Things to do in Sweden

Must-see Sweden sights

Go for style, wilderness or watersports in sophisticated Sweden, a country that offers it all. Whether you’re up for getting active with hikes, swims, kayaking, or simply want to chill out in a cosy lakeside cabin and practice fika, there’s something for everyone here. Its capital city, Stockholm, is home to a plethora of picture-postcard landscapes, free museums and active nightlife, but venturing further afield – even to the likes of the Arctic Circle – will see you rewarded with pine forests, shimmering lakes and maybe even the elusive Northern Lights.

  1. Take a boat tour around Stockholm
  2. Chill out in Gothenburg
  3. Cycle around Malmo
  4. Time travel in Gotland
  5. Explore Lake Siljan
  6. Practice fika

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Rough Guides

1. Take a boat tour around Stockholm

For one of the best things to do in Sweden, take a boat tour around its capital city, Stockholm. Just head straight to the Stromkajen harbourside, where various operators sell tickets for different sightseeing trips. You can also take smaller passenger ferries across to the smaller archipelagos where the likes of the ABBA Museum, Grona Lund Theme Park and Vasa Museum are. It’s easy enough to cover most ground on foot or by metro; the key sights are Gamla Stan (the Old Town), the modern art museum, the photography museum and Sodermalm’s hipster SoFo neighbourhoods. Browsing Sweden holiday packages? Stockholm has plenty of attractions to keep you busy, and is well connected with the rest of the country.

Best for: All-rounder trips.

Don’t miss:Stroll around the parks and gardens, especially Djurgården.

2. Chill out in Gothenburg

Dubbed as Sweden’s ‘second city’, Gothenburg is a delightfully unpretentious city with a large university scene. It’s an attractive city to visit, with broad avenues, leafy parks and impressive museums and galleries, and you can bank on a lot of fun in the quirky bars, cool coffee shops and ultra-slick restaurants. Most visitors head towards Avenyn, the main shopping street, which leads uphill towards the Konstmuseum (art museum), Liseberg (Scandinavia’s largest theme park) and the Universeum science centre

Best for: Some of the country’s best restaurants.

Don’t miss: Spend an afternoon in Slottsskogen, a huge expanse of green space which is also home to the Natural History Museum.

3. Cycle around Malmo

If you’re considering what to do in Sweden, make time for Malmo, the country’s most cosmopolitan city. Between the medieval squares and bohemian districts are Turkish restaurants, striking modern architecture and a network of cycleable lanes. It’s the perfect place to explore at leisure; most of the sights are packed in the medieval centre, with its imposing town hall, Gothic St Petri Kyrka and the pedestrianised shopping street of Sodergatan.

Best for: Cycling around the city.

Don’t miss: Möllevångstorget, the giant cobbled square home to some of the best bars and restaurants.

4. Time travel in Gotland

Gotland is Sweden’s largest island and as such it’s worth exploring in its entirety by car or bike. It has a spread of fabulous beaches but the highlight has to be Visby, a wonderfully preserved medieval town. Visby is full of crumbling churches and cobbled alleyways; use the 13th-century walls that circle the town to help navigate you (although getting lost is half of the fun here) until you stumble across the art gallery and history museum.

Best for: Stepping back in time – or on the beach.

Don’t miss: Outside of Visby, explore the picturesque beaches

5. Explore Lake Siljan

While most visitors stick to the main cities in the south, head to central Sweden, where you’ll find the delightfully deep-blue Lake Siljan. Deep in the province of Dalarna, there are loads of festivities held during the midsummer, celebrating long days and warm weather. And it’s from this point that you can take a brilliant rail journey, the Inlandsbanan, which trails to the Arctic Circle via the towns of Orsa and Ostersund. Try to time it with the midsummer festivities, which is when the place really comes to life. You can also pay a visit to the small Vasaloppet Museum, which tells the history of the gruelling annual cross-country ski race that’s been held here for the past hundred years or so.

Best for: Embracing the wildlife, nature and great outdoors.

Don’t miss: The iconic red lakeside cabins.

6. Practice fika

Throughout Sweden, you’ll find many locals practicing fika, a small ritual meaning something along the lines of “to have a coffee, slice of cake and a chat with friends”. It’s a common cosy pastime, and it’s predominantly coffee shops that are taken over with Swedes making the most of fika-friendly afternoons. You’re spoilt for choice for coffee shops in Sweden – especially the more cosmopolitan cities like Stockholm and Malmo – so why not pause in a coffee shop and practice fika for yourself?

Best for: Getting down (and chilling out) with the locals.

Don’t miss: Tell your friends all about it with a fika-printed tea towel, t-shirt or other souvenir.

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