8 Places To Visit In Sweden For A Minibreak

Sweden is home to some of the most interesting cultural hotspots and stunning natural landscapes in the whole of Scandinavia, and as travel restrictions to the country start to ease up, it’s a destination to consider right now. Here are the top eight places to visit during your next minibreak…

Malmö, Skȧne

Located in the south of Sweden, Malmö is the largest city in the county of Skåne (also known as Scania). As one of the culture capitals of the country, the city is known for its bustling restaurant, theatre and art scene, making it a great place for groups or couples looking for a activity-filled city break. There are many places to visit in Skåne, thanks to its beautiful landscapes, culinary delights and traditional Dutch-Renaissance architecture, but Malmö tops the list. And while the city offers well-connected transport links and is easy to explore on foot, it’s best to hire a bike to explore its hidden corners.

What To Do:
Art lovers will be spoilt for choice with the various art galleries, theatres and music venues, but for some of the best places in town, make your way to the city centre. Visit Malmö Live Concert Hall for a taste of classical Swedish music, and Malmö Arts Museum for some of the best contemporary art in the country. In the summer, spend an evening at Ribersborg Beach, located just 3km from the city centre on the Öresund where you can bathe in the shallow waters while watching the sun set.

Where To Eat:
In terms of food, Malmö is home to three Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as numerous stylish cafés and bars. Kockeriet Restaurant on Norra Vallgatan serves delicate plates of traditional Swedish food, while Restaurang Spill in Gängtappen has a range of contemporary, seasonal dishes, from pork belly stew and chimichurri ribs, to mushroom schnitzel and cheese tartare. For relaxed dining, head to Malmö Saluhall – a roofless freight depot, home to one of the city’s most popular food hubs. Here you’ll find everything from traditional Swedish food to fresh Thai cuisine, though one of the best things on offer is the bakery, which serves fresh cinnamon buns.

Where To Stay:
Set on a historical 100-acre estate, Wanås Restaurant Hotel is loved for its minimalist interiors and traditional Nordic design. Inside, you’ll find original 18th century features, including oak floors and beams, while outside guests can enjoy the beautiful woodland area and picturesque views. The hotel’s on-site restaurant attracts visitors from far and wide, so don’t miss out on their seasonal menus which use only the best local produce from their farm and forest. 

From £216 per night

Visit WanasRH.se
 

Gothenburg

Located on the west coast of Sweden, Gothenburg is the second-largest city in the country. With the beautiful North Sea on its doorstep, the city really has the best of both worlds if you’re after a city break and coastal retreat in one. Famed for its blue and white trams, Gothenburg has well connected transport links, so you’ll be able to see much of the city in a weekend. Whether you’re after great shopping, stunning coastal walks or world-class restaurants, (the city is renowned for its seafood), Gothenburg will not disappoint.

What To Do:
You’ll be able to see most of the Gothenburg sights in a weekend, so it’s worth putting some time aside to make the most of the beautiful parks and beaches dotted around the edge of the city. Head to Slottsskogen, the largest park, and once home to wild deer, for a range of outdoor activities and stunning views. Gothenburg Museum of Natural History is also located here, and makes for a great family day out. Once you’ve spent some time exploring, take a daytrip to the beautiful Bohuslän Archipelago – a coastal area made up of more than 8,000 small islands where you can enjoy long bike rides, guided fishing trips and fresh-water swimming. Lovers of the great outdoors will relish the stunning views across the water, which can be appreciated year-round.

Where To Eat:
Gothenburg is world famous for its craft beer and breweries, one of the best being Poppels Brewery in Jonsered – though if wine is your drink of choice, there are an abundance of chic Nordic-style bars around the city, too. Foodies will also feel right at home here – seafood connoisseurs should head to Fiskbar 17 for its famous black lobster and street food delights, while first timers should try fika, the Swedish tradition of enjoying a coffee and a snack with friends Café Husaren or Liseburg Christmas market are the places to go.

Where To Stay:
Hotel Pigalle is a boutique hotel only a short walk from the main city centre and train station. Inside, its decadent interiors and dark, mysterious ambience are full of character – from the quirky artwork and dark velvet curtains, to its Parisian-style bathrooms and elaborately furnished bars. The on-site Restaurant Atelier serves delicious local cuisine while the resident bar is a great place to relax after a day of sightseeing. For a special stay, book the Petite Double Room to enjoy the hotel in all its elegance. 

 From £117 per night

Visit HotelPigalle.se

 

MAGNUS MÅRDING
PIXEL PETERSSON; VISIT SWEDEN.COM
MAGNUS MÅRDING

Stockholm

Sweden’s capital is one of the chicest minibreak destinations, thanks to its world-class restaurant scene, unique shopping spots, attractions, and contemporary hotels, all set around postcard-picturesque lakes and rivers. While a short stay is best spent soaking up as much of the culture as possible, visitors often stay for a whole week to ensure they explore everything on offer. There are endless things to see and do in the city, though your time is best spend visiting the impressive galleries, walking along the river and sampling as much local food as possible.

What To Do:
There are endless art galleries and museums to visit, so if you’re strapped for time don’t miss the Nationalmuseum, The Royal Palace, or Fotografiska (the world's largest contemporary photography gallery). A culture-filled trip should also include long riverside walks – Stockholm spans a total of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, one of the prettiest being on Strandvägen Boulevard. Be sure to get a feel for Stockholm’s minimalist architecture, which is full of Art Deco and traditional Nordic influences.

Where To Eat:
When it comes to food and drink, Stockholm is a smorgasbord for fine and casual dining, with a buzzing bar scene that is especially lively on Friday nights. In the Södermalm, Lila Ego, Meatballs for the People and Gastrologik are a great choice for traditional Swedish fare, while Bar-Agrikultur on Skånegatan serves some of the best local fish and gin cocktails in the city.

Where To Stay:
For a luxurious stay, book a room at Berns Hotel next to Nybrokajen Harbour in central Stockholm. This boutique hotel oozes style, and the grand interiors are breath-taking. Each of the generously-sized 82 rooms has distinct Scandinavian style where guests can enjoy stunning riverside vistas after a day of exploring. The Rooftop Terrace Room, located on the top floor of the hotel, is a particular SL favourite thanks to its huge windows, balcony terrace and harbourside views. Berns is also renowned for its on-site Asian restaurant Isaan, which serves Bangkok street food-inspired dishes with a contemporary twist.  

From £173 per night

Visit BernsHotel.se
 

Norbotten County, Swedish Lapland

Those after a cold weather minibreak should visit Norbotten County – the northernmost area in Sweden belonging to the Swedish Lapland province. Winter holiday lovers will revel in the abundance of snow sports on offer, including husky sledding, ice sculpting and snowmobiling. Visitors can also view the majestic Northern Lights between September and March. And while Norbotten is a vast area, for a truly memorable trip, Harads is one of the best places to stay. 

What To Do:
The Swedish Lapland province is home to some of the most breath-taking views in the country, so be sure to make the most of the winter activities on offer. Children will love dog and husky sledding where you can climb aboard a sleigh while your guide navigates you through the snow – on a clear day during winter you’ll see starry skies, tranquil snowy surroundings and if you’re lucky – the Northern Lights, although for a better chance of spotting the famous light display, camp out under the stars one evening (the best time to see them is between 6am and 12pm). If you’re after a more relaxing break, check into one of the many spas in Norbotten County to enjoy a blissful day. Kust Hotel and Spa in Piteå has excellent on-site facilities, with treatments inspired by the nature of Swedish Lapland, including natural massages and facials.

Where To Eat:
Piteå is home to several modern restaurants but one of our favourites is Centrum Krog owned by chef Johan Eriksson. This modern bistro serves delicious charcoal grilled meat, fish and vegetarian options using the very best local produce. If you’re feeling adventurous however, try some thinly-sliced reindeer meat from The Sámi Kitchen, another restaurant in the area serving sous vide meat, fish and pickled veg using traditional Swedish techniques. Those wanting more of a rustic affair can head to one of the many lakes in the area where you’ll find great fishing opportunities – Piteå’s fisheries offer some of the best seafood in the country.

Where To Stay:
The TreeHotel in Harads, just an hour’s drive from Piteå, is one of the most unique design-led hotels in Sweden. Ultra-modern cabins and capsules are suspended in trees via a horizontal bridge, so you can stay in the heart of the Laplands in your very own secluded pod. Book The Mirrorcube – a stunning hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by reflective mirrored walls where you’ll be able to see panoramic views of the snow valley. Guests can also enjoy the hotel breakfast, lunch and dinner at the 1930s style restaurant and make use of the luxury spa. 

Pods from £426 per night

Visit TreeHotel.se

 

TINA STAFREN; VISIT SWEDEN.COM
ODERMA LARSTRAND; VISIT SWEDEN.COM

Gotland

Gotland, the largest island on the southeast coast of Sweden, is surrounded by natural beauty including a vast coastline littered with sandy beaches and a huge area of wild woodland. Its main town Visby dates back to the Viking-era and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, although the entire area attracts thousands of visitors each year, due to its charming cobbled streets, beautiful natural scenery and unique restaurants.

What To Do:
Visby is a veritable feast for history buffs. Much of the architecture dates back to the 13th century and there are a number of historical building not to be missed – namely Visby City Wall and St. Karin Church. Spend an afternoon wondering the streets before sampling some local produce at one of the many restaurants in town. Also, Gotland is mostly flat, so it’s a great area to explore by bike. For a day trip, head to the Eksta coast where you can swim in the crisp waters, explore the limestone rocks and see the unusual rock pillars dotted across the beaches.

Where To Eat:
Located on the eastern side of Gotland, Krakas Krog is a ‘home away from home’ with a relaxed atmosphere serving hearty portions of delicious Scandi-inspired food. In the summer, you can sit on a veranda overlooking the garden, while winter is best spent curled up inside by the cosy fireside. Bolaget is also a wise choice for those looking to spend the evening tucking into great food. French-Swedish fusion plates include everything from duck-liver terrine and Toulouse sausage, to steak tartare and Gotland lentils with chanterelle mushrooms.

Where To Stay:
In the heart of Visby, Villa Alma is a charming boutique hotel with dreamy coastal-inspired interiors. Each room is simply decorated with softly-patterned upholstery and decadent furnishings. This family-owned hotel is situated in Almedalen Park, just 30m from the sea, while Visby Botanical Garden is just a three-minute walk away. The Mini Suite is a romantic spot for couples or those wanting a stylish retreat where you’ll get views of the lake and sea and a huge free-standing bath.    

Rooms from £98 per night

Visit VillAalma.se

Uppsala

A trip to Uppsala is like travelling back in time. While its traditional Nordic architecture has remained the same for centuries, inside, restaurants, bars and galleries have been given a modern and innovative update. The city is just north of Stockholm and is known for its botanical gardens, ancient buildings and vibrant music scene. A great place to spend a weekend away, visitors of all ages can enjoy Uppsala’s cultural sites and places to eat. 

What To Do:
For a weekend culture fix, head straight to the centre to explore the best historical buildings. Known as ‘the Cambridge of Sweden’, Uppsala is a university town famous for its striking red brick architecture. Centrally located next to the Carolina Rediviva, visitors can look around the university buildings, before heading to the historic Uppsala Castle, Uppsala Cathedral and the Vasaborgen – a 16th-centruy ruin rumoured to be the home of several royal ghosts.

Where To Eat:
Hotel Kristina, home to an eco-friendly restaurant serving some of the best plates in the city, is definitely worth a visit. Their three-course dinner menu features seasonal Swedish meat and organically grown wine. Güntherska is another top choice in Uppsala where you’ll find a range of tasty baked goods such as cinnamon buns, paninis, sandwiches and fika. Stop by for lunch to break up a day of sightseeing.

Where To Stay:
Book a room at Villa Anna, a charming hotel located in a 19th century building in the middle of the city. Each of the 11 rooms are simply decorated in the classic Scandi-minimalist style with original period features and stunning city views. Villa Anna’s breakfast is particularly good, with an array of traditional Swedish breads, jams and sweet baked goods on offer. The hotel is also in a prime location from which to explore Uppsala – you can walk from the hotel to the centre of town in as little as five minutes.

Rooms from £337 per night

Visit VillaAnna.se

Värmland

Värmland is a vast region stretching across central-west Sweden, spanning hills, forests and including over 10,000 lakes. Klarälven River (the largest in Sweden) also runs through the area, making it the ideal place for water sports such a kayaking, fresh-water swimming, hiking, and in the winter, skiing. There are many places in Värmland to explore, though one of our favourites is Karlstad, a small riverside town next to beautiful open waters.

What To Do:

Make the most of the rivers than run throughout Karlstad and head out on a waterside adventure. Arvika Canoe & Tourist Centre is a great place to start, where you’ll be able to hire canoes for a day, or embark on a guided tour of the Klarälven. If kayaking is your sport of choice, go to Upplunden Lake which has stunning vistas of the water and beyond. You can also take walks along one of the hiking trails in Värmland, or head into the mountains if you have some climbing experience. During the winter months, Värmland turns into a stylish ski resort, though its slopes are best suited to seasoned skiers. 

Where To Eat:

In the middle of town, make a beeline for Blå Kök och Bar to sample some seriously special seafood, including their famous Vänern white roe,  or head to Cava 42 – Värmland’s answer to Spanish tapas. An afternoon of casual dining is best spent at Pitcher's Karlstad where you can enjoy sandwiches, salads and tasty puddings, as well as some Swedish draft beers and malt whiskey. With a range of options to choose from, you can easily spend a whole day making your way around the various restaurant and cafés. 

Where To Stay:

Dating back to 1446, Dömle Herrgård Spa & Resort is just a 35 minute’ drive from Karlstad. This luxury hotel spans five beautiful buildings and is a restful heaven after a day spent exploring the waters in Värmland. Hire a bike or canoe for the day, book a treatment at the five-star spa, relax at the hotel’s private beach, or go fishing at the lake on the grounds. The rooms in Dömle are lavishly furnished, being decorated in a classic baroque style, but for an extra special stay, ask for a room with a riverside view. 

From £184 per night

Visit Domle.se

Småland

While the south-eastern province of Småland may be known as the birthplace of IKEA, it’s also home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country. Often hailed as “Sweden for real”, the area includes dense forests, huge lakes and hundreds of green valleys. Those looking for a quintessential Swedish minibreak can make the most of the nature and culture, as well as the wonderous landscapes – indeed, Småland has a lively restaurant and arts scene. 

What To Do:

Close to the capital, Småland is also at the very heart of Sweden, so when it comes to activities and days out, there’s much to choose from. There are three cities to visit, including Jönköping and Kalmar, although Växjö is our go-to. There you’ll find great shopping, music venues for all tastes, and a selection of art galleries alongside beautiful nature reserves. Storgatan is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Sweden, lined with boutique Scandinavian shops and handcrafted boutiques, as well as some great restaurants in Växjö. For a culture fix, visit Smålands Museum, and the mesmerising Swedish Glass Museum. For two days each September (depending on the year) Växjö also hosts the largest food market in Sweden which is the perfect place for finding delicious locally sourced produce and traditional Swedish food.

Where To Eat:

Kafe de Luxe on Sandgärdsgatan is renowned for its gourmet burgers and eclectic dinner menu – dine there on weekends when the restaurant has live music from various bands and DJs. PM & Vänner is another stylish option, serving up classic Swedish bistro food with a contemporary twist, such as steamed cod with cauliflower puree, kalix roe (a local delicacy) and crispy duck breast with Chérie potatoes. 

Where To Stay:

While Växjö has several boutique hotels, for something a little different, book a room at Teleborgs Castle. Each of the unique 30 bedrooms have been carefully decorated in a cosy, Nordic style to pay homage to the property’s history. The Suites each have their own balcony, living area, and view over Lake Trummen, while the hotel’s latest edition – The Tower Room – is a characterful space with original brick floors and wooden beams. The on-site restaurant, Teleborgs Slott's, serves a wonderful à la carte menu with options such as baked cod with dill and a mussel velouté, and sourdough Skagen with pickled onions. Ensure you make dinner reservations early as the hotel restaurant is often fully booked. 

Rooms from £129

Visit CastleBook.com
 

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book. Please ensure you are aware of the social distancing guidelines in place as well as rules on meeting up in groups larger than six.

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