There are plenty of reasons to visit one of Europe’s northernmost countries, but like the rest of Scandinavia, Sweden isn’t known for its beach getaways or revelry in the sun like some of its Mediterranean counterparts.
However, it’s still a delightful and show-stopping tourist destination in its own right. There are thousands of coastal islands to visit, but Sweden is also home to epic boreal forests, glacial mountains, and, of course, places to catch the mystical northern lights.
Sweden isn’t all snow and ice, it’s beautifully green too, and even gets warm at the right time of year. Nevertheless, we’re here for the coldest places in Sweden, all of which are well worth visiting if you’re brave enough and come prepared. Let’s find out where to go to feel the chill, or if you’re not a fan of your daily temperatures being in the minuses, which places to avoid?
Sweden is cold for the majority of the year. So, you’re going to want to pack warm for your Nordic adventure, and one place you’ll want to be specially prepared for is Vitvattnet.
Vitvattnett is a town in the region of Vaesterbotten, approximately 26,71 miles from Umea, the regional capital, and some 310,68 miles from Stockholm. Though the town is relatively close to the sea and by no means one of the most northern places to visit in Sweden, it regularly receives the chilliest average lows dropping to a staggering 25 Fahrenheit.
Based on this, it might not be the first destination that pops into your mind when you’re planning a vacation, but you can rest assured that it’s become a firm favorite for many. Outdoor enthusiasts can’t get enough of the region’s vast, gorgeous forests, while foodies love its local culinary scene. It’s also become known as an excellent Northern Lights viewing point.
Although ever so slightly warmer than Vitvattnet, with winter lows reaching 26 Fahrenheit, Narken is considerably more Northern in location and climate. It’s situated near the major Swedish city of Kiruna, where visitors can enjoy the famed Esrange space center or more outdoorsy activities like sled dog tours.
Affectionately referred to as the city of “happy-go-lucky” people, this region is a true tourist delight that offers plenty of opportunities to chat and mingle with the locals. Plus, there’s no shortage of opportunities to admire the midnight sun or view the northern lights too depending on when you visit.
You could even take your Northern Lights viewing experience to the next level, by hopping on a 30-minute chairlift ride up the mountainside to the Aurora Sky Station. Here you’ll find an aurora exhibition center, along with a restaurant with sweeping views of the enchanting Abisko National Park, and guided tours by local experts on the aurora borealis.
While Narken might not have quite the tourism scene of other cities in Sweden, it’s well worth a visit for its gorgeous landscapes alone. Of course, the charming locals and convenient location don’t hurt either.
With a staggering 284 days of the year dropping to freezing temperatures, it’s safe to say that Korpilombolo isn’t much of a beach holiday destination. Located in Norrbotten county to the west of Narken and close to the border of Finland, it’s surrounded by elevated regions and snowy mountains, which explains its chilly climate.
This small town is only home to around 500 residents. Yet, strangely enough, the internationally recognized alternative music group, GOAT, hails from Korpilombolo. It’s also not far from an aptly named “ice hotel”, made almost entirely out of frozen water, which is one of Sweden’s most popular attractions.
All in all, if quaint towns or quiet getaways are your things, Korpilombolo is the place to be. If you ask us, it’s something of a Swedish equivalent to the fictional Twin Peaks.
Almost the northernmost piece of coastline in Sweden, Boden is a much larger region, surrounding the coastal city of Lulea. It’s the second largest town in northern Sweden’s interior after Kiruna and was originally built as a railway junction between the Northern and iron ore lines in the 1800s. It boasts an ever-popular castle, which was created when Russia, to its east, was considered a threat to Sweden.
Once a lowly town with just seven homes, this region has steadily grown to the stature of a city which is a title it enjoyed until 1971 when it became a municipality. With a military history, Boden is also the place from which the famous Falkniven knives originate. Other features of Boden are its two most popular museums, namely, The Defense Museum and Havremagasinet – The Regional Art Gallery. Plus, there’s a popular water park and spaghetti western-inspired theme park.
Considering its tiny population of just 142, Skaulo is by no means a bustling metropolis, but that only adds to its unique charm. If you’re looking for pristine nature and quaint dwellings, Skaulo’s well-rated camping adventure and chilly lows of 25.5 degrees Fahrenheit, make for the perfect cozy getaway.
Skaulo is definitely one of the coldest places in Sweden. This is because it’s situated near the northernmost point of the country, close to its borders with Finland and Norway, as well as some snow-covered mountains.
Looking for an icy, laidback break? Look no further. With the enthralling hiking routes you’ll find there, and the ice skating opportunities on frozen lakes at nearby Galliväre, Skaula just might be the winter wonderland of your dreams.
Located in the mid-western interior of Sweden near the border of Norway, Fattjaur, which translates as “Father”, receives below-freezing temperatures for almost 78 percent of the year.
Winter getaways don’t get much chillier than this. Pack your warmest clothes, book cosy accommodation, soak up its natural beauty, and thank us later. There isn’t a whole lot in the way of activities there, but it makes for a great resting point if you’re exploring the rest of Sweden or an exciting base for wilderness adventures as long as you’ve found yourself a reliable guide.
Nestled right on the border of Norway in the west of Sweden, Skalmodal is part of the Vasterbotten region. Slightly warmer than some of the other contenders on our list, Skalmodalen dips to 27 degrees Fahrenheit on its coolest days and is no stranger to heavy snowfall and bone-chilling cold spells.
It’s a charming destination, with a homely culinary scene, with a good variety of local restaurants despite its isolation. But it’s really all about the wildlife in Skalmodel. There’s also a high chance that you’ll come across some unique birds and maybe even the rare Arctic Fox during your stay, especially if you venture into the wilderness. Skalmodel is also within reaching distance of some enchanting cities like the cafe-lined Umeå that you could visit.
Hornerfors is also near the city of Umea. Like most rural Sweden, its population is low at around 2,500, but there are still plenty of things to see and experience, which has earned it a reputation as an attractive tourist destination.
One can explore two local museums, in addition to many nature hiking and biking trails, as well as a UNESCO world heritage site known as ‘The High Coast’. If you’re feeling up to it, you could even hit the beach and brave the chilly maritime winds, and don’t forget to pay a visit to the local Kamratvallen stadium, or the magical Skuggteatern theatre.
That said, this coastal town has a similar average daily temperature to Skalmodalen. So it’s a good idea to come prepared for the bitter cold.
Holmon is part of an island group known as Holmoarna in the Kvarken narrows of the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland. It contains Sweden’s largest wildlife and archipelago sanctuary and is said to be perfect for sunbathing on the rocky beaches of its shorelines.
Believe it or not, this might not actually be a bad idea when visiting Holmon, as it is often called “the sunniest island in Sweden” despite the cold winter temperatures it experiences. Collectively, the group of islands only has 75 residents year-round, which makes it the perfect place for a secluded getaway, and it’s largely made up of nature reserves.
The main Island of the group, Holmon is mostly covered with spruce forest, but lush, open fields punctuate the landscape, separated by narrow bands of woodland. The town center also has all you need in the way of groceries, in addition to bars, a library, and even state-of-the-art postal services.
With an average temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and lows in the late 20s, Lovtorpet might be a few degrees above freezing, but it’s still one of the coldest places in Sweden. Found northwest of Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, on a large inland island in a lake, Lovtorpet might not have a lot going on, but it is geographically spectacular and the surrounding landscapes are certainly worth exploring.
Towns like Valla, Uppsala, Tang, Sveg, and Stroemsund, within Sweden’s lush lake land, are all worth exploring and it’s even served by it’s own airport, just 20 minutes from the town.
Found in the same region as Lovtorpet on a separate island, Nordero is just 0.01 of a degree warmer on average but equally wild and scenic. With beautiful forests and a 360-degree coastline, if it’s a chilly island getaway you’re after, Nordero makes for a truly unforgettable option.
Nordero sits within Storsjön, the country’s fifth largest lake, with the charming city of Östersund to the east. Best of all, it’s known to be a hotspot for reindeer and moose sightings. So, be sure to bring your camera along and make the most of the authentic log cabin dwellings and wild camping to be done in the warmer months.
Is Sweden a cold country?
Sweden recently recorded its coldest temperature in 35 years, in a village called Naimakka, right on the border of Finland, where the temperature fell to a staggering -110,84°F. However, Sweden experiences extreme differences in winter and summer weather despite its generally temperate climate, for which it has the Gulf Stream to thank. Winter regularly reaches below freezing above the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. However, the rest of the country is no stranger to summer temperatures in the 70s and even 80s.
What is the hottest city in Sweden?
Sweden isn’t known for its sweltering weather and even the hottest places won’t sound too warm by some standards. Skåne is one of the warmest regions in the country with an average daily high of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. July is the hottest month with highs averaging at around 73 degrees. However, January and February, the coldest months, still experience lows of 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
When is the best time to visit Sweden?
With its freezing winters, the best time to visit Sweden is between May and September when you can expect blue skies with a little rain, and average highs above 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the southern portion of the country. Summer is busier because of the pleasant weather and this can make things more expensive. However, some areas can be most popular during winter thanks to Christmas festivities and winter sports.