Scandinavia on a Backpacker budget
You might think it’s impossible to travel Scandinavia on a tight budget. However, anything is possible if you search for the most friendly budget solutions! With a reputation for beautiful people, designer interiors, and high prices, Scandinavia can intimidate backpackers. But don’t be afraid! There’s plenty of cool stuff to do if you’re visiting Scandinavia on a backpacker budget!
Yearning to see the wonders of Scandinavia? You actually don’t have to bring your own beer and live off pickled herrings! Despite being pricier than their European neighbours, these icy countries have warm hearts and plenty of budget friendly places. We went in search of bicycles, saunas, ABBA looking people and trolls (not the internet kind!).
The Danish capital is as good looking as the people! Full of colourful houses, a cobbled old town, and plenty of bicycles and boats. There’s something for everyone whether you’re into palaces, alternative scenes, partying, or parks. The beaches are accessible on the metro line, and are packed in summer.
Although the main sites are expensive, there’s plenty of free museums and galleries! There’s also lots of cool neighbourhoods to visit on foot, such as the Free State of Christiania. The community has existed since the 70’s, and operates under its own laws.
The harbour area is also worth walking around. The most popular area is the picture perfect Nyhavn (New Harbour) with brightly coloured houses. Many famous Copenhagen buildings can be seen from the waterfront as well! Maybe a good time to rent a bike?! A great activity while visiting Scandinavia on a backpacker budget.
Where to Eat – Copenhagen
While it’s home to the world’s number 1 restaurant and notoriously expensive food, you can still eat for cheap! It’s also home to the open sandwich (Smorrebrod) which are small, deliciously topped breads. They’re abundant, inexpensive, and you can find them all over town. There’s also the awesome Copenhagen Street Food market where you can get great deals on traditional Danish and international cuisine. Check out their events to see what’s happening and when you can get the student discount.
Top Pick – Copenhagen
Visit Hans Christen Anderson’s ‘Little Mermaid’ (an emblem of the city) , which sits in the water.
Where to Sleep – Copenhagen
Copenhagen Downtown Hostel is the best hostel in town, and it’s right in the centre! With live music, happy hour, a great atmosphere, and cool, retro design, you’ll love this hostel!
This little city is often skipped on the backpacker’s map, but it’s just across the bridge from Copenhagen! While it’s lesser known, there are some cool things to do and it’s a little less expensive than Copenhagen! From here you can take a reasonably priced train to Stockholm. Just make sure you book in advance.
Malmo’s center has Christmas markets, and ice skating in winter. There’s plenty of traditional boutiques, mostly selling Swedish handicrafts and designer goodies. And there’s tons of great little art galleries.
What to eat – Malmo
We have to confess – Elk Sew is amazing. There’s plenty of restaurants that serve traditional foods such as soups, salads, smorrebrods, pickled foods, salmon, and Swedish meatballs. Malmo also has a large selection of Arabic restaurants and you can get some really delicious grilled meats or kebabs.
Top Pick – Malmo
Our favourite thing to do in Malmo is the traditional sauna on the sea. Naked and all year round! Do as the locals do and jump in the icy sea after a good session in the birch wood saunas.
Sweden’s capital is famous for it’s colourful medieval centre, Gamla Stad, and the many islands that the city spreads across, forming its distinct skyline. The old town is on its own island. We encourage you to walk around the cobbled streets and admire the vibrant architecture. Other more modern parts of the city, like the cool bars in the East, and shopping area in the West, can be reached easily by metro.
Where to Eat in Stockholm
Seeing as it’s not the cheapest place to eat in Scandinavia on a backpacker budget, we recommend you enjoy a large lunch to still get a taste of Swedish food that won’t break the bank. Meatballs are obligatory!
Where to Stay in Stockholm
City Backpackers Stockholm is the friendliest hostel in town! With a great bar terrace, cosy chill out area, and a sauna, you’re bound to love it! They’re located close to all the shops in the city centre, and it’s a great place to meet other travellers. Don’t miss the Viking Tours for something a little bit different!
We hope these tips have encouraged you to take on Scandinavia, even on a backpacker budget!
For more information on Sweden, check out our post, Stockholm Food Guide. And for more information on Copenhagen, check out our posts, 5 Summer Time Things to Do in Copenhagen, Copenhagen Food Guide, Copenhagen Overview, and 6 Things To See in Copenhagen.