Is Sweden Expensive? A Sweden Trip Cost Guide

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by Emily Marty

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If you’re toying with the idea of travelling to Sweden, then you might be asking yourself ‘is Sweden expensive to visit?’ While not exactly the dearest of all the Nordic nations, it’s hardly what the average traveller would consider to be a budget-friendly destination, either. This dissuades plenty of would-be visitors, who worry that their Sweden trip cost may end up being higher than is realistic for them. 

In general, Sweden is expensive to visit with an average cost of €95-320 (roughly $104-350 USD) per person per day. However, note that these prices can vary depending on how you plan out your spending.

It’s true; Sweden certainly is a pricey place to visit. However, there are plenty of things you can do to keep the cost of your holiday on the lower end – all it takes is a bit of prior planning.

So, in this article, we discuss the average prices for different products and services in Sweden, as well as some ways that you might be able to save money on your trip there. 

Sweden Trip Cost Guide

Accommodation Prices in Sweden

A major part of one’s Sweden travel cost is, for the majority of people, spent on accommodation there.

Fortunately, no matter where you are in Sweden, you’ll generally be able to find a wide range of options as far as accommodation goes; whether you’re on the hunt for something more budget-friendly or would like to stay somewhere upmarket, you can find them all in Sweden.

For a bed in a hostel, depending on its location, you can generally expect to pay somewhere between €20-40 per night.

Rooms in 3-star hotels will usually cost around €100-150 per night, which is largely contingent on location. For a more upmarket hotel room, prices tend to start at €200 per night. 

In general, accommodation in Sweden can be expensive, however, it really depends on the type you choose.

Lund, Sweden
Lund, Sweden

Transportation Prices in Sweden

Perhaps unsurprisingly, transport in Sweden, broadly speaking, tends to be on the pricier side. With that said, it’s also highly reliable; the country is crisscrossed by a comprehensive rail network, and public transit is, on the whole, easy to use and punctual. 

Costs associated with using public transportation in Sweden can actually vary dramatically depending on where in the country you are.

A day pass for Stockholm’s public transport system costs about €14 (or 165 Swedish Krona), for example. On the other hand, the equivalent ticket for Malmö’s public transit network costs just €5.50.

The Swedish rail network is a great way to get around the country, but its services are not always what you’d call cheap.

You can expect to pay anywhere from €40-100 for an average intercity journey, depending on how far in advance you book, which service you choose (tickets for the faster high-speed trains tend to cost more), what time of year you’ll be travelling, and so on. 

Keep in mind that a journey from Stockholm to Uppsala is going to be a lot less expensive than if you’re heading further afield or travelling all around Sweden.

Stockholm Metro Station
Stockholm Metro Station

With that being said, lower-cost alternatives to rail travel in Sweden do exist, and some of them are considerably more affordable than getting around by train. You can view schedules here.

For instance, buses operate between Sweden’s major cities; a single adult ticket from Stockholm to Gothenburg costs just over €30. This is a great option for those looking to visit Sweden on a budget.

While not, strictly speaking, necessary, hiring a car while in Sweden is a great way to give yourself more flexibility in terms of what you do and see, as well as making it much easier for you to get out and explore the countryside and more rural areas. You can browse options here.

Car rental prices in Sweden typically start from around €30 per day, with the real cost being determined by how far in advance you book, the kind of vehicle you’re planning on hiring, and so on. Also make sure to factor in petrol, as well, which can have a high cost in Sweden.

Another great way to explore Sweden’s cities is by cycling. Bike rental prices across the country typically start at around €20 or so, making this a cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of seeing Sweden. 

Malmo Old Town
Malmo Old Town

Food Prices in Sweden

Like they are in the other Scandinavian countries, food and meals are, on the whole, considerably more expensive in Sweden than they are in the rest of Europe.

In fact, you can anticipate food and grocery expenses to make up a major portion of your Sweden travel cost; though, with that being said, there are certainly ways for you to save money as far as this is concerned. 

The price of a meal in an average restaurant (including a main and a drink) will typically sit at around €30-35 per person in Sweden.

With that being said, I’d like to point out that, like in the other Nordic countries, there’s far less of a difference between what you’d pay for a meal at a fast food establishment or lower-cost restaurant and somewhere more mid-range than there would generally be in other countries. 

So, if you’re looking to save money on food while you’re in Sweden, heading to lower-end restaurants for your meals is actually going to be less effective than you might have otherwise thought. Instead, if you’re travelling on a budget, then you’ll want to consider other means of keeping the costs of paying for your meals as low as possible. 

Indeed, buying meals out in Sweden costs substantially more than paying for groceries, with price differences generally being far more pronounced than they typically would be in other countries. 

Of course, while grocery costs are, in general, high, some products will be more affordable than others. Local wares will often cost less than imported ones, for instance, and you can expect some major variation between seasons, just as you would in other countries. 

And, as in other places, Sweden’s supermarkets do vary in terms of how much their wares typically cost. So, if you’re trying to keep your holiday in Sweden as budget-friendly as you can, then you’ll want to do as much of your shopping at these low-cost outlets as you can. 

If you’re something of a budget traveller and are keen to keep your Sweden trip cost as low as possible, then opting for accommodation that allows self-catering in one form or another is definitely going to be your best bet. This way, you can keep the costs of your food down, which means you’ll have more money to put towards other expenses. 

In fact, probably the most cost-effective way to self-cater in Sweden is by bringing your groceries with you from wherever you’re flying into Sweden from, provided that it’s cheaper, of course. It might sound like a hassle, but you’d be surprised by how much you can save doing this, especially if you bring versatile staples with you, like rice and pasta. 

If you do so, then you’ll likely want to investigate any relevant customs laws in Sweden to make sure your food won’t be confiscated on arrival. 

Sigtuna. Sweden
Sigtuna, Sweden

Activities Prices in Sweden

Sweden is home to plenty of world-class museums and art galleries, which, for many visitors, is more or less a must-see during their trip to the Nordic nation.

One of the great things about travelling to Sweden is how family-friendly it is, too; plenty of museums across the country and other attractions in Sweden offer free admission for visitors under the age of 20, for instance. 

Otherwise, you’ll usually be looking at spending something in the vicinity of €10-15 for entrance to one of Sweden’s art galleries or museums. Prices can be higher for some of the famous museums in Stockholm such as the VASA Museum or ABBA Museum.

Other great activities that have a minimal cost would be a free walking tour, which are on offer in most major cities. Keep in mind that while the tour itself is free, you will need to be sure to tip the guide so this should factor into your budget.

If you choose to go on paid tours such as bike tours or short cruises then expect to pay significantly more.

Vasa Museum in Stockholm
Vasa Museum in Stockholm

Entertainment Prices in Sweden

Going out for a coffee in Sweden is going to cost you considerably more than what it would in most other countries.

In fact, Scandinavia is somewhat notorious for charging what can feel like pretty steep amounts for a cup of coffee – this is especially true of lattes and other, more complex milk-based coffee drinks. 

You’ll usually be looking at paying somewhere between €2.50-4 for a coffee in Sweden, depending on the type that you buy and where. If you want to keep your trip to Sweden cost as low as possible, then, when buying coffee out, you should try to get black filter coffee whenever you can. 

This generally costs significantly less than, say, a latte or cappuccino. Or, if you really want to keep your holiday as budget-friendly as you can, then you can consider either bringing some coffee grounds with you or buying your own once you’ve arrived in Sweden to brew fresh coffee with. 

Old Town of Stockholm
Old Town of Stockholm

While it might sound a bit obvious, every little bit adds up when you’re trying to save money, and, in Sweden, you can easily end up spending a healthy amount of money on coffee alone each day.

The same is true of alcohol; like the other Scandinavian states, the Swedish government has a number of taxes in place to discourage alcohol consumption as much as possible by making it prohibitively expensive. 

In general, a standard half pint of beer will cost around €5-6.50. While alcohol prices on the whole are lower in Sweden than they are in, say, Norway, they’re still much higher than the European mean. 

With that being said, there are some ways to save money on the alcohol that you purchase in Sweden. The easiest for most people will likely be picking up any drinks that you’re interested in when you first land in the country, provided that you’ll be flying in.

Alcohol sold in duty-free shops at Swedish airports is, naturally, tax-free, so it’s substantially cheaper than what it would cost if you were to purchase it in a bar or similar. 

By the same token, the Swedish government’s Systembolaget chain of alcohol shops will typically sell drinks at cheaper prices than you’d find them at in, say, clubs or restaurants.

Note that they’re also the only retail shops where you can buy alcoholic beverages containing more than 3.5% worth of alcohol by volume; this is a limit imposed on other shops in the country that sell alcohol. 

Sweden is known for its music scene, and the country’s major cities generally have lots to do and see in terms of concerts and live performances.

The average cost of a gig ticket in Sweden is usually somewhere around €25-35; naturally, prices vary depending on the size of the venue and artist, as well as whether you’re able to buy them in advance or on the door, and so on. 

If you’re a fan of nightlife, on the other hand, then you’ll find plenty to like about cities like Gothenburg and Stockholm. Nightclubs in Sweden often charge entry fees of around €15-20, with larger, more popular clubs generally charging more. It’s worth pointing out that, just like in other countries, you can often avoid paying fees to enter clubs if you arrive early enough in the evening. 

Southern Gothenburg Archipelago
Southern Gothenburg Archipelago

Is Sweden Expensive? Average Prices in Sweden 

Below, we’ve compiled the average prices for different goods and services you’ll need to use during your trip to Sweden. Using this, you should have a decent idea of how much to expect to pay per day throughout your holiday. 

Accommodation: €25-100 / night

Transportation: €10-30 / day

Food: €30-100 / day

Activities: €20-40 / day

Entertainment: €10-50 / day

In general, expect to spend around €95-320 per person per day when visiting Sweden. Of course, this number can vary significantly depending on your habits. For instance, you can cook some meals at your accommodation or you could eat every meal out – the latter option is going to put you on the higher end of the daily budget.

The same goes for entertainment – you could opt to have one or two coffees or an alcoholic beverage per day or you could plan to drink a lot or attend cultural events or concerts regularly during your trip.

Transportation costs can also vary depending on your habits, but know that if you opt to hire a car or travel between destinations by high-speed train daily, your costs are going to be significantly higher.

Finally, remember that these prices don’t factor in pre-trip expenses such as flights or travel insurance.

Sweden is one of Europe’s most charming, fascinating countries; while it’s not cheap, the high domestic prices of goods and products don’t need to put you off. With the advice in this article, you should be able to plan a trip that fits within your budget while still allowing you to see the things you want to see. 

Are you planning a trip to Sweden? Have any questions about the prices? Let us know in the comments!

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Emily Marty

Emily is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she is currently based in the UK. She enjoys exploring Northern & Western Europe and Southeast Asia and has a bit of a thing for islands in particular.

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