In Europe’s northern region lies the Scandinavian country of Sweden. It is recognized for its natural landscapes where forests comprise over half of the country. From winter sports and northern lights to endless summer days of festivals and medieval castles. So, what is the best time to visit Sweden?
May to September are the best months to visit Sweden, with warm temperatures consistently averaging between 63 F and 67 F. Between February and November is the best time to visit on a budget as flights cost between $400 and $600. During this time, you can experience the midnight sun, or discover the Swedish castles.
Sweden’s seasons can be extreme. The winters are cold and brutal with ongoing darkness and the summer is a strong contrast of warm days and hours of sun. You will want to spend time uncovering what is the best time to visit Sweden for your ideal vacation. Follow along as we explore what each month has to offer throughout the country.
When is the Worst Time to Visit Sweden?
January is the worst time to visit Sweden if you are hoping for a vacation of winter activities while basking under the rays of the winter sun. In the far northern parts of Sweden, the days are in complete darkness and can be quite difficult to adjust to for some.
Areas such as the capital, Stockholm, can see nearly 6 hours of daylight. The sun sets close to 3 in the afternoon.
For those that love the deep freeze and chill of winter, then January could be a winter wonderland for you. If you don’t mind temperatures averaging close to 29 F, there are still a multitude of activities to try out.
One of the world's indigenous people, the Sami, lives and survives the harsh winter in northern Sweden. Discover their heritage, way of life and culture through one of their Sami (Sápmi) experiences. Visit traditional reindeer farms, try out customary foods and explore local arts and handicrafts.
Prepare for the cold in January. So be sure to pack your snow boots, layers, and a thermal winter coat and head out in search of arctic wildlife, northern lights, and skiing.
When is the Cheapest Month to Go to Sweden?
February and November are the cheapest months to fly to Sweden with an average cost of $600, however, it can be as low as $400 depending on the departing destination. Average flights throughout the year can be found from $611 to a cost of $811 for basic flights.
Standard hotel rooms average $88 a night and can start around $50 and range upwards to $160. Apartment-style accommodations prices span from $75 to $150. If you take the time researching to know what is open during the dark months you can take advantage of the quieter travel time.
July and August are more expensive months due to the high season of summer. Planning your travel dates for June grants you warm weather, sunny days, and plenty of greenery. Look into booking your flight up to 3 months in advance to help reduce flight costs.
Sweden is not known as a budget-friendly country but there are ways to alleviate costs throughout the year. Investing in the Stockholm Pass gives you access to more than 60 activities in the area or purchasing one of the several day passes.
Some hotels allow you to book with your accumulated points which can help dramatically to decrease your accommodation costs. Several museums are free to enter such as the Medieval Museum, Swedish Museum of Natural History, and Swedish History Museum.
Best Time to Visit Sweden – Month by Month with Weather and Activities
January: Best Time for Winter Outdoor Activities
January is the best month to head to northern Sweden and relish in all the winter outdoor activities. Northern Sweden’s temperatures drop as low as 21F to 0F creating an epic winter adventure and a haven for nature lovers.
Snowmobile adventures take you into snow-covered forests and frozen lakes or slow down the pace of travel by reindeer sled or a husky tour. Kiruna is the main destination in the Swedish Lapland and the northernmost city in the country.
Far away from the city lights and pollution, Lapland lies within the "aurora zone". Here you can marvel at the wonder of the Aurora Borealis.
- Take a tour or spend the night at Abisko National Park
- Cross-country ski through the boreal forest
- Visit a reindeer farm
February: Best Time to Visit Museums
February brings short days and long dark nights in Sweden during the last month of winter. It can be the coldest month of the year in the country with averages from 24F to 32F and the ideal time to discover museums.
Stay warm inside and explore some of the best museums Sweden has to offer. A trip to Sweden can’t be without a visit to the iconic Abba Museum in Stockholm.
Their home country has created a fully immersive interactive museum spending hours discovering their evolution, performing with their avatars, or trying on their costumes (virtually of course). Do note that tickets can only be pre-purchased online.
- Vasa Museum
- Swedish History Museum
March: Best Month to Stay in an Icehotel
March is the best time to bundle up in your thermal sleeping bag and experience the sub-zero temperatures of an Icehotel. In the first month of spring, temperatures can range from 23F to 9F.
In Sweden’s Jukkasjarvi, 200 km just north of the Arctic circle is the legendary Icehotel where you can stay the night in temperatures between 23 and 17F. The Icehotel is reconstructed yearly with ice harvested from the spring and stored through the winter. It is a chilling new experience every year.
Sleeping here during the harsh winter months can be a bit intense with temperatures seeing as low as -40F.
- Snowmobile safaris
- Ice sculpture classes
- Dine in the heated restaurant and unwind with a frosty drink
April: Best Time to Enjoy Local Traditions
Spring brings in almost half a day of daylight to Sweden and the weather begins to warm up inviting greenery and flowers to reappear. April is a wonderful time to be outside and enjoy the local Easter traditions.
Easter is the first long weekend of the season. Since Sweden is considered a secular country much of the activities revolve around family and celebrating the days off. Children dress up as adorable witches in colorful headscarves going from home to home in the neighborhood for gifts of sweets.
There are treasure and scavenger egg hunts, feasts of traditional foods of pickled herring, meatballs, and roast lamb. You may have a chance to try out "Jansson's frestelse (temptation) it is a creamy mixture of potatoes, onions, and pickled anchovies baked in cream.
- Stockholm Culture Night
- Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton)
- Skansen Open Air Museum
May: Best Month to Stay in a Unique Hotel
Temperatures in Sweden are moderate in May spanning from 54 to 63 F as the days become brighter. It is the ideal time to spend the night out in nature at one of Sweden’s unique hotels.
Spring is in the air in May with the foliage vibrant and blossoming setting the perfect scene for sleeping in the country’s natural surroundings.
Sweden has a variety of unique stays from spending a night with the wolves at Jarvzoo Wolf Hotel to Silleruds Station in a 1959 historic train carriage.
- UFO Treehotel
- Treehouse Hotel
- Stf Kolarbyn Eco Lodge
June: Best Time for Midsummer (Midsommar) Festivals
June is a month of some of the longest days of the year with almost 18 hours of sunshine while some see 24 hours of daylight. June is the best time to celebrate the summer solstice and join the locals in their Swedish midsummer celebration called Midsommar.
This Swedish cultural festival will have you gathering around the maypole dancing like Små Grodorna (little frogs in Swedish). With its very own frog dance song, this midsummer tradition brings both young and old together in the spirit of the festival.
Lasting several days, it is full of dancing, singing, picnicking, games and lots of eating and drinking! It’s a smorgasbord of all the best traditional foods of herring and pickled herring cake, salmon, potatoes with dill, cheese pie, and a glimpse into the honored customs of the country.
- Bohuslän coast
July: Best Time to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Summer months bring endless hours of daylight, around 20 hours making July the best time to enjoy the great outdoors. The July weather brings daytime temperatures upwards of 72 F and potential lows around 58 F.
With some of the best weather of the year getting out to adventure within one of Sweden’s nearly 400 hiking trials is the ultimate way to explore its natural landscapes.
The Kings Trail (Kungsleden) is the country’s oldest and classic hiking trail. It takes you off into landscapes of great mountain views, rivers, brooks, and rugged terrain. Just remember your mosquito net for this hike!
- Camp under the midnight sun
- Blueberry picking in Dalarna
- Hike the high coast of Höga kusten
August: Best Time to Stroll Through Old Town Stockholm
The mild summer weather mixed with sunny days brings average daily highs of 72 F and only 3 to 8 days of rain. Just keep an eye on the forecast, have your umbrella handy and you won’t be caught off guard. This optimal August weather makes it the best time for strolling through Old Town Stockholm.
The labyrinth of cobblestone streets leads you to cafés, restaurants, galleries, shops, and museums throughout the medieval old town. Slow down and delight in the Swedish tradition of fika, the coffee break, and watching life go by through the old town.
The oldest square in Stockholm is here in the middle of the old town. Once with its somber history of The Stockholm Bloodbath, it now boasts vibrant colorful buildings and charm.
Otherwise known as Gamla Stan it is one of Stockholm’s most popular and well-known destinations.
- Changing of the Guards outside the Royal Palace
- Swedish Parliament
- Vasamuseet Museum
September: Best Time to Discover Swedish Castles
Crowds will have started to diminish in September making it the best time to discover the remarkable Swedish castles. The weather is ideal as well with daytime averages in the low 60s. Bring your umbrella since September does see some rainfall on average 2.4 inches as almost half the month experiences a bit of rain.
Sweden is home to plenty of quintessential fairy-tale-like castles and is a beautiful way to step back into the country’s history and charm. Used often for military defense many have been historically preserved now with landscaped romantic gardens.
South of Stockholm, Gripsholm Castle is one of the most popular to see with its renaissance yet renovated structure.
- Kalmar Castle
- Malmo Castle
- Lacko Castle
October: Best Time to Photograph Fall Colors
October is the best time to photograph the fall colors of Sweden. From October to the middle of November the incredible fall colors take over the forests and canopies and are the best time to see Sweden in all its harvest glory. With high temperatures close to 50 F and average lows of almost 42 F, it is still pleasant enough to be outside and capture all the incredible beauty.
Tividen National Park should be on the top of your list to see Sweden’s untouched nature, deep old forests, fairy-tale-like trails, and spectacular views. The autumn colors transform the park into burnt oranges and reds.
Autumn colors, spooky decorations, and displays are in full swing with over 30,000 pumpkins for Halloween at Liseberg's amusement park in Gothenburg. Not only will you capture some rather unique photos but have a blast during the scary season.
- Söderåsen’s National Park
- Kullaberg Naturreservat
November: Best Time to Dine on Swedish Cuisine
The month of November can be a time of transition with mixed weather conditions. November sees both rainfall and snow with an average precipitation of 52 mm making it the best time to be indoors trying out different Swedish cuisines.
Everyone knows Sweden is famous for its meatballs but there is much more to uncover. Aside from a plate of meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy try out other the country's other favorite dishes. Kebab pizza, pickled or pan-fried herring and potatoes, gravad lax (buried salmon), or crayfish with a side of Swedish Snapps.
Stockholm can see November temperatures of 37 F and an average of 2 hours of sunshine. So, brighten the day with some of their sweets, dining on Swedish waffles (Våfflor) or a slice of princess cake (Prinsesstårta).
- Restaurang Storstad
- Långholmens Wärdshus
December: Best Time for Festive Christmas Markets
December in Sweden becomes one of the most magical times of the year and is the best time to visit its festive Christmas markets. Layer on the clothes though for average temperatures are as low as 26F to 34F.
The snowy Swedish Christmas markets are brimming with holiday spirit. They are full of decorated booths of handicrafts and sweets, as the smell of “pepparkaka”(gingerbread) and festive music fill the air.
Warm up with a traditional warm cup of glögg' (mulled wine) and wander the stalls of local artisans. Sleigh rides, ice skating, and the twinkle of the Christmas lights transform the towns into picturesque Christmas cards.
- Stortorget, Stockholm Old Town
- Liseberg, Gothenburg
- Jamtli, Jämtland
Best Time to Visit Sweden with Family
When traveling with family you want to plan for favorable weather and attractions being open which makes May to September the best time to visit with family. The pleasant 60-degree weather is comfortable for all ages to be outside and experience Sweden’s natural beauty.
Sweden is a very family-friendly country with unique parks and playgrounds. The fairy-tale castles let children be princes and princesses for the day and the rugged terrain and forests bring out their inner explorers.
Liseburg’s in Gothenburg is one of Europe's popular amusement parks. With endless rides, bumper cars and ferris wheels, summer stages of music, and fun-loving characters it's a great place to just be a kid again.
The summer months will be the high season for travel where prices and crowds increase. Spend some time at the beaches, parks, free walking tours, and out in the country. Often children of a certain age have free admission to many attractions, typically at 7 years of age but this may vary.
Other activities that would be great fun for the family include:
- Kolmården Zoo
- Visit Stockholm’s creative parks (Ellen Keys Park, Anders Franzén’s Park, Mulle Meck).
Best Time to Visit Sweden to Avoid Crowds
If looking to avoid the summer rush of crowds the best time to visit Sweden is in June. The summer rains of May have lessened and the midnight sun is approaching.
Near the end of June droves of people begin to arrive for summer solstice and midsummer festivals in northern Sweden. So, take advantage of the first half of the month and discover Swedish Lapland before the masses arrive. Then journey throughout the different regions and get out to the open-air museums, cafes, verdant forests, and attractions.
Scandanavia’s high tourist season peaks in Sweden during July and August. The weather is warmer, families are on vacation and the hours of sunshine are abundant. Everyone wants to be out and enjoying the bright days before the long winter months become dark again.
There are plenty of ways to avoid the crowds and still enjoy your time if your travel plans coincide with the high season. Schedule your visits to attractions for first thing in the morning and near the end of the day. By this time sightseers will have finished up for the day.
To seek some downtime and peace escape to the wide-open spaces of places like Hagaparken. Nature reserves are another way to feel like you have escaped the crowds.
Best Time to Visit Sweden for the Northern Lights
The months of September to March are the best months to witness the dance of the Northern Lights in Sweden. Visiting in the month of January will increase your chances of experiencing this natural phenomenon.
The cold nights of clear skies and minimal moonlight are key factors that will help you check this off your bucket list. The 3F spanning to 37 F temperatures help make this a possibility and that’s not factoring in the potential of the windchill.
Swedish Lapland is the region where you want to book your stay far away from the light pollution of the city. Camp Ripan in Kiruna is one of the best spots to stay to see the Northern Lights. You can book a chalet-style room for 2 people which includes breakfast for $169 sleeping right beneath the captivating colors.
Tours by horseback, reindeer sledding, dog sled, snowmobile, and cross-country skiing are all offered to see the magic in the sky.
Some of the best places to see the Northern Lights are:
- Jukkasjarvi’s Icehotel
- Abisko’s Aurora Sky Station
- Kiruna’s Camp Ripan
- Särkimukka’s Pine Tree Lodge
- Harads' Treehotel, Logger's Lodge, and Arctic Bath
- Luleå’s Pine Bay Lodge
One of the highlights of Sweden is that it has four seasons and each one is dramatically different with its very own special features. Therefore, there is bound to be one that is just right for you!