Things to do
Food and drink festivals in Sweden
Visiting one of Sweden’s many food and drink festivals gives an excellent glimpse into the Swedish culinary world.
A little like the smorgasbord, Swedish food is a diverse affair. And there are a number of food and drink festivals throughout the year that celebrate Swedish food and its local and regional variations. Local produce plays an important role in the country’s increasingly sustainable food culture and is often front and centre at many of these tasty celebrations.
Here are fifteen festivals and events across Sweden that are worth a visit.
GBG Beer Week
The annually held GBG Beer Week celebrates the diverse brews coming out of Gothenburg and beyond. Beers of all kinds can be tasted at various restaurants and breweries in and around the city. Participate in brewery tours, beer launches and even beer-themed dog walks. The grand finale is the two-day Beer & Whisky Fair, held at The Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre.
Dates: March 27-April 4, 2020
The street food market at Lindholmen gathers food producers and breweries around the world, but many hail from Gothenburg itself. Take your pick from the many food trucks, market-style stalls or opt for a beer-tasting session hosted by passionate brewers. DJs and live music performances add to the vibe.
Dates: Every Saturday from noon
Location: Götaverkets gamla varvslokal, Lindholmen (a 45-minute walk or a short bus journey from central Gothenburg).
Bondens egen Marknad i Haga (The Farmer’s Market in Haga)
At Gothenburg’s twice-yearly farmers’ market food producers from western Sweden sell their freshly harvested goods. You’ll find everything from root vegetables, honey and bread to meat and flowers. Take the opportunity to explore Haga itself – one of central Gothenburg’s cosiest neighbourhoods, brimming with cafés and shops
Dates: To be confirmed. The spring market usually takes place over a few weekends in June, while the autumn edition is held on select weekends from August through to October.
Location: Haga neighbourhood in central Gothenburg.
Smaka på Stockholm (A Taste of Stockholm )
Head to Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm to sample some of the best food Sweden’s capital has to offer at the Smaka på Stockholm fair – one of the world’s largest food festivals. Here, you’ll have the chance to taste the delicious wares of some 40 restaurants and food producers, food trucks and bakers. Locally grown and organic produce takes centre stage, tapping into the emerging sustainability-focused lifestyle. In 2020, the fair will have a special focus on the food of the future including technological innovations. This annual summer event also features performances by well-known artists, free for all to attend.
Dates: 4-7 June
Sthlm Street Food festival
A couple of months later, Kungsträdgården hosts Sthlm Street Food festival, serving up food experiences and dishes from around the world. The park will be filled with food trucks and other types of pop-up dining spots, as well as graffiti artists and entertainment. A new addition in 2020 is Sweet Food, focusing on treats for the sweet-toothed.
Dates: In September, exact dates to be confirmed.
The two-day event, Foodstock, is one for the foodies, and Fjäderholmarna in the Stockholm archipelago serves as the perfect setting. This festival was founded by Michelin-awarded chef Niklas Ekstedt and celebrates “Nordic culinary crafts”. The experience-based event sets out to educate visitors about the history of food and its connection to Swedish culture. Both Swedish and international chefs will participate and you’ll get to taste a variety of dishes and produce – much of which originates in the Nordic wilderness but with an international twist.
Dates: End of August/beginning of September, exact dates to be confirmed.
Stockholm Beer & Whisky festival
The six-day event of Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival makes it the largest of its kind in the world. You’ll get to taste beer and whisky from Swedish and international drink producers – such as Oppigårds, Bryggverket, Danish Single Malt Whiskey and Big Drop Brewing Co. Tasting sessions and beer brewing classes are offered, and the recent addition ‘Taste Experience’ has brought other alcoholic drinks into the fold, including champagne, rum, tequila and cognac.
Dates: 24-26 September, 1-3 October 2020.
Location: Nacka Strandsmässan
Sundsvall and the northeast coast
An innovative new food experience, Eat up Sundsvall, takes you on a walking tour to experience the food culture and restaurants of the east coast town of Sundsvall. The tour takes about 3.5 hours, and you’ll stop at ten different restaurants, where passionate chefs will introduce you to their unique culinary craft. At the 2019 edition of this “cultural safari”, participating restaurants included En liten Krog, Knaust and Menageriet.
Dates: Preliminary dates for 2020 is 30-31 October.
Location: The walk usually begins at the Visit Sundsvall centre, based in the City Hall at Stora Torget square.
Vin & Delikatessmässan, a two-day autumn festival in Sundsvall, serves up both food and wine from quality producers based locally and further afield. Feast on cheese, bread, charcuterie products and anything in between. Take the opportunity to brush up on your wine knowledge in one of the many tasting sessions, some of which involve delicious food pairings.
Dates: Exact dates to be confirmed.
Location: Sundsvall’s Stadshus, in Stora Torget.
High Coast Whisky Festival
The famous High Coast distillery annually hosts the High Coast Whisky Festival, offering both food and whisky tasting sessions as well as exclusive drink launches, seminars and other activities. The 2019 edition saw the introduction of a “festival IPA” developed jointly by High Coast and Jämtlands Bryggeri, as well as a new and exclusive High Coast whisky.
Dates: 26-27 June
Location: High Coast Whisky, nearest train station is Väster Aspby.
Surströmming feast at Ulvön
Ulvön, a picturesque High Coast island, has produced surströmming (fermented herring) since the 1880s. The annual premiere of this Swedish food classic always falls on the third Thursday in August. A highly anticipated event, it’s celebrated across the island, where many restaurants will serve the distinctive dish with all the trimmings, such as flatbread, potato and red onion.
Dates: 20 August
Location: Ulvön. Get here by boat from the towns of Docksta or Ullånger, some 30 km from Örnsköldsvik. You can also take the boat from Köpmanholmen, 25 km from Örnsköldsvik.
Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards
The renowned High Coast distillery Hernö Gin, situated in Dala, Härnösand, puts on an annual gin cocktail award. It attracts top bartenders from across the globe, along with visitors keen to try world-class cocktails. During the 2019 event, bartenders from ten countries demonstrated their creative skills. “God’s Country” was crowned the winning cocktail, creatively flavoured with red ants and seawater.
Dates: End of August, exact dates to be confirmed.
Location: At Hernö Gin, a 45-minute drive from Sundsvall.
Skördetid i Halland (Harvest-time in Halland)
The west coast province of Halland takes pride in its excellent local produce. During harvest-time in September, local farmers, bakeries, restaurants, microbreweries and small-scale food artisans open their doors to the public, inviting you to take part in all manner of seasonal food experiences. Lis Mejeri dairy, Tjolöholms Trädgård and Skrea Matbruk by top chef Lisa Lemke are three of the many participants you’ll get to discover.
Dates: A few weekends in September 2020 – exact dates to be confirmed
Location: Various locations all over Halland.
Sillens helg (Herring weekend)
Herring is a real Swedish food classic, and Marstrand on the west coast of Sweden serves up some of the best. During the annual competition for the tastiest pickled herring (sill) recipe, you’ll get to try all the different varieties and vote for your favourite. The entry ticket – known as “Sillpasset” – will get you discounts on selected products around town and entry into several activities.
Dates: 6-7 June
Location: Marstrand, buses run regularly from Gothenburg via Ytterby Bus station and takes about 50 min.)
Ostronets dag i Grebbestad (Oyster Day in Grebbestad)
Grebbestad, on the west coast of Sweden, is known for its delicious ‘Ostrea Edulis’ oyster – reputedly the best in the world. The town is home to Oyster Day, where local restaurants dedicate entire menus to this luxurious treat. Grebbestad also hosts the annual 'Nordic Oyster Opening Championships' at the beginning of May, where you’ll get to cheer on the competitors and enjoy entertainment and great Swedish food.
Location: Oyster Day is held at Torgsparken in Grebbestad, about an hour and a half’s drive from Gothenburg. The Nordic Nordic Oyster Opening Championships takes place by the docks at Hamnplan in Grebbestad.