Summer is undoubtedly the most wonderful time to visit Stockholm. Even the locals prefer to spend each summer enjoying their own city and plan their longest holiday abroad during wintertime.
Once the days become longer, the city transforms as more and more people spend time outdoors. Stockholm’s city centre is beautifully situated on the water and there are endless possibilities when it comes to summer activities. Here are a few of them!
Stockholm is not your average city. The city itself is made up of 14 islands, and just 20 minutes from the capital await 30,000 islands, skerries and rock islets. The Stockholm archipelago is the largest in Sweden and second largest in the Baltic Sea. These islands are reachable by car and bike, but the most popular mode of transport is Waxholmsbolaget – a public boat service. The peninsula of Galo is a summer hotspot, where Swedes go to swim in wild coves, hike through lush meadows and catch some sun. Known as Stockholm’s “garden of paradise,” it’s the perfect choice for a sweltering day. From wild, uninhabited islands to seaside settlements, each island has its own character – if you have a day to spare, do it.
Go for a Swim
© Tove Freiij / Visit Sweden
Summer is the perfect time for a swim and Stockholm has no shortage of places to allow you to whip off your clothes and dive straight into the water. There are plenty of places for this, including not only the sea but plenty of beautifully clear lakes surrounded by nature – we recommend heading to Järlasjön. Just west of the city centre, Långsholmens strandbad, Klippbadet and Smedsuddsbadet are all great beaches to soak up the sun and take the plunge too.
Södermalm – Stockholm’s Coolest Neighbourhood
© Simon Paulin / Visit Sweden
If you’re a fan of London’s Shoreditch or New York’s SoHo, you’ll slip straight into the bohemian vibe of the Stockholm equivalent, Södermalm. Sprawling with independent fashion boutiques, bars and cafés, this is where young professionals hang and where live music is easily found. In the early evening the restaurants and bars start to fill up and the fun really gets going.
If you head south of Södermalm, you’ll find Eriksdalsbadet, Sweden’s National Swimming Hall. There are indoor and outdoor pools, Olympic-size pools for training, diving pools, pools with slides and floats for fun, kiddie pools, jacuzzis and saunas.
Sweden’s National Day
June 6 is National Day, and to celebrate it in the best way possible, visit the outdoor museum Skansen. Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum with a beautiful location on the Royal Djurgården park. In this gorgeous setting, you can mark the holiday with traditional crafts, glass blowing, tinsmith’s workshops, the eighteenth-century wooden Seglora Church and animals native to Scandinavia — think moose, wolverines and seals.
Grab a beer at one of Stockholm’s rooftop bars
As summer approaches, many of Stockholm’s hotels and bars open up their rooftop terraces , pulling in well-dressed locals for early evening drinks. The bars range from swanky, upmarket cocktail bars to trendy, laid-back joints with an urban vibe. But, what they all have in common is great views and a perfect place to soak up the last of the day’s rays.
© Vilhelm Stokstad / Visit Sweden
Last but not least is the Swedish calendar highlight, Midsummer, celebrated in June. The tribute to all things summer kicks off the long-awaited summer vacation for most Swedes; Stockholm will empty as people leave the city and head out to the archipelago or to their country homes. If you are in town that weekend, try to get invited to a party or head to celebrations at Skansen or other major Stockholm parks.
You’ll also see maypoles — completely covered with birch leaves and decorated with flowers — with kids, parents and grandparents all dancing around them.
Swedes are crazy about their Midsummer food. On local menus, you can always find pickled herring, sour cream and chives, potatoes, Vasterbotten pie and, for dessert, fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream. But what is almost more important during Midsummer are the drinks. Think aquavit or snaps, snaps and even more snaps!
Interested in a summer holiday to Sweden and Stockholm? Take a look at our holiday A Slice of South Sweden.