Sweden is a fantastic Scandinavian country to visit throughout the year, however, 2023 offers something a little more special for visitors as there are a raft of new attractions and exciting events across the country. 6 June saw Sweden celebrate its 500th National Day, with King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 50th Jubilee shortly after. The feeling of national pride emanates throughout the country, with many cities in Sweden dedicating the entire year to a range of festivals and celebrations. One of the most eagerly anticipated events is the King and Queen’s visit to all 21 regions, where the royals will visit important sights and meet the public.
Aside from Sweden’s busy and celebratory year, there are plenty of other reasons to visit, with famous musical acts, including ABBA and Avicii, originating in Sweden. Summerburst in Gothenburg will see Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki take to the stage, while at Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg, bands such as rock gods Iron Maiden will perform. Sweden’s cities are more than just destinations for great nightlife and music. They are packed with culture, history, creativity and a love of fika, the Swedish term for a relaxing coffee break involving catching up with friends and loved ones. There are plenty of exciting things to do across Sweden’s cities in 2023. Here are 20 of the best cities in Sweden to visit this year.
Cities in Sweden
- Stockholm: City Archipelago Sightseeing Cruise with Guide – see Sweden’s most popular city on the water.
- From Stockholm: 8-Hour Small-Group Viking Culture Tour – explore Viking history.
20 Swedish Cities To Visit
If you are visiting Stockholm, get tickets to a show at The Royal Opera, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2023.
Nature is incredibly important to the locals in Stockholm, so embrace this tradition and explore Djurgården, a collection of peaceful woodland and waterside footpaths connecting to some of the best museums in the city.
Enjoy the daily Swedish ritual of fika, a coffee break often accompanied by warm, freshly baked cakes and pastries, and of course, in the company of good friends.
One of the best destinations to head to for fika is SoFo, a trendy area of the city tightly packed with a wide variety of coffee shops, allowing you to visit a new and tasty fika destination each day.
- Stockholm: City Archipelago Sightseeing Cruise with Guide
- Stockholm: Land and Water Tour by Amphibious Bus
- Stockholm: ABBA The Museum Entrance Ticket
Malmö is the third-largest city in Sweden, yet despite this, it’s easily walkable.
Begin your time in Malmö with a walking tour to take in the best historical, cultural and influential sights with a knowledgeable tour guide, or rent a bicycle and follow one of the city’s excellent cycle paths.
If you visit when the weather is warmer, make the most of Malmö’s spectacular parks.
The best parks in the city include Folkets Park, filled with plenty of trees, green spaces and the oldest amusement park in the country.
If you want to learn more about plants, visit Slottsträdgården, the gardens surrounding the castle, with its herb gardens, rose garden and greenhouse, are a must.
Recommended tour: Lund & Malmo: Guided Tour of 2 Countries in One Day
Uppsala is instantly recognisable thanks to one of its most famous landmarks, the beautiful peach-coloured walls of Uppsala Castle.
Pay a visit to Uppsala University, the oldest university in Scandinavia, founded in 1477.
There are regular tours of the universities ancient buildings, including the library and its five million volumes covering literature, law, history and more, as well as a rare 6th-century book of the four gospels.
Surround yourself with art at Bror Hjorth’s House, a museum set inside the former home of the Swedish modernist artist.
Inside you will find a vast collection of his sculptures, paintings and sketches, as well as rooms left as they were during Hjorth’s time in the home.
Recommended tour: From Stockholm: 8-Hour Small-Group Viking Culture Tour
2023 sees Gothenburg celebrate its pandemic-postponed 400th anniversary, with celebrations beginning in early June.
The celebrations here will continue throughout the summer, ending with the Gothenburg Cultural Festival in September.
Gothenburg is a port city with a relaxed and friendly vibe that has gone through drastic changes to regenerate its oldest areas.
Wander around Haga, a former working-class area of the city, and visit its many antique shops filled with hidden treasures.
After a morning of exploring, visit one of the city’s many cosy cafes for fika.
The best spots in the city include Kopps, where a range of delicious bakery treats suitable for many dietary requirements are available, and Le Petite Café in Haga, for its cosy and homely vibe and extravagant weekend brunch.
Recommended tour: Gothenburg: Land & Water Amphibious Bus Sightseeing Tour
Jönköping is the perfect city in Sweden to visit if you want to experience city life alongside the tranquillity of nature.
The city is surrounded by water, with three lakes on its borders.
Relax by the shores of Lake Vättern and its sandy beaches, mimicking the feeling of being by the sea.
Enjoy one of many hiking trails for a more adventurous time by the water, take a refreshing dip in the waters by wild swimming or hire a kayak or canoe.
The city centre park Stadpark is more than just a welcoming green space, and it is also an important historical side with more than 10 historical buildings relocated to the arboretum.
Stadpark’s historical buildings include a 17th-century bell tower, a 1914 red-brick building filled with 1450 birds, and a petting farm where children can interact with animals.
Begin your time in Karlstad at Sandsgrund, a former nightclub now transformed into a gallery dedicated to works of art by Lars Lerin.
Lerin is famous for his watercolour landscapes, many of which are on display inside the museum, oil paintings and a range of photographs from his far-flung travels.
Enjoy culture and arts at Rotternos Park, a sculpture park surrounding a buttercup-yellow manor house.
The gardens have more than 30 sculptures from the early 20th century, with many created by Carl Eldh, one of the most influential Swedish sculptors of the time.
Immerse yourself in history at Galgberget, one of Sweden’s many outdoor museums that have saved a collection of historic buildings from across the area.
These buildings, including a sawmill, windmill and cottages, were moved from their original locations to prevent damage or demolition and are preserved in a new hamlet.
If visiting in the summer, spend the afternoon basking in the sun on the seven miles (11.27 kilometres) of Tylösand Beach, a pristine and dune-filled stretch of sand on the North Sea coast.
Enjoy the colourful buildings, lively pubs and various restaurants of Storgatan before people-watching in Stora Torg, the city’s largest square, and indulging your tastebuds at its collection of delicious food trucks.
Sundsvall is a city history with a tragic past, destroyed by devastating fires four times.
The city was nicknamed Stenstaden, or stone city, after its most recent rebuild following the fires of 1888, when it was rebuilt entirely from stone.
Sundsvall is the starting point for the St Olavsleden trail, an epic hiking trail across the country ending at Trondheim in Norway.
If the full-length trail is not for you, there are many hiking trails ranging in difficulty, all taking advantage of the beautiful scenery around the city, often with incredible views.
The city is one of the best places in Sweden for exquisite dishes using locally sourced ingredients and produce, from cheeses and beers to traditional surströmming, a type of fermented herring.
Örebro translates to ‘bridge over the gravel banks’ and dates from the 13th century.
One of the best things to do in the city is to pay a visit to the castle, located right in the centre of the city.
The castle is more than 700 years old and was originally a defensive fortress before being transformed into a royal residence and the home of the city governor during the 18th century.
The castle is only open to the public during the summer, but it makes a great day to learn about the history of the city and the castle’s influence.
To see the city from above scale, the unusually designed Svampen water tower, a 58m (190ft) high tower with a viewing platform and rooftop cafe bar.
Dating back to 990AD, Västerås is one of the oldest cities in Sweden and is filled with history.
The city is easily walkable, with many of its major landmarks and attractions close to the centre.
One of the most important historical sites within the city is Anundshög, the largest burial mound in Sweden.
Historians believe the mound dates back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, with many artefacts having been found.
Continue exploring the city’s history at the open-air museum of Frösåkers Brygga,
a replica Viking village settlement featuring the largest collection of wooden ships from the era in Sweden.
Umeå is a beautiful city on the banks of the Ume River and is close to a range of islands in the Gulf of Bothnia.
The city is filled with interesting and unique museums, including Guitars – The Museum, its vast collection of 1950s and 60s electric guitars, and Bildmuseet, a beautifully designed structure with regularly rotating exhibitions.
Recent exhibitions have included contemporary Chinese art collections, furniture and industrial designs from influential design pairing Charles and Ray Eames.
Take a short drive out of the city to visit the unusual Älgens Hus, an outdoor attraction dedicated to moose.
Here you will find artworks, sculptures and displays on moose and the chance to meet these majestic creatures in their paddocks before trying a range of drinks, snacks and treats made using milk from the moose on the farm.
Your first stop in Linköping should be its cathedral, the best preserved medieval cathedral in Sweden.
The cathedral is beautiful both inside and out and features a range of carved stone figures and a spectacular glass sculpture.
Linköping is also home to an open-air museum created to replicate the city during the early 1900s.
Here you will find general stores and homes, a city farm, and regularly held events, including a summer season of concerts.
To get a feel for the city, spend some time sipping coffee, exploring the market stalls or watching a live event at Stora Torget, the main square in the city.
Another of Sweden’s significant 2023 anniversaries is of Lund Cathedral, a spectacular cathedral dating back to 1123.
The 900th-anniversary celebrations at the cathedral include guided tours, many historical lectures and a concert series.
Unwind in the University of Lund’s botanical gardens, which have been carefully managed and cultivated since 1690.
Inside the gardens are more than 7000 species of plants in flowerbeds, oriental gardens and a greenhouse divided into nine controlled climate zones to ensure the plants thrive.
For a more artistic-themed afternoon, marvel at the collections at the Museum of Sketches for Public Art.
More than 1000 artists have works displayed here, including preliminary sketches for sculptures by Henry Moore and works from Henri Matisse and Swedish artist Elli Hemberg.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: Tour Across the Oresund Bridge to Lund and Malmo
Karlskrona is one of the unique cities in Sweden as it is part of a larger archipelago, originally created as a 17th-century naval base.
The city holds UNESCO World Heritage Status, and its archipelago is considered a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, making Karlskrona an interesting place to visit.
Given its origins as a naval base, a must-visit in Karlskrona is the Naval Museum and nearby Kungsholm Fortress, whose gardens are worth an hour or so to explore.
The free-to-enter Naval Museum charts the naval base’s history, the city’s founding, and a unique attraction of the HMS Neptun, a submarine.
Recommended tour: Karlskrona: Sherlock Holmes Self-guided Smartphone City Game
Helsingborg is one of Sweden’s most beautiful coastal cities with a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere.
The city’s most famous and most popular landmark is the Kärnan, a 35m (114,83ft) high tower located at the top of steep stone steps overlooking the market square.
Built in 1300, this imposing tower was once part of a larger fortress destroyed in a fire.
Climb to the top of the tower for the best views across the city and out across the Oresund towards neighbouring Denmark.
For a fun-filled family day out, visit Tropikariet.
This zoo allows its creatures plenty of space and freedom to roam, interact with certain animals, including lemurs and snakes, and have unique experiences to meet them up close.
Recommended tour: Helsingborg: Old Town Exploration Game
Step back in time and enjoy the history of Sweden’s railways at the Swedish Railway Museum.
The museum has six halls and outdoor spaces filled with historical trains, carriages and other railway memorabilia.
Head out on a self-led walking tour of the city and explore Gamla Gefle, the oldest part of the city.
Take your camera to capture the beauty of the area’s narrow cobblestoned medieval streets, lined with pretty and colourful houses, many of which feature bright flower boxes.
For some of the best fika in the city, visit Konditori Lido Söder, a cafe and bakery with delicious and attractive sweet treats to try, such as their lemon tarts topped with delicate meringue and traditional slices of princestorta, a popular Swedish cake of delicate sponge topped with cream and marzipan.
Norrköping was a key industrial centre in Sweden during the 19th and 20th centuries, with many of its textiles factories and warehouses now converted into trendy restaurants, bars and apartments.
Learn more about the city’s industrial heritage at the Arbetets Museum, which documents working life in Sweden during the early 1900s, all housed inside a textiles mill.
Uncover more of the city’s history at Himmelstalund, a large park popular for camping, swimming and relaxing in summer.
As well as outdoor activities, this park draws many visitors for its more than 1600 petroglyphs of boats, people and animals believed to date from the Stone and Bronze Ages.
Borås is another of Sweden’s historical industrial towns, which was the centre of a thriving textile during its heyday.
Learn about 65 different animals from across the globe at Borås’ most popular attraction, Borås Djurpark.
The zoo has been designed ethically and has created a range of spacious and appropriately fitted enclosures for its animals, including wolves, bears and Finnish forest reindeer.
Many of the areas of the zoo open out into large fields with plenty of observation points for visitors to see these animals.
Växajö is a small city surrounded by lakes and mountains, making it the ideal destination to explore the city and the natural beauty of Sweden’s landscape.
Walk across a wooden footbridge over Helgasjön Lake to explore the ruins of Kronoberg Castle, a squat 15th centre castle that is incredibly photogenic.
Surround yourself with Swedish and international art at Växjö Konsthallen, a free-to-enter gallery featuring diverse artworks, sculptures and mixed-media pieces.
Östersund is one of the most beautiful cities in Sweden as the ocean and thick green forests surround it.
Experience this beauty at Andersön Naturreservat, a nature reserve island covered in pine trees, beaches and hiking trails.
Make the most of city views and dine at Arctura Restaurant and Skybox, a bar and restaurant with spectacular views from your seat.
Their lunch menus change daily but feature a range of delicious dishes such as creamy salmon pasta with dill, Swedish chicken in a rich red wine sauce, and butter-fried gnocchi with green asparagus.
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