How to have a fun Winter break in Sweden
Sweden may be dark and cold in the winter, but the country’s landscape and the way things are organised – through the freedom to roam and councils actually actively encouraging people to get outdoors – makes it a winter-break paradise. You can have loads of Winter fun in Sweden.
Sweden has very few tall mountains. Are in the north is probably the most popular large resort, with long, Alps-style pistes.
However, throughout Sweden there are numerous small resorts. These are usually centred around a couple of hills, which still give lots of 2-3 km runs. These resorts are amazingly family-friendly, more like a summer resort or Centre Parcs. The compact size of the resorts give kids a certain degree of freedom, because parents know roughly where the kids are. The pistes are safe, there is very little off-piste skiing or avalanche danger, and the Swedish families at the resorts tend to be more chilled and less competitive than what we’d experienced in the Alps.
A trip to the wonderful resort of Klappen, in the western Dalarna region, showed us just how great the smaller resorts are for families. All the pistes come together into one location, the on-piste restaurant and café offers amazing value lunches, and the kids’ entertainment and ski schools are top quality.
The week skiing, unlike previous ski holidays, was truly relaxing. We skied and snowboarded, took a snowmobile ride, had fun during evening sledging organised by the resort and even grilled sausages on the piste (with firewood chopped and provided for free). Due to the size of the resort, our kids made friends and could be allowed to do the shorter runs on their own while we enjoyed some hot coffee by the fire.
Amazing outdoor skating
Once the lakes freeze over in January and February, as most lakes north of Stockholm do, local kommuns (the councils) will organise small tractors to clear paths regularly to create the most beautiful outdoor ice rinks. Skating on natural ice can be tricky with cracks and unevenness, but the beauty of the surroundings, the wonderfully fresh air and often sunny days make up for the occasional fall. For those not so comfortable on skates, the frozen lakes, with even a small snow cover, are great for cross-country skiing.
The kicksled – a small sled consisting of a chair mounted on a pair of flexible metal runners – is another great way to enjoy the ice.
There are possibilities to do longer and shorter skate tours:
Outdoor picnics are probably not the first thought that springs to mind when considering winter activities, but dress up appropriately and you and the kids will love it!
The Swedes have embraced their outdoors and the councils and different organisations do a great job to help people enjoy nature in any season. Sweden is full of wonderful walks, with shelters and grill places set up. Often the councils will provide chopped wood for making a fire.
Pop into a supermarket, pick up a box of matches, some “korv” aka hot dogs, hot dog buns, fried onions and mustard and you have the makings of great picnic. People often leave their sharpened skewers for the next people to use, but you and the kids can always make your own with care and the help of a sharp knife.
A thermos flask with hot chocolate will also win you brownie points with the kids.
There’s nothing better than getting home after a long day wandering in a beautiful forest, slightly smelling of smoke. There is something special about cooking your own food on an open fire, wouldn’t you say?
This is a guest post from Monika at Mum on the Brink why not head over and check out her blog.
If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my list of Winter activity ideas for families?