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25 Of The Best Things To Do In Sweden In 2020!

Written By:
Bradley Williams
/
Last Updated:
January 17, 2020
Travel stories
In 2019, we drove the whole length of Sweden, from Lapland all the way to Denmark; and here's what I believe to be the 25 best things to do in Sweden!
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things to do in sweden
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There is a LOT to love about Sweden!

Just like it’s neighbours, Norway and Finland, it is such a diverse country.

With the vast and open Lapland in the North, and a series of fascinating cities and castles in the south.

Driving through Sweden is a lot of fun, and along the way we saw dozens of amazing sites and discovered many of Sweden’s best things to do.

But if you’re stuck for time and don’t have weeks to explore Sweden, like us, then hopefully this guide can help you narrow down your own Sweden bucket list.

So, without further ado, here’s what I believe to be 25 of the best things to do in Sweden this year.

First up ...

1. Visit the space centre in Swedish Lapland

Pretty random right?

We thought so as well!

But yes, it turns out that Swedish Lapland is home to a massive space centre (called Svenska Rymdaktiebolaget Esrange Space Center), complete with a small visitor centre.

Here, you can get an up close and personal with old rockets and payloads and learn more about the sorts of missions they have here.

It’s a relatively small centre, but packed full of useful information; plus you get free coffee and hot chocolate, which is a bonus!

The visitor centre is also free to visit, you’ll just need a set of wheels to get there as it’s in a relatively isolated location.

sweden space centre

2. Stay in an ice hotel

Not far from the Esrange Space Centre you have one of the most famous and popular places to visit in Lapland … ICEHOTEL.

It is exactly what it says on the tin, an ice hotel open 365 days a year!

That’s right, even in the warmer summer months you can visit and even sleep in a genuine ice hotel.

You don’t have to visit, but can instead walk around the 365 Ice Hotel in the daytime, exploring all the rooms, which are each artistically carved in their own unique way.

If you do decide to stay, then they provide you with warm sleeping bags, so you don’t get cold.

If you visit in the coldest winter months, then they open up a large ice hotel next to the one that’s open all year round, so there’s plenty of space for many more guests.

ice hotel in sweden
ice rooms in sweden

3. Behold the world’s largest mitten

Now, let’s move onto one of the more random Swedish tourist attractions.

In the small town of Lovikka, you come across the world’s largest mitten, completed in the year 2000 by 14 local townswomen.

It’s almost 12 feet tall and is on display in a large glass container in the middle of town.

Apparently, the town has always been known for knitting, supplying gloves all across Lapland for generations.

If you happen to be passing through Swedish Lapland, it’s worth stopping off and checking it out!

largest mitten in sweden

4. Spot wild moose and reindeer

One of the nicest things about driving through both Swedish and Finnish Lapland is that you have the opportunity to spot endless amounts of wild reindeer, as well as the odd moose.

They are actually pretty dangerous, and you need to be careful not to hit any.

They have a habit of walking right down the middle of the street, and get very skittish when cars come near.

But aside from that, we loved seeing them every day, and often stopped to snap a few pictures.

reindeer

5. Hunt for the Northern Lights

One of the best reasons to visit Sweden in to try and spot the Northern Lights.

If you are visiting Stockholm in the south, then it’s highly unlikely you will see them, so instead you will need to head further north.

Once you cross into the Arctic circle, somewhere north of Lulea, your chances are pretty good, all you need is a day with a good KP Index and clear skies.

We were fortunate enough to spot the Northern Lights in Sweden, Finland and Norway, and the further north we were, the better they became.

For more help on trying to find them, you can check out my guide on tips for seeing the Northern Lights in Finland.

Most of the advice there can be used for seeing them in Sweden as well.

northenr lights in sweden

6. Road trip Sweden in your own car

By far my favourite thing to do in Sweden is to simply road trip in your own car.

Many of the best things to see in Sweden are located between major towns and cities, and having your own car gives you complete freedom over where to go.

Plus, you really never know when a great photo opportunity will arise, and having your own car gives you the chance to pull over and savour the fantastic country on display.

As you can probably already tell, I really loved Swedish Lapland and would say this is the best part of the country to road trip, simply because there are so few cars and no major motorways spoiling the views.

Besides that, the drive south along the Gulf of Bothnia was equally as impressive.

So, if you’ve flown into the capital and wondering what to do in Stockholm, I recommend hiring a car and heading directly north along the coast, you won’t be disappointed!

Rentalcars.com is a good place to start your search.

The only bad thing about Sweden is that their fuel is crazy expensive, even more so than Norway, so be prepared for that.

roadtrip sweden

7. Go hiking in the many national parks

In total, Sweden has 29 national parks dotted all throughout the country.

As such, I can hardly recommend the best, as we were only able to hike in a few.

That being said, they are all lovely and are criss-crossed with hiking trails.

So no matter where you plan on visiting, one of the best things to do in Sweden in winter or summer is to go hiking.

The Abisko National Park in the far north west of Sweden was possibly one of my favourites, as not only could you hike there, but they had some awesome wild camping spots.

national parks in sweden

8. Visit a moose farm

On our way south through Lapland, we decided to stop off at the Arctic Moose Farm.

Here, you can get an up close and personal with perhaps a dozen or so moose.

Seeing them in the wild is much more rare than reindeer, and even if you do see them they will likely just be crossing the road.

Only when you can get an up close and feed them do you realise just how big and impressive they are!

The owner is a really nice guy and easy to talk to, he’s also very proud of his moose!

Particularly a large chap called Oscar (seen below).

visit a moose farm in sweden

9. Stay in an aurora igloo

We stayed in a number of Aurora glass igloos in Finland, and they ended up being arguably the best way to see the Northern Lights.

Why?

Because they are so damn comfy!

Typically, if you want to venture out and spot the Northern Lights on your own, you need to spend long hours out in the wild trying to keep warm.

Not that this isn’t fun, but there really isn’t anything quite like laying down in a comfy bed, staring up at the aurora’s all cosy and warm.

There aren’t currently as many in Sweden as there are in Finland, but you can still find a few, such as the Ice & Light Village.

10. Try the indoor ski centre

In mid-Sweden, not far from the border with Norway you have an indoor ski centre, aptly named MidSweden 365 Indoor Skiing.

I must admit, after trying it here for the very first time, I’m certainly not a massive fan of cross country skiing.

I absolutely loved learning to ski in Austria and can’t wait to return to the mountainous pistes; but indoor skiing is a much different sport!

Instead of steady downhill glides, it requires a lot more effort.

That being said, it’s a massive sport in Sweden, so it’s worth trying it out when there.

It costs only 200 Kroner for 1 hour, including skis and poles, so I recommend stopping in if you happen to be passing through this part of Sweden.

cross country in sweden

11. Wild camp in breathtaking locations

Easily one of the top things to do in Sweden is to wild camp!

In Sweden, you have something called “the everyman’s right” also known as “the right to roam”. 

This is written into the Swedish constitution, and allows you greater freedom over where you camp in Swedish countryside.

It means that, if you have your own caravan, campervan or tent, you have the ability to stay overnight almost anywhere, as long as you obey some basic rules.

This is great if you are able to visit Lapland, where you will often find wonderful campsites, many with toilet facilities and campfires.

This allows you to spend the night under the stars enjoying fire roasted food, absolute bliss!

12. Take in views of the Hoga Kusten bridge

In general, it seemed like the Norwegians are the champion bridge builders in Scandinavia.

Except for a few grandiose exceptions, one being the Hoga Kusten Bridge.

This spectacular bridge is situated in the centre of Sweden on the drive south towards Stockholm.

It crosses over the river Ångermanälven and is more than 1.2km long!

Unfortunately for us, it was starting to get dark by the time we crossed, but you can get some truly epic shots of it during the day time.

13. Visit the biggest lakes in Sweden

Though southern Sweden doesn’t quite compare to the epic Finnish Lakeland just over the Gulf Of Bothnia, Sweden is still home to some pretty sizeable lakes.

The 3 biggest of which are situated in the south.

They are conveniently close to each other, called Lake Vattern, Lake Vanern and Lake Malaren.

The best way to see the two biggest are by visiting the castles that lie on their shores.

At Lake Vattern, you have Lacko Castle and at Lake Vanern you have Vadstena Castle.

Lake Vattern is so big that it feels as if you are back at the coast, as the water stretches off further than the eye can see.

lakes in sweden

14. Discover incredible Swedish castles

Sweden is home to a number of really impressive castles, most of which are in the southern end of the country.

The aforementioned Lacko Castle was probably my favourite, and feels like it’s straight out of a Disney film.

Other great castles we saw include Bohus Fortress, Skansen Kronan AB, Stockholm Palace and Malmo Castle.

But there are many more to see!

castles in sweden
beautiful castles in sweden

15. Explore Gothenburg

As the 2nd biggest city in Sweden, Gothenburg is well worth a visit!

Like many of the big cities in Sweden, it has both a new and old town.

In the Old Town you can enjoy a lovely stroll along high street, filled with souvenir stores and cafes; I highly recommend you head to Le Petit.

There’s also the Skansen Kronan AB fortress, situated up a hill offering wonderful views out across Gothenburg.

In the newer part of town you have an amusement park called Liseberg.

It was closed when we visited, but we hope to one day return for a city break to Gothenburg to enjoy everything else this charming city offers.

gotheburg sweden
views in gothenburg

16. Go on a canal tour in Stockholm

Hands down, Stockholm is my 2nd favourite city in Europe, closely behind Rome.

In the main tourist area, you will find dozens of large palaces and grandiose houses lining the canals and waterways.

The best way to enjoy these is by going on a canal tour (you can book it cheapest here).

They last for about an hour, and include a headset which teaches you about the history of Stockholm and a number of the most famous buildings you pass by.

If you’re looking to quickly experience many of the best things to do in Stockholm, then this canal tour is the way to go!

take a canal cruise in stockholm

17. And then, an electric scooter tour!

Once you’re done exploring Stockholm by water, I recommend you jump on one of the hundreds of electric scooters located all throughout the city.

Most cities we visit in Europe now have these, and Stockholm has a few companies offering scooters there, my favourite being Lime.

Their app allows you to add on a number of scooters onto just one phone, removing the need for everyone to individually have the app.

They are a LOT of fun to drive, and incredibly practical; allowing you to see lots of the city much faster than if you had to walk.

18. Visit the Abba museum

One of my favourite things to do in Stockholm is to visit the Abba Museum.

Situated on one of the many small islands around the harbour, you’ll need to hop on a ferry to get to it.

But don’t worry, getting there is easy if you pick up a day pass, which allows you to use ferries, trains and buses around Stockholm.

It costs 250SEK to get into the museum, and takes about 2 hours to fully enjoy everything on offer … for which there is a lot!

You can book tickets here if interested.

Here, you’ll find thousands of pieces of Abba memorabilia, ranging through from costumes to awards.

They also teach you about the history of the band and it’s members and give you the chance to hear all of their hits up close.

They even have little karaoke rooms where you can sing along as well and record yourself.

visit abba museum in stockholm

19. Discover Malmo

Malmo is another great city to visit in Sweden.

Though not that big, it’s pretty historic, with cobbled streets and large cathedrals and churches.

It won’t take you long to see most of the city, even less if you hire an electric scooter through Lime.

There’s lots of great places here to get food as well, and we headed to the TGI Friday’s in Lilla Torg square to try their Beyond Meat Burger.

You probably won’t need longer than half a day here, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you are passing into or from Denmark.

explore malmo sweden

20. Cross the Øresund Bridge

Connecting Sweden and Denmark, Øresund Bridge is probably the biggest and most grandiose bridge we’ve ever scene!

It’s 8km long in total and costs quite a lot to cross!

But it is really epic to look at, and you get some pretty dramatic views of the Baltic Sea The whole way across.

If you're passing through to Denmark, then it’s the most convenient way to go, and is worth it for the views.

Apparently, it cost more than 2.5 billion Euros to build, so no wonder it’s so expensive to cross!

21. Visit the winter Christmas markets

One of the best times to visit Sweden is in winter time. 

Especially December when the Christmas markets are out in full force!

In Stockholm there are a few different Christmas markets dotted around the city, with the ones held in the Gamla Stan being particularly charming.

We also discovered some small Christmas markets in Malmo, and I imagine a few other cities follow the same tradition.

Admittedly, they’re not as big and exciting as those in Germany, but still well worth a visit!

sweden christmas markets

22. Visit one of the world’s largest IKEA

IKEA is a national icon of Sweden.

And as you might imagine, one of their largest stores is situated just outside of Stockholm!

As this was our first ever visit to IKEA, it was a pretty great one to start at!

Perhaps the best reason to visit is to visit their on site restaurant, where they offer a select few dishes, but all incredibly cheap and tasty!

Also (as a cheeky tip) if you plan on driving to Stockholm, then you can leave your car in IKEA and then from there catch the metro into the city.

23. Try proper Swedish meatballs

One of the most typically swedish things are meatballs!

We have long been a fan of meatballs, but didn’t realise just how great true Swedish meatballs actually are.

If you’re looking for a budget variety, then you really can’t go wrong with the one’s sold at IKEA.

However, for some more unforgettable meatballs, check out one of the many fancy restaurants located in the old part of Stockholm.

try swedish meatballs

24. Check out the Bjuröklubb Lighthouse

If you want to enjoy some views of the Gulf of Bothnia, then one of the nicest places to do it is at the Bjuröklubb Lighthouse.

You park up down the road, and take the short 10 minute walk up to it.

Unfortunately, a mist slowly descended as we arrived, so the views for us were short lived and we didn’t get any great photos, but on a clear day, the views stretch for miles!

lighthouse in sweden

25. A visit to Lulea

There are very view big towns and cities in Swedish Lapland, but one worth visiting is Lulea.

Located just south of the Arctic Circle, here you’ll find a great city, filled with shops, restaurants and bars.

It’s also nice driving into it, as it’s surrounded by a big river which, in mid-November, actually froze over!

By this point, this was the most southerly body of water we had seen frozen over, and there were even kids out playing ice hockey on it!

If you plan on flying into Swedish Lapland, then Lulea is possibly your best bet, as they have a relatively big airport here, and it’s a great base for you to quickly get to many of Lapland’s best sites.

Well, there you have it, my rundown of what I think to be the 25 best things to do in Sweden!

Of course, I’m always open to hearing about new places to visit, and would love to hear from you if you think I’ve missed anything off this list!

Just drop a comment below and let me know, so I can add it to my Sweden bucket list for next time we find ourselves here.

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