Summer in Sweden? Get ahead of the crowd and visit the location of Eurovision 2024. From cutting-edge cuisine, awe-inspiring architecture and eclectic shopping to outdoor activities galore, all bases are well and truly covered.
Cutting-edge interior design, meatballs and of course, ABBA. All unmistakably Swedish. While Sweden's winter brings jaw-dropping snow-covered landscapes, beautiful starry skies and, if you’re lucky, aurora borealis displays, summer is when the magic really happens. As the host country of Eurovision 2024, visitors to the event are poised to uncover one of the best-kept secrets of the Nordic region.
With long daylight hours that allow you to explore to your heart’s content, summer in Sweden is delightfully sunny and pleasantly warm, with temperatures averaging around 18°C. Plenty of hiking, fishing and kayaking opportunities make it an adventure-lover’s dream, but it's also the perfect spot for a more leisurely break.
While Stockholm is great to visit year-round, it really ups its ante in the summer, and is full to the brim with as many green parks, waterfront walkways and outdoor spaces, as there are outdoor restaurants, bars and cafés.
The best way to get around the city in summer is to rent an e-bike, but taxis and public transport are also easily accessible. As to be expected, culture abounds, and the national museum should be your first port of call. A temple of fine art that reopened back in 2019 after a five-year restoration, Sweden’s largest museum is home to the nation’s collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative arts and graphics from the Middle Ages to the present.
Those on a walking tour should start the day at Gamla Stan, where the city was founded back in 1252. Here you can wander along the pretty pedestrianised streets and narrow cobbled alleyways, and you can check out the courtyards of the Royal Palace for free.
Next head to the Storkyrkan, a 13th-century red-brick bastion that stands as the city’s Lutheran cathedral, before making your way to the Nobel Museum, which presents the history of the Nobel Prize and its recipients. Displays include short films on the theme of creativity, interviews with Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King, and café chairs signed by visiting prize recipients.
Swedes take their coffee extremely seriously and they don’t think twice about dropping kronor on expensive cups of latte – and neither should you. Café Pascal comes highly recommended, with the team working exclusively with micro-roasters for their brews while serving up some of the best Swedish buns in town.
If you’re after something a little stronger, The Strand Hotel bar also pours a great ‘Greta Garbo’ cocktail. Wine culture is big in Sweden, and there are a handful of local vineyards to visit. Sweden is also one of the top consumers of organic wine in the world.
Redefining the idea of a luxury hotel in Stockholm, Ett Hem, which translates to home, is one of the best hotels in Sweden. Location is key here and, nestled within one of the most exclusive districts in the city, it’s just a short walk away from high-end shops, restaurants, galleries and museums. Also check out Grand Hôtel if you’re on a luxury break.
For those on a slightly lower budget, you can’t go wrong with Haymarket by Scandic. Located in the 1920s department store where Greta Garbo worked in the hat department, it transports you directly to the roaring ‘20s, with Art Deco details and a playful vibe.
Gothenburg is known as one of the world’s most sustainable destinations. Awash with ethical clothing stores and zero-waste restaurants (all meat here must be organically raised too), this port on Sweden’s scenic southwestern coast is also home to plenty of picturesque architecture, sophisticated nightlife, and world-renowned galleries and art museums.
Often referred to as Sweden’s Seattle, and the country’s second-largest city, almost everything is walkable in Gothenburg. Begin at the Museum of Gothenburg, which is home to the bones of a Viking longship that sank in the 10th century, before heading to the Deutsche Kirke – a brick temple that opened in 1748. A trip to Torggatan to admire the state-of-the-art opera house is definitely worth your time, just be sure to pause at the coffee shops along the way.
There are lots of lovely well-priced hotel options in the city, but we suggest staying at Sankt Jörgen Park for its award-winning spa, 18-hole golf course and fantastic array of restaurants that cater to all your foodie cravings.
Given its tiny size, the charming seaside town of Ystad sure does pack a punch. The setting of author Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander crime series, you’ll find world-class museums, colourful houses, a fantastic restaurant scene and nearly 25 miles of sandy beaches that make it a dreamy summer holiday destination. Stay at Ystad Saltsjöbad which is right on the beach and home to two pools for even more relaxation opportunities.
Thanks to its northerly latitude, summer days in Sweden seem to last forever, and this makes it a great time to visit. June to August marks high season, so while you may have more crowds, you’ll also be able to experience the country at its most vibrant. While July is the hottest month, temperatures never tend to exceed 22°C, so you’ll never feel uncomfortable.
Do note that in midsummer, around the time of the summer solstice, is the start of the national summer holidays, when many locals take six weeks off work. Prices often peak, and you’ll need to make sure you book well in advance, but you can avoid this by visiting in early June or from mid-August onwards.
If you are feeling inspired to plan a trip, there’s plenty of accommodation on offer at Hotels.com.