They say you're not supposed to have favourites, but we have to admit to a few, and Sweden is most certainly one. That's why we had a little (virtual) celebration at Original Travel last week when it was announced that Sweden was officially coming off the Foreign Office quarantine naughty step. Why the love? Because this is a country that's got the lot - chic culture-filled cities, wild hinterland and a gorgeous coastline that just demands exploring. Even better, Sweden works its magic in every season, each of which offers its own delights. Read on for our highlights of what to see and do in Sweden and, importantly, when to go to get the best of the seasons in Sweden.
Spontaneous Autumnal Adventures & Seafood Safaris - September and October
Our first reaction when we heard that Sweden was SwedON? 'Hurrah! Just in time for lobster season!' This coming Monday sees the season officially begin, with Bohuslän on the west coast a particular treasure trove for this delicious delicacy. A friend at the Swedish Tourist Board we spoke to this week was beside herself with excitement. 'In Sweden, lobster season is like Christmas' she explained, 'but without the herrings and decorations.' It's truly one of the best times to go to Sweden. In the spirit of spontaneity, why not book a last-minute trip the west coast for a couple of days exploring the foodie haven of Sweden's second city, Gothenburg, before heading north to the colourful fishing villages of Bohuslän where you can hop on a boat and set sail on a seafood safari, helping to haul up and reset the pots; learning how to prepare and cook lobsters; and then (of course) actually sampling the delicious catch for yourself. After all, nothing takes nicer than something you've caught or foraged yourself, and you can also sample some of the best prawns, oysters and mussels in the world here, as well as kayaking around beautiful islands.
Inspired? Take a look at our Wild Nature and Succulent Seafood Gothenburg & West Coast Sweden Road Trip
Arctic Escapades in a Winter Wonderland - November to April
Snow-clad trees? Tick. Quaint wood cabins miles from civilisation? Tick. Husky sledding, snow shoeing, Northern Lights spotting? Tick, tick, tick. With bucket list activities at every turn, Swedish Lapland is a seriously (and literally) cool winter wonderland, and offers arctic adventures aplenty for families, couples and solo travellers alike. Blanketed in snow from December to April, Lapland is a popular choice for the picture-perfect Christmas break, but it's also pretty dreamy for a spring getaway, with February, March and April the best time to see the mysterious light show that is the aurora borealis. We do go on about it (with good reason), but mushing your own team of huskies over frozen lakes and through towering pine forests is totally magical, especially when topped up with snowmobiling, visits the local Sami people to learn about traditional Lappish culture and cosy nights around a fire in a traditional laavu tent. Now is a great time to book for winter/spring as availability is better than usual and we can secure the best accommodation in the region. Perhaps it's time to unfurl that bucket list and start ticking things off again?
Inspired? Take a look at our Artic Adventures London to Swedish Lapland by Train itinerary.
Plan Ahead for Swedish Summer - May to August
There's pleasure and treasure to be found in the chic Swedish capital of Stockholm all year round, from chilly winters where residents ice skate to work or school, to warm summer months when you can walk, cycle, kayak and sail in and around the city and the thousands of islands in the adjacent archipelago. When it comes to what to do in the Swedish capital, central Stockholm is a real cultural hub, with plenty of museums, monuments and palaces to visit; cute cafes in which to enjoy fika (the Swedish tradition of a sweet treat, coffee and gossip with friends); and old cobbled streets to wander, particularly in the old town island of Gamla Stan. We can also point you in the direction of some superb restaurants. Just a hop out of the city centre you'll find yourself in a seascape of some 30,000 islands, rocks and skerries which come to life during summer; kayak or sail your way from island to island past pretty clapboard houses on the waterfront, and soaking up the character and atmosphere of each before heading back to the capital to get stuck into its vibrant nightlife.
Inspired? Take a look at our Scandi Culture, History & Nature Stockholm City Break.