The fairytale-like landscapes and effortlessly cool cities make Sweden holidays one of the key destinations in beautiful Scandinavia. This country’s abundant natural beauty is something all Swedes are proud of and one of its primary highlights. Limitless lakes flanked by lush green parks transform when the first snow falls. The country’s mountains are especially enticing when they are blanketed in white, while the wintertime only seems to add to the natural charm of the urban areas.
Swedish people live up to all the typical archetypes: smart, friendly, egalitarian. However their surrounding landscapes are far wilder and drama prone – isolated forests prowled by wolves, a center where cottages are surrounded by ancient woods stalked by bears, coasts where fantastic formations of rock jostle for space with standing stones and ruins from medieval times. Holidays here help travelers discover the balance between this spectacular Nordic land and the people that call it home.
Sweden possesses a far milder climate than almost all other world regions lying this far north. The country’s climate is heavily influenced by the Gulf Stream, which is warm and flows off from Norway's west coast. Sweden's numerous lakes and the Bothnia gulfs give Sweden a relatively mild climate generally.
In July, the temperature in Sweden averages 13 to 17 degrees Celsius. February is typically the coldest month in Sweden, with temperatures ranging from - 22 to -3 degrees Celsius. In the north of Sweden, winter temperatures can often fall to -30 degrees Celsius, sometimes lower. Snow blankets the ground in the south of Sweden from December through to April, and in the north, the first snowfall often occurs as early as October. Much of the country is completely icebound during winter, but icebreaking ships keep all the major ports ice free and open.
Sweden’s northern lies in the Land of the Midnight Sun, and experiences daylight continuously during a part of the summer and the number of days increases the further north you go. The south of Sweden never experiences continuous daylight, but has on average 19 hours of daylight per day in the middle of summer. In winter, Sweden experience similar periods where it is continually dark. In the most northern parts of Sweden the sun does not come up over the horizon for about two months.
How to spend your Sweden holidays
The scenic charms of Sweden may not be as obvious as those of its Norwegian neighbor, but the gently rolling landscapes, sanded beaches and many lakes and forests provide a fantastic backdrop for a vast range of experiences - from taking part in outdoor pursuits to sampling gourmet delights.
You would need to take several holidays in Sweden to gain even some inkling of the nation’s unbelievable scenery. There are literally thousands of offshore islands to explore, vast forests to hike through and huge mountains to climb. The north Sweden encompasses Swedish Lapland where you can gaze in wonder up at the famed Northern Lights when it is the right time of the year. The Dalarna Mountains in central Sweden border with Norway in the west and the people that live there are active year-round. Elk, bears, beavers and other wildlife can all be seen here in their natural habitat. Also west of the center is Värmland, which is famous for being home to 10,000 lakes and seemingly endless forests. The 190 kilometer-long Göta Canal awaits you if you are planning to pay a visit to the south, while on Gotland Island you will find Visby, a walled town and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stockholm, the capital city, actually consists of an archipelago. It is made up of 14 islands fanning out across Lake Mälaren. The city’s 700 years of history is told the museums, its palaces and many other building of historical significance - a must-visit is the Old Town during your stay.
On the west coast is Gothenburg which is fast gaining a reputation for world-class cuisine and some of the best eateries on the globe. Again, it is the surrounding natural wonders that underpin the attractions of the city and they add an extra ingredient to the labyrinth of lively streets and fashionable shops.
Malmö, situated on Sweden’s southern tip links to Denmark via the striking Öresund Bridge, this destination is truly impressive in making great progress towards becoming an environmentally sustainable city by promoting the use bicycles instead of cars. Cycling is the best way of traveling between the many cafés and chis stores that showcase the famous Swedish aesthetics of clothing, furnishing and homeware design.
On holidays in Sweden you’ll find the seasons rule the traditional customs that are fervently observed even today. The first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of the Christmas countdown, which the Swedes celebrate by the lighting of candles. Traditional mulled wine – known here as glögg – is served. The longer weekend during Easter marks one of the first times following winter for the locals to head to their holiday cottage and get ready for the arrival of summer. The final chance to ski is taken advantage of, and families gather together around this time of the year. The middle of summer is in June and this is the time when Sweden’s nature is at its most lively and vibrant. Friends and family alike gather in the countryside to dance and dine. A typical dish is that of pickled herring served with boiled potatoes and seasoned with dill and chives.
Where to stay
In Sweden the accommodation options come in all shapes and sizes. Including some surprises, you can kick back on a bed of ice or see what life looks like from a bird’s nest high up in a tree-house. If you have ever wondered what is it is like to do time without doing the crime, you can even opt to spend some of your Sweden holidays staying in an authentic (now repurposed) 19th century prison.
When to go
In Sweden there is a saying “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes”. This is something well worth bearing in mind when considering your holidays to Sweden. Each month offers its own distinct form of beauty and the dramatic changes themselves are stunning to witness. However, in Sweden it best to divide the seasons by two. Each of them offer some compelling reasons to visit. Putting it simply, you can consider it as a choice between the midnight sun and the wonder of northern lights! The months of May through to August bring a wonderful golden-hues glow across the country and seemingly endless days, the months of September through to April bring with the chance of the aurora borealis, especially in the far north in Lapland. A winter break in Sweden tends to be shorter in length and is focused on snow-based activities. Meanwhile summer is the time to explore the countryside at your own leisurely pace. Therefore we can say both winter and summer count as great times to visit Sweden.
How to get to Sweden
Airlines have continuously cut fares and introduced new travel classes to meet their competition - and they have made it easier to travel to Sweden from any corner of the globe for less money than ever before.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines is the national carrier and it operates connecting flights to all the major cities in Sweden from Stockholm. And, through its co-operation with Star Alliance members, SAS connects many parts of the globe directly to Sweden. Other carriers that operate direct flights Swedish from the UK include Norwegian, British Airways and Ryanair. SAS and Norwegian airlines both offer direct flight connections from the US.
Given there are tremendously long distances and travel times involved in getting to Sweden overland, then flying is the best option – it will save you substantial amounts of time but also money. The main gateway airports are Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Air fares are always cheaper when you book as far in advance as you possibly can.
Flight times to Stockholm from London are typically 2 hours and 15 minutes, while from New York it takes about 7 hours and 15 minutes. To Gothenburg from London takes 2 hours and from New York about 10 hours (including stopover).
Planning your Sweden holidays
As one of the biggest countries in Europe, Sweden is also one of the European continent’s least populated. This, combined with the country’s high standards of living, cleanliness and focus on ecology, make it the perfect place for relaxing and unwinding.
Sweden is home to thousands of archipelago islands as well as vast forests and mountains. With such a wealth of unspoiled countryside on offer here, this is ideal terrain for lovers of nature outdoorsy types. However it also offers sophisticated urban life in the form of the capital, Stockholm.
While Swedes sometimes appear to be at first reserved, once they get to know you, they can be as friendly and warm as any other nation.
Swedes love to rigorously plan, so if you are thinking about travelling around Sweden it is never too early to get organized. Hotels, flights and even restaurants can be fully booked even months in advance, and prices rise as holidays get closer – Swedes love their downtime.
In many countries, public holidays are often a chance for the tourist attractions to cash-in on an influx of extra visitors, however most Swedish people consider time off as sacred, so be sure to check online that the attraction you have been longing to visit on holidays in Sweden will actually be open.
Even in the big cities like Stockholm, many of the eateries close for weeks at a time in summer.
As Western Europe’s third largest country, Sweden offers a huge variety of year-round opportunities for travelers. Discover the country’s diverse landscapes and unique and historic culture, its urban style and outdoor adventure from the quiet beauty of Skane to the rugged wilderness of Lapland.
To get your full serving of Sweden on a platter check out Booked.net’s Swedish holiday packages.