With frequently frigid temperatures, there is no better time to visit Sweden than summer. Around Midsummer you can experience perpetual 24 hour light in the country. Stockholm is wonderful for a variety of reasons, consistently ranking among the world’s cleanest cities. As Sweden’s capital is built atop 7 islands, there’s no better place to sleep than on a boat. Below are a couple boat hotels in Stockholm that we have enjoyed.
STF af Chapman & Skeppsholmen
Because I have family in Sweden, I’ve visited 3 times over the past 12 years (Bell has visited twice). I’ve stayed on a couple boats in the capital and really enjoyed the unique experience, despite a couple drawbacks. The first was a boat hostel across from the Royal Palace, the STF af Chapman & Skeppsholmen.
The af Chapman is great because it’s budget boat accommodation in a fantastic central location. And how many places can you sleep, wake up and walk to the front of a ship and gaze upon the Royal Palace? Hello king and queen of Sweden! And the experience can be found at an affordable price in an otherwise expensive country. I’ve noticed prices have gone up to stay there, but in a city where a pint of mediocre lager could easily set you back over €8 ($10.50), few things come cheap in Sweden.
Red Boat Hotel and Hostel
The Red Boat Hotel and Hostel (also known as the Red Boat Mälaren) is a cool place for budget travelers to stay. This boat is located in Stockholm’s Södermalm district and has great views of the Gamla stan (Old Town). The room Bell and I stayed in a few years back was the tiniest private room I’ve ever slept in. And as an American who has lived in Europe for over 5 years this is saying a lot.
My expectations of adequate space has decreased over the years. But I generally expect to have room to open my backpack or suitcase. The private en-suite we stayed was fitted with 1 bunk bed, barely room to walk around each other, and the tiniest private bathroom. But hey, you’re sleeping ON A BOAT! (queue song).
Breakfasts at the Red Boat Hotel and Hostel are nice. Lots of delicious quality fresh baked breads, sliced meats and cheeses. It is a very typical Swedish breakfast.
You’ll generally find the best deals on Stockholm accommodation via booking.com. Booking.com is often significantly cheaper than sites like Expedia and others.
It is More Expensive to Stay in Stockholm in Summer
The drawbacks to visiting Sweden in summer are higher prices and generally needing to book accommodation in advance, diminishing any spontaneous changes to your itinerary. You’ll certainly save money traveling there in the fall, spring or winter. But do not torture yourself going in winter unless you want to possibly see the aurora borealis (and you’ll have to go north of Stockholm to even have a chance to view it).
You could get lucky visiting in spring or fall and have very pleasant day time highs (temperatures drop significantly at night). I spent a few weeks with my family in Kalmar a couple Aprils ago and was surprised by the daytime sun and warmth. But the very long summer days afford extra time to sight see, so particularly for Americans who average less vacation time than Europeans, this has added value. Have you ever slept on a boat and did you enjoy the experience?
A Couple More Quirky Tips for Stockholm
Swing into 7-Eleven in Stockholm. They’re quite different than the US 7-Eleven’s because it’s not uncommon to see bananas advertised on the store front. In the US we’re used to just seeing humungous sodas and processed food like Big Bites (mmm, nitrates).
If you enjoy trying different meats like I do, you won’t want to miss eating reindeer in Stockholm. But be wary of gimmicky tourist traps in the Gamla Stan like the specialty game restaurant we ate at. Here are tips for eating reindeer in Stockholm.