Visiting Sweden in Summer
Published on: October 12th, 2017
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
The summer months in Sweden (June to August) are an outdoor lover's dream. With hiking, cycling, swimming, fishing and kayaking, there is a plethora of activities for both visitors and Swedes alike.
Visiting Sweden in summer is a worthwhile endeavour. The long days make it easy to cram lots in, so you really do feel like you're getting the most from your trip.
Cities such as Stockholm and Gothenburg are great to visit year-round but are especially good in summer. People spill out onto the streets and one of the nicest ways to spend your time is watching the world go by. Taste a slice of Scandinavian heaven with a glass of wine or coffee and a cinnamon bun in a traditional outdoor bar or cafe.
Swedish Lapland is thought of as a winter destination but it is also worth exploring in summer, as its hiking trails, lakes and mountain take on a whole new character.
Sweden in the summer is perfect for hiking, with over 400 trails winding their way across the country. One of the most famous is the King's Trail (Kungsleden in Swedish) a 440km long trail between Abisko and Hemavan. The trail takes you through the epic scenery of Swedish Lapland with mountains and lakes at every turn, and depending on which section of the route you hike, you could also pass by the base of Sweden’s highest peak, Giebmegáisi. You'll have to wait for the snow to melt in order to hike the King's Trail, and late June marks the begining of the summer trekking season. The High Coast in central Sweden is an area of granite cliffs and rocky islands and ripe for exploring on foot. Of course, if you're after something a little less strenuous, there are plenty of shorter trails that are perfect for a half or full day of strolling.
Sweden isn't short on places to kayak or canoe with miles and miles of coastline and thousands of lakes and islands. You can take to the water pretty much anywhere in Sweden from rivers that cut across plains and marshes in Swedish Lapland to the sea along the west coast. And if you're just looking to dabble, the archipelagos of Stockholm and Gothenburg are the perfect places to dip your toes into the water.
There are lots of opportunites for fishing in Sweden and summer is the perfect time to do it. In southern Sweden you'll find lakes filled with salom, pike and perch, while further north the Arctic tundra is home to lakes filled with brown trout, grayling and Arctic char. River fishing tends to be done in the north where the big river systems are, but you can also fish in the rivers of central Sweden, such as the river Klarälven.
The west coast is great for deep sea fishing - you can even fish for lobster and oyster here - while the east coast with its archipelago is good for sea trout and pike.
There are lots of well-marked cycling routes in Sweden and hopping on two wheels is a great way to see the country. There are cycle routes for all sorts of riders, from flat towpath routes to mountain biking through forests and along the coast. Cycling is also a great way to explore the cities, and there are paths that run through Stockholm and Gothenburg which are popular with visitors and locals alike.
The midnight sun
Due to the earth’s axial tilt, the sun doesn’t set at high latitudes during the summer. To fully experience this phenomenon you’ll need to head above the Arctic Circle where it’ll feel like you’re watching the sun set and rise at the same time.
In northern Sweden you can catch the midnight sun from June until mid July and the further north you go, the longer the period of time the midnight sun is visible. In Jokkmokk, which is just north of the Arctic Circle, the sun can be seen at midnight for 32 days in a row while up in Abisko, 56 days can pass without any darkness. The best thing about the midnight sun is being able to stay outdoors as long as you like. There are also lots of great opportunities for photographers as the light is so soft.
Stockholm is a great city in the summer when you can amble through the streets, stopping at its many cafes and bars. Explore the old town, Gamla Stan, and take a ferry out to the islands that make up that capital. On Djurgården you’ll find the open-air museum of Skansen as well as Rosendals Trädgård, a small organic vegetable and flower garden with a greenhouse cafe and orchard where you can sit down and relax. Gothenburg is also a wonderful city in summer with lots of food markets and a great cafe culture.
Fanning out into the Baltic Sea are the thousands of islands that make up the Stockholm Archipelago.
The most popular way to explore it is by boat and once you’ve escaped the city you can hike, cycle, kayak and swim to your heart’s content.