Winter holidays in Sweden: a skiing paradise

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Sweden, especially in summer, is a popular destination for exploring the nature and cities of the Scandinavian country, camping or celebrating Midsommar. However, the north has a lot to offer in winter as well. In Sweden you will find white landscapes that invite you to experience and do numerous things.

Sweden in winter

A different side of nature comes to the fore in the Swedish winter: when the snow has fallen and crunches under your feet, quiet, white landscapes with small red houses emerge. Sub-zero temperatures and an early sunset replace the green landscapes of summer and the long days.

But winter in Sweden is more than just a cold wasteland. In the home of moose and reindeer, there is no shortage of winter fairytales. In addition to the numerous ski resorts, it is also worth travelling to the Swedish cities in winter, which provide a cosy and romantic backdrop. What’s more, everything is a little quieter and more relaxed here at this time of year, as the main tourist season is over. However, Sweden’s winters are very cold, so you should pack plenty of warm clothing.

Why not spend a winter holiday in Sweden like Emil from Lönneberga? A short holiday during the Christmas period, between the holidays or over New Year’s Eve is a wonderful way to relax and switch off from everyday life.

Is snow guaranteed in Sweden?

A winter holiday in Scandinavia basically means that there will be snow. In Lapland, the mountains and the ski resorts, there is always guaranteed snow during the ski season and in the winter months.

Destinations and activities in winter


Stockholm in Winter
When the canals freeze in winter, Stockholm is transformed into a romantic setting.

The capital of Sweden is worth a visit at any time of year. If you are planning a short holiday in the winter season, you can take a city trip to Stockholm. The city is bathed in cosy lights, especially at Christmas time. You can try glögg, the delicious Swedish mulled wine, Swedish pastries and marvel at handicrafts at the cosy Christmas market in Gamla Stan, the old town, and at the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm.

There is a large ice rink at Kungsträdgården and the Skidspår, an artificial cross-country skiing track in the centre of the city, so that you can combine sporting activities with sightseeing.

But there is also plenty to do in Stockholm outside the Advent season. Winter is the perfect time for relaxed shopping, strolling and savouring Swedish delicacies as well as visiting the city’s many museums. All you have to do is choose between the Vasa Museum, the ABBA Museum, the National Museum, the Art Museum, the Viking Museum and many more.


Småland in Winter

Småland translates as “small country”. The southern Swedish province was home to the famous children’s author Astrid Lindgren and her famous characters Emil, Pippi and Ronja. More specifically, Vimmerby is home to the “Astrid Lindgren’s World” theatre park, which is the perfect destination for a family holiday with children.

Throughout Småland you will find the typical falun red houses, countless lakes and the archipelago islands on the coast. Even though Småland is a popular holiday destination in summer, it is precisely this mixture that provides a cosy backdrop in winter, especially in the snow. You should visit the region especially during the Advent season and experience the many traditional and cultural events. There are many cosy Christmas markets in the historic small towns. At Isaberg, southern Sweden’s largest ski resort, winter sports enthusiasts will get their money’s worth on the particularly long and steep slopes.


Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Swedish Lapland is an idyllic winter wonderland. The country’s northernmost region is known for its tranquil, diverse nature and national parks.

It includes the three provinces of Västerbotten, Norrbotten and Jämtland, whose landscapes make them particularly suitable destinations for a winter holiday in Sweden.

Lapland in Winter: Reindeer
Many reindeer live in Lapland.

Skiing in Jämtland

Sweden has around 200 ski resorts in total. But Jämtland is home to Åre, which is Sweden’s skiing paradise with its modern Årefjällen ski resort. About an hour’s flight from Stockholm, there are more hotel beds than inhabitants.

The area’s pistes, some of which are particularly steep and long, and the après-ski facilities attract many sports enthusiasts every winter. As the pistes are floodlit in the evening, the few hours of sunshine in the Swedish winter do not put a brake on the skiing fun. The ski resort is also ideal for a winter holiday with children, as there is plenty of family-friendly accommodation and supervised playhouses on the slopes and ski courses are offered for young and old.

Skiing Jämtland

Jämtland also has the most snow-sure ski area – snow cannons are rarely used in Funäsfjällen. Here you can go winter hiking or snowmobiling to enjoy the mountainous landscape of soft natural snow.

Sledging and ice fishing in Västerbotten

The Swedish province of Västerbotten with its capital Umeå is an unspoilt snow paradise in winter. In the towns of Hemavan and Tärnaby, you can ski in peace on 49 pistes. Even if, or perhaps because, they are not quite as spectacularly steep, it is significantly emptier here than in Åre, which is why you save yourself long waiting times at the lift.

Dog Sled Västerbotten

In Tärnaby, you can take a speedy ride on a dog sled or snowmobile through the white forests and go ice fishing, which has a long tradition in Sweden: you go out onto the frozen ice, which can be up to a metre thick, and use a pickaxe to make a hole in it for fishing. Of course, you can get professional help to do this. And if you are successful, you can prepare your catch yourself afterwards.

You can also get to know the culture of the Sami, the indigenous Scandinavian people. Some of them still live in Västerbotten and are happy to give holidaymakers an insight into their traditions and way of life.

Reindeer, moose and northern lights in Norrbotten

The Swedish region of Norrbotten is not for the faint-hearted. In the northernmost part of Swedish Lapland, you will find snow and ice in winter as far as the eye can see.

Not far from Kiruna, the country’s northernmost city, is the town of Abisko, whose national park is particularly famous for its aurora borealis. These occur most frequently in the far north near the Arctic Circle.

Ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi
The ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi

Another holiday experience can be found in Jukkasjärvi. There is an ice hotel, which is made entirely of ice, including the furnishings. It is rebuilt every year in October and is therefore always worth a visit. The spectacularly designed rooms with beds made of ice, the ice bar and the ice church can also be visited during the day if you don’t want to spend the night in the cold.

The small and cosy Arjeplog is another winter holiday destination. Here, you can spend the night in an Iglootel made of snow and ice and enjoy all the adventurous winter activities – a moose safari, a snowmobile or dog sled ride, ice fishing and snowshoeing. There are also reindeer farms to visit.

Preparing for your holiday: travel, accommodation & equipment

There are a few things to plan and prepare before a winter holiday in Sweden. When it’s snowy and cold, for example, the right accommodation is crucial. For a relaxing winter holiday, a cosy ambience in a Swedish log cabin with a warming fireplace is just the thing. For a skiing holiday, you should look for accommodation close to the slopes.

We recommend to plan your journey in advance. Many of the small towns in Sweden cannot be reached by direct flight, but require some travelling time from the nearest airport. If you want to travel by car to be more flexible, you can use the ferry connections. However, it is important that your car is suitable for travelling through the snow.

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