- Hike in mountain birch forests and around the tranquil lakes of Luleå
- Ride the train into the Arctic Circle and experience the midnight sun
- Ascend Mount Nuolja by chairlift for an iconic view over Abisko National Park
- Discover the diverse islands of the Gothenburg archipelago over several days
|Day 1||Arrive in Stockholm||Stockholm|
|Day 2||Fly to Luleå, Hike the Hemberget's Trail||Luleå|
|Day 3||Hike the Hertsö Trail, Sauna Experience||Luleå|
|Day 4||Train to Kiruna, Midnight Sun Trail||Kiruna|
|Day 5||Train to Abisko, Hike in Abisko National Park||Abisko|
|Day 6||Fly to Gothenburg, Free Afternoon||Gothenburg|
|Day 7||Ferry to the Southern Gothenburg Archipelago||Gothenburg|
|Day 8||Explore More Islands of the Southern Gothenburg Archipelago||Gothenburg|
|Day 9||Explore the Northern Gothenburg Archipelago||Gothenburg|
|Day 10||Train to Landvetter, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Stockholm
Welcome to Stockholm! Cutting-edge design meets elegant architectural heritage in Sweden's cool capital city. Built across a 14-island archipelago, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, the city's nickname is the "Venice of the North." Style runs through Sotckholm's veins, from minimalist interiors to its fashion-forward locals. It's also known for its innovation, as the home of Spotify and Skype, and furniture behemoth IKEA, of course.
The city is easy to get around on foot, and its various neighborhoods have distinct vibes, from creative Södermalm to elegant Östermalm, the colorful Gamla Stan (Old Town), and the bustling downtown area of Norrmalm. Top activities include a visit to the maritime-themed Vasa Museum to see the only almost-intact 17th-century ship ever salvaged. There's also the Skansen Open Air Museum, the world's oldest open-air museum, showcasing examples of houses and farmsteads from every part of the country.
Stockholm is a trailblazer of the New Nordic food scene (high-concept food using local, seasonal ingredients that are often sourced from the wild) and one of the culinary capitals of Europe—in fact, it's the European Capital of Gastronomy for 2023. But as well as fine dining, you can find Scandi comfort foods like meatballs (try Meatballs for the People, which has 14 types) and toast skagen, a Swedish version of shrimp on toast (Tradition restaurant is the place to go).
Day 2: Fly to Luleå, Hike the Hemberget's Trail
Jet off north today, taking the 1.5-hour flight from Stockholm to Luleå, a city in the heart of Swedish Lappland. It makes an ideal base for outdoor enthusiasts, as this is the gateway to northern Sweden's trail-laced wilderness and the Bay of Bothnia. If kayaking's your thing, you can paddle around some 1,300 islands in calm waters. Otherwise, lace up your hiking boots and head off to discover the beautiful trails.
After checking into your hotel, catch a bus to the village of Ersnas and the beginning of the Hemberget's Trail. This hike will take around 3.5 hours through the countryside around the Ersnäsfjärden inlet, featuring peaceful pine forests and farmland. When you arrive back in Ersnas, you could go for a meal at Ralph Lundstengården, a restaurant in a stone farmhouse with a heritage stretching to the 1700s. For a shorter hike, try the Bergnäsets Trail, which takes around two hours. This easy trail runs through pine forests and is artificially illuminated, meaning you can set off at any time of day.
Day 3: Hike the Hertsö Trail, Sauna Experience
Catch a bus to Hertsö, an eastern suburb of Luleå, and set off on a 10.5-mile (17 km) hike from east to west on the Hertsö Trail through the Ormberget-Hertsölandet nature reserve. As you wander along forest trails and wooden planks laid over the wetlands, information boards will keep you going in the right direction and explain the natural wonders around you.
As an optional pick-me-up, your local expert can arrange a sauna experience for you. Sauna, or bastu in Swedish, is a way of life here in the north—with the wellness-conscious Swedes using it to boost their circulation and immune systems year-round. Around 53 miles (85 km) from Luleå is a luxury spa hotel made of floating contemporary cabins, the Arctic Bath, that offers both guest and visitor packages.
Day 4: Train to Kiruna, Midnight Sun Trail
It's not every day you take the train into the Arctic Circle, but that's what you'll do on the four-hour journey from Luleå to Kiruna today. Kiruna is a town located in the far north of Sweden, known for its northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer (when the sun practically never sets). The town also offers many cultural activities, including the chance to experience the Indigenous Sámi culture and learn about their traditions.Don't miss the Midnight Sun Trail—a 2.5-mile (4 km) hike through mountain birch forest before heading above the tree line on the city mountain Luossavaara. The trail is marked with wooden signs adorned with a sun symbol and the text "Midnattssolstigen," making it easy to follow and explore at your own pace. As you ascent, a panorama of mountains will reveal itself to you.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Train to Abisko, Explore Abisko National Park
Enjoy the views of the Swedish wilderness from a comfortable train on the one-hour journey from Kiruna to Abisko. Welcome to Abisko National Park—surrounded by towering mountains, dense forests, and crystal-clear lakes, the park offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
You can go hiking, mountain biking, or fishing at remote lakes. The park is also home to an Indigenous Sámi community, who have lived in the region for thousands of years. They're tourist-friendly, and you can learn about Sámi culture and traditions through guided tours, exhibitions, and workshops.
Ride the chairlift up to the Aurora Sky Station on Mount Nuolja (in winter months, this is used for spotting the northern lights). In 20 minutes, you'll be delivered to a height of 2,953 feet (900 m) above sea level, where you'll be treated to panoramic views of the mountainous Lapporten valley and Torneträsk, the biggest mountain lake in Scandinavia. Ride up late in the evening to experience the midnight sun from around mid-June to mid-July.
Day 6: Fly to Gothenburg, Free Afternoon
Take the train back to Kiruna and catch a flight to the southwest city of Gothenburg (flight duration 3.5 hours). Sweden's second-biggest metropolis—and cool little sibling to Stockholm—will be your base for the rest of the trip. You'll find elegant neoclassical architecture and a canal that cuts through the city, lined with al fresco bars and cafés' in the summer.
Gothenburg is a creative city with a feel for a good time, so you won't be stuck for things to do in your free afternoon. Visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art, which features works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and other masters. Shop in the boutiques of the Haga district, with its charming cobbled streets, or stroll around the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, home to over 16,000 species of plants. If you're traveling with kids, visit the Universeum—a science center and aquarium with hands-on exhibits and a rainforest habitat.
Day 7: Ferry to the Gothenburg Archipelago
For your final three days, you'll embark into the Gothenburg archipelago each morning to explore your choice of the 20 islands that dot Sweden's western coastline. The archipelago is divided into northern and southern municipalities: the whole southern archipelago is car-free, so you can enjoy laid-back island life and fresh sea air. Keep an eye out for curious seals and porpoises whenever you're riding on the ferry.
Donsö is one of the major islands in the southern part of the archipelago, so the place to go for great restaurants serving just-caught seafood. Climb to the top of the Radarberget hill for a spectacular view of the surrounding islands. Or, if you're looking for a peaceful retreat, look no further than Knarrholmen. This small island has been a favorite summer destination for many Gothenburgers for over 70 years, thanks to its fine beaches that beckon you to roll out a towel and relax.
Day 8: Explore More Islands of the Southern Gothenburg Archipelago
Take the ferry to the southern islands again to choose your adventure for the day. Cycling and hiking trails crisscross the island of Brännö, home to 800 permanent inhabitants. Make your way to the island's highest point, the old pilot lookout, for fantastic views over the harbor and sparkling sea. Be sure to cross the small bridge to the neighboring island Galterö, a nature reserve where you can enjoy the solitude of a totally uninhibited landscape.
Vargö is another nature reserve and located the furthest out to sea (just be sure to bring your picnic and water bottles, as no stores are on the island). Asperö has some fantastic swimming spots and is just a short ferry ride away from the dreamy rocky peninsula of Saltholmen if you want to combine the two.
Day 9: Explore the Northern Gothenburg Archipelago
Venture up to the northern cluster of islands for your final day. Three of them—Öckerö, Fotö, and Hälsö—are reachable by bus (catch it from the Nils Ericsonterminalen stop next to Central Station), and the rest are linked to the mainland by ferry. If you fancy a swim, pack your towels and head to Fotö, in the heart of the archipelago. Several diving boards and jetties line the shore, and there are plenty of cafés in traditional Swedish wooden cabins to warm up after your dip.
Källö-Knippla is another delightful choice, thanks to its photogenic harbor and a relaxing hiking trail along the coast. Once two separate islands, Källö and Knippla are now connected, hence the double-barreled name. After a relaxing day, head back to the city to toast your adventure's end in one of the canalside bars.
Day 10: Train to Gothenburg Airport, Depart
The sun has finally set on your summer adventure in Sweden. When the time comes today, you'll catch the train from Gothenburg to Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport for your flight home. Safe travels, and see you soon!