Winters in Sweden are a picture of snow-covered beauty, but they are a bit on the cold side, with temperatures averaging near freezing. The summer is a much more comfortable 23 C.
When to fly to Sweden
Most tourists booking flights to Sweden look to arrive in the months between June and August, to catch the warmest weather and the longest hours of daylight. Spring and autumn can also be pleasant. North of the Arctic Circle, there are 24 hours of sun in midsummer and 24 hours of twilight in midwinter.
There are a number of large festivals in Sweden, all worth visiting the country for. Midsummer, the summer solstice, is a big event. Walpurgis Night falls on April 30. It is a night for lighting bonfires to ward off evil spirits. The feast of Saint Lucia, the light giver, is on December 13 and marks the start of Christmas.
Winter (November to March) is off season, though many tourists still visit during this time to see the northern lights and to visit Lapland.
Getting around Sweden
The country is very large, so flying around Sweden is one of the best options. Various airlines offer domestic flights, including Skyways, SAS and Malmo Aviation.
Rail is another option. The network is extensive and trains are swift and convenient. The largest company is SJ. Slightly slower, the bus system runs throughout the country, but if you're travelling long distances this is not the fastest way to travel. The largest operator is Swebus Express.
For a different way of seeing the country, take a trip along the Gota Canal, which has 58 locks and 47 bridges. It runs from Mem/Soderkoping on the Baltic Sea to Sjotorp at Lake Vanern. There are also ferries that run along the coast – the Stockholm archipelago, the islands of Gotland and Oland and the West coast.
Sweden insider information
• Every year, the Baltic Sea freezes around the islands off the coast around Stockholm in about November. Many of the locals go skating on the frozen ski, which is known as “trip skating”. Skaters can cover up to 200km (124 miles) a day. For obvious reasons, less-experienced skaters should hire a local guide to take them onto the open ice.
- Sweden has many islands and Gotland in the Baltic Sea is the largest. Visby is the capital. Dating from the 10th century, it is considered the best-preserved medieval town in Scandinavia. In total, there are the ruins of 23 churches and abbeys. Every August, there is “Medieval Week” when the town goes back in time to 1361. Festival-goers can enjoy tours and talks, markets, mystery plays and a jousting tournament.
- Up in the northern part of the country in Norrbotten County is Abisko National Park, within which if Mount Nuolja. A chairlift runs to the top of the mountain year-round. From the summit, tourists can experience the midnight sun between May 27 and July 18.
- Culture vultures should head for western Sweden to visit Tanum, where there are ancient rock carvings. The depictions – of men, ships and animals – date from the Bronze Age.
- Tourists wanting to bring home a Swedish souvenir should find a “dala horse”. These small pained wooden horses come from the province of Dalarna. Tourists can visit workshops there to see how the horses are carved and painted. The world’s biggest "Dalahast" stands near Avesta. Unveiled in 1989, it is 13 metres (42 feet) high.