When I was a student, I spent a year studying abroad at Stockholm University in Sweden’s capital city. The beautiful city, spread across 14 islands, isn’t known for being cheap.
In fact, a travel booking site, Hoppa, previously ranked it as Europe’s second most expensive city, coming in just behind Copenhagen.
The Swedish capital was ranked as particularly expensive for food and drink and entertainment.
Scandinavian cities are frequently named among Europe’s priciest places to live but from my experience, I’d say Stockholm was often better value than the UK.
It definitely wasn’t cheap and I still haven’t got over paying £19 for a single vodka cranberry in a club, but in many ways life there was more affordable than in London.
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Stockholm’s public transport system encompasses the metro, buses and ferries between the island. I found it extremely reliable and often far less crowded than in London.
Although it’s possible to pay for single journeys on Stockholm public transport, the majority of people use a travelcard which offers unlimited journeys for a set amount of time. A 90 day travelcard costs SEK 2810 (£211) for an adult. In contrast, a monthly travelcard for unlimited travel on TFL services in London can cost upwards of £120 and many people choose to pay per journey.
I found Stockholm’s system was much better value and it means many more people rely on public transport than a car, helping to keep the city’s air clean.
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Food and drink
Eating and drinking out in Stockholm is extremely expensive and a meal at an average restaurant can set you back upwards of £30. A beer can often cost more than £7. However, there are still some great value places to get a bargain meal. I love Hermans vegan buffet which costs £13.41 per person for an unlimited lunch with incredible views of the city.
Despite this, I would say London has the edge when it comes to eating and drinking. The Big Smoke has a more diverse range of restaurants and bars and despite soaring prices, there are still great bargains to be found.
British cities including Leeds and Manchester also have more exciting street food than Stockholm, offering more choice of cheap eats.
Both London and Stockholm have plenty of green space, so it’s easy to spend an inexpensive day relaxing or exercising outside in the city.
However, I love Stockholm’s ice-skating culture. In winter, the city has several open air ice-skating rinks which are completely free to use for residents with their own ice-skates. A pair of ice-skates can cost as little as £30 at shops such as Decathlon. It’s a great way to exercise outside without spending any money.
Obviously, London doesn’t have Stockholm’s winter climate but I don’t think the city has an equivalent free activity for its residents.
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