Scandinavia on a Budget


Oh Scandy how I love you, but you can be damned pricey I dare say. Accommodation, food and transport are all quite spendy in this area of the world. Don’t fret, though, travelling brothers and sisters, for here is our guide to visiting Scandinavia on a shoestring. So sit back, and ‘Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii’, meaning ‘let me show you how it’s done’ in Finnish. (This literally translates as ‘let me show you where a chicken pees from’.) Ooo er.


1. Feed up on buffet breakfasts

Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, so stock up lads and lasses on the incredible breakfast buffets that are on offer in Scandinavia. Helsinki (technically not part of Scandinavia, but is part of the Nordic countries, so hey ho!) in particular is big on breakfast buffets. Pay a set amount and eat to your heart’s content. The Finnish are the biggest coffee consumers in the whole world, so expect gloriously strong coffee to set you up on your day. Try Finnish porridge for a saltier version to our very sweet breakfast ritual. Kiila Food & Bar is a very trendy spot in the very trendy Finnish capital, where brunch is available from €22.50. Feed up and you could save yourself on paying for lunch. The Moderna Museet (Modern Art Museum) in Stockholm is also top for a buffet lunch. With a wide selection of fish options and veggie Swedish cheese tarts, you can enjoy some quirky modern art, enjoy a scrumptious meal, sit outside and have a fabulous view all at the same time.

2. Go to free museums

The Modern Museet in Stockholm is also a great freebie spot to get your arty farty side into gear. It’s free every Sunday and half price every Wednesday. The Nationalmuseum Design, also in the Swedish capital, is free of charge, and we all know that Swedish design is one to take note of. The Museum of Oslo is a great one to get into for free and the Reykjavík Art Museum (again the term the Nordic countries is used unambiguously for Iceland too) is also a massive freebie. Thank you very much Scandy.


3. Walk everywhere

The wonderful thing about Scandinavia is that, for the most part, it is very, very walkable. Avoid public transport and use those legs which have been sat in your office chair and on the Tube for the last however long. Scandinavia is lovely, clean and extremely picturesque so you won’t want to explore the city through a dark tunnel anyway. So get your sunnies on (yes, it does get warm there!) and enjoy exploring the outdoors.

4. Save on accommodation

Unfortunately, you don’t get much for paying more in Scandy. Private rooms are available in hostels which are decent though. Staying in a hostel also means that you can buy your own food at the supermarket and save paying in pricey restaurants. Camping however is completely free, so if you want to really get into the nature of Scandy (watch those Finnish bears though chaps!), bring your camping gear and relish being at one with nature.


5. Free guided tours

You’ve brought your walking shoes and been walking around free reign with your travelling buddy. What about learning some history with a guide though? All the capitals of the Scandinavian (and Nordic!) countries have a wealth of free guided tours. Learn from the best and get into the history and culture of your chosen holiday destination. Citywalk, Copenhagen Free Walking Tours and Free Tours Oslo are all good shouts.

Scandinavia – the home to glorious food, picturesque scenery and of course, the unforgettable ABBA. It’s bloomin’ marvellous but can make a hole in your bank account if you don’t plan wisely. Scandinavia on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult though… All you have to do is choose your accommodation wisely, make the most of any freebies and stock up on food where you can. You’ll come back feeling well and truly hygge (the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures).

For more information about travel in Scandinavia, check out our Guide to Helsinki and our Guide to Stockholm.