The Best of Sweden in Summer
Updated: Mar 4
Friendly people, beautiful countryside, and more miles of coastline than you could possibly dream of. While winter brings you the Northern lights, summer provides its own natural wonder. Let Sweden capture your heart!
While this is the obvious place to start, it will not disappoint. Stroll through Gamla Stan and shop to your heart’s content. Whether you like history, art, food, or nature, Stockholm truly has it all. Watch the dramatic changing of the guard as they march through the streets of the old city. Have lunch at Östermalms Saluhall, where you can find traditional Swedish meatballs. And if you haven't had fika, make sure to take a break at one of the local coffee shops and order a "kanelbulle" - you can thank me later.
Explore one of the 53 museums this great city has to offer. Learn about the perfectly preserved 17th century warship at the Vasa Museum. Feeling musical? Visit the Abba Museum. You’ll be surprised at how many popular musicians are actually Swedish! And for art lovers, the Nationalmuseum is a must, with four stories of collections arranged chronologically from the early Middle Ages to modern movements.
If you do plan to be in Stockholm during its warmer months, from late April through September, make sure to visit Gröna Lund, the amusement park located directly on the western shore of the island Djurgården. In total, the park has more than 30 rides, including seven roller coasters, and a main stage that holds up to 50 concerts throughout each season. So far this year, the lineup includes Gwen Stefani, John Legend, and Gavin DeGraw.
You will fall in love with this city! Let’s start with the Haga District, the most adorable cobblestone street lined with shops and cafes. As you walk past the window of Café Husaren, you will be lured in by a cinnamon bun the size of a dinner plate. They are delicious, don’t get me wrong. But you might want to order only a quarter or half, we ordered one full bun between three people, and still could not finish. And you definitely want to leave room to sample some of the other amazing desserts. I very rarely play favorites with desserts...I consider myself an equal opportunity dessert lover. But the lemon bar I had here was a life altering experience. Speaking of desserts, do not leave Haga without stopping in to Pralinboden - chocolates & coffee to die for!
The rest of the city has a lot to see and do as well. You can find most of the larger, name-brand stores, but also smaller boutiques you don't want to miss. The Central Market is worth a quick visit, and there are quite a few cafes and restaurants in and around it. If you’re looking for something local to eat, get a hot dog at Gourmet Korv. Be brave and eat it the Swedish way, with mashed potatoes, crispy onions, and seasoning.
Gothenburg Cathedral should not be missed. There are other cathedrals that are bigger, and more extravagantly designed, but this one is so beautiful in its simplicity that it’s really something special. Other notable sightseeing options in this area are the Gothenburg City Museum and the Maritiman Museum, an open air exhibit that has 18 different ships you can walk through and explore - they are only open during certain seasons, so make sure to check their hours ahead of time.
Try to spend more than one day in Gothenburg so you can go to Liseberg Amusement Park. Yes, this is an amusement park in the middle of the city. If you are visiting in the off season, make sure to plan your trip over a weekend or, unfortunately, it will be closed. With its traditional Swedish Christmas market, Liseberg gives you a reason to come back to the Gothenburg during the holiday season.
Hjo, pronounced "you," is a small municipality in the Västra Götaland County of Sweden, located on the west coast of Lake Vättern. Only 2 hours from Gothenburg by train or car, Hjo is a perfect destination for a relaxing summer day trip.
It's not your typical tourist destination, but locals love it for its charm. Spend the day in true Swedish fashion, taking a dip in Lake Vättern to cool off, and then grabbing lunch. If you have the chance, stop at one of the local seafood shacks for a shrimp sandwich or grab a "kebabrulle" from the Mediterranean style food truck, it's like shawarma... but better!
You definitely can not leave Hjo without trying the famous "glass" at Moster Elins. Although this is the Swedish word for ice cream, it's nothing like any ice cream you've ever had. With over 25 flavors, including vegan options, there is something for everyone.
A nice break from the big cities, Hjo is an ideal spot for families to escape the tourist crowds. You might even catch a funny glance if they hear you speaking English, but don't let that stop you! The locals are extremely friendly and welcoming. This is the perfect place to truly immerse yourself in Swedish culture. There's a beautiful park in the city center that allows you to walk along the water and breathe in the fresh air.
For dinner, check out Biergarten, a beer garden in the middle of city park, or Restaurang Bryggan, a classic spot located right on the marina. It gives you beautiful views of the lake and during the summer, there is usually live music! Don't forget to check out the local boutiques, they are full of "I love Hjo" souvenirs that are perfect to take home to loved ones. I promise this small town gem will leave "hjo" wanting more!
The west coast of Sweden will open your eyes to a new world. If you're looking for a place to disconnect from the noise of the city, to take a moment to bask in the summer sun, or to experience nature like you've never seen before, look no further. While the east and west coasts of Sweden rival each other for their beauty, if you are limited to choosing just one I would most definitely recommend the west.
One of the best places to discover the beauty of Sweden's west coast is the Bohuslän archipelago, located just north of Gothenburg. This stretch of water consists of more than 20 islands free to explore. You can easily skip from island to island, finding adventure at every turn.
There are several options for getting around the islands. From Gothenburg, take a bus or tram to Saltholmen, where you can catch a ferry. Visit Västtrafik's Travel Planner or Styrsöbolaget's time tables to find schedules and plan your trip! For more information, visit Gothenburg's Official Visitor Guide. In addition to guided boat tours, it is also possible to rent your own boat. We didn't choose this option, but there are several private boat rental agencies I found online that have good reviews.
The small town charm is in full effect on the west coast islands, begging you to stay forever. With rows of fishing villages and wooden cottages, the archipelago offers a glimpse into the traditional Swedish way of life. In order to truly appreciate this coastal gem, hop on a boat and set out on the North Sea! The views out here are like nothing you will have on land. Meet majestic seagulls, explore jaw-dropping rock formations, and don't forget to stop for fika!
During summer months, the coastal areas will be pretty crowded by locals. But you will quickly find the reason they love it so much. Smögen is one of the most popular destinations of the archipelago, providing visitors with more than enough to do; sailing, diving, water sports, shopping, nightclubs, and more! Visit Lysekil, "the town by the sea," and spend the day kayaking. Rent a bike on the car-free island of Brännö. Take a romantic day trip to the island of Styrsö, where you will find views of the entire archipelago. Whether you want to relax and enjoy everything Sweden's nature has to offer, or brave new adventures off the beaten path, the Bohuslän archipelago has it all.
Ready to discover the beauty of Sweden in the summertime? This Scandinavian paradise is calling you home! If you enjoyed this article, please share or leave me a comment below!