Top 8 winter activities in Sweden
Winter in Sweden can be quite cold, but its snowy landscapes and frozen lakes make it the perfect destination for fun winter activities. From dog sledding to cross-country skiing, from ice skating to ice bathing, there are things for the whole family to do.
Go dog sledding
Want to get closer to animals, experience the cold, and enjoy nature? Then go dog sledding in northern Sweden! Swedish Lapland is a dream destination for these kinds of experiences. From short dog sledding trips to multiple days excursions, you’ll experience the natural beauty of Swedish landscapes by driving your huskies across frozen lakes, snow-clad forests and lands with magnificent mountains in the background. What winter adventure could give you a more dream-like and thrilling sensation?
Try skiing on your lunch break
Did you know that you can find cross-country skiing trails in the city centre of Sweden’s major cities? After a day’s work or during your lunch break, buy a sandwich or a cinnamon bun at a bakery, take your coffee thermos (never miss a fika!), pack your bag and head to one of the city’s cross-country skiing spots. In Stockholm, you’ll find trails in Nacka, Gärdet, Stadion, Hellasgården, Djurgården, or Värmdö in the archipelago. And if you’re up for an alpine skiing session, head to Hammarbybacken in the southern part of the capital to slide down a nice slope or two. Sweden’s best alpine resorts include Åre, Riksgränsen, Sälen, Vemdalen and Romme Alpin.
Admire the Northern Lights
What is more magical than watching the night sky come alive with beautiful streaks of pinks, greens and purples dancing above your head? The Northern Lights can be seen between early September and the end of March in northern Sweden. This unique natural light show is a bucket list experience for many and deserves a trip to Sweden alone. And did you know that Sweden is known as one of the best spots in the world to admire these spectacular beauties?
Perfect your skating skills
During the coldest period of the year, many lakes and rivers freeze, and when the sun shows its happy face on a cold winter’s day, the conditions are perfect for taking your ice skates with you and go gliding on natural ice. It might be a bit scary at first, but once you feel your skates gliding over the frozen water and you hear the wind cradling around you, you will start to enjoy the feeling of freedom while admiring the surrounding scenery. If you don't have much experience in ice skating yet, don’t worry, you’ll find guided tours for both beginners and more experienced ice skaters. Safety is crucial when ice skating on natural ice. Before going ice skating, make sure you have the proper knowledge and equipment.
Experience ice fishing
Sweden is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, with 100,000 lakes, majestic rivers, and a long coastline with thousands of islands. And for a really cool experience, go ice fishing during winter by drilling a hole in the ice angling pike, perch or an Arctic char. If you want to enjoy the sunny winter days, slightly warmer but at least lighter, you can even go ice fishing in late winter or early spring around March and April. And if you prefer urban, coastline or river fishing, Sweden has it all.
Sleep in an ice hotel
Have you ever spent a night in an igloo or a hotel entirely made of ice and snow? Welcome to Sweden – welcome to something else! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you don’t want to miss. Popular destinations offering igloos accommodations include Igloo Åre, with breathtaking views over the Åre valley, or the Ice and Light Village of Kalix in Swedish Lapland where you can admire the Northern Lights. Further in the north, the legendary and world-famous Icehotel is a not-to-be-missed place. Every year, about 40 artists from all over the world gather in Jukkasjärvi and contribute to creating a new edition of Icehotel and one of the most unique overnight experiences in the world.
Enjoy an outdoor fika
One of the first words you will learn in Sweden (and one of the most important!) is 'fika'. Much more than a coffee break, the tradition of fika is so established in Sweden that you can do it several times a week; there is no limit. You need a large amount of coffee and delicious pastries – the Swedish cinnamon buns are the big favourites. Then, share and enjoy it with colleagues, family or friends, inside or outside, in Swedish nature.
Try the cold bathing trend
Afraid of a winter plunge in cold or frozen water? Among Swedes, cold bathing is a tradition that's trendier than ever. The Swedish coastline is studded with open-air public baths, often with direct access to the sea and open year-round. However, many Swedes go cold bathing in their nearest lake, even without a hot sauna nearby. Winter bathing is invigorating, and some say they feel re-born after a dip. Try it, and you'll most certainly feel as brave as a Viking and want to do it again. And again.