The seasons begin to change come April as the icy weather fades away, temperatures rise markedly, and sunlight hours increase to seven in Southern Sweden. Blossoms and temperatures of up to 52°F (11°C) announce the arrival of spring in the south, although the north still gets mighty chilly and retains thick snow cover. With the sun, however, comes the rain: there is 1.5 times more rainfall in April than in March in the Stockholm area, and the weather overall is quite unpredictable, with cold nights and sudden spells of rain catching many people unawares.
Crowds & Costs
Low season ends in April, and shoulder season begins. Many tourist-facing businesses open for the first time in the year after a long winter hiatus. It can be an opportune time to find deals on accommodation, as hotels are not yet fully booked with high-season crowds. In the bigger cities, April is an upbeat time to visit, with spring greenery replacing snow as a backdrop, but summer crowds are still absent. Winter sports season is generally coming to a close this month, although it does continue into May in the Arctic north.
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Where to Go
Sweden's two main cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg, are attractive destinations this month. Blossoms enliven parks like Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Meanwhile, festivals make the most of the more pleasant weather, such as Gothenburg's GPG Beer Week and Stockholm's Kulturnatt, and epic Walpurgis Eve celebrations in both cities welcome the return of spring. In the Stockholm Archipelago, boat trips begin again, making this a good time to explore the many beautiful islands near the capital.
Milder days with more sunshine make people turn to nature and national parks to enjoy the returning wildlife. Lake Hornborga, northeast of Gothenburg, is a particular draw for its mating cranes. Sweden's southernmost county, Skåne, is carpeted in golden rapeseed fields at this time. And the temperate southern weather means a return to the trails for many hikers. Kustsigen, the coastal path along Western Sweden from Tjörn near Gothenburg up to Oslo in Norway, is a great choice.
Ski resorts in Central and Northern Sweden remain popular, as snow cover is still thick in these forested, mountainous areas. The liveliest of the lot is Åre, Sweden's biggest downhill ski resort, which puts on a ski-and-music festival, the Åre Sessions, at the end of April. In the far north, it's still possible to glimpse the northern lights, with Abisko being the best place to do so.
What to Do
April is undoubtedly a festival-going month, with many towns and cities across Sweden putting on extravaganzas to celebrate the return of the spring weather. Stockholm offers great insights into Swedish culture, and in the spring, there is no better place to educate yourself than with a visit to the museums on leafy Djurgården island. Consider the Skansen Museum, Europe's oldest open-air museum, and the Vasa Museum. Its highlight is the Vasa 17th-century warship, one of the most fully intact vessels from the period ever salvaged.
While skiing in Central and Northern Sweden remains popular, other outdoor pursuits are also possible. In Southern Sweden, hiking a multi-day trail like the coast-hugging Kustsigen along Sweden's western seaboard or the Skåneleden Trail around Skåne are perfect ways to celebrate the gradual return of spring. As is taking one of the many boat trips starting up again after the winter lull, such as those through the Stockholm Archipelago.
Events in April
GBG Beer Week, Gothenburg. Sweden's second city is the craft beer capital of Sweden and this beery week puts some of the area's best brews under the spotlight, with talks, tastings, and much more for a week in early April.
Åre Sessions, Åre. Mix Sweden's biggest ski resort and live music sessions, and this is the favored result, happening at the end of April annually.
Kulturnatt, Stockholm. Stockholm's "Culture Night" is a diverse one-day-only celebration of the city's culture through art, literature, dance, music, theater, and more.
Valborgsmässoafton, nationwide. On April 30 (and continuing throughout May 1) across Scandinavia, Walpurgis Eve is a traditional welcoming-in of spring that entails singing folk songs and lighting bonfires.