Why you must visit Sweden in the winter: part 1
Sweden is one of those countries not many Americans travel to. The funny thing is, I can't understand why. Maybe people think it's too far, or too expensive, or too something, but I'm here to tell you it's a country that should go to the top of your bucket list!
I can almost guarantee going in the winter is not the first thought that comes to people's minds; but it may just become your favorite season in Scandinavia.
Because you're going in the winter there are less hours of daylight. When I went at the end of November sunset happened around 3-4pm. That's ok though, all you need to do is slightly adjust your schedule to make sure you see everything you want to see/take photos of in the daylight. Stockholm is still beautiful in the evening, and that is when the holiday decorations really come alive.
From the East Coast you can find great non-stop flight bargains to Stockholm. One of my favorite airlines is Norwegian, a budget airline that's still comfortable, and they can have flights under $400 RT to Stockholm in the winter months!
**Key things to note about Norwegian**
• You will need to pay extra for a meal (so eat at the airport before you leave)
• On LowFare flights your hand luggage (including a personal item) cannot weight more than 10kg
• If you feel like you're going to need more clothing than what fits in your hand luggage, purchase your checked bag in advance online! Otherwise you could pay up to twice as much at the airport.
WHAT TO PACK
The weather can really vary in the winter, so make sure you check right before you leave. I was fortunate enough that the weather was cooperating and was about the same temperature as it was in NYC (mid to low 50s Fahrenheit).
Just like anywhere else a key thing to remember is layerssss! You don't need to bring a massive puff coat and snow boots in order to be comfortable. A simple warm winter coat, flat boots, a couple sweaters, a vest, scarf, hat and mittens (I prefer them over gloves) are perfect. And don't forget to wear the biggest items on the plane! My wool coat was the perfect blanket on my overnight flight. :)
It's no secret that Scandinavia is one of the most expensive areas of the world, and Stockholm is no exception. If you are a budget traveler, which I tend to be, I suggest trying out either a hostel or Airbnb, or both!
I was fortunate enough to try both and can tell you both are great bargains. Unfortunately my Airbnb host's apartment is no longer listed but you can easily find accommodations through the site for less than $60/night per person. The hostel I stayed in, Castanea in Old Town, is a great option that is conveniently located near everything you could possibly want to do!
GETTING INTO STOCKHOLM
There are a couple methods of getting into the city center from the airport.
The most inexpensive option is the bus, which will take over an hour. Personally, I preferred shelling out a few extra dollars (540 SEK, round trip) in order to take the Arlanda Express, which gets you into the city center in 20 minutes! A great tip is to bring your student ID because that will cut your RT fare in half to 280 SEK - but you can only make this purchase at the airport.
GETTING AROUND STOCKHOLM
I am a big fan of walking everywhere when it comes to new cities. You're able to get a real flavor for what it's like living somewhere, you see things you may missed while on public transportation, and you can get some amazing photos just being on the streets.
Stockholm's public transportation is a well-oiled machine, that also doubles as an art exhibit! If you don't plan on taking public transportation it's worth it just to go underground, because every station is unique and will take your breath away. New York could definitely learn a thing or two!
Now that we have all of the logistics out of the way check out part 2 for the fun stuff!