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Best time to go to Sweden

Best time to go to Sweden

Given that Sweden is 1,572m long and that 15% of the northern section crosses over the Arctic Circle, it’s not surprising that there’s a north-south divide when it comes to climate. However, our adventure holidays focus on the southeast and west of the country, and don’t venture near the cold zones so working out the best time to go to Sweden is less complex. Although there is a little bit of an east-west divide weather wise. Here are some of our top tips on when and where to go.  

Best time to go to Stockholm’s archipelagos

Island life is a big feature of our Sweden tours, with hiking and cycling tours on both the Stockholm and Bohuslän Archipelagos, in the east and west respectively. The cold from the east comes in from the Baltic during winter, with much of the Stockholm and extended archipelago frozen over. This means that our Stockholm archipelago trip doesn’t open until the end of May, and our walking tour of Stockholm’s main islands is around the same time. Average summer highs are 22C in this part of the country in July, dipping to 15-16C in September. Swimmers will be glad to hear that the archipelago’s waters can be as high as 18.5C in August and of course, Sweden has almost three hours more daylight than mainland Europe in the height of summer so it’s a win win. 

With the long summer days, Sweden’s archipelagos just keep on giving.

Best time to go to West Sweden

With slightly warmer temperatures in the west, our trip windows open earlier in West Sweden, such as on our Bohuslän Archipelago walking holiday which is available from the end of April until early October. As you enter May, you can be blessed with temperatures as high as 20C. Similarly, the Goteleden Trail is open from early April, so you will have a crisp start to spring, but it’s a stunning addition to a seasonal city break to Gothenburg, which is where the tour starts. 

Gothenburg celebrates Valborg on the last day of April, as does every city in Sweden, when bonfires are lit all over the city traditionally to ward off evil spirits but also to welcome spring. So you can party at the end of April and embrace spring on the trail in May. In summer, temperatures rise up to 25C in West Sweden and you can make the most of those balmy days with bright skies as late as 23.00. 

The island of Smögen is a smörgåsbord of prettiness, just one of many in the Bohuslän Archipelago.

Best time to hike the Österlen Way

One exception to very seasonal starts is the Österlen Way, where our walking holiday is open for bookings as early as the beginning of March and as late as the end of November.  This is a circular long-distance trail that starts and ends in Ystad in the Skåne region and, for the most part, clings to the Baltic coast. So if you want to get in before the crowds, but are prepared to wrap up, with March temperatures averaging 6C, then going up around four degrees per month to as high as 21C in July and August, you can get in early. Autumn hiking on this route brings temperatures of 8 to 10C but the warmth is in the changing colours of the oak, pine and beech forests along the way. 

Midsummer in Sweden

The summer is one of the best times to visit Sweden, but midsummer is party time throughout the country with every village, island and city dweller coming out to celebrate the summer solstice. Midsommar, as it’s called in Swedish, celebrations begin on the closest Friday to 21 June, with maypoles and merrymaking, flower wreaths and food festivals taking place across the country and throughout the whole weekend. 

Sunrise over a typical Midsommar pole on the coast of Roslagen in the Stockholm archipelago.

Best time to go to Sweden for food festivals

Swedes love their sustainable food and there is no shortage of events to tuck into while on a walking or cycling holiday there. Check out the street food festivals in Malmo, Stockholm or Gothenburg during June, July and August respectively. We’re totally here for herrings in its bespoke festival in Marstrand, which features on our Bohuslän Archipelago walking holiday at the beginning of June. And if you time your trip there with the first Thursday after 08 August, this is Crayfish Premiere day, the beginning of the season to fish for this important food source in the region’s lakes. To gorge on Gotland, you could extend our very last hiking or cycling tour at the end of August to take in their famous Skördefestival, or Harvest Festival at the beginning of September. 

Gothenburg also goes foodie mad throughout the year, and you can combine our Goteleden walking holiday with its Beer and Whisky Fair in mid-April or its Cheese Festival in October. And if you’re walking the Österlen Way in southeast Skåne, you have two foodie fests to keep an eye out for, with the Österlen Wine Festival at the end of July and the Apple Market Festival which runs from the end of September into October, both taking place in the town of Kivik which is on your way. So it’s rude not to really. 

The table is all set for a traditional crayfish party in West Sweden.

We hope that this has given you a broader understanding of the best time to go to Sweden for a walking or cycling holiday, and don’t hesitate to contact our adventure specialists for more details. For more Scandic and Nordic inspiration, you may also enjoy reading our blog on Reasons to visit West Sweden, Cross-country skiing in our winter wonderlands and Expert advice on walking in Jotunheimen National Park.