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Spend winter in Sweden

Photo by: Anna Öhlund

The magic of nature is one of many reasons to spend your winter in Sweden. The winter wonderland that Sweden becomes between December and March promises snowcarpeted landscapes, frozen lakes, rivers and waterfalls. It’s dark and cold, but also full of light and warmth. To spend your day ice-skating on a frozen lake, followed by a sauna and winter bathing is simply mesmerizing. When the darkness is almost complete, Lucia and her procession light up the morning with candles in their hair, singing beautiful carols. You need to live through the long winter to fully appreciate when spring finally arrives. All four seasons are intertwined and part of the Swedish soul.

Swedes love the outdoor. The freedom to roam, or “everyman’s right”, is the general public’s right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes, and rivers for recreation and exercise. The Swedish Tourist Association is a non-profit member organization with deep roots in Swedish nature and cultural tourism. It was founded 1885 in Uppsala. From the beginning, the Association has worked to promote tourism in Sweden and helped people explore their country. Today they have more than 238.000 members and over 300 hostels, hotels, mountain stations and mountain cabins from north to south. This is a fantastic and inexpensive way to experience the Swedish outdoors.

More reasons to spend time in Sweden

Ski in one of 200 resorts

Feeling the wind on your face as you descend a ski slopesurrounded by the beautiful winter landscape is undoubtedly asensational experience. You can ski in many parts of Sweden,including Dalarna, Jämtland, Härjedalen and Swedish Lapland.Åre and Sälen are popular for downhill skiing, here you canchoose among off-piste, easier downhill slopes and family-oriented bunny runs. Sweden is also ideal for cross-countryskiing, which you can practice as soon as the ground is coveredby snow.

Watch the Northern Lights

One of nature’s most spectacular displays, the Aurora Borealis,or the Northern Lights, has captivated travelers and the peopleof the north for centuries. It can be viewed from anywhere innorthern Sweden between October and March, for those willingto brave the cold on a clear crisp winter night. The best loca-tion to view these light curtains of green, red and purple danceacross the sky is Abisko National Park. This is due to the pres-ence of a famous ‘blue hole’, which is a patch of sky over a lakein Abisko that usually remains clear despite overcast weather insurrounding areas

Go dog sledding

Nature doesn’t get much closer than when dog sledding throughthe white wilderness of the Swedish mountains, through snow-clad forests and across frozen flatlands, lakes and mountains. Itwill give you an appreciation for the beauty of this part of Swe-den and for the Huskies pulling you. A good introduction to dogsledding is often offered by the ski resorts. For multi-day tripsyou will be accompanied by an expert guide and usually stay inlog cabins or tents along the way

Experience Sami Culture

Nature doesn’t get much closer than when dog sledding throughthe white wilderness of the Swedish mountains, through snow-clad forests and across frozen flatlands, lakes and mountains. Itwill give you an appreciation for the beauty of this part of Swe-den and for the Huskies pulling you. A good introduction to dogsledding is often offered by the ski resorts. For multi-day tripsyou will be accompanied by an expert guide and usually stay inlog cabins or tents along the way

Sleep in hotels and igloos made of ice

Built from blocks of ice from the Torne River, the award-winningIcehotel (www.icehotel.com) opens its doors from December toMarch. Its ice rooms, furniture and ice sculptures are individual-ly carved each year by various artists. Sip chilled vodka (or fruitjuice if you prefer) from frozen ice glasses served in the AbsolutIce Bar, take in elaborate sculptures carved from ice, or even getmarried in the Ice Chapel. Guests sleep in thermal sleeping bags,reviving in the morning in the sauna with a cup of hot lingon-berry juice. The hotel also offers winter activities you can enjoyin the surrounding area. Another option is the natural igloocarved by the frozen waters of Sweden’s strongest waterfall, Tän-nforsen. When the waterfall freezes, it forms a natural labyrinthof caves and ice formations, from which the igloo is buil

Go ice skating

One of the best winter experiences when the mercury drops isheading to the nearest lake for outdoor ice skating. Experiencingthe smooth glide of skating on a frozen lake in the middle of thewilderness is an extraordinary adventure. If you are lucky theice is clear enough to allow you to spot the fish below. The largenumber of frozen lakes makes this type of sport very popularamong Swedes. If you do not want to travel far, Stockholm offersthe possibility of ice skating in the Riddarfjärden fjord in frontof the Stockholm City Hall once Lake Mälaren freezes. In moretemperate winters, the water of the Baltic Sea offers good excur-sions to practice ice skating in the whole archipelago – there arecompanies that provide introductory tours for beginners as wellas multi-day tours.

Text by Eva Ladeborn

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