Best time to visit Stockholm

Best time to visit Stockholm


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

You can visit Stockholm year round, just be prepared to wrap up in winter, when temps drop to -3°C. Come in Dec for atmospheric Christmas markets and twinkling lights. If you want to enjoy the countryside on the doorstep, the best time to visit Stockholm is May-Sept. From mid July-Aug you’ll meet Swedes on vacation, too, but overcrowding is rarely an issue. Want the place to yourself? Go May-mid July, when the landscape is green and the weather warm, at 15-20°C. Outside the summer, things become unpredictable. There can be snow in April, and by Oct the nights draw in and it turns cold.

Things to do in Stockholm


What to do in Stockholm, & what not to

Things to do in Stockholm…


Lakes and coast define the geography of Stockholm and its surroundings, so take to the water! Try a harbour tour on a steamer to appreciate Stockholm’s architecture, or kayak through the channels and inlets of the city. Ferry boats criss-cross Lake Mälaren, connecting you with quiet countryside, and also serve the wild Stockholm Archipelago. The lakes that pepper southern Sweden are perfect for canoeing; try paddling the ancient Viking waterways between coastal Mariefred and Trosa.
Take a walking tour of Stockholm to appreciate its old town, Gamla Stan, or stroll through the Ecopark. Beyond the city, self guided walking vacations take in the Stockholm Archipelago and the Sörmland countryside, with maps leading you along quiet trails. Trips include luggage transfers, so you can move through a region, using boats to connect hiking spots, experiencing a range of sights in a single week. Itineraries are often flexible, giving you lots freedom.
Explore on two wheels. Cycling here suits the whole family. The terrain, particularly on Stockholm’s archipelago, is easy going, and the tracks are safe and largely traffic-free, with self guided trips here including good maps and luggage transfers. You can also enjoy a day’s cycling through Stockholm’s Ecopark, a green oasis combining cultural heritage and natural features. Swedes love to cycle around Stockholm, too, with 70,000 cyclists crossing the city’s borders daily.

Things not to do Stockholm…


If you’re drawn to Stockholm for its culinary scene, don’t be on a budget. While not as frighteningly expensive as Norway, eating out in Sweden can bruise your wallet. Be sure to check prices before sitting down in a restaurant, and factor in the high cost of wine. For bargain daytime scoffing, opt for a dagens lunch deal, generally offering a salad, main and drink for under a tenner.
Some vacations only touch down in Stockholm before heading out the next day, but the capital deserves more than a hurried afternoon. That said, don’t limit yourself to a city break. Sweden is bursting with natural beauty – 100,000 lakes, tens of thousands of islands and over 2,000 national parks and nature reserves – and happily, many are a short hop from Stockholm. In just a week you can sample the city and immerse yourself in wild Sweden, taking in a historic castle or pretty village, too.
Stockholm and its countryside are perfect for family breaks, so don’t leave the kids behind! Sweden’s family-centred culture ensures a warm welcome, and this spacious country never feels as stuffed as southern Europe in the summer hols. You can easily combine a ton of activities onto a break in the capital, from swimming and foraging for wild berries on Stockholm’s archipelago to kayaking on Sörmland’s lakes.

Stockholm travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN STOCKHOLM


Carmen Hamdi, from our supplier Nordic Trails, moved from the UK to Sweden with her family. She gives her insights into Stockholm and the surrounding countryside:

When to visit


“December is a lovely cosy month here in Stockholm. The darkness outside is brightened up by the Christmas lights in people’s houses – you never pass a house without the classic advent lights in the windows. Snow is not guaranteed throughout December, but it adds a lot to the atmosphere if it does fall in the lead up to Christmas. Christmas markets are very popular in and around the city – Skansen and Gamla Stan hold the most popular ones.”

What to check out in Stockholm...


“I’d recommend a visit to Gamla Stan (the old town), walking around the small alleys of Söder, plus the beautiful Monteliusvägen in Söder which is a quarter mile path with lovely views of Lake Mälaren. Vasa Museum is outstanding, Rosendahls Trädgård, a garden on Djurgården island is great, plus the Ecopark. Any of the thousands of islands are a boat journey away. Skansen open air museum is in a lovely setting and the Abba Museum is a lot of fun for ABBA fans.”

What to eat


“Meatballs of course! If made well they are really delicious, with the essential ‘gräddsås’ sauce and lingonberries on the side. Also, herring is eaten in many different forms, from the somewhat acquired taste of rollmop herrings to pan-fried herring with mashed potatoes and butter. The Swedish ‘fika’ or coffee break has also become something of a phenomenon. Bakeries are really very popular all over town.”

How to eat out without breaking the bank


“Eating out is expensive, around SEK 200 for a main course in a mainstream restaurant, but higher prices at anywhere smarter. Alcohol is expensive when bought in restaurants, but not so bad actually if you buy a bottle of wine from the state run Systembolaget [a government owned chain of stores selling alcohol]. Lunches called a ‘Dagens lunch’ are a good deal. You get a cooked meal for SEK 80-100 with salad, drink and coffee.”

How to get around Stockholm


“Stockholm is easy to get around. It’s rather small, so actually you can get around most of it on foot. There is an excellent system of trams and buses and the underground which make everywhere accessible, not to mention the intricate system of boats heading in and out of the archipelago. Excellent English is spoken here in the city. You’re certainly welcome to try some Swedish, no one will laugh, but locals are quite likely to revert back to English. They are very used to speaking it. It’s also very child friendly here. There are lots of parks and open spaces for kids to play in, and families are welcome at all restaurants.”

Tips from our travelers in Stockholm


ADVICE FROM THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Stockholm travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
“Take up the suggestion for walking in or near Stockholm itself: we took up the Eco Park option and spent a day walking in Djurgården, unwinding from our journey to Stockholm, catching a glimpse of deer in the park, eating at the organic gardening project, and seeing another side of the city, before setting out on our trip.” – Bronwen Davies

“To use the public transport system in Stockholm you need to buy either one Access card, which can be used to buy tickets for a group of people traveling together; or an Access card for each person, which can be used to buy 24-hour or 72-hour travel cards. It may be a good idea to have bought these online before you travel, so that you can use them as soon as you arrive.” – Bronwen Davies

“If you are traveling beyond Stockholm, be aware that if you go out of season some restaurants/shops may be closed. However, we didn’t find that a disadvantage. Also, going in early June means missing most of the mosquitos.” – Andrew and Sharon Venables

“In Stockholm, the Vasa Museum is outstanding. We extended our canoeing vacation to stay in Stockholm at the end. It is such a beautiful city it is definitely worth doing (if time and money allows).” – Ian Buckley

“There was a bit of wet weather around although we got fairly lucky, so pack appropriately. Make sure you have enough time in Stockholm, it is worth it. We also booked a follow up week on the island of Utö, which was fantastic, so maybe consider this if you want another week.” – Mike Platten
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Tommie Hansen] [When to visit: Rie H] [What to eat: Steffen Wurzel] [How to get around Stockholm: Jorge Franganillo] [Tip1: Jorge Láscar] [Tip2: Tommie Hansen] [Helpdesk: Eugenijus Radlinskas]

Written by Joanna Simmons
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