

Planning a budget-friendly trip to Sweden requires careful consideration and research. Here are some valuable tips to help you make the most of your budget:

  1. Book in advance: Early bookings often come with discounted rates for accommodations, transportation, and attractions. Take advantage of online platforms and travel websites to find the best deals and compare prices.
  2. Use public transportation: Opt for public transportation whenever possible to save on transportation costs. Sweden’s efficient and reliable public transport network makes it convenient to explore the country while keeping expenses in check.
  3. Explore local markets: Visit local markets to discover fresh produce, local delicacies, and affordable souvenirs. Not only will you experience the vibrant atmosphere of these markets, but you’ll also have the chance to interact with locals and get a taste of authentic Swedish culture.
  4. Check for discounts and offers: Keep an eye out for discounts, offers, and city passes that provide access to multiple attractions at a discounted rate. Many cities offer tourist passes that include free or discounted entry to popular attractions, as well as free public transportation, which can help you save money while exploring.
  5. Pack your own essentials: To save on additional expenses, consider packing your own essentials such as toiletries, reusable water bottles, and snacks. This way, you can avoid inflated prices in tourist areas and have more control over your spending.

Remember, a memorable trip is not defined by how much money you spend, but by the experiences and memories you create along the way. By considering budget-friendly alternatives, exploring local gems, and making smart choices, you can savor the beauty of Sweden within your desired budget. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the Swedish charm, and get ready for an unforgettable journey.