One of the best ways you can experience nature’s magic is visiting Sweden during your winter holidays. Simply put, it is astonishing how much Sweden changes during the winter months – December to April. There are a lot of adventures and new things to see and explore in Sweden during the winter. In winter, all the rivers and lakes in Sweden become frozen, and horizons and landscapes also become snow carpeted, all of which are things you have to see for yourself not to talk about the adventures this kind of condition offers in Sweden.
The incredible amount of snow means there are a lot of activities and games that go on in the winter in Sweden. For instance, there are more than 200 ski resorts in Sweden, and most of these resorts also provide snowboarding, snowshoeing, and even cross country skiing experience for tourists. Besides, during winter, Sweden has more daytime than at night, which means there is a lot of chance to capture anywhere you are in the country in all its magnificence.
That said, it is best if we jump to the fifteen (15) things you must do if you visit Sweden in Winter. These things are also the reason why you must have Sweden on the list of countries you want to visit for your holiday.
15 things to do in Sweden in Winter
We have compiled below some essential things you need to do if you visit Sweden in winter.
1. Visit Sweden’s Ice Hotel and Tree hotel
There is no to-do list you will see online or reasons to visit Sweden in winter that won’t have you visited two of the most famous structures you’ll find in Sweden during winter – the Tree Hotel and the Ice Hotel.
These two architecture brilliance offer some awe-inspiring accommodation during the entire duration of winter. They are built to provide a unique experience that typical hotels do not offer.
The IceHotel, for instance, is built every winter, and it is located at the center of the Swedish Lapland. The Lapland is on River Torna’s banks. Trust me; the Ice Hotel is unique in every sense. The hotel is built using ice blocks. This means the rooms are carved or surrounded by ice. Upon entering the hotel, the amount of impressive and remarkable ice sculptures that adorn the inside of the hotel will leave you in a snapping frenzy with your camera. Also, you will be treated to a lot of Sweden’s traditional cuisine at the ice bar in the hotel.
If you want to experience how the early men slept during winter and keeping warm using reindeer skin, you should visit the hotel if only to try their ice beds!
2. Visit the Tundra Regions for incredible Dog Sledding experience
If you love the thrill of riding dog sleds, going to the Tundra regions should be on your bucket list of things to do in Sweden. The Tundra regions are not only impressive during winter. It is also a great place to be at any time of the year. The reason for this is that part of Wildlife Safaris near Kiruna passes through the Tundra Regions. Because of this, it is an excellent spot for tracking animals in Sweden by looking for hoof prints and animal droppings.
The Tundra Regions is also a very high place to visit in the winter. This is because there are lots of tracks all winding their way through the wildlife forest, which are perfect for dog sledding.
In the winter, wildlife sightings in the area are low, so don’t be disappointed if you do not see any animals.
Just focus on controlling your dogs to run at the highest speed they can produce and enjoy the exhilarating ride!
If you do not have access to animal power, you can also use snowmobiles on the tracks you find in the area.
3. See the spectacular Aurora Borealis from the Abisko National Park
This is another thing you need to do in Sweden if you visit the country in the winter. The Aurora Borealis, also popularly referred to as the Northern Lights, is a very magnificent and impressive nature display that is only seen where there are clear night skies in the winter months.
It appears like curtains of green, red, and purple, which swirl in a dance-like manner on the sky. The spectacle is an experience you should have.
You can see the Aurora Borealis from anywhere in Northern Sweden, but the Abisko National Park offers a clearer and better view of the display compared to other places.
4. Dog Sledding in Sarek National Park
Dog sledding is one of the most popular activities people, especially tourists, engage in during winter. This is because of it, an exciting and spine-tingling way of passing the time in Sweden. The Sarek National Park is a very stunning place in Sweden, and it is home to some of the best dog sledding locations you will find. If you visit Sweden in the winter, you should not forget dog sledding to explore some parts of the National Park.
5. Visit the Jokkmokk Winter Market
Visiting the Jokkmokk Winter market should be on your to-do list should you visit Sweden in winter. Apart from the fact that the market only opens during winter, you can get some unique handcrafts (duodji) you will not usually find in stores in the winter market.
The market is always open to about 30,000 people with a chunk of them being Swedish Sami artisans.
Before the market is open, there are several days dedicated to parades and plays, food tasting sessions, dancing to folk music, photography, etc.
You have to book reservations in the market to prevent any red face moment. There is an official website where you can get more details about how to go about the booking process.
6. Skii in one of Sweden’s numerous resorts
Sweden has around 200 ski resorts which are spread out in the country. The country has hundreds of impressive slopes, all of which have been developed into standard ski slopes. All the ski facilities in the country are well equipped to provide tourists with the best experience possible.
TIP: To maximize the fun, you should make sure you ski at the ski village in Are. There are tons of courses there, each with its difficulty level. It has individual slopes as well as trails that are suitable for family or group runs. Besides, the ski village is only an hour plane ride from the capital of Stockholm.
7. Experience Sami Culture
The Sami culture is also linked to the Jokkmokk market. However, it is separated on this list because they both deserve their separate mention. About 20,000 Sami people are living together in Arctic Sweden (which is a part of Sapmi). The Sami culture is one of the oldest in the world. The culture has been around for the past ten thousand years.
The Sami people are traditional reindeer herders, and some of them still use this means of livelihood to survive while others have turned to more modern ways of gaining income. Either way, there is still a lot to learn about the culture of the Sami tribe, especially from those who are still reindeer herders. There are also exciting reindeer sledding expeditions and caravan procession the people of Sami organize for visitors. What more? They also provide accommodation for visitors, so you have nothing to worry about in that regard.
8. Test yourself against the Wintry Wilderness
This is not for the fainthearted! One of the most adventurous, exciting, and physically testing activities you can engage ins only in the Winter in Sweden is the Ice Ultra Marathon. The Marathon is a race with a track course that is about 230- kilometers. The track starts in Gallivare and ends in Jokkmokk. You can look up the distance of the two on Google Maps.
One of the things that make this the race very challenging is that runners have to run in an environment where the temperature of the air is always around -40 degrees. The competition will take you through fantastic pine forests as well as a few frozen lakes.
Another reason the race is one of the things you have to try out if you are physically fit for it is that it helps you build endurance. This is because all through the course of the race, you have to carry your kit. There is no help in moving the runner’s provision during the race.
9. Arctic Gastronomy of Sweden
If you are looking for things to do in Sweden to convince you of spending winter in the country, the Swedish winter cuisine is something you need to try out. The experience is simply impressive!
Snowmobiling is gradually becoming one of the most popular winter activity Swedish families, as well as visitors, do in winter.
The atmosphere in Sweden in winter is perfect for snowmobiling. With the well-worn tracks covered with snow, you will not only be able to feel the thrill of whipping across the road, but you will also be able to explore more places faster compared to when you walk. With Snowmobiles, you will able to explore mountains and forests without stress or any physical exercise. Snowmobiling does not require any level of endurance since you will be in the snowmobile all through. Also, you do not require special skills to navigate a snowmobile, unlike other winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, among other activities.
TIP: There are three popular and commonly used locations that offer visitors snowmobiling adventures. The three have excellent tracks and are easy to navigate. The three areas are the Kalix River, Tornestrask, and River Lulu’s frozen surface.
Before you can do this, you have to visit websites (www.articdriving.com) or (www.icedrivingsweden.se), which you can make bookings. You can then try out your driving skills on the frozen lakes in the town you are in. If you are lucky, you will also get to see professional drivers testing the latest Porsches in the world against the frozen and slippery tracks.
12. Go Ice Fishing
If you plan on visiting Sweden in Winter, another thing you have to make sure you do is ice-fishing. It is an activity that is only done in the winter. The challenge of breaking the frozen surface of the lake or river and the technique and patience needed to catch a fish finally is one that cannot be described unless experienced. Summarily, you have to drill a hole in the surface of the frozen water body, place a reindeer skin on the ice and lie flat on it to get a better view of the fish in the water and then try to lure them to the bait.
It is also good if you are looking for a way to pass the time during your winter holiday in Sweden. The most popular type of fish that are caught when ice-fishing includes whitefish, trout, grayling, and salmon, among others.
13. Visit Sweden’s Traditional markets
There are lots of classic traditional Christmas markets in Sweden that offer lots of important items for sale. The markets worth checking out are the ones in Malmo, Gothenburg, as well as the one in Stockholm.
14. Polar Train Rides
Going on a ride on Sweden’s polar express train is another thing you have to do if you visit Sweden during the winter months. There are a lot of adventures you can catch via the train even though the train only makes a short to and fro journey. However, several must-visit destinations and locations can be assessed via the train ride all at once. You can do sledding, skiing, see whale safaris, etc. with easy access to all of them with the train. You can also see the Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis – while on the train if the sky is clear enough at night.
Snowshoeing is another activity that can only be done in the winter. It is an activity that you have to be physically fit before you can engage in it. It involves wearing specialized shoes and trudging through Sweden’s dense and compact snow. The activity is very similar to hiking that is done in summer and spring except that the weather is cold.
The most popular and frequently used trails in Sweden for snowshoeing can be found in the Kebnekaise Mountain range, Kungsleden and around Mount Keane.
There is also another set of trails at the National Park in Sarek, but it should only be tried if you are physically up for the challenge. This is because the trails here are more challenging.
See Also: Things to do in Norway in Winter