Winter Fun in Sweden
Winter lasts a long time here in Sweden, so you have to take every opportunity to make it fun. No one wants to spend months inside, hiding from the weather. That’s probably why the Swedes are such experts at winter sports!
It’s our mission to help you get the most out of your life here through language and cultural education, so today that includes a primer on some of our favorite winter outdoor activities.
Did you know that long-distance skating was invented by the Swedes? Known as “Nordic” or “tour skating,” Sweden’s abundance of lakes make distance skating possible. If you don’t want to venture out alone, book a guided tour. You must always be aware of the weather and the thickness of the ice when you skate on waterways!
If short-distance skating is more appealing, don’t worry. There are lots of options for both natural and manmade skating rinks. Here in Stockholm, some of our favorite spots include the Kungsträdgården rink and Lake Mälaren. Be cautious if you choose the lake! Though parts of it close to the city are maintained for skaters, some sections are broken up for boat traffic. Never assume that the ice is safe without a proper check.
Here you can experience a traditional mode of winter travel – the dog sled. Now that there are snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles for snow, dog sledding is pretty much just for fun and the celebration of tradition. Northern Sweden is home to many opportunities to participate in the sport.
Kiruna is considered one of the best places to depart from, as it is less expensive than some locations and offers a great chance to see the northern lights if you go at the right time. Some tours will allow you to drive the dogs yourself, and on others, a professional will do the mushing as you recline and enjoy the ride. Either way, remember to dress warmly!
Skiing and Snowboarding
It’s no surprise that here in Sweden, skiing and snowboarding are popular options for residents and visitors alike. With more than 100 ski and boarding areas, you will find a place for any style, from perfectly groomed trails to off-piste adventures.
Like hiking, but with giant feet and less sinking through the snow! People have been snowshoeing for thousands of years, and it’s an amazing way to get around in winter. Show shoes allow you to get out into the wild and see the sights without getting stuck in deep snow.
Your first time in snowshoes will take a little getting used to, but it’s well worth your efforts. When you head out into the woods or even just the trails of a local park (there are so many here!), remember to pack a fika so you can warm up and have a snack in true Swedish style.
Viewing the Northern Lights
If you go far enough north, you may be fortunate enough to see the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis. This phenomenon is caused by particles from the sun crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere. The visible Aurora season begins around September in the northernmost parts of Sweden and can last until April.
Ok, so this one doesn’t sound like a “sport,” exactly, but northern Sweden offers many options for aurora-spotting tours that combine the experience with sports like dog sledding, snowmobiling, hiking, and camping.
Making the Most of Your Swedish Winter
Winter in Sweden can be very long and difficult. Fortunately, you have the power to make the season fun and enjoyable! Take a look at what resources and places are available to you. With a little effort, you will gain the ability to take part in Swedish culture.