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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Sweden in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Sweden in 2024

What's the best time to visit Sweden?

The best time to visit Sweden is from May to September when you’ll enjoy warm weather and long days, perfect for outdoor adventures and experiencing the country’s lively summer culture. During these months, Sweden buzzes with festivals and an energetic social scene, although catching the Northern Lights might be challenging. Opting for May or September can also mean fewer crowds and better prices, with some summer activities still on offer.

Along with much of Scandinavia and northern Europe, Sweden consistently ranks among the world’s top ten happiest countries. Once you visit, you’ll instantly know why.

Because of weather and other factors, choosing the best time to visit Sweden is tricky. However, if you do your research, you’ll have much to enjoy! Sweden has tons to offer visitors, including breathtaking and diverse natural features.

It’s also home to a unique style of architecture, thriving cultural and arts scenes, cutting-edge cuisine, fascinating history, and so much more. Below, we’ll reveal the best time to visit Sweden.

We’ll also analyze the entire calendar in case your personal preferences differ. That way, you can ensure you enjoy your Swedish vacation at the absolute best time.

Overall Best Time to Visit Sweden

View of canal in the historic Gothenburg city during the overall best time to visit Sweden

Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock

Overall, the best time to visit Sweden is between May and September. One of the biggest reasons to visit during this time is the weather. As you probably know, Sweden is pretty far north, meaning winters are frigid.

Unless you want to partake in Arctic activities (and there are several fun ones!), you’re better off visiting in the summer. The air will be warmer, and days will be significantly longer. You’ll have more time to explore the great outdoors.

While southerly cities such as Stockholm and Gothenburg don’t see 24-hour night or day, daylight becomes limited in the winter. Conversely, it stays bright well into the evening during the summer, allowing you to enjoy more of what the country has to offer.

The only real bummer about visiting in the summer is that you’re unlikely to see the Northern Lights unless you head very far north in early September. Still, unless that’s your top priority, you’ll likely get more out of your trip overall in the late spring or summer.

Summer Vibes

Anyone who has spent time in Sweden during different times of the year knows there is a noticeably different atmosphere in the summer. Swedes are hard workers but take their leisure time just as seriously.

Most Swedish people are entitled to at least six weeks of paid vacation annually, and many take it in the summer. Sweden comes out of hibernation in the spring. As nature explodes with color and life, so do the people.

Festivals abound (including the Midsummer Festival and the Stockholm Folk Festival), work days shorten, and everyone is more interested in enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Shoulder Season

Some people prefer to visit during Sweden’s “shoulder” tourist season, the weeks directly before and after the true peak season. It includes mostly May and September, but also the very end of April and the beginning of October.

May and September are ideal months to visit Sweden if you want to avoid busy crowds and high prices for hotels and services. That said, some summer activities might be unavailable, particularly if it’s too cold.

Cheapest Time to Visit Sweden

Northern lights aurora lights in the skies over Abisko National Park depicting the cheapest time to visit Sweden

Conny Sjostrom/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Sweden is October, November, and early December. You might expect the cheapest time to visit Sweden would be in the dead of winter, but that’s not always the case.

For a combination of reasons, tourist amenities scale back later in the winter. Cold temperatures force keep locals at home and tourists at bay. It’s also expensive and wasteful to heat and maintain hotel rooms and other unoccupied spaces.

With less available, prices stay somewhat steady in the winter. However, they usually don’t scale back in that manner until after the winter solstice holidays, which includes some prime Northern Lights viewing time.

You’ll usually have until Nobel Prize Day and St. Lucia Day in early or mid-December. To snag the best deals, visit between shoulder season and the holidays, from October through early December.

Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like.

Autumn in Sweden

As you probably expect, October and November bring cooler, cloudier temperatures and shorter days. Precipitation picks up, so expect some rain and early snowfall, especially further north.

It might sound dreary, but there’s a particular kind of beauty about the stillness. It becomes more striking, set against the changing colors of autumn leaves.

Peak leaf season varies, but it’s typically in late October near the major cities. The Stockholm Jazz Festival happens in October, and All Saint’s Eve and All Saint’s Day are big holidays in early November.

Cheaper Times to Enjoy Sweden

If you want to enjoy the perks of peak season at a lower price, check out late August and September. Tourism declines globally around this time. You can sometimes find reasonable prices in early May, though many wanderlusters start heading out on adventures early.  

Least Busy Time to Visit Sweden

View of Stockholm old town with snow on the rooftops during winter, the least busy time to visit Sweden

Iurii Kravtsov/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Sweden is winter, especially January, February, and March. Swedish tourism follows a similar pattern to the rest of Europe. The year starts slow in the winter, gradually picking up during the spring months of March and April.

Many countries recognize May 1 (May Day) as a national holiday, and it kicks off the tourist season. Crowds in popular destinations climb, prices for accommodations and travel surge, and there’s a general sense of excitement.

Late June, July, and early August tend to be the busiest. You’ll also see many intercontinental visitors, particularly from North America. As August wanes, so do crowds.

Autumn tends to be quiet, especially for international visitors. Local destinations that are easily accessible from major cities may be busier with weekend getaways, though.

Crowds continue to fall until the holidays around the winter solstice when many communities decorate and celebrate the festivities. After that, things quiet down again.

Worst Time to Visit Sweden

Peaceful view of lake in the middle of Malmo during the worst time to visit Sweden


Most visitors agree that the worst time to visit Sweden is winter, or the months of January, February, and March. However, it also depends on what you want to do and see.

This isn’t solely because the weather is cold and the days are short. That’s appealing to many people. Winter is the worst time to visit Sweden because the country goes into an unofficial lull. Because seasons are so extreme, Swedes have lived in their rhythm for generations.

These days, many of them work hard during the winter months, saving money and other resources. Some businesses respond by scaling back, but either way, you’ll stand out as a tourist in wintertime.

In the spring and especially summer, Sweden seems to awaken. As the days start to lengthen rapidly, they take time off work to travel, participate in festivals, and generally enjoy the longer days and warm air.

The Northern Lights

Winter is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, even if it isn’t ideal for other reasons. You need very dark skies and high elevations to see them, and both of those things are winter occurrences.

Many visitors opt to enjoy a quiet few days in Stockholm or Gothenburg before journeying to the Swedish Laplands, where Aurora Borealis will be on full display by January. If seeing the Northern Lights is your priority, then January, February, and March are the best months to go to Sweden.

Major Swedish Holidays

Depending on how you like to vacation, you might wish to avoid or indulge in a special event or celebration on the Swedish calendar.

After the solstice, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays, the first major holidays are Walpurgis or Valborg Eve and May Day, which falls on April 30 and May 1. On Valborg, Swedes – especially young people – light enormous bonfires at dusk.

The growing bright lights and warmth against the encroaching darkness and cold of night signify hope for the future. It descends from an ancient tradition. May 1, or May Day, celebrates workers’ rights and contributions to society.

June 6 is Sweden’s National Day, similar to the Fourth of July in the US or Bastille Day in France. Expect elaborate shows of patriotism, including parades and fireworks.

Next on the calendar are Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen, or Midsummer’s Eve and Midsummer’s Day (often shortened to simply Midsommar).

These are always celebrated at the solstice, which shifts between June 20, 21, and 22. The Nobel Prizes are always awarded in Stockholm on December 10, and it’s a holiday in Sweden.

It precedes the start of the winter solstice and Christmas holidays on December 13, St. Lucia Day. This is an important feast day in Sweden. Festivities continue through Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, on January 6.

Visit Sweden During the Best Time of the Year

So, what’s the best time to visit Sweden? While the answer somewhat depends on what you want to do and see, most experts agree that the best time to visit Sweden is between May and September.

During the late spring, summer, and early fall, Swedes and their country emerge from their long winter to celebrate holidays and festivals while enjoying each other’s company. Businesses and marketplaces buzz with activity.

You can be part of it if you visit Sweden during the peak tourist season. Consider all your options; after all, Sweden is stunning any time of the year!