Sweden is a great Scandinavian country for a family holiday whether you want to play on beaches in the south; explore the wilds of Swedish Lapland in the far, far north; or stay in the central region for big cities and endlessly lovely countryside.
The Swedes are charming, cultured, great fun and good with kids: almost nothing’s off-limits; most accommodation has child-rates; all museums and galleries are free for under 18s; family fares are available on flights and longer rail journeys.
In fact, the only complaint you could possibly have about Sweden is its size and overwhelming choice of places to visit, all amazing in their own way. And that’s an easy gripe to get over, you just have to keep coming back to catch what you missed last holiday.
Direct flights from UK to Stockholm and Gothenburg all-year-round; two hours or less flying time.
Sweden has free entry to thousands of attractions all over the country from immense baroque palaces like Skokloster to museums and galleries in towns and cities.
Several UK tour operators specialise in Swedish Lapland holidays including visits to Abisko National Park and the Aurora Sky Station.
Scandi-Noir was born in Sweden, if you’re a fan you want: Malmo for Wallander; the Øresund road bridge for The Bridge; Stockholm for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; and Uppsala for Modus.
Sweden is the largest Scandinavian country, and is a year-round destination with beaches, islands, accessible snowy wildernesses, cultured cities and an extensive transport network covering the entire country from Malmo in the south to the furthest northern reaches of Kiruna.
Sweden has 29 National Parks including: Pieljekaise, land of the reindeer herding Sami; Gotska Sandon, famous for beaches and holiday cabins; Tyresta, for primeval forest hiking trails; and Store Mosse, home of the Golden and White Tailed Eagle feeding observatory.
The Gothenburg Archipelago is made up of twenty islands within easy reach of the city and is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations for Swedish families – good area to rent traditional cottages and cabins.
Sweden’s west coast stretches from Gothenburg to the border of Norway. It’s the place for island adventurers, dreamers, beachcombers and the true romantics with their hearts set on quaint little fishing villages, immense sea views, dancing Cranes and cute holiday cottages.
Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg’s the one to walk around as much as possible (or catch a pretty blue tram). Art and design are a powerful presence and quite a few of the best Swedish museums and galleries are here. This is a good family holiday base for the amazing Gothenburg Archipelago , the country’s largest amusement park and national parks like Västergötland and Kosterhavet.
Central Sweden is thousands of lakes and idyllic countryside, graceful cities, charming traditional villages, ancient customs and inspirational landscapes.
Sweden’s capital sits across 14 islands on Lake Mälaren and it doesn’t really have a bad angle. Another ideal base for family holidays, the city’s within easy reach of the entire Central Region. But it’s also one of European greats; so you might not feel the need to travel anywhere else.
If Malmo rings a bell it’s probably from its connections to Scandi-Noir classics like The Bridge. But the city, which stares over the Øresund at Copenhagen, is far from the only reason Southern Sweden deserves attention.
Swedish Lapland doesn’t have Father Christmas but compensates by being the land of the Sami and blessed with eight different seasons, the Midnight Sun and quite probably the best sightings of the Aurora Borealis on earth.
The largest Scandinavian country’s well connected from its beachy south to the far frozen deserts of Lapland in the north. Trains run almost everywhere and Sweden counts several of the world’s great rail journeys on its scheduled routes. More remote areas are linked to railway stations by buses and the road network is as well managed and wide-reach as you’d expect from the nation of Volvo.
Sailing’s another Swedish passion and anywhere with sea, lakes, archipelagos or rivers has historic steamers, passenger cruise boats, ferries and water buses. Public transport in cities and towns is excellent, affordable and runs long hours – most major cities have congestion charges now, so driving’s not the way to get about. On the other hand, car hire’s by far the best way to explore the different regions, access more interesting places to stay and get to know the exceptional national parks.
Don’t think about driving in the north of the country in winter: many areas are ice-bound for months and conditions are often too hazardous for seasoned locals to attempt. Domestic flights are the way to go for Lapland from November to March and SAS has flights from Stockholm and Gothenburg to all Swedish airports, north and south, kids often travel half price.