Deep in the lowest latitudes of the Earth’s extremities, the far reaches of the planet where temperatures begin to plunge and where human populations drop precipitously, seasons have deeper meanings. Spring, Winter and Fall are plain, solid facts of life, the cold months during which fires are built, hard work is complete and the foundation of the year is laid. These are the months where Lyle and Scott sweaters are worn proudly by light skinned Swedes, where bicycles are ridden furiously through the blinding snow, puddle jumping from one warm abode to the next, conserving every last bit of warmth.
It’s preparation in a way, ten long months of good hard work for a two month reward, a swift, vanishing summer than can easily be missed in the blink of an eye. In Sweden, these months are June and July.
Swedes take their summertime very seriously, especially in Stockholm where cooped up urbanites use their stored up vacation to escape from the nation’s bustling, stark capital. Activity hits fever pitch around Midsommar, the traditional festival held once a year celebrating the longest day of the summer, fertility and the general release of energy stored up over the long, winter months. During this time, tempers even out, jovial residents take to the streets and the celebration spills through the country like a tidal wave of happiness, with dinner parties, drinking events and sales unlike any other time of the year.It is inside of this precise window that Sweden is often best to visit. It’s true that not all attractions are open and not all services will be at fever pitch, but the atmosphere, in short, is Godly. From the high, fluffy Atlantic clouds to the clean, bright architecture to the festivals and the sales and the never ending stream of herring and aquavit, Sweden is at its best during summertime festivities, and is a destination unrivaled in aesthetic and experience.
Getting there, however, can be tricky. With limited routes to the Scandinavian nation and demand at a seasonal high, tickets tend to be expensive for travel during summer months. But creative routing, fare sales on SAS and good planning doth an inexpensive trip make, so plan ahead, set up a fare alert and save your allowance for vacation; though Sweden is an expensive country there are plenty of budget options for the savvy traveler.
At the very least, be sure to tune into Gadling’s Midsommar coverage as the summer progresses. We’ve got many more wonderful stories to tell.