Scandinavia is cold, snowy, and dark during the winter, which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is the complete opposite in summer! Scandinavia, especially Sweden, is a great place to visit in the summers because of its long hours of daylight and mildly warm weather. The Swedes take advantage of the bright summer months by making up for all they can’t do during the cold winters. This includes outdoor activities like kayaking, touring historic sights, and having fun at theme parks! If visiting Sweden is part of your warm-weather plans, read on for our top 10 picks of things to do over the summer holidays in Sweden.
Dating back to the 1600s, Drottningholm Palace is the most well-preserved castle from that time period in Sweden. Though the royal family still lives in part of the castle, the rest of the building and grounds are open to visitors year-round! Summer is probably one of the best times to visit, as the exquisite gardens are at their best. You’ll also appreciate the warmer weather if you book this tour through Klook, which includes a cruise to Ekerö Island, where the palace is located. You will have the chance to explore the grounds, the ornate interiors, and the Chinese Pavilion, a Chinese-inspired cottage built in 1753.
Drottningholm Palace Boat Tour & Entrance Ticket
2. Explore the majestic Kalmar Castle
From a distance, Kalmar Castle almost seems to float on top of the water surrounding the fortification and its turrets and walls look like something out of a fairy tale. The history of the building dates back to 1397, but the current design of the castle is from the 1600s, when it was redesigned in the Nordic Renaissance style. It remains the most well-preserved structures in this style today, and stepping inside feels like going back in time. You can visit the permanent exhibitions to learn about the history of the castle, tour the dungeons with a guide, or get spooked on a fun ghost tour. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding the castle.
Address: Kungsgatan 1, 392 33 Kalmar, Sweden
Website: Kalmar Castle
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 10am - 8pm; Fri - Mon: 10am - 6pm
Price: 11.43 USD
The Icehotel is one of the world’s most impressive ice creations and an unparalleled hotel experience! Located in Jukkasjärvi, a village 250 km (155 mi) north of the Arctic circle, the structure consists of frozen rooms, with furniture and beds of ice inside them! You may wonder if it’s worth it to visit or stay at the Icehotel in the summer, and the answer is yes. The 24 hours of daylight provide solar power that keeps the inside of the Icehotel cold and the structures frozen. You can also do fun activities like ice sculpting, river rafting, and fishing in one of the world’s top fishing locations, the Thorne River. If you don’t like the cold, don’t worry - warm, non-frozen rooms are available too!
The ICEHOTEL Half Day Tour from Abisko or Björkliden
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For adventurous and active explorers, one of the best ways to see Sweden in summer is by kayak! If you’re wary about navigating the waters on your own, join this five- day kayaking tour around the St. Anna Archipelago. This rugged area has over 6,000 small islands and seems untouched by humans. You’ll see interesting land formations, towering trees that are centuries old, and many different kinds of birds. This tour is very inclusive: you’ll get top-notch kayaking and camping gear, all meals and snacks, and a knowledgeable guide who will bring you safely through the tour while informing you about the area too!
St Anna Archipelago 5-Day Kayaking and Wild Camping Experience
Duration: 5 days
5. Enjoy a boat ride along the Gota Canal
One of the most beautiful and relaxing ways to see the mainland of Sweden in summer is by taking a cruise down the Göta Canal. This canal was constructed in the early 1800s and is one of the largest Swedish engineering projects ever. It runs 190 km (118 mi) from Mem on the east coast to Sjötorp on Lake Vänern, passing through a total of 58 locks, and continues to Gothenburg on the other side of the country. The Göta Canal passes by rolling countryside, cute villages, and sizable cities - the best way to experience it all is on a relaxing cruise. Cruises last anywhere from two days to a full week, and depending on the cruise you’ll have options to sleep in rooms on the historic ships or in hotels at your stops along the way!
Address: Sjötorps Upplevelsecenter AB, Slussvägen 110, Sjötorp, Sweden
Price: 248.56 USD onwards
Get admission to over 30 attractions in Gothenburg, including the Gothenburg Museum of Art, with the Gothenburg Pass from Viator. The pass is designed to work best with your travel style: choose from passes that last from one day to up to five consecutive days. You’ll also get admission to hop-on-hop-off buses with your pass and comprehensive guidebooks with maps. Besides the Museum of Art, the pass also grants access to the Gunnebo House, a neoclassical home with beautifully landscaped grounds, and sightseeing boats that will give you a unique perspective of the city! Summer is the perfect time to wander around the city and see all the sights.
7. Go wildlife spotting at the Kolmarden Wildlife Park
Kolmarden Wildlife Park is the largest zoo in all of Scandinavia, so put it on your summer itinerary if you’re an animal lover! The park has over 600 animals from around the world. Visitors can travel on a cable car above the animal exhibits or through the park on foot. Exciting exhibits include Tiger World, where you can get up close to these majestic creatures, “Wings”, birds of prey show where they will swoop close to the audience’s heads, and an elephant show where you can learn all about elephant training. If that isn’t thrilling enough, the park has rides too, like a merry-go-round for kids and a fast wooden roller coaster for the adventurous!
Kolmarden Wildlife Park
Address: 618 92 Kolmården, Sweden
Website: Kolmarden Wildlife Park
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 46 USD onwards
8. Live the old Swedish life at Skansen
A fun and interactive way to learn about life throughout Swedish history is at Skansen. Skansen has replicated homes, shops, and workshops that imitate life back to 1720. Live interpreters in historic dress are located in each building, performing tasks that were common to the time. The summer is the perfect time to visit and see the variety of gardens and plants around the park growing crops from each historical time period. Skansen is also the only open-air museum to have animals ranging from Nordic wildlife to domestic animals at the children’s museum to exotic animals like monkeys, insects, and reptiles.
Address: Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)
Price: 14.56 USD onwards
A small group can experience two countries and see the tallest skyscraper in Scandinavia on this private tour. The tour leaves from Copenhagen and crosses the Øresund Bridge into Sweden, providing stunning views of the strait separating the two countries. Your destination is Malmö, a modern city capped off by the unique Turning Torso building. The skyscraper looks like something out of the future as it twists up to its top. After, you’ll head to the old part of Malmö to see the historic buildings that tell the story of this city that was once a seat of power in the Kingdom of Denmark.
Sweden Tour: Malmö City Walk
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Gothenberg is a city with so many sights to see that you might feel overwhelmed navigating on your own. Purchase a ticket to this Viator bus tour and let someone else do the planning and driving! The tour is designed to fit your schedule and you can hop on and hop off the bus at designated locations. Your pass will be good for 24 hours of sightseeing. The bus stops at all major sights, like the Drottningtorget city park, Feskekörka fish market for browsing or perhaps lunch, and see live fish at the Korsvägen nature center, which has a shark tunnel and indoor rainforest. The open-top bus is the perfect summer vehicle and also stops at Liseberg amusement park, one of Scandinavia’s most popular theme parks with rides, entertainment, and more!
Gothenburg Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker Sightseeing Bus Tour
Duration: 1 day
Sweet Swedish summertime
The hearty may love visiting Sweden in the winter, but everyone will love traveling there in the summer. Sweden is a beautiful country that comes alive with green grass and trees and brilliantly blue skies and water in the warm weather. The country is great for adventurous outdoorsy folks, culture and museum lovers, and families with kids. If you’re still stumped about where to go for your summer holidays, give Sweden a try!
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