12 things you must do in Sweden in 2018
1. January: admire the Northern Lights in Lapland
The area around Kiruna in northern Sweden is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The Aurora Sky Station in Abisko is a particularly good location but the chairlift leading to it is closed until January 22nd due to a technical error.
READ ALSO: Northern Lights dance across Swedish sky
In the meantime, there are plenty of spots in and around the village of Abisko and in the rest of the region. But even the greatest location wonât help you if you go at the wrong time, as the sun hides the northern light in the summer. That's why January is one of the best time of the year to hunt for the aurora borealis -- just remember you're never guaranteed to see them.
Swedish Lapland. Photo: Hjalmar Andersson/imagebank.sweden.se
2. February: go skiing
February's the season for skiing in Sweden, especially around sportlov, the winter sports break â"but even at the busiest times, don't expect the crowds and long queues of the better-known French or Italian resorts.
The biggest destination for winter sports is Ã re, Swedenâs largest alpine skiing area, but there are over a hundred resorts to choose from, and most are guaranteed to have snow. If downhill skiingâs not your cup of tea, thereâs also plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing, ice skating, dog sledding, and more.
3. March: Melodifestivalen
Sweden spends six weeks every year choosing its Eurovision entry in a competition known as Melodifestivalen. This year, 28 contestants will perform in six shows around the country, starting in February.
The biggest event is undoubtedly the final, with fans from all over the country and even international visitors gathering to watch the performances and discover this year's winner. In 2018, it will take place on March 10th in Stockholm. Tickets are selling out fast but if you miss out, thereâs always the "Second Chance" live show on March 2nd in Kristianstad.
Melodifestivalen in all its glory. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
4. April: celebrate Walpurgis (Valborg)
April 30th is Walpurgis Night, known as Valborg in Sweden. On this night, Swedes get together to welcome spring by singing and lighting bonfires. Students have made this tradition their own, making this one of the biggest parties of the year in university town like Uppsala and Lu nd. Join them for drunken antics including entirely too much champagne, or, for a quieter celebration, check what your local council is organising. Thereâs also a Walpurgis celebration with choral singing at the Skansen outdoor museum in Stockholm every year.
Valborg. Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se
5. May: cycle
Cycling is a popularâ"and environmentally friendlyâ"way to explore Sweden in the spring and summer months. The cities are cycle-friendly, with MalmÃ¶ recently named the fifth most bike-friendly city in the world, and some of them offer a public rental scheme making it easy to make inner-city bike journeys. There are well-marked routes throughout the countryside, like the KlarÃ¤lvsbanan trail spanning 220km in western Sweden or Kattegattleden, the countryâs first national tourist cycling route.
Cycling in SkÃ¥ne. Photo: News Ãresund/Johan Wessman
6. June: celebrate Midsummer
If you thought the bonfires and singing of Walpurgis night were strange, you clearly havenât been to a Midsummer party. Get ready to dance like a frog and down shots of flavoured brÃ¤nnvin. And donât forget the pickled herring, of course.
READ ALSO: Ten things to hate about Midsummer in Sweden
There will be midsummer parties all over the country, but itâs best celebrated outdoors, in the countryside (thereâs more space for dancing there, after all).
A classic, wet Midsummer. Photo: Werner Nystrand/imagebank.sweden.se
7. July: go for a midnight swim
In northern Swede n, the sun stays up late into the night in summer. The light isnât the same for twenty-four hours though: it takes on a beautiful orange colour, like what youâd usually see at sunrise. Itâs the perfect time for a nocturnal swim. For a more adventurous experience, join a race like Swim the Arctic Circle, an open-water competition in the Torne river, crossing the border between Sweden and Finland.
8. August: go to a crayfish party (krÃ¤ftskiva)
Crayfish parties are an opportunity for Swedes to get together in August and, you guessed it, eat crayfish. Boiled crayfish is eaten cold, with your fingers, and everyone wears paper hats and bibs around their necks.
READ ALSO: How to survive a Swedish crayfish party
Like any good Swedish party, it also involves schnapps, singing, and toasting. The tradition goes back to the early 1900s, when crayfish harvesting was restricted to late summer by law.
Silly hats are a must when it comes to crayfish parties. Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se
9. September: go to a festival
Swedenâs most famous festivals take place in July and August, but if you were too busy dancing like a frog, swimming in the Arctic circle, or eating crayfish, you can still catch up in September. The biggest festival at this time of year is Stockholm-based Popaganda (August 31-September 1), which last year featured artists like Phoenix, Alt-J, and The Vaccines.
READ ALSO: First tickets for Sweden's man-free festival go on sale
The controversial Statement Festival, where men are not allowed, will happen at the same time in Gothenburg. Later in the month is Gather, a mix between a conference and a music festival. Fans of classical music can head to MalmÃ¶ Cha mber Music from September 19th to 23rd.
Popaganda. Photo: Henrik Petterson/Flickr Creative Commons
10. October: Go mushroom picking
Autumn is the season for mushroom picking. Fortunately, Swedish law allows you to wander around the countryside and forage for wild food, as long as you don't cause any damage. And with over half the country covered with forests, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a good spot for mushroom hunting. Be patient and watch out for poisonous mushroomsâ"don't pick anything you donât recognise and bring a good guidebook if youâre a beginner.
11. November: try food from the Arctic
The November cold is the perfect excuse for some hearty food from Laplandâ"not that you need an excuse. Arctic cuisine is made from fresh ingredients found in the wild, such as reindeer, elk, Arctic char, and berries. This yield dishes like reindeer stew and, of course, the bright orange roe harvested from the vendace, a type of fish. Itâs admittedly not ideal for vegetarians.
12. December: enjoy a traditional Swedish Christmas
Sweden has a host of Christmas traditions spanning the whole month of December. It starts with the Advent candlesticks popping up at everyoneâs windows and ends with a traditional Christmas meal and presents on Christmas Eve. Along the way, thereâs Luciaâ"December 13th, the Feast of Saint Luciaâ"when children wear white gowns and one lucky girl gets to carry candles (nowadays usually electric) on her head. Itâs also yet another excuse for a party, this time to drink glÃ¶gg.
Lucia. Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Article written by The Local Sweden contributor Valentine Baldassari.Source: Google News Sweden | Netizen 24 Sweden