Temperatures remain much the same throughout Sweden in February as they did last month: below freezing. Mean temperatures in Sweden's capital Stockholm and Arctic Lapland hover respectively around 29°F (-2°C) and 11°F (-11°C). The chill also means that February is Sweden's joint driest month, along with January and March. These factors, along with February's significantly increased sunshine, all make optimum conditions for winter sports: snow cover is at its thickest for skiing, lakes are frozen, making for good skating, and the winter landscapes gleam invitingly in the sun.
One of the planet's most incredible natural shows in the Arctic North, the northern lights, plays out all month long.
Crowds & Costs
Peak season has arrived in thickly snow-covered Central and Northern Sweden, home to the nation's biggest and best ski resorts. Swedes have a special name for their February vacation: sportlovet, or "sport holiday," and snow sports are precisely what many Swedes are doing this month. Availability of accommodation in resorts like Åre is at a premium as locals flock to the slopes. Foreign visitors are less evident in February, although Sweden's reputation as a winter sports destination is growing internationally. In the big cities, it will mostly be locals that you encounter.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Where to Go
This month, Gothenburg and Stockholm remain relatively quiet, particularly with international visitors. However, Gothenburg Film Festival makes Sweden's second city a colorful destination at the beginning of the month, and Stockholm's frozen lakes like Trekanten offer skating.
Yet snowy Central and Northern Sweden are the most popular places to visit in February for their snow sports, festivities, and northern lights viewing. Come to big ski resorts like Åre and Sälen (Central Sweden) or Riksgränsen (Sweden's northernmost resort) for skiing. Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland is the place to be in the north at the start of February for its lively Jokkmokk Winter Market and to observe the northern lights illuminating the night sky; one of the best spots to visit is Abisko.
What to Do
The icy weather prompts travelers to turn inside for entertainment. In Stockholm, this presents the perfect chance to discover Swedish culture at a museum like the Nordic Museum, where you can learn more about Swedish culture, or the Viking Museum, a great place to bring the kids with interactive exhibits. Pubs are part of the city's social scene: take refuge from the cold in a gastropub like Man in the Moon, with over 600 beers available! If you prefer to make the most of the ice and snow, many lakes near Stockholm are frozen solid at this time and offer skating in picturesque surroundings.
Meanwhile, if relaxation is one of your motivations for travel, you might like to take a day trip from Stockholm to one of Southern Sweden's traditional spas. Consider Sturebadet in Stockholm, 300-year-old Sätra Brunn near the capital, or Loka Brunn further to the west. The signature treatment here involves a bath infused with oil made from local pine needles. Even more traditionally, seek out one of the Swedish countryside's many wood-fired saunas, where, after a sauna sweat, you plunge into an icy lake.
Still, the best activities of all this month are further north. Try skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling at the country's biggest ski resort, Åre, participate in traditional festivals such as the winter market in Jokkmokk or visit Abisko, far above the Arctic Circle, to spy some of Europe's brightest northern lights. On Sami National Day, Sami communities across Swedish Lapland have colorful celebrations. For some unique accommodation, chill out with a stay at the world's first and largest hotel made only from ice and snow, Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi near Kiruna.
Events in February
Gothenburg Film Festival, Gothenburg. The biggest film festival in the Nordic nations enlivens Gothenburg at the end of January and the beginning of February.
Jokkmokk Winter Market, Jokkmokk. In the 17th century, the Swedish crown granted the right for winter markets to be held near the indigenous Sami people's winter settlements across Lapland. From this, Jokkmokk Market has grown to offer an array of stalls and wares, with many handicrafts produced by today's Sami population. The market occurs at the beginning of February.
Sami National Day, Lapland. Sami communities in Arctic Sweden celebrate their national day on February 6 by singing their national anthem and raising the Sami National flag.
Fettisdagen, nationwide. The arrival of Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) sees semlor (cardamom flavored buns stuffed with almond paste and whipped cream) filling up bakeries before Lent begins.