Notoriously a very expensive country, we randomly decided to go on a trip to Sweden for a week! Decided about a month before we went, and properly booked and planned out only 2 weeks prior, let’s explore where we went, what we did and how we managed to keep it priced so reasonably.

We both took different flights out (due to work commitments) so as one landed in Stockholm (on a much nicer SAS flight from Heathrow) the other took off from Stansted with Ryanair!!!!

The aim with this trip was to go Northern Lights hunting, so whilst Sweden is good for this, Stockholm not so much. So these were our travel plans:

16/02/22- London to Stockholm

18/02/22- Stockholm to Skelleftea

21/02/22- Skelleftea to Stockholm

23/02/22- Stockholm to London

This gave us 2 stints in Stockholm to explore, and a nice long weekend in the north with 3 nights to go Northern Lights hunting, perfect!

Stockholm Part 1

Getting to and from Stockholm is easy with the Arlanda Express running every 20 minutes from the airport. Although quite expensive (£24 one way for adults or £12 for youth (16-25)) it is by far the most efficient way of getting into the city. While waiting for Adam, Lauren checked into our hotel. We’d booked the same place for both parts of the trip- Mosebacke Hostel. A private room but with shared bathroom set us back £144.50 for the 4 nights. The Hostel was clean, shared facilities decent and had luggage storage which is always handy!

Travelling around the city is also simple, with a well connected Metro system that runs on contactless payments so you can tap in just like London. There might have been a cheaper tourist style ticket, but for the little amount we ended up using it the odd tap worked well.

We started our first day in usual style with a trip to Lidl for a cheap bakery breakfast. From here we began our day of wandering. Stockholm is made up of lots of islands, so we began on Gamla Stan. This island is home to the royal palace, a large ancient church and lots of wonderful streets with quaint shops and bars (and a Ben & Jerry’s that gets utilised in part 2…)

From here we walked up past the parliament house, through the Kungstradgarden and into the “main” bit of Stockholm. This is like many European cities, home to your Zara’s, H&M’s and other well known brands (those two in particular seem to be everywhere we go…). The main thing we noticed here though is how nice their nightlife is! We went in a bar at the end of the work day, and it was heaving but really wholesome. Everyone just having a good time talking to each other- no phones, fights or unnecessary drama!

Our last bit of wandering for the day was to the Djurgarden Island. Home to many of the Stockholm museums from Vikings to Abba, this island is off the beaten track from the main city and a nice peaceful walk. Past all of the tourist stuff, you reach Frisens Park, which offers great views across the islands of Stockholm.

After a long day of walking, we headed in for an early night before our second journey on the Arlanda Express to catch our flight too…


When we decided to fly further north, we had many options to choose from. It was only 10 days before, when we were both sat on the beach in Bournemouth stargazing that we saw this amazing deal to a place called Skelleftea. Whilst this wasn’t the most exciting place to visit, after looking around on Google maps we saw a place called Lulea- a large enough town for us to base in, a frozen lake you can walk around, and lots of nearby natural wonder which would also be pitch black at night! For this we had to hire a car which, whilst expensive compared to some of the deals we’ve had over the past 18 months, made the trip completely possible. We booked it through for £144 for 3 days with Hertz. The pick up counter was in the airport, easy to locate the car in the parking lot, and allowed us our first experience of driving in proper heavy snow and ice. The price also included fully comprehensive insurance meaning we were covered for any dents, scratches or incidents- huge relief with the icy conditions of the roads!

With car in hand, we headed off to Lulea where we’d booked a lovely hotel for our 3 nights at Naran Hotell. For £164, we got a large room with private bathroom, free parking outside and breakfast included, which for Sweden at a weekend was an excellent deal!

Before arriving in Lulea, we stopped in a little town called Pitea for some lunch and a wander. This was our first experience of the true cold that the north had to offer us! Excited by the prospect of proper snow, we stopped at Balingeberget nature reserve just outside of Lulea. This place was a winter wonderland! Fresh white snow in a stunning forest. And when we say this snow was deep, it was going up to our waist at points if you went off the tracks!

The nights come in very fast at that time of year, and as you can see by the cloud cover any chance of seeing the northern lights that first night were obliterated. So we headed back into Lulea, warmed up in the hotel and went for a little wander around the town and to find some dinner.

We ended up in an Irish/American sports bar called O’Learys. With a range of burgers, ribs, and other BBQ styled dishes this was perfect for something filling. The venue had bowling, an arcade, and excellent service. Most interestingly it also becomes a club! As everyone removed their snow jackets and hit the dance floor we couldn’t resist but stay out and party- this did lead to us essentially being up for 24 hours since travelling out from Stockholm very early morning. All worth it, especially for the empty streets of Lulea at 4am and climbing on top of all the snow mounds!

With a nice lie in and a walk out to get some lunch, we decided to head out of Lulea to heighten our chance of seeing the Northern Lights. We found a nature reserve with a complex of walking routes, waterfalls and rapids called Storforsen! About a 90 minute drive away from Lulea, and near no light pollution this place was stunning. Waterfalls cracking through the snow and ice, no other people around, a beautiful, peaceful evening. Even though the clouds remained persistent, the natural beauty of Sweden made the journey worthwhile!

Just want to hype up our little car that took us on these wonderful roads- nicknamed Edith. Super comfy, efficient heating, kept us safe in all the conditions and always looked photogenic in the snowy forests! Again, can’t explain how valuable we find it to have a car on some of these trips, especially when you’re wanting to see out of the way, obscure places! From the snowy landscapes of Sweden and Iceland, to the heat of Croatia and America- we’ve been able to see so many off the beaten track places thanks to having a car!

Our last full day and we wanted to live the local life of Lulea. The most impressive feature is the huge frozen part of the sea around the town! A huge attraction for the locals just to walk over, people on snowmobiles, sleds, just a truly wholesome experience. You can walk over to the tiny island- Gråsjälören- where there is a little cafe open in the winter with cakes and drinks which is what everyone was venturing over for. From here you can walk all the way back and around Lulea under the Bergnäs Bridge to the bright orange Lulea sign! An easy but fun walk, and the use of the sleds is free.

With this complete, there was one more thing we wanted to achieve… but before this we drove to a place called Boden as we’d found a burger place with great reviews at great prices (and a great name and brand)! Boden was a quaint town, and had free charging ports for the hybrid cars in all parking spaces (a huge thing in Sweden).

FIRE! All around the outer edge of Lulea were boxes of wood for you to just make a fire and chill by. So, with one last attempt at Northern Light watching, we stocked up on fire supplies (which was tampons, matches and papers) and headed to one of the fire pits to set up our evening.

It was -16 and very hard to keep the fire going but we got there and it was fantastic. Stargazing overlooking the frozen sea, a fantastic end to our little stay in Lulea. We nearly got frostbite on the 20 minute walk back to the hotel but all worth it! Even though the Northern Lights spited us Lulea and the surrounding areas are stunning and well worth a visit for some true winter snow. Back to Stockholm we go…

Stockholm Part 2

Arriving mid afternoon, we were able to check straight into our hotel and head out for dinner. The first shock of being back in Stockholm was the change from -16 degrees and fluffy snow, to 2 degrees and slush. We chose upon Omnipollos Hatt for dinner. This craft brewery caught our attention for its large pizza range and you can’t beat pizza and craft beer. It was right by our hotel and a local hotspot!

Having explored the main bit on our first visit, we opted to venture further out this time. Our first choice was to head up towards Vasastan. Unfortunately, we passed the Ben & Jerry’s shop on route so had to stop and get some ice cream for the long walk. Whilst there wasn’t loads to see this day, it was nice to just explore the local areas and the sun played ball to allow us some amazing photos. The other reason for heading this way was to tick off another Hard Rock Cafe on our list!

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at a couple of bars ending in a really quaint jazz bar. Again- the vibe was so chill when it came to going out for a drink that we actually enjoyed doing it compared to half the time in England.

With our flight in the evening (always recommended so you get a whole day to explore- you can catch up on rest when you’re home) we tackled one last area of Stockholm and something we’d kept on seeing- a massive dome! Walking along the waterfront taking a long jagged route looping through Danviken we arrived at this Dome which is a stadium with shops all around. Not all that exciting, but it was good to go see it after it loomed in the distance the whole trip. From here we headed back in Gamla Stan for one last explore and tat shop and to Skinnarviksberget. This wonderful scenic point gives excellent views of Stockholm and is a lovely park to explore!

And onwards on our 4th and final Arlanda Express to catch our Ryanair flight back to Stansted!

Whilst we didn’t see the Northern Lights this time, we had an amazing time exploring the different landscapes of Sweden and the extreme climates.

With flights, hotels and car hire all added up- the trip came to £630 for 7 days (£315 each). For a notoriously expensive country- we found this to be excellent value. Having a hotel with breakfast help us cut down additional spending, and with Lidl’s or even independent Bakeries existing you can always find a cheap filling snack!

If you have any questions on how we did this trip, drop us a message or contact us on Instagram!

Until next time

Adam & Lauren