Sweden’s summers are so gorgeous that you’d be a fool to spend much time abroad. From mountain hikes around Kebnekaise and Åredalen to the beaches of Österlen and Gotland, from upmarket brunches to loppis flea markets, here are our readers’ top tips on what to do.
What to do
Perhaps the best advice a reader gave when we asked on our Facebook page for top tips for things to do in Sweden this summer came from Jay, a Brit living in Skåne.
“Do the things that Swedes do in summer! They’re the experts!” he suggests.
What Swedes do is as generally as little as possible, or at least as little as possible that is pre-planned.
Astrid, a Swede based in the UK, sums up the general vibe.
“Chill, relax & family time. Swimming on the fresh water lakes & rivers. Smooching round shops, loppis with lunch and coffee stops as you go. Or simply going to lake, make a fire, barbecue some chicken, and enjoy.”
Mirella, a Dutchwoman married to a Swede, recommends visiting the outdoor Loppis events that spring up around the country.
Amanda from the UK says she made “memories that will live forever” by embracing Swedish raggare culture and visiting some of the classic car meets in Varberg and Falkenberg, where she say “hundreds of stunning vehicles, car obsessives, rockabillies, alternative cultures, people happy to show off their astonishing vehicles and share their stories”.
It was, she writes “one of the highlights of my life”.
If you already live out in nature, you don’t even need to leave the house. Alex, who lives outside Stockholm, says she plans to “literally live in the backyard and tend to the garden as we grow a lot of fruits and vegetables”, all washed down with frequent glasses of rosé wine.
What to do in and near Stockholm
Many Stockholmers disappear to their summer houses in the summer months, but there’s lots to do if you stay put.
Dou recommends simply visiting Kungsträdgarten, the tree-lined park in central Stockholm which has a succession of events on its stages throughout the summer.
Johanna instead suggests a visit to the Skansen park, with its historic houses from different parts of Sweden, its Zoo and its hugely popular open-air concerts.
Annie loves doing the Haga parkrun every Saturday in the summer, which she says is a “really beautiful run, with loads of banter!”.
Grace recommends a leisurely brunch at the “legendary” Grand Hotel Stockholm.
For a more active day, Kathy enjoys kayaking on the waterways around Stockholm, while Heather Barrett suggests floating over the city in a hot air balloon.
One of the most fantastic things about Stockholm, though, is the countryside, islands and charming towns outside it.
Helene enjoys getting the ferry all the way to Sandhamn, the last major island in the Stockholm archipelago, while Ariel is content with stopping at Vaxholm, the medieval fortress and town that is the gateway to the islands.
The ferry boats to the archipelago are so accessible in Stockholm that Heather, with slight exaggeration, recommends that people “take the ferry to the islands hundreds of times” over the course of the summer.
Going in other direction, several people recommend taking a day trip to Mariefred and the historic Gripsholm Castle, others going south to the Riddersholm nature reserve on the coast near Norrköping.
What to see and do in southern Sweden
A lot of people tipped the beaches and nature reserves in southern Sweden, with Venetia recommending Åhus beach on the east coast of Skåne for having the “softest sand”, and Lara instead promoting the windy dunes of the Falsterbo peninsular.
Mona said that visitors would “love” Österlen, the southeastern corner of Skåne cut off by the road between Ystad and Brösarp, and also recommended the coast a little further north in Blekinge, which she said was called the “garden of Sweden”.
Mylinda instead recommended the beach at Råå on the west coast of Skåne near Helsingborg, while Monika suggested going further north into Halland and staying at the sumptuous beachside Varberg Kusthotell.
For Kira, the cities of Southern Sweden also had a lot to offer, recommending trips to the Sofiero Castle and Garden in Helsingborg, and the free Salsa and Bachata dancing on the beach in Malmö.
To get around to all the places in the south, Cristina tipped getting the Sommarbiljett Skåne, the 829 kronor ticket getting you unlimited train and bus travel in Skåne from June 15th to August 15th. You can also get a Sommarbiljett Skåne och Blekinge for 1219 kronor.
What to see in central Sweden
The forested, hilly and lake-filled county of Dalarna has a well-deserved reputation for folk culture and landscape and Sara recommends a visit to Lake Siljan, Sweden’s sixth largest lake, because “it’s so beautiful and so essentially Swedish”.
Shelly wants to see the Säljbergsgrottan cave in the village of Järna, visit the Dalarna Museum in Falun, and see the Silvberg abandoned silver mines with their lakes filled with turquoise water.
Others suggest going a little further south, with Gunnel tipping Mariestad, the “pearl of lake Vänern”, with its “gorgeous” old town, prison museum, gourmet restaurants and lovely surrounding walking trails.
Gary instead recommends the Läcko Slott castle on Vänern, and some of the other attractions of Skaraborg county, such as the burial place of the founder of Stockholm in Varnhem, viking burial grounds, and forest trails.
Kim says the beautiful little town of Vadstena on Lake Vattern, with its historic buildings, will always be a favourite after she spent time studying there.
For a longer holiday, Paulien recommends travelling on the Inlandsbanan, the rail track that goes from Kristinehamn in the centre of Sweden on Lake Vänern all the way up to Gällivare in Lapland.
For 2,395 kronor you can get a 14-day ticket, allowing you to hop on and off the train, although you have to pay extra to take a bicycle. You can also buy package tours with hotels and hotel entry included from 8,595 kronor to 14,995 kronor, depending on the number of nights.
What to do in the summer in northern Sweden
Going further north, Ellen recommends the Nederhögen outdoor centre in Jämtland, and trips to the Fettjeåfallet and Sångbackfallet waterfalls in Klövsjö. Michaela instead mentions the walking trails in the Åredalen mountain area near Åre.
For others, the best hikes are even further north with Mary Preyanka mentioning the trails around Hemavan or Nikkaloukta, the starting point of the hike up Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest peak.