After I traded the tropics for northern Germany, I initially said that I didn’t want to move further north. I was afraid it would get too cold for my liking. And here we are, living in Stockholm. First, I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful Winter with blue skies and snow-filled landscapes. And now, we’re being ‘treated’ to a real Summer. Most of us will agree that it is too hot. But if you have to be anywhere in Europe now, I believe Sweden is the place to be.
What you need know
I can’t say it’s much cooler here in the north. The Sveriges Meteorologiska och Hydrologiska Institut (SMHI) recently issued a class-two alert for ‘extremely high temperatures’ (their most serious temperature warning) in several Swedish counties including Stockholm. This means that the developing weather could be dangerous, causing considerable structural damage and significant disruption of public services.
But if you’re looking for places to cool off, Sweden is the place to be. There are about 96,000 lakes and plenty of rivers and streams. And not to forget, Sweden has a coastline of 3,218 km. Or find your way up in the mountains. Just be aware that there’s a barbecue/bonfire ban in place for most counties, even for private gardens. Sweden is fighting huge forest fires and nearly all of Sweden is considered a risk zone.
Between summer houses and diving in the city
Most Swedes escape the heat by spending their weekends and holidays in their Summerhouse. Apparently, about 20% of Swedes own a Sommarstuga and more than 50% have access to one through family or friends. It often looks like a family affair. Most cabins are owned by extended families and are handed down from generation to generation. We all know the wooden red colored cottages. They are often to be found at the coast, in the forest or near a lake.
But don’t fear if you don’t have a Sommarstuga to chill out and if you’re spending most of your Summer in Stockholm like I do. We’re never far from water or green spaces, although it’s hard to find green grass at the moment because of the drought. With 26 city parks, it’s easy to find a shaded place with (hopefully) a nice breeze. Since Stockholm is situated on fourteen islands and on the banks to the archipelago, there’s water all around us. The waterways of Stockholm are so clean that you can take a dip anywhere in the city. I don’t see the Parisians swimming in the Seine or Londoners in the Thames. But here in Stockholm, we can choose between rocky diving points, wooden piers, beaches and outdoor pools.
Finding the best swimming spots
You can easily find swimming spots online. Check for instance this guide. I personally like Fågelöuddebadet, north-east of Lidingö. There’s grass, a sandy beach, a jump tower and a snack bar. You can get there by car or public transport. If you’re looking for a bit more action, try the Cable Park by Arlanda Airport at the lake ‘Halmsjön’. Here you can wakeboard, water-ski or knee-board for more than 600 meter. With a beach-volley course, a large trampoline and a nice terrace it’s a cool place to hang out during a hot Summer.
And when you like to go out for a bite or a drink at the end of the day, this is the time. With most residents having fled the city you often don’t even need a reservation.