For me, a concept that helped me adapt to life and life in winter in Sweden almost as much as “fika” was the “utflykt”, or outing. As you may have noticed the winter months in Sweden trend towards dark and dreary. One of the best ways I found to combat that effect was to get motivated and get out see and experience something new. After all, that’s one of the perks of moving to somewhere like Sweden for the first time.
So here is a few suggestions for some winter or early spring outings that may help keep your spirits up during the long winter. Oh and I should mention that not all utflykt have to take you out into nature. There are plenty of indoor activities and utflykt in Sweden as well, but here I will focus more on the outdoor possibilities.
What is your outdoor activity for an utflykt?
I’m a Scuba Diver, so for me one of my first big weekend outings was an Ice diving course in an old quarry to the south of Stockholm. Now this may not be the perfect utflykt for just anyone, but the words of my dive buddy may help you find yours. As we pulled up to the parking lot near the dive site I was shocked to see the lot full of cars and people all unloading for a variety of winter activities. There were snowshoes, cross country skis, hockey skates and those long bladed skates that are a sort of a combination of the last two.
“Everyone in Sweden has their thing, their favorite activity”, explained Daniel, my dive buddy and instructor for the day. “There are the mountain people, the forest people, and like us divers, the water people.”
And as I continued getting out to dive on the weekends, throughout the seasons, I could see he had a point. Swedes are very fond of their outdoor activities and wether its picking mushrooms or running around the woods with a compass, they make a point of getting out to enjoy them. The greater Stockholm area is full of parks and lakes to explore in whatever way you enjoy best. With a little research, one can find a nice place to try ice skating or downhill skiing/snowboarding and even a nice hot chocolate from the cafe to warm up with after.
Are you extra adventurous?
For those feeling extra adventurous, I would highly recommend finding a place to try “Isvak,” which is when you climb down through a hole cut in the ice and immerse yourself in the freezing water. Sounds crazy, but if you get nice and warm in a Sauna first the experience can lead to an amazing feeling of relaxation. Combine this with a day of ice skating and you will have yourself an outing that may lead to the best nights sleep you have had in weeks.
Now that I find myself in Skona in southern Sweden in a slightly more moderate winter, I have sought out some new wintertime activities and outings. The only place I had seen in Lund with enough snow for skiing was the small track that was laid out in the park for a few cold days. And while it was packed with enthusiastic skiers going round and round the track, I tend to like a bit more space to ramble around in. And so I headed out for a long wintertime beach walk. There are beaches just 10km from Lund (Lomma) but for a really long uninterrupted stretch of sand, I headed east from Lund to Sandhammaren.
Here the beach is surrounded by pretty dunes and at this time of year practically deserted. Perfect for what my grandmother called a “freeze-ass” picnic.
After a brisk walk down the beach and a fika pause with a thermos of hot coffee, I was ready for a bit of history and culture on the way home. A quick stop at Ales Stenar at Kåseberga east of Ystad was the perfect way to end the day with a walk along the bluffs. Here you can observe a “stone ship” thought to be at least 1400 years old. The large rocks are aligned with the sun and the site has been called a Swedish Stonehenge. Now, try some fried herring with lingonberries at one of the local restaurants along the beach at Kåseberga and you will have yourself a truly Swedish utflykt.
Photo: Samuel Reitman
Written by Samuel Adams Reitman
I am 35 years old, American and married to a Swedish woman. We have lived in both Sweden and the U.S. and are currently down south in Lund. Having been a newbie in Sweden I was happy to get the chance to share my experience with others through this platform. Living in any new place always provides opportunities to observe and record; and if those observations strike a chord with others, all the better. My interests in Sweden and life include, but are not limited to, literature, scuba diving, history, snaps songs, and being out in nature. Hope you enjoy!