One year ago, when the orange, yellow and red colors all around the landscape were indicating that autumn was at its peak, a friend and I decided to visit the two largest cities in Sweden, Gothenburg and Stockholm. Both are vibrant and with a different dynamic than in Lund, which showed us another beautiful face of this amazing country.
Everything started when, after a study night, we were wondering when it was the right time for us to do some travel to the northern parts of the country. After thinking for some minutes (literally), we decided to go on the soonest break from class, which was one week from that day. The planning process included organizing bus tickets, food, accommodation, and some extra costs.
After budgeting everything we proceeded to buy the tickets which were very affordable considering the distance between the places and the time of the year. After organizing everything and feeling very excited for the upcoming trip, we took the first bus to Gothenburg, which was only a three-hour ride, and felt like a city commute because we used our time talking a lot and planning fun things to do in both cities.
Once in Gothenburg, we went directly to the public transportation ticket booth to buy a 24-hour ticket to be able to ride the tramway and the (very cool) ferries to the archipelago. While riding the tram, we were able to see the city centre which like in other parts of the country had a visible Nordic architectural style. However, the most exciting part was when we arrived at the ferry station (30 minutes from the city centre), to go to the archipelago. This amazing chain of islands showed us a very beautiful and calm side of Sweden. There were a bunch of houses of all sizes in a wide range of colors that along with the green and coastal environment created a very tranquil and attractive atmosphere. Additionally, we had a stunning sunny day which made our archipelago day an amazing one.
After that, we went to the city centre and walked for around three hours, while taking, eating, taking pictures, exploring, and so on. While doing those activities, we realized how this place compared with Lund felt more like a big city. For example, the student life and the small city vibe you get in Lund is what makes it special and unique as a place to study (and that’s one of the reasons why lots of people from around the world choose to study here). However, our time in this, the second largest city in Sweden, was super nice and we got to know very cool places. Finally, at the end of the day, tiredness made us settle and we went to bed to recover for the upcoming trip to Stockholm.
Similarly, as on the way from Lund to Gothenburg, our time on the bus going to Stockholm was very nice. We had food, the last seating row for ourselves, and the heating system beneath us, which made it a very comfortable ride. Then, once in Stockholm, we did the same as in Gothenburg and we went to the ticket booth for a 2 day pass which was way cheaper for students.
The same night we arrived and considering that it was the Halloween weekend, we went out immediately to find a cool place to dance and share with a friend of my friend that was living there. That night we dressed like zombies applying red paint all over our face (which the next day we discovered did not come off) and walked around to discover the nightlife in Stockholm.
One funny thing that happened to us, apart from having out faces red-colored for three days, was that we bought tickets for a party but at the entrance we couldn’t get in because it was full. So we went to another bar and on the way there there was a pile of ice outside a winter clothing store. I thought it was snow, since I had never seen snow before until that day, but they told me it wasn’t. It was funny and we all started to laugh because of my disappointment in the middle of the street. After partying, we went back to where we were being hosted in a more residential area in the outskirts of Stockholm and regained energy for the walks on the next day.
From morning to afternoon, we walked around the city visiting several places, and of course, we used the metro system which has a unique art display in every station. For example, some stations were totally painted with blue or red colors, the electric escalators had colored led lights or other stations used art linked to the nearest hotspot of the area.
We visited places such as Gamla stan (The old town), the Royal Palace (which is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch), the Stockholm City Hall, Gröna Lund (an amusement park), Stortorget (small and colorful square in Gamla Stan), and the KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), among others. Finally, after walking all day, we went back to the bus station to take the bus to Lund.
In a few words, that trip was a blast! We could visit a lot of places on a budget and in a beautiful season such as autumn. My recommendation for a trip like this: plan activities and places to visit, be spontaneous and open to adventures, use public transportation, prepare yourself to walk a lot, and enjoy everything!
Points which helped us keep the budget low:
-Use a couch surfing method! It is a great way to meet new locals and save money.
-Go by bus! It’s normally cheaper than the train and you get to see a few more towns on the way.
– Plan your food wisely and choose selectively! It is easy to spend a lot of money on food and drinks which travelling to big cities in Sweden. Try to buy food from supermarkets and have picnics at beautiful view points (if the weather allows).
If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, let me know in the comments section below.