This is quite literally 2 years in the making. I have taken a hiatus from detailing our Euro Trips but I decided with my ongoing attempt at BLOGMAS, now is better than never. Also, with our wedding being in Europe next year, I figured it’s a good time to add more European content for our family and friends. As predicted, I missed a few days of BLOGMAS – but that only motivated me further to get this post out there!
After graduation James and I knew we wanted to do another European Trip. His twin brother and our good friend Ryan all graduated around the same time and decided we would do a joint graduation trip. So here begins my chronicles of our second Euro Trip, beginning in Stockholm. We managed to find some round trip affordable flights from NYC to Stockholm via Norwegian Airlines , so we were starting and ending our trip from Sweden.
At the time, we were blind to the credit-card hacking world, and unfortunately had to pay cash for our tickets. With that said, we positioned ourself in NY (meaning we found an affordable way to get ourselves to NY) to then purchase cheaper transatlantic flights.
Leaving the USA
James, Eric, and I flew from Myrtle Beach to La Guardia Airport in NY with Spirit Airlines. Ryan and his mom, Mrs. Gray, picked us up from the airport and shuttled us over to the outskirts of Jamaica. We had a few hours to kill before our next flight and Mrs Gray kindly treated us to some NY pizza – which we all filled up on.
Eventually we made our way to JFK, where we quickly put as many of our heavy layers on as possible to avoid having any overweight bags. and checked in at the counter. We all purchased the cheapest ticket possible (surprise), which only allowed for one personal item and one carry on totaling 10kg. Somehow we crammed 2 weeks worth of clothing in a backpack each.
We did splurge on purchasing our seat assignments since our flights were 8 hours long and we definitely wanted to sit next to each other. J and I also purchased meals on the flight, but Ryan and Eric chose to save that money and bring snacks for the flight. The pizza definitely helped, but I was certainly happy that I paid the money for my meal on board.
Of course, freshly graduated we were all still quite broke, and operating on strict budgets. Not surprisingly, prior to leaving for Europe we ordered set amount of each currency from our bank and built our plans around that budget. If we ended up needing money we would have to use our debit cards – if only I knew about travel credit cards back in my backpacking days. For Stockholm, James and I were rocking with 1,940 SEK which is roughly $200.
The Airport – Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Upon landing at Stockholm Arlanda I was pleasantly surprised by the sleek and moderness of the airport. We made our way to customs and cleared it quite quickly, adding another stamp to our passport.
Transportation from Stockholm Arlanda Aurpirt to City center
While there are many ways to get from Stockholm Arlanda to the city center, we as always opted to travel as cheaply as possible. As such, we opted for public transport to get to the city center.
You can grab the 583 Bus heading towards Märsta Station, outside Terminal 5 roughly every 15 minutes. At Märsta Station, you hop right off the bus and right onto a commuter train heading towards Stockholm. The very last stop on the train is “Stockholm CentralStation”.
All in all the trip takes about an hour and only set us back 86 SEK total for James and I, back in May of 2017. We purchased our tickets within the airport at the general information counter
Upon entering Stockholm our first mission was to walk to our hostel and dump our backpacks at M/S Birger Jarl. This euro-trip we decided we would primarily stay in Air BNBs and avoid hostels if possible, but we couldn’t resist this one. The opportunity to sleep on a boat was far too tempting when I came across it on Booking. I will say, the boat is located a little bit away from the train station. We walked a little over half a mile to get here, as its located just beyond Gamla Stan.
We managed to score a room with 4 ship style bunk beds for 1,052 SEK. The rate included breakfast and a great view of the city. At 526 SEK for J and I, that’s only $55 bucks a night really. As we were spending 2 days in Stockholm, and flying out first thing on the third day, we planned to only spend one night on the boat, and spend the second night sleeping in the airport. Yay, we were back to the airport days.
The downfall of sleeping on a ship, we found that ventilation was lacking. We quickly discovered this when one of the boys blew up the bathroom at 3 AM, and woke us all up with the stench. It was a memorable first night of the trip to say the least.
When we were in Stockholm it was the middle of Midnight Sun, it doesn’t get fully dark until late into the night/early morning. The benefit of this, was we got to experience a beautiful sunset when we got back from our day of exploring.
What I love about Stockholm is that it’s essentially an archipelago of islands that make up the city area.
Nysteket Stromming – Street Eats
Our first stop after dropping off our bags was to get something to eat. We walked over to Nysteket Stromming, a popular food-truck for some authentic Scandinavian eats. At the time the truck was located in Slussen, but may have since moved. J and I ordered the Stronmingsburgare (55 SEK) and Strommingsrulle (75 SEK). The formuer was a fried herring sandwich, and the latter was a flatbread wrap filled with herring and mashed potatoes. Both were delicious!
The Old Town (Gamla Stan)
Once our bellies were full, we made our way to Gamla Stan, The Old Town. We wandered throughout the cobble-stoned alleys, and got lost in the beautiful buildings of Stortorget.
While wandering through Gamla Stan we came across Storykrykan, which literally translates into Great Church, and is the oldest Church in Gamla Stan. We paid 50 SEK each for both of us to enter the Church, and it was totally worth it!
As is our luck, we always somehow manage to stumble across Changing of The Guards in almost each city we visit. Stockholm was no exception.
In our wandering through Stockholm we ventured into the Medieval Museum, mainly because it was free and snowing outside. However, it turned out to be extremely fascinating!
City Center (Norrmalm)
Stockholm Public Library
Eventually we made our way to the newer part of the city center, just across the bridge from Gamla Stan. We had heard a lot about Stockholms Library, and made it our mission to walk a little over 1.5 miles over to the library to see the unique building. I truly wish I took better photos during this Euro Trip Abroad, but alas I did not. It was one of the most interesting libraries I have ever seen, with its full circle dome.
Stockholm City Hall
We then made our way to Stockholm City Hall which was right on the water and spent some time enjoying the view of the city.
Cafe Gramunken – Pastries
All the walking worked up our appetites, and we made our way back to Gamla Stan to eat. Eric and Ryan decided they were going to have some food and beers at a Viking Restaurant, while James and I decided to eat pastries. We got ourselves an almond cake (89 SEK) and a Swedish Punch Roll (35 SEK). I loved this cafe because downstairs was an underground cavern essentially, that had more seating available.
Katarina Elevator (Slussen)
The following day we woke up bright and early, devoured our free breakfast and made our way over to this historical landmark.
The elevator played a key role in connecting the people from Slussen to Sodermalm and dates back to the 1800s.
The lift provides a great vantage point to overlook the surrounding areas of Stockholm.
As I was traveling with three boys, I tried to plan interesting activities for them beyond walking around and taking in sights. We made our way over to Osermalm to visit the Army Museum (free of charge of course).
The island of Skeppsholmen historically was home to various military buildings, today it provides home for many museums and peaceful walks. We spent some time walking through the island and passing by the sights.
Reuniting with Friends
While James and I were studying abroad in England, we met Beatrice during Fresher’s Week and quickly became friends. Beatrice is actually from Sweden, and we were so happy to have the opportunity to meet up with after saying goodbye in Exeter.
Beatrice kindly picked us up in her car, and brought us to a nearby mall to have pastries and coffee while we caught up. Not surprisingly, James was delighted at the idea of more pastries. We idulged in a Kanelbulle (cinnabon – 25 SEK), a Kladdkaka (Mud Cake – 39 SEK), and a Chokladboll (chocolate ball – 24 SEK). Beatrice even taught us how to properly say thank you in Swedish, Tack Beatrice!
Meatballs For the People
You can’t go to Stockholm without trying some Meatballs. After catching up with Beatrice we decided to get some grub in our bellies before heading to the airport. Meatballs for the People was 100% worth the hype that The Food Network gave it.
The Meatballs were absolutely delicious, and surprisingly I liked the ones I wasn’t expecting to like. I ordered the Classic Swedish Meatballs, made of lamb, for 179 SEK. Whereas James upgraded the classic for Moose (+30 SEK).
I really thought I would prefer the lamb because I was used to that flavor, and that the Moose would be too gamey – but boy was I surprised. The Moose Meatballs were absolutely delicious, I wish I had ordered those for myself!
Each plate of Meatballs was served with Mashed Potatoes, Lingonberries, and Pureed Cucumbers. Altogether dinner set us back 390 SEK.
Transportation To the Airport
Following our dinner, we decided it was time to pack up, and trek back to the airport. That night were going to attempt to sleep there before our 5 am flight. Going back the way we came, we were back on the train/bus heading to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Again, it only cost us 86 SEK for James and I.
At the airport I spent another 5 SEK, buying a postcard. After all was said and done, we managed to save 406 SEK from our beginning amount, which we plan to use on our last day of our trip. Upon arrival, we cleared Security and found cozy seats in one of the various sitting areas at the Terminal. Unfortunately for us – we weren’t the only ones sleeping in the airport. It was next to impossible to get any shut-eye with all the snoring and construction going on in the airport.
It was a long night of sleep, before we were on our next leg of the trip to Helsinki, Finland.