sweden lapland icehotel main street rth

Best Time to Visit Sweden

Home Destinations Nordic Europe Sweden Best Time to Visit Sweden

A winter holiday in Sweden’s far north should be on everyone’s wishlist, with highlights ranging from the seriously cool Icehotel to northern lights watching in Abisko National Park. Don’t overlook summer in Sweden: it’s warm, the sun can shine 24 hours a day, the scenery is breathtaking and there’s loads to do – from self-drives to wildlife breaks.

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When to visit Sweden... at a glance

icehotel ice sculpting photo joakim norenius


  • Magical snowfall in Swedish Lapland
  • Seasonal Icehotel is open
  • Winter activities including snowmobiling and husky sledding
  • Perfect time for northern lights watching
central sweden summer moose vs


  • 24hr daylight and midnight sun in the north
  • Ideal time for self-drive holidays
  • Activities include hiking, cycling and canoeing
  • Icehotel 365 means you can still sleep on ice!

When is the best time to see the northern lights in Sweden?

The aurora can be visible on a clear winter’s night any time between September and March – and sometimes outside this period. The equinox months of September and March often have some of the best northern lights activity. The appearance of the aurora is always unpredictable, so it’s worth looking as soon as it gets dark, providing you have clear skies above.

sweden abisko national park aurora borealis rth

Sweden in Winter (Nov-Feb)

Forged using thousands of tonnes of ice from the frozen River Torne, the seasonal Icehotel is reborn each winter in the village of Jukkasjarvi in Swedish Lapland. Sculptors transform its interior into exquisite yet ephemeral ice art – the fabulous suites enchanting guests for a few months before the unique creation melts back into the river. A new addition, Icehotel 365 is a permanent ice experience with an ice bar, ice gallery and ice suites, offering the magic of the Icehotel to summer visitors as well.

During winter, the snow-covered landscape is a pristine playground for snowmobiling and husky sledding – not just at the Icehotel, but at destinations throughout northern Sweden, including Lulea on the shores of the frozen Gulf of Bothnia. Another highlight of a winter visit is the chance to go northern lights watching. With no light pollution and frequent cloudless skies, the mountain wilderness of Abisko National Park is renowned for its displays of the aurora borealis. The Abisko Mountain Station has grand views across Lake Tornetrask and surrounding fells, while a chairlift ride to the Aurora Sky Station puts you on top of the world when the northern lights are blazing away.

swedish lapland brandon lodge aerial view winter

Sweden in Spring (Mar - May)

Longer days and warmer temperatures mark the beginning of spring. Flowers start to bloom in southern Sweden, but there will still be snow cover in the north until early May. By the end of May, however, there’s 24hr daylight in northern Sweden (and the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle). As the thaw sets in, winter activities like snowmobiling and husky sledding are replaced by hiking, fishing and boating. The natural world is also stirring stirring to life – from poppies smothering the island of Gotland to brown bears emerging from hibernation in the wildwoods of central and north Sweden.

You can ski late in the season at a resort in central Sweden.

sweden skier carving at klappen early spring skiscan

Sweden in Summer (Jun – Aug)

Summer is a great time to head to Lapland if you’re a lover of nature and the great outdoors. Once the snow has melted and the rivers and lakes have thawed, the landscape is ripe for adventure – whether you’re into hiking, canoeing or cycling. Icehotel 365 in Jukkasjarvi remains frozen inside (so you can admire the amazing sculptures and spend a night sleeping on ice throughout summer), but its domed roof becomes carpeted in wildflowers. A short break here offers a unique experience, combining summer and winter in one holiday. Self-drive is also possible in Swedish Lapland during summer, combining Icehotel 365 with northern Finland and Norway.

The stunning countryside and sparkling coastline of West and Southern Sweden are at their most beautiful during summer. The southern province of Skane enjoys a mild climate and a laidback atmosphere – perfect for a self-drive touring holiday. Slightly further north, West Sweden is also ideal for a summer self-drive. The coastline stretches from Gothenburg to the Norwegian border and boasts a spectacular archipelago of around 8,000 islands, plus picture-postcard hamlets and golden dunes.

west sweden archipelago summer istk

Sweden in Autumn (Sep – Nov)

By the end of August, the leaves in northern Sweden start to change colour and night frosts are not uncommon. As the nights draw in, you stand a good chance of witnessing the aurora borealis. The first snowfall usually arrives in September or October.

swedish lapland autumn campfire brandon lodge

Sweden Weather

Travel to the Arctic Circle deep into Swedish Lapland and you will experience proper winters with snow cover from October to May and temperatures dropping to extremes of –30°C or more. The daily mean temperature during January in Swedish Lapland is around –13°C, while Lulea has a milder coastal climate with average winter highs ranging from 5°C in October to –5°C in January – cold enough for the Gulf of Bothnia to freeze over. From early December to January, the sun does not rise and you can experience the strange blue twilight of the polar night.