Things to do in Sweden outdoors
Looking for things to do in Sweden?
Looking for some great outdoor fun in Scandinavia? The below list compiles travel writer favorites of things to do in Sweden. You will find winter and summer activities to include in your next trip to the North of Europe.
Things to do in Sweden in the Winter
Arctic Moose Farm
by Bradley of Dream Big, Travel Far
One of the best things to do in Sweden has to be visiting the Arctic Moose Farm. Located in Överkalix, you could drop by for a casual tour of the farm on your way south of the country whilst road tripping through Lapland.
This is the perfect chance to get up close with around a dozen moose. Aptly nicknamed King of the Forest, these astounding creatures are the largest mammals found in all of Sweden. This is a great opportunity to learn more about them while snapping some memorable photos!
Despite being rather huge, the moose here are extremely gentle and friendly. Hug and feed as you roam across the vast plains and forests that are their home. Don’t worry, the moose here aren’t caged or penned in. Instead, visitors get to walk amongst them and truly experience a glimpse of the wildlife here.
The owner Ola comes from a family of reindeer farmers and is always excited to welcome visitors into his farm. Considering it is a small and privately owned farm, remember that bookings are required.
It’s easy to immerse in the surrounding environment as Ola talks you through the area with such vivid passion and joy. The Arctic Moose Farm is also a family-friendly excursion, perfect for those wanting to indulge in the natural charms of Sweden and more.
Chilling in a Hot Tub
by Ucman of BrownBoyTravels
Imagine a cold winter night next to a frozen lake. The temperature is well below sub zero conditions and you are looking at the starry sky from your hot tub outside. The northern lights start their dance of coloured passion. You are so mesmerised that you forget you have stood up soaking wet and it is minus ten degrees and your swimming suit is steaming.
This is not a dream, it is one of the best activities to do in Swedish Lapland. For an exclusive experience dive deep into the Swedish Lapland woods and arrive at a private cabin with a private chef. Enjoy the unspoilt nature with great food in a log cabin with a hot tub outside. This of course is the ultimate luxury experience and comes with a hefty price tag, you can check more details here.
The second option is to head to Arctic retreat which offers a hot tub next to River Rane deep in the boreal forests with a chance to view the Northern Lights far from the light pollution in a beautiful log cabin. For more details check their website.
If you are short on time or want a budget option head to the Máttaráhkká Northern Lights Lodge in Kiruna which has a hot tub on rooftop. It offers the same experience but a little less exclusivity and more budget friendly manner.
Immersing yourself in nature especially in the Lapland is a surreal dream, you will return from this experience calm and serene.
by Raluca from Travel With A Spin
Dog sledding tours run in northern Sweden during the winter months, from November-December to March-April. Kiruna is one of the towns where it’s easy to subscribe to this kind of a tour. All you have to do is go to the tour agency in the center and choose a date and time. If it’s high-season, it might be a good idea to contact them in advance.
On the day of the tour, the guide will pick you up from the designated spot and take you to the paddocks to meet the dogs. As soon as the sleds are taken out, the dogs get excited and start to bark, like “Pick me! Pick me!”. They are used to pulling sleds, as the Sami population tamed them for transportation a thousand years ago. After getting dressed with some additional layers and socializing with the dogs, the tour will start.
Each sled is pulled by 8-10 lively dogs through the Lappish forest and frozen swamps. Sometimes the dogs will stop and negotiate with the guide whither to go to. Depending on who wins, the guide or the leader dog, the route might be different each time.
The tour also includes a stop for a traditional fika. At the end of the tour one can feed the dogs and cuddle the puppies, if the paddock has any at that time. One can also take advantage of it and ask whatever question one might have.
A sled is the best way to get into the wild area of Sweden and get to know a small part of it. If choosing an evening tour, one might even be lucky enough to watch the aurora borealis while sledding.
Chasing Northern Lights
By Jumana of Planet Hopper Girl
Northern Lights is one of the best things to do in winter in Arctic countries and northern Sweden is one of the best places to see this natural phenomenon, which is on every travellers bucket list.
Chasing Northern Lights is a great outdoor activity to pick up in the main cities of Swedish lapland, mainly Abisko, Jukkasjärvi, Haradas and Kiruna. Swedish lapland in the North hosts an Aurora watching station near Abisko National Park, which is very famous for getting a splendid Aurora experience, with very high chances.
Winter is a magic retreat in these destinations to go on Aurora hunt at night when the solar activity is high. All these places have multiple locations to target northern light chase, both on road trips as well as organized tours. Multiple lodges in these cities offer ice hotels, outdoor jacuzzis, outdoor tents in nature cabs , outdoor spa etc and cabin stays are very popular for cheap stays.
Take this experience with a local tour operator as they are knowledgable about the regions and go away from city lights to ensure you see the lights. Note that, seeing northern lights is very weather dependent and hence you need multiple days to ensure you hit a clear sky day with high solar activity for the best chance to see the Auroras.
Things to do in Sweden in the Summer
Sailing the Stockholm Archipelago
by James Ian from Travel Collecting
One of the best outdoor activities you can do in Sweden is sail around the Stockholm Archipelago. The entire area around the capital city features thousands of islands that few visitors to Stockholm see. The islands and seas are the summer playground of Stockholmers and sailing around them will make you feel like a local.
There are a couple of operators who arrange guided trips (in English) in small sailing boats. Either leave from a harbor near Stockholm (transfers from central Stockholm are included) or from Vaxholm, the largest of the islands in the archipelago (there are several easy ways to get to Vaxholm from nearby Stockholm).
The boats will sail past wooded islands and the red and yellow wooden houses that are quintessential Swedish summer homes. Typical trips stop for lunch on one of the islands. You can usually get off and hike into the woods and even go swimming, but it is the sailing that you came for.
Before long, you will head back out to sea and more time sailing between and around dozens of tiny islands. With the sun shining, the wind in your hair and the stunning scenery all around you, you will have a Swedish experience like no other.
Cycling Stockholm city parks
James Ian from Travel Collecting
Stockholm has several enormous City Parks filled with lakes, woods, historic buildings and amazing cafes. The best way to see and experience them is to cycle around them.
There are several places to rent bicycles, but a favorite is Sjöcaféet on Royal Djurgården. Right by the water and next to a bridge to the mainland, they have plenty of bicycles. Though in summer, don’t leave it too late in the day, as they do book out.
From there, you can easily spend the day in Djurgården. Cycling by the canal, stopping off at Rosendals Tradgard for fica, taking a tour of Rosendals Slot palace, and admiring the art at the Thielska gallery. You may even encounter a herd of sheep!
However, for a grander adventure, head across the Djurgårdsbron bridge just next to the bicycle rental and head north. There are bicycle lanes that will take through a series of city parks and neighborhoods, including Haga Park, ending up Ulriksdal.
This epic day out takes you past beautiful lakes, historic buildings and plenty of cafes to stop off at and fica. Highlights include Carl Eldh’s former studio museum. It is a light-filled fantasy studio crammed with his amazing sculptures. Marel at the flower-filled allotment gardens, and the fantastical architecture in Haga Park.
The Chinese and Turkish Pavilions, Copper Tent and Gustav III Pavilion are all highlights. At the imposing Ulriksdal Palace, there are formal gardens to explore and a fantastic café that is the perfect place to recharge before the return trip.
This cycling excursion is a wonderful way to experience Stockholm in a way that few tourists do. Slow down and enjoy life like a Swede. There are plenty of places for fica! And to see several of the city’s highlights along the way. This is truly a highlight of any trip to Sweden.
Hiking in Muddus National Park
By Ellis from Backpack Adventures
Swedish Lapland is one of the best places in Sweden if it comes to outdoor activities. The remote and sparsely populated area is full of national parks that are prime hiking territory. One of them is Muddus National Park.
Muddus National Park belongs to the Laponian area. Laponia became a UNESCO World Heritage site because it is the world’s largest area of pristine nature that is still used by the native people. The Sami reindeer herders still use a small part of Laponia as reindeer pastures. They move their herds from the mountains to the lower grounds as the seasons change.
The landscapes in Laponia vary greatly. From barren mountains, clear lakes, raging rivers and dense pine tree forests. More than 95% of the Laponian heritage area is protected as a national park. What sets Muddus apart is that it is home to old growth forests and that it has a number of well established hiking trails.
Muddus National Park is located close to Jokkmokk. Therefore it is also one of the most accessible national parks of Laponia. The trails are all marked and therefore it is easy to visit the park on your own. One of the most popular day hikes is to the Muddusagahtjaldak waterfall. But there are other trails for birdwatching towers and ravines. They all connect in a loop making it possible to do a multi day hike while staying in self-catering mountain cabins along the way.
Muddus National Park does not have any other facilities so bring enough food and water with you along with your hiking boots and mosquito repellent. The boggy marshes in the forest attract lots of them in summer. While summer is the best time to go hiking, early autumn is also still good and brings beautiful autumn colors.
by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
Kungsklyftan, located in the charming town of Fjällbacka, is one of the most popular hikes along the west coast of Sweden. The short hike takes you through a cleft between two granite cliffs. Giant boulders are wedged between the cliffs and are suspended overhead as hikers ascend up the rocky path beneath them.
After ascending through the 200-meter long rock gorge known as Kungsklyftan, or Kings Crevice, you’ll reach a wooden staircase that takes you to the top of Vetteberget Mountain. From the mountaintop, you’ll have fantastic, panoramic views of the Fjällbacka, the bay, and the Weather Islands in the distance.
The entrance to Kungsklyftan is directly across from the harbor in the picturesque town. While the hike is short and not particularly strenuous, the path through the crevice is steep and rocky. You can descend from Vetteberget back through Kungsklyftan or take an easier walking trail down through a quiet residential area back to the harbor.
The cleft received its name in 1887, when King Oscar II signed the northern wall. It was also featured in the animated series Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter. The series is based on a children’s fantasy book written by the famous Swedish author, Astrid Lingren.
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What are your favorite things to do in Sweden outdoors?
If you have any additions to this list, we would love to hear them! Feel free to comment, like and share. And most of all, have a great and safe time exploring the great outdoors in Sweden!