Europe travel photos and information at Travel Signposts

When to travel to Sweden, the best seasons and weather.

You are here:
Google Travel Signposts

When to travel to Sweden: weather and seasons

Sweden's climate is temperate in the south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summer weather; and of course, subarctic in north. Actually, Sweden's climate is milder than you might expect (considering its northerly geographic location at the same latitude as parts of Greenland and Siberia), because like most of Scandinavia it's warmed by the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift.

Sweden’s climate varies considerably from north to south, with large differences between summer and winter temperatures. The north-to-south extension of the country and the higher elevation of the northern part results in great regional variations in winter climate. There is an important weather divergence between northern and southern Sweden: the north has a winter of more than seven months and a summer of less than three, while Skane in the south has a winter of about two months and a summer of more than four.

Stockholm is warmer and milder, while in the mountains of northern Sweden a sub-Arctic climate predominates. The warm summer months are always popular and without doubt when Stockholm is at its best, with plenty of sunny weather. The seasonal climate changes in Stockholm are extremely distinctive and varied, with the winter solstice festivities taking place towards the end of December each year.

North of the Arctic Circle (66° N), the sun never sets for part of each summer, which is called the Midnight Sun, one of Scandinavia's natural phenomena. This amounts to 24 hours of sun and 24 hours of Arctic twilight in midsummer and midwinter respectively.

The increasing shortness of summer northward is partly compensated for by comparatively high summer temperatures, the greater length of day, and the infrequency of summer cloud; the considerable cloud cover in winter reduces heat loss by radiation.

Summer temperatures vary far less although summer is much shorter in the north; in fact, temperatures are surprisingly similar in midsummer over much of the country. The long summer days help to raise temperatures in the north so that on fine days temperatures may be as high as in the south.

The Swedish summer climate is generally warm and sunny, and at times even hot, with summer temperatures similar to those of southern England but with more hours of sunshine. Between June and August you can expect temperatures to regularly top 20°C (68°F) and it can get as hot as 30°C (86°F), with occasional rainy weather. Summer temperatures in the southern cities of Sweden average out around 18°C and winter temperatures around -2°C.

Late summer and autumn are the rainiest seasons, but precipitation falls throughout the year.The maximum rainfall occurs in late summer, and the minimum in early spring.

A result of the changeable nature of Swedish summers is that visitors should not expect to find fine weather every day. It's unfortunately true that a wet cool spell in summer in northern Sweden can be miserable. "There is no bad weather, just bad clothes," say the Swedes. Well, that may be so, but in Sweden you certainly have to come prepared. Light- to medium-weight clothing for summer, heavyweights for winter and rain gear all year round.

The mountain regions remain cool in summer. In the mountains of the far north, summer temperatures seldom exceed 50°F, and much colder conditions and snow are possible at anytime of the year.

Winter temperatures in Sweden can be cold everywhere; the exception to this is the south-west from Gothenburg to Malmo where winter temperatures are modified by an open ocean which rarely freezes. Even in Stockholm, maximum temperatures in the day are likely to remain below freezing throughout January and February. Winters become progressively longer and colder towards the north of the country and the average number of days with a mean temperature below freezing increases from 71 at Malmo to 120 at Stockholm and 184 at Haparanda near the Arctic Circle. The average January temperature in Haparanda at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia is 10 °F (-12 °C)

The northern interior receives heavy snowfall for up to eight months of the year and has severe temperatures that drop as low as -30 to -40°C (-22 to -40°F). In the north, autumn and winter arrive early and spring does not come until late May.

In southern Sweden winters vary more from year to year than in the north; snowfall is irregular, and average January temperatures range between -5 and 0°C (23 and 32°F).

Winter snows in both the central and northern regions can be heavy (especially in Lapland), and from Stockholm northwards the waters of the Gulf of Bothnia do freeze. However, despite the chilly weather and climate, winter is still a popular time to visit Stockholm, when ice skating is possible on nearby Lake Getaren, and downhill skiing available within easy reach of the city, at resorts such as Botkyrka, Hellasgarden, Lida Friluftsgard and Rudan, which even features its very own snowmaking equipment.

Climate in Sweden

Sweden's climate is so variable that average values for the whole country can be misleading. The official Swedish website uses three different places to represent these variations, so we thought we'd do the same, with a few extra readings:

Northwest (Kiruna)

Average Maximum Temperature (Day) -20°C/-10°C -2°C/4°C 15°C/20°C 1°C/7°C
Average Minimum Temperature (Night) -20°C/-10°C -10°C/-2°C 7°C/12°C -4°C/3°C
Highest Temperature 2°C 8°C 26°C 13°C
Lowest Temperature -27°C -21°C 0°C -14°C
Hours of Daylight 0 14 24 11
Northeast (Umea) Winter
Average Maximum Temperature (Day) -8°C/1°C 2°C/8°C 18°C/23°C 6°C/11°C
Average Minimum Temperature (Night) -15°C/-3°C -5°C/0°C 8°C/14°C -2°C/6°C
Highest Temperature 4°C 18°C 28°C 15°C
Lowest Temperature -30°C -18°C 1°C -8°C
Hours of Daylight 4 13 21 11
Central/South (Stockholm) Winter
Average Maximum Temperature (Day) -2°C/5°C 7°C/14°C 21°C/28°C 11°C/15°C
Average Minimum Temperature (Night) -4°C/2°C 1°C/5°C 13°C/17°C 7°C/10°C
Highest Temperature 10°C 21°C 32°C 18°C
Lowest Temperature -9°C -3°C 11°C 2°C
Hours of Daylight 6 13 19 11

top of page>>

Our other Sweden pages:

Useful facts, dates and links to help you plan your tour of Sweden

Map of Sweden

Find a Sweden Phone Number, Phone Code or Telephone Directory

Book your sightseeing tours or day-trips in Sweden online

Book your hotel in Sweden online


Travel Resources that will save you time and money
Travel Signposts Special Reports
Download Special Travel Reports
Staying healthy, Packing, more coming!

Book a Hotel in Europe
Book a hotel in Europe

Book hotels, apartments at discount rates anywhere in Europe.

Book Music/Opera in Brussels
Book Music/Opera in Brussels

Book a tour
City tours, day trips, special attractions tours, all over Europe.

Rent a car
Rent or lease a car or campervan for your Europe tour - and a cellphone!
Australians click here!

Book Rail Travel
Europe has great railways. Get great deals on passes and tickets here

Book Eurostar
Travel from London to Paris and the Continent by high speed rail underwater!

Book a European Cruise
European cruises from CruiseDirect

Book a flight
Use QIXO (US) or Expedia and LastMinute (UK) to search out the cheapest flights on the Net!

Ectaco Electronic Talking TranslatorBuy a Talking Electronic Translator

SIM cardInternational SIM cards
Using a cell phone overseas

Travel Signposts
29/4-8 Kareela Road, Cremorne Point 2090, Australia
tel:+61 (2) 9953 4425 fax:+61 (2) 9953 4425

This web site copyright 2012 Travel Signposts and ZambaGrafix