Whether you're looking for beautiful nature or a cultural weekend in the city, you'll find many wallet-friendly options to choose between in Sweden. Discover the West Coast and the Baltic Sea and explore the wonders of Swedish nature or enjoy great value and even completely free exhibitions of art and culture in the cities.

    You can also visit beautiful castles and idyllic towns, learn how local specialities are made and discover the places where Swedish cultural icons such as John Bauer and Astrid Lindgren found their inspiration. Pack a picnic and skip the restaurants to keep costs down.

    1

    Gotland

    Enjoy great beaches, forests and historic settings around the island

    Summers and Gotland go hand in hand with the island's magnificent nature and ample bathing spots, making it a great option for a budget-friendly summer trip. Take your car on the ferry from Nynäshamn or Oskarshamn on the mainland for easy access to all the best spots the island has to offer. Soak up some sun on the sandy and shoaling beach of Sandviken or take a free ferry trip over to the island of Fårö where you'll find the immensely popular and well-equipped beach of Sudersand.

    Pack a little picnic and enjoy a relaxed lunch or coffee break on the beach to save some money. Discover Gotland's enchanting rauks (column-like rock formations) and gorgeous coastline from the saddle of your bike or visit the historic centre of Visby for a stroll along its charming streets, through the church ruins and along its Medieval city wall.

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    2

    Umeå

    Delve into both culture and nature

    Umeå is a lively and cultured city surrounded by gorgeous forests and ample opportunity to combine both. This cosy northern city in the Gulf of Bothnia is easily reached by car, train or plane. Discover the many exciting and wallet-friendly cultural experiences it has to offer. Stay in the city and enjoy free exhibitions at the Museum of Women's History where you can learn more about voting rights and equality or take the car on a 320-km-long art gallery experience along the Seven River Art Route (Sju Älvar).

    Take a short but intensive walk with the whole family at the Nydala Adventure Trail or discover the gorgeous nature reserves that lie nearby. Watch the fog dance in the early morning light at the boggy Torsmyran Nature Reserve or pack a picnic and enjoy the barbecue facilities at Grössjön Lake after a walk along the marked trails.

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    3

    Helsingborg

    Enjoy cultural and family-friendly excursions in north-west Skåne

    The cosy city of Helsingborg offers both cultural and family-friendly excursions that are great for any budget. Helsingborg's location on the west coast of southern Sweden makes it a good base for day trips both within the Skåne region and across to Denmark by ferry.

    Visit the old Danish tower of Kärnan – an important symbol for Sweden's conquest of the Skåne province, take a revitalising dip at one of the region's traditional open-air baths, cycle along the coastline, or buy a Culture Card if you want to pack in as many day trips as you can. This will grant you access to Sofiero Palace and its magnificent gardens, the Dunker Culture House museum and art centre and much, much more.

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    4

    Blekinge

    Discover a World Heritage site and island-hop across a Swedish archipelago

    Blekinge boasts a fantastic archipelago, charming environments and a rich cultural heritage with heaps of day trip options that won't break the bank. The region's fantastic location on Sweden's south-eastern Baltic shore makes it the perfect destination for open-air swimming and island hopping. Visit the picturesque island of Tjärö and take a dip by the shimmering rocks, enjoy a coffee on the central square in Karlskrona or set off and explore some of the other architectural wonders nearby, such as the historic Drottningskär Citadel.

    Stop by the Blekinge Museum and learn more about the region's local history completely free of charge. Weather permitting, seize your chance to enjoy a romantic stroll through the baroque gardens at Count Wachtmeister's Palace, or Grevagården as it's known to the locals.

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    5

    Malmö

    Big city life on a small budget in western Skåne

    As Sweden's third-largest city, Malmö has plenty to offer no matter your budget. Take a selfie outside the incredible Turning Torso skyscraper before enjoying a dip at the Western Harbour (Västra Hamnen), which you'll find in the immediate vicinity. For a more complete beach experience, take the city bus out to a favourite bathing spot among Malmöites – Ribersborg Beach.

    Take the kids and meet the animals at Folkets Park or, if you're in the mood for culture, enjoy a free visit to the Modern Museum (Moderna Museet) or the Malmö Concert Hall, which often puts on free exhibitions. Provided you can trust yourself not to blow your budget in their tantalising shop, you can even visit a Chocolate Museum. And if you're looking for some music and atmosphere, plan your trip to coincide with the Malmö Festival to enjoy several days of free concerts and events.

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    6

    Linköping

    Stroll through the historic city and take in the sights

    The cosy yet lively city of Linköping boasts a charming historic centre and a wide range of family-friendly day trip options. Stroll through Linköping's romantic old centre and be sure to visit its imposing cathedral. Stop off at the tourism office and ask for a map of the city's public art installations for a private walking tour in the sun.

    If you're travelling with kids then set your sights on Valla, where you'll find both a playground and a small zoo. Then stop by the Air Force Museum where you can get up-close and personal with a JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft. Kids enter free of charge.

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    7

    Borås

    Visit museums and farms in a beautiful city

    Borås is well known for its art and textiles and offers both at rock-bottom prices, as well as family fun and gorgeous nature. Borås' location at the heart of the Västergötland region makes it easy to reach by public transport both from Gothenburg and Gothenburg Landvetter Airport.

    Got the children in tow? Then be sure to visit the Odenslund 4H Farm and say hello to the ponies, goats, rabbits and many other animals as well. For a more cultural excursion head to the Borås Museum, which is free to visit and a great place to learn some local history.

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    8

    Uppsala

    Amble imposing architecture and exciting museums

    A weekend in the big city can quickly turn expensive, but the stylish cultural hotspot of Uppsala has plenty to offer for budgets of all sizes. Uppsala's central location close to Stockholm and its many transport connections means you can choose between a number of different travel options in different price brackets.

    Take a free tour of the Uppsala Art Museum and seize your chance to snap a shot of the majestic Uppsala Castle. If you appreciate fine architecture then be sure not to miss out on a visit to the Uppsala Cathedral, which even offers free concerts every Saturday. The kids will love the exciting and enriching Biotopia Museum, which is also completely free to visit.

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    9

    Småland

    Enjoy family-friendly excursions in the enchanted forests

    Småland is well known for an awful lot, from glassworks to sewing machines and from Astrid Lindgren to polkagris (traditional Swedish candy cane), but the region's forests also hide a trove of budget-friendly experiences. Delve into nature and enjoy enchanted environments along the John Bauer Trail, named after the famous artist who is best known for his illustrations of Swedish folklore and fairy tales.

    Explore picturesque villages from the books of Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish writer best known for creating Pippi Longstocking. Visit the real-life towns and villages that served as inspiration for her cherished tales of childhood adventure. Be sure to also visit the locality of Gränna and see for yourself how traditional Swedish candy canes are made. If you're visiting during the summer then it's well worth packing your swimming trunks as you'll find no shortage of inviting beaches along the Baltic coast as well as some beautiful lakes inland that are just perfect for a dip.

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    10

    The West Coast

    Swim and explore Swedish history in ancient castles and fortresses

    Nothing says "beach holiday" more than a trip to the Swedish West Coast. Sailing boats, sunny islands and renowned harbour pubs give the area a touch of luxury, but the West Coast offers no shortage of things to do for travellers on a budget.

    Swimming is often free and, if you bring along a picnic, you'll be sure to enjoy a cheap and cheerful day. Discover popular beaches such as Haverdal Beach and the shoaling, child-friendly Ugglarp Beach. Visit the castles and fortresses that once towered over the coast – even if most of them charge an entrance fee, it rarely costs a penny to explore the exteriors and take photos from outside.

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