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Sweden tailor-made holidays

Sophisticated modern-day Sweden is a far cry from the ancient days of bloodthirsty Vikings. Stereotypes abound but there are far more layers to Sweden's cultural mx than images of Volvos, Vikings, ABBA and IKEA might lead you to imagine. [See Sweden itinerary ideas]

Summer sees a Sweden that's lush and green whilst in winter it's a magical land of snow and sparkling ice, where you can speed through powder-covered pine forests on a sleigh pulled by reindeer or a team of huskies, go in search of the Northern Lights or stay in an Ice Hotel built from ice blocks cut from the River Torne.

Built on a series of islands where the freshwater Lake Malaren meets the salt water of the Baltic, Stockholm is Sweden's charming capital. Explore the attractive Old Town area and visit the nearby national parks; in the evening sample a restaurant scene that competes with the best in Europe and join the locals as they let their hair down.

Travel to Gothenburg to visit some of the 17 museums and 25 theatres found here alongside an opera house, art museum, concert hall and Europe's biggest botanical garden.

Away from the cities explore Halland, a narrow province on the Golden Coast that's lined with sandy beaches fringed with pine forests. Inland the region is characterised by ridges and valleys, forests and moors.

Swedish Lapland, one of Europe's last remaining wildernesses, is a frontier region of jagged peaks, snow-covered meadows and evergreen forests. Visit Lulea to stay in a Treehotel or enjoy some of the many outdoor pursuits and adrenaline activities on offer, including snowmobiling, dog sledding, ice driving and snowshoeing.

Wexas Travel brochure for Sweden

Scandinavia & Beyond brochure

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

"There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."
Swedish proverb

For the most part Sweden has a cool, temperate climate. South of the country from Stockholm and the Great Lakes is warmer. Summers are generally sunny, with average temperatures of 20°C in the south and around 17°C in the north, although hot spells with temperatures reaching 30°C or above is not unusual. With Norway's mountains acting as a break, annual rainfall is moderate, though August can be wet. The west coast is warmer than the east, due to the warming Gulf Stream.

The harsh Lapland winter runs from October to April, when temperatures can drop as low as -50°C. Heavy snows make for excellent skiing well into April throughout the north (where many people ski to and from work), and you can even ski beneath the midnight sun at Riksgränsen in Lapland from late May to the end of June. Northern lights viewing within the Arctic Circle is possible from December to February. There are also opportunities for activities like dogsledding and snowmobiling.

Generally speaking, May to September are the best months to visit. Summers are similar to southern Britain, but with less rain and longer daylight hours, though hikers and campers should avoid the peak of the mosquito season in June and July.

Sweden is prone to shut down on public holidays. At midsummer and Christmas even much of Stockholm closes for three days, but the big cities otherwise have year-round attractions. Swedes tend to take their holidays from late June to mid-August, when popular destinations such as Öland can be crowded.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
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Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

Capital - Stockholm

Size - 450,295 sq km

Language - Swedish (94%); Finnish (5%) and minority languages

Population - 9.6 million (2012)

Religion - 67.5% Lutheran (Church of Sweden); 4% Muslim; 2% Catholic

Currency - 1 Swedish krona = 100 ore

Time zone - GMT + 1 hour

Flight time -London to Gothenburg 2 hours; London to Stockholm 2 hours 30 mins

Festivals

Midsummer is the most important holiday in the Swedish calendar, centring on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice, with countrywide celebrations beginning on the Friday before with the raising of maypoles followed by partying long into the night. During the three-day weekend, many tourist attractions, shops and restaurants are closed. Other festivals and seasonal events include:

January - Kiruna Snow Festival, Lapland. Snow-sculpting competitions, reindeer-sled racing and other traditional and non-traditional events in Sweden's northernmost city.

January - Gothenburg International Film Festival. Feature, documentary and short film screenings and other events, seminars and parties.

February - Jokkmokk Winter Market. 400-year-old annual Sami market, featuring folk dancing, reindeer races and traditional food just inside the Arctic Circle.

February/March - Vasaloppet. Annual week-long ski festival centring on a 90km cross-country ski race between Sälen and Mora, commemorating future king Gustav Vasa's flight on skis from Kalmar Union troops in 1521.

March - House of Metal, Umeå. Two-day indoor hardcore rock festival.

30 April - Walpurgis Night. De facto half-day holiday when bonfires are lit to herald the spring, predominantly in the old university towns of Upsalla and Lund.

June - Sweden Rock Festival, Sölvesburg. Annual three-day hard rock festival.

June - Smaka På, Stockholm. Week-long food festival and cooking competitions in Kungsträdgården.

July - Piteå Dansar, Norrbotten. Street carnival of music, dance, food and crafts.

July - Rättvik Folklore Festival. Celebration of international folk dancing on the shores of Lake Siljan.

July - Storsjöyran, Österjön. Three-day international music festival.

August - Visby Medieval Week. Gotland's medieval city hosts themed markets, games and a huge banquet.

August - Dalhalla Opera Festival, Rättvik. The venue is an amphitheatre with superb acoustics, carved out of an old limestone quarry.

August - Stockholm Pride. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parade and festival.

August - Way Out West, Gothenburg. Three-day rock, electronic and hip-hop festival including after-hours gigs at various venues around the city.

August - Kräftskivor (crayfish parties). Outdoor food and drink parties throughout Sweden mark the end of summer.

September - Öland's Harvest Festival, Borgholm. The island's artists, farmers, craftsmen and restaurants show off the best of Öland's produce over four days.

September - Lindingöloppet. The world's largest cross-country race, with classes for everyone from juniors to veterans aside from the main 30km event in Lindigö, northeast of Stockholm.

October - Stockholm Jazz Festival. International jazz and blues at various venues across the city, including Skeppsholmen island.

October - Hem & Villa, Stockholm. The country's largest interior design fair.

October/November - Umeå International Jazz Festival. Five days of concerts featuring Swedish and international artists.

November - Stockholm International Film Festival. Screenings of new international and independent Swedish films.

November/December - Gamla Stan Christmas Market. An annual institution since 1915 in Stockholm Old Town's main square featuring seasonal handicrafts and delicacies.

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the full duration of your stay. No additional period of validity is required.

Money

Currency

Bank notes are printed in values of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 kronor, and coins come in 1, 2, 5 and 10 kronor. Öre coins were discontinued in 2010. Goods may still be priced in öre, but sums are rounded to the nearest krona when paying in cash.

There is no limit on the amount of Swedish and foreign currency you can take into Sweden.

ATMs

ATMs are everywhere in towns and cities, and in rural areas you can usually withdraw money at kiosks or petrol stations.

Cash and EFTPOS

Always keep some cash on you for small purchases. If you wish to withdraw or exchange money over the counter, banks are normally open from 10 am to 3 pm from Monday to Friday only, with longer hours on Thursdays to 4 or 6 pm. Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere, even for small amounts like parking fees.

Guideline prices

Sweden is generally a little cheaper than its near neighbours, but with around 10 Swedish kronor to the pound at the time of writing, everyday goods can seem expensive to British travellers. Expect to pay around 30 kr for a coffee, 50 kr for a beer (500 ml draft or 33cl bottle) and 15 kr for a soft drink. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant is from around 500 kr.

Regions [9]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Sweden, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.


Itinerary ideas [28]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Sweden. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.

Treehotel & Ice Hotel, Sweden

From £1,075 pp incl. flights
Activity adventure Ice hotels Natural world

Stay at two of Scandinavia's quirkiest and most celebrated hotels during this memorable five-night winter break in Swedish Lapland.

Ice Hotel, Sweden

From £665 pp incl. flights
Activity adventure Ice hotels Natural world

Located 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in the small village of Jukkasjärvi, Ice Hotel is surely one of the most unique places to stay anywhere in …

Highlights of Swedish Lapland

From £1,575 pp incl. flights
Activity adventure Ice hotels Lapland

Swedish Lapland is a magical place to visit at any time of the year, a vast expanse of mountains, rivers, valleys and coastal islands that make up Europe's last …

Gotland & Stockholm fly-drive

From £895 pp incl. flights
Beach City History & culture

Gotland is arguably Sweden's best-kept secret. Surrounded by the Baltic, halfway between Sweden and Latvia, the island boasts around 100 medieval churches and …

Belles of the Baltic - Helsinki, Stockholm & Tallinn

From £530 pp incl. flights
City History & culture Natural world

This superb five-day independent tour takes you to three fantastic capitals in just five days. You'll travel from the Swedish capital, Stockholm, to Finland's …

Gothenburg & Stockholm Sweden

From £435 pp incl. flights
City History & culture Short break

Combine Sweden's two largest cities on this five-day tailor-made tour, staying at 4-star superior hotels and travelling across the country by train.

Gothenburg’s Christmas Markets

From £295 pp incl. flights
Christmas City History & culture

From the middle of November into early January, the beautiful Swedish city of Gothenburg is transformed into a winter wonderland of festive fun. Millions of …

Gothenburg & The West of Sweden

From £985 pp incl. flights
City History & culture Luxury travel

The west coast of southern Sweden is a beautiful landscape of undulating yellow and green fields, peppered with deep emerald forests, sparkling lakes and …

Long weekend in Lapland, Sweden

Call for details
Activity adventure History & culture Lapland

With animals as the predominant means of transport you'll not only be immersed in Lapland's natural beauty, you'll also be travelling with the lightest of …

Stockholm city break at Clarion Sign

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History & culture Luxury travel Short break

The picturesque city of Stockholm enjoys an enviable location, spread across a series of beautiful islands on Sweden's east coast, at the western edge of the …

Lulea and the Treehotel

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Activity adventure Natural world Northern lights

Set just outside the small village of Harads, 60km south of the Arctic Circle, the Treehotel is a high-design, back-to-nature retreat where guests can slow …

Historic Hotels of Sweden

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City History & culture Natural world

Historic Hotels of Sweden is an association of nine privately owned manor houses, castles and traditional hotels known for their scenic or convenient locations, …

West coast seafood safari - Sweden

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Activity adventure City History & culture

The west coast of Sweden is a foodie's fantasy and this five-day self-drive tour gives a taste of its many flavours.

Lulea & Jopikgarden, Sweden

Call for details
Activity adventure Natural world Northern lights

Travel by snowmobile across the frozen sea ice from the port city of Lulea on the Gulf of Bothnia to Jokipgarden hotel, a romantic retreat on the small island …

Stockholm & Åre

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Activity adventure City Short break

The international ski resort of Åre, in western Sweden near to the Norwegian border, is one of Scandinavia's most popular holiday destinations.

A snapshot of Swedish Lapland

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Activity adventure Natural world Short break

Staying at some of the most charming and unique accommodation in Swedish Lapland, this five-day tailor-made holiday sees you journey through the stunning winter …

Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland

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Activity adventure Natural world Short break

The town of Luleå in Swedish Lapland sits on the Gulf of Bothnia, surrounded by forests and more than 700 islands. In winter, when the gulf freezes over, the …

Family holidays in Sweden

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Activity adventure History & culture Short break

Sweden is a wonderful family destination. Indeed, during the late spring and summer months this most welcoming of countries really comes into its own. The …

Lulea winter break, Sweden

Call for details
Activity adventure Natural world Northern lights

The picturesque town of Lulea, on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnea, is fast becoming the number one reason for visiting Swedish Lapland.

Best of Swedish Lapland

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Activity adventure Natural world Northern lights

See the best that Swedish Lapland has to offer on this fully-inclusive five-day tour, combining traditional lodge and farmhouse accommodation with the …

Stockholm & Aland Islands 7-day cruise & self-drive tour

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Activity adventure City History & culture

The Aland Islands are made up of a staggering 90,000 islands, located in the Baltic Sea between Stockholm in Sweden and Turku in Finland are a renowned as a …

Stockholm's summer excursions

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Activity adventure History & culture Natural world

Sweden's summer is brief but glorious and Stockholm is the place to celebrate it. Built across 14 different islands, the capital is a mix of Renaissance and …

In the footsteps of Wallander

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History & culture Luxury travel Self-drive

The southernmost region of Skane is one of Sweden's most popular regions for visitors, with attractive seaside towns, child-friendly sandy beaches, many miles …

Places to stay [17]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Sweden. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Sweden, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.

Sörbyn Lodge, Sweden

£££££
Activity adventure Lodges Natural world

Located on the shores of a beautiful lake to the north of Luleå, Sörbyn Lodge feels remote. The untouched wilderness of frozen lakes and snow-topped forests …

Jopikgården, Luleå, Sweden

£££££
Activity adventure Lodges Winter

Before departing Luleå, journey across the frozen Gulf of Bothnia and through the Luleå archipelago, where huge drifts of snow and sea ice stand more than ten …

Gotland - Sweden’s Summer Secret

Beach History & culture Self-drive

The island of Gotland, half way between Sweden and Latvia, has to be Sweden’s best-kept secret. One of the richest historical regions in the country, it …

Sörbyn Lodge, Sweden

£££££
Lapland Lodges Northern lights

Right on the shores of Lake Vitträsket, deep in the wilderness of Swedish Lapland, Sörbyn is the ultimate rustic retreat. Guests step out from spacious timber …

Clarion Hotel Sense, Luleå

£££££
City Spa

The Clarion Sense is the best hotel to be found in the gateway to Swedish Lapland. Recently built in the heart of the isthmus that is the town of Luleå, this …

Elite Plaza Hotel, Gothenburg

£££££
City History & culture Short break

The Elite Plaza Hotel in Gothenburg is located in a palatial building originally designed by top architects of the era. It has now been lovingly restored with …

Låktatjåkko Mountain Lodge, Sweden

£££££
Lapland Lodges Winter

Up in the far northwestern corner of Sweden where the Norwegian border begins to hook around lies a stunning region of impressive mountains and glassy lochs. …

ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi

£££££
Honeymoon Ice hotels Romance

ICEHOTEL has spawned many imitators since its first construction in 1989, but has few peers. With each reincarnation, blocks of snow and ice are harvested from …

Hellsten Hotel

This is a stylish boutique hotel with plenty of charm and character. During your stay you may well meet the charismatic owner, who having travelled extensively, …

Ice Hotel - Excursions

Winter

Remote and stunningly beautiful, the Ice Hotel and its surrounding landscape offers an amazing opportunity to explore this icy wilderness in Swedish Lapland.

Aurora Safari Camp

£££££
Eco-tourism Lapland Natural world

Established by photographer Fredrick Broman, who drew inspiration from the camps he has worked with in East Africa, Aurora Safari Camp is one of a kind in …

Pine Bay Lodge, Luleå, Sweden

£££££
Activity adventure Lodges Northern lights

This classic Swedish lodge is located on the coastal edge of the Luleå archipelago, where the sea freezes metres thick in the winter, edged by snowy Arctic …

Offers [2]

Wexas negotiates with a wealth of travel companies, airlines, cruise operators, hotels and tour operators to bring you the very best travel offers. For great value or a range of add-on benefits, review the list of offers below.

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