Sweden is located in Northern Europe and borders Norway to its west and Finland to its east on the Scandinavian Peninsula. Encompassing several vibrant cities and setting the tone for many modern design trends across the globe, Sweden is genuinely an outdoor paradise at heart. Colorful coastlines, impressive archipelagos, dense forestry, and thousands of lakes invite exploration, protected by the national freedom to roam principle – shielded by law – which encourages open interaction with nature. From hiking and biking to kayaking and camping, Sweden’s land is teeming with otherworldly adventure.
Head above the Arctic Circle in summer months to witness the phenomenon of the midnight sun, which illuminates the sky for up to 24 full hours of daylight. In winter, that very same sky plays host to the magical Aurora Borealis – a captivating natural light display which dances through the crisp night. Either end of the calendar is sure to amaze, and excellent Swedish hospitality can be expected all year-round.
Sweden consistently ranks among the world’s happiest nations, perhaps due in part to one of the country’s guiding philosophies, lagom. With a respectful emphasis on balanced living and moderation, lagom loosely translates to just the right amount (like a Goldilocks approach to life: not too much and not too little). The overarching principle is a cornerstone of Swedish culture and just another worthy contributor to what makes this Scandinavian nation one of the most desirable places for a fulfilling honeymoon.
Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, is famously stylish and sleek. Impeccable lighting and free-flowing atmospheres set a friendly tone from the humblest of coffee shops to fine-dining restaurants and even Viking museums. While Stockholm’s design has been known to influence contemporary trends around the globe, the city also happens to be doused in history.
Head to Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, to wander impossibly narrow cobblestoned streets en route to romantic waterfront restaurants. Despite being spread across 14 islands, the city is easily navigated thanks to abundant bike lanes, footbridges, and utopian metro and ferry networks. Venture to one of the thousands of nearby islands which encompass the Stockholm archipelago for a day’s worth of natural sightseeing and stunning sea views. Further east into the Baltic Sea is Sweden’s largest island, Gotland. This summer paradise flaunts gorgeous beaches, beautiful caves, and one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval villages, Visby.
West Sweden spans from the country’s second largest city, Gothenburg, up the coast to the nation’s border with Norway. This compact region is perfect for a nature-based honeymoon filled with outdoor experiences, whether kayaking through the granite-rock islands of the Bohuslän archipelago or walking along the scenic Göta Canal, Sweden’s largest national project, dug entirely by hand. Sailing through islands and photographing red-roofed houses in quaint fishing villages is sure to build up an appetite to sample some of the region’s prided seafood. The car-free Koster Islands offer great beaches along their coastline and are also where you’ll find Sweden’s first national marine park, Kosterhavet. Bring balance to your trip to West Sweden by venturing to Gothenburg. This chic port city is home to some of the country’s greatest restaurants and year-round festivals.
Up above the Arctic Circle, Swedish Lapland represents one of the most remote, raw, and untouched wilderness regions in all of Europe. This province is the perfect place for a secluded escape amidst endless forests, peaceful lakes, and gushing waterfalls. Pitch a tent on a beautiful plot of land and call it home for a night or two, or luxuriate in a resort built entirely of ice, where dog-sledding, snowmobiling, and relaxing sauna sessions can fill your days. Lapland is also the best place to bask in Sweden’s midnight sun during summer, and also where visitors will find the sprawling Abisko National Park, which is heralded as the world’s greatest viewing point to experience the mystic Northern Lights.
The southernmost province of Skåne packs quite a large chunk of paradise into such a small geographical area. From medieval castles and rolling pastures to sandy beaches along the southern shore, Skåne sets a perfect scene for a bucolic holiday. Perhaps best of all, the fertile lands lend to an impressive farm to table dining scene. Continuing south leads to Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo, which thrives from its vibrant nightlife scene and is just 30 minutes from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Summers in Sweden are blessed with long hours of daylight and comfortably warm weather, which makes the months of May–September – Sweden’s high-season – an ideal time to visit. Snow-centric holidays can be had all across the country from November–March, which is also the viewing period for watching the Northern Lights dance across the sky. These otherwise dark and cold winter months act as a deterrent to most travelers, but a Swedish winter visit promises greater appreciation of the nation’s stunning interior design, which reliably creates the perfect cozy atmosphere to escape the outside elements. On the other hand, outdoor enthusiasts might want to visit in the summer months of June and July, when much of the country’s landscapes stay illuminated around the clock by the midnight sun.
Stockholm is by far Sweden’s busiest airport and the likely point of entry for most travelers. Of worthy note is the tempting option to fly into Copenhagen, Denmark to experience another slice of Scandinavia before venturing into Sweden (the Danish capital is a mere 30 minutes from the coastal attractions of southern Sweden). On the whole, Swedish public transportation is utopian in both design and experience. A network of modern and clean regional trains and buses reliably connect the entire country and give way to smaller-scale local trams and metro systems that will help you navigate cities and larger towns. Rent a car and tour the Swedish countryside to absorb Sweden’s natural beauty at your own pace, or consider cycling from A to B, no matter how large the distance may be. Saddling up isn’t only reserved for inner cities – Sweden offers multiple tourist-friendly bicycle routes that cross through the entire country.
Explore Cities by Bicycle – Explore Sweden’s cities as the locals do: by ditching four wheels for two. Riding bicycles is a way of life across all of Scandinavia, and with hundreds of miles of friendly bike lanes across relatively flat terrain, this is one of the most accessible ways to move about the city. Look for ride-sharing docks to get started, or rent a bike to call your own for the duration of your stay. Love cycling and craving even more? Sweden is wonderfully connected by a network of national routes that are perfect for long-range bicycle excursions.
Fika Like a Local – Fika is one of several unmistakably Swedish traditions that we yearn to introduce into our daily lives. While fika is best left untranslated, it generally encompasses a social break for coffee and is typically accompanied by sweets like cinnamon buns and homemade cookies. Fika can be shared with anybody, anywhere, and at any time, and the Swedes prefer to fika several times a day. Abundantly rich in atmosphere, character, and quality, Swedish cafes across the country set the perfect scene for fika. So, grab a fresh brew and a baked good, and enjoy this grateful pause while soaking in the authentically Swedish scene. (Pro tip: don’t oust yourself as a tourist. Fika is pronounced fee-ka, and can be used as both a noun and a verb.)
Witness the Northern Lights – Gazing at nature’s celestial show of colorful lights as they span across the Swedish night sky is an inspiring honeymoon moment and one that will forever be remembered. October to March is the best season for viewing, with increased likelihood in the darkest winter months of January and February. It’s possible to witness the lights in Southern Sweden, but it’s best to head north above the Arctic Circle to Lapland towns like Kiruna or Jokkmokk where catching the winter wonder is all but guaranteed. The Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park is consistently rated as the best place on the planet to view the lights.
Journey into the Archipelagos – Sweden has over 200,000 islands which span several notable archipelagos all around its coasts. While barely 1,000 are inhabited, journeying to any of the islands on a ferry cruise for a half-day, full-day, or even overnight excursion is a magical way to marvel in the various Swedish landscapes. Hiking, biking, camping, foraging for fresh fruit or dining like royalty are just some of the activities to enjoy on any of the islands.
Archipelagos literally surround the nation, but arguably none are more impressive than the 30,000+ island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. Travelers can sail, swim, kayak, and even ice yacht through these waters of the Baltic Sea while passing through dozens and even hundreds of small islands in a single day.
Embrace Lagom Living – Lagom is a Swedish principle that focuses on balance and harmony. It’s the optimal point of doing something. For most Swedes, lagom is an essential philosophy in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For honeymooners, keeping lagom in mind will not only help you understand the local culture, but it will also contribute to a more fulfilling overall trip. Lagom can be as simple as tackling a full day of city sightseeing, but still basking the afternoon away in a cafe for fika, free from the itinerary.
Try taking a morning dip (morgondopp) at sunrise in one of Sweden’s 100,000 lakes to greet the fresh day before lengthy travels ahead. Or, give thought to capping your snowmobile or dog-sledding excursion early enough in happy anticipation of the warm bath and crackling fire which await. Lagom is not minimal, and it certainly is not excessive; it’s just right. The principle can truly be life-changing, and there’s no better place to adopt its ethics than when touring through Sweden.
Cold-Weather Winter Adventures – With the freedom to roam principle fully protected under the law, Sweden’s most significant national monument is its bountiful land. While summer is an ideal time to hike, camp, swim, and cycle in the beautiful outdoors, honeymooning during the country’s colder winter months is anything but dreary. Just head north above the Arctic Circle into the Lapland region to partake in a plethora of seasonable outdoor activities like cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling, or even dog-sledding.
Thörnströms Kök – This Michelin-Star certified restaurant on a quiet residential street in Gothenburg – Sweden’s second largest city – is as elegant as it is friendly. A stunning wine cave promises a healthy list of drink options, while classic Swedish dishes – like Scallop with onion, mushrooms and bay leaf or reindeer with crispy cauliflower, walnuts and apple – are prepared with confidence and precision, and served across multiple tasting course options.
PM & Vänner – This hotel restaurant in Southern Sweden prides itself of sourcing only the freshest ingredients from the abundant forests, lakes, and meadows of surrounding Småland. The New Nordic menu has garnered acclaim with its focus on invention, reinvention, regionalism, and seasonality, and PM & Vänner was one of the first to pave the path for this hot trend in culinary arts. Enjoy the fruits of the restaurant’s labor over a 5 or 10-course tasting menu, worthy of a Michelin Star, or opt for a more casual stop at the annexed bakery and bistro.
ICEHOTEL Restaurant – While the dining room and bar at ICEHOTEL’s restaurant are warm and cozy, the staple ice from the Torne river still manages to make a welcome appearance in the form of table décor, bowls, and even dishes. Consistently one of the top restaurants in the Swedish Lapland region, diners can expect to enjoy local delicacies like reindeer, moose, Arctic char and bramble berries from specially-prepared tasting menus, or a la carte. The neighboring ICEBAR – made entirely of ice and redesigned each year – is a wonder to experience, and all the more accessible thanks to the parkas and gloves that are generously provided for patrons.
Daniel Berlin – For an unparalleled gastronomic experience in a thoroughly intimate setting, honeymooners should detour to find chef Daniel Berlin’s namesake restaurant in the Scanian countryside. Two seatings are offered daily (a single for each lunch and dinner), and diners are sat together – up to 15 people per sitting, spread across up to 5 tables. Expect a welcoming reception, followed by a brief tour of the grounds, where an ice-breaking round of nibbles like brussel sprouts and sweet chestnut pancakes are served around a social campfire. A vegetable-forward journey of scents, flavors, and textures awaits inside the dining room, served over a single tasting menu worthy of its two Michelin stars.
Ekstedt – Chef Niklas Ekstedt introduced an innovative concept with this increasingly buzzy central Stockholm restaurant: all food is cooked with fire, either in a wood-fired oven or directly over the roaring flames of a fire pit. The kitchen is completely devoid of electric or gas-powered ovens and machinery (save for a small ice-cream maker), and the result is a back-to-basics approach that still manages to propel New Nordic cuisine forward. Ekstedt and his team are devoted to the elegant nuances of fire, smoke, ashes, and soot. Experimenting with different combinations yields incredible results, wholly deserving of the establishment’s Michelin star.
Grand Hotel – Any self-respecting capital city deserves a Grand Hotel, and Stockholm’s certainly lives up to the heralded name. The stately structure sits proudly smack in the middle of the city center and has hosted top-tier celebrities and royalty since its doors opened in 1874. Opulence oozes everywhere from the lobby to the multiple on-site restaurants and all the way up to the hotel’s 273 guest rooms. Be sure to take advantage of the Nordic Spa with hot saunas and cold dipping pools after a day of exploring some of Stockholm’s most vibrant districts – like medieval Gamla Stan, posh Ostermalm, and trendy Södermalm – which are just a stone’s throw from the lobby doors.
Treehotel – Nestles in the woods of the village of Harads in North Sweden, the Treehotel has become one of the world’s foremost bucket-list hotels. A collection of unique accommodations suspended in the trees, Treehotel was built by a local couple in collaboration with some of Scandinavia’s top architects with the mission of letting nature guide your retreat. Some of the high-standard designer rooms include a UFO, a mirror cube, and a bird’s nest – all of which are true to their names while remaining harmonious with the unspoiled surrounding nature. Nearby activities range from forest hiking and sea kayaking to horse riding and pizza making, though nothing tops the magic of viewing the northern lights from inside your surreal treeroom.
Hotel Pigalle – While this boutique hotel might seem out of place from typical minimalistic Swedish design, its stylized essence of 1900s Parisian grandeur makes it a perfect choice for a romantic visit to Sweden’s oft-overlooked second city. Pigalle’s proximity to central Gothenburg is downright convenient, while its hand-sketched rooms exude luxury, warmth, and personality, and promise to transport you to the sexily sinful era of Paris a century ago. Rooftop bar and restaurant, Atelliere, is a popular go-to spot among visitors and locals alike to kick off the evening with an aperitif.
ICEHOTEL – Equal parts art exhibition and world-famous hotel, ICEHOTEL consists of guest rooms that are quite literally made entirely of ice. If anything, this sub-zero experience well above the Arctic Circle will prompt you to cuddle up with your partner, though the provided reindeer hides and sleeping bags will keep you surprisingly cozy. Honeymooners have the choice to sleep in one of the hotel’s ice rooms or more traditional accommodations (aptly dubbed “warm rooms”). A plethora of Arctic activities awaits outside, while a restaurant, bar, and lounge are available on site. Visitors in winter will enjoy prime viewing of the Northern Lights, while summer travelers need not fret – ICEHOTEL is the world’s only accommodation to offer year-round ice lodgings. Couple the cold lodging with the Midnight Sun for an epic experience of contrasting proportions.
Wanås Restaurant Hotel – Comprising a series of 18th-century barns across a family estate, this intimate 11-room hotel is a perfectly stylish rustic retreat set amidst the lush surroundings and historic castles of South Sweden’s Skåne County. Design notes let the charm of the buildings’ long past shine, while mid-century Nordic furniture and contemporary design pieces plant the property well into the modern era. While the unbridled Scandinavian nature – starry winter nights and long summer nights – is a natural attraction here, visitors will love the on-site organic restaurant, as well as the lengthy permanent sculpture park and rotating art exhibitions in the Wanås castle.