The hours of daylight are at their peak, the strawberries are at their sweetest, and flower crowns are popping up everywhere. It must be Midsummer (or Midsommar) in Sweden!
Midsummer is a celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the holiday is one of the most cherished Swedish traditions. As it is traditionally celebrated outdoors, it’s a holiday that even short-term travelers have excellent access to.
Will you see maypoles encircled by dancers? Yes, you absolutely might find this iconic scene playing out in a local park. You’ll also find revelers, usually groups of family and friends, dining on pickled herring, boiled new potatoes, cheese, and strawberries, all washed down with sips of ice-cold akvavit.
Midsummer dates do vary from year to year based on when the summer solstice falls but you can always look ahead to the future and start planning when you’re ready. If you decide to spend the days around Midsummer in Stockholm, we recommend heading to Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, which hosts a public celebration, or simply spend some time in local parks where various festivities spring up. If you have any Swedish relatives, now is the time to call them up and ask what they are doing next Midsummer as this celebration truly falls under the “the more, the merrier” umbrella.
To keep things simple, some restaurants and cafes will offer midsummer meals or picnic baskets to give you a taste of local favorites and some hotels will also host special events (pre-booking is generally required or highly recommended).
If you’d like to witness the country’s largest Midsummer celebration, base yourself in Dalarna which hosts an annual evening parade including flags, garlands, and folk musicians. The parade culminates with the raising of the maypole followed by dancing and games. While you’re in Dalarna, enjoy the region’s natural beauty full of hiking trails, lakes, and flower meadows. And shop for a few of its major export, the Dala horse, the iconic red wooden horse regularly featured as a symbol of Sweden.
No matter where you decide to base yourself during your stay, plan early. Midsummer falls in the middle of peak travel season no matter the official date so it’s wise to plan accordingly.
Hero image credits: Anna Hållams/imagebank.sweden.se