Travelers make the most of the sunnier weather and longer daylight hours in May to explore Sweden's natural beauty: kayaking through archipelagos, swimming in lakes, and hiking in beech forests. Almost everywhere in Sweden is green and pleasant. And because May is still a quiet shoulder-season month, there are few crowds.


Spring is at its height across the country in May, and everywhere, from city parks to national parks, brim with greenery. Mean temperatures in Stockholm and the south reach around 52°F (11°C), while even in the Arctic, it is a comparatively balmy 40°F (4°C ). An average of nine hours of daily sunshine bless visitors, and up in the far north, the sun no longer sets whatsoever from May 28 right through to early July. Water temperatures are also rising, making water sports (not to mention the obligatory plunge into a lake following a traditional wood-fired sauna) appealing this month. 

Crowds & Costs

May is shoulder season, and while you'll notice many more visitors out and about compared to last month, high-season crowds are still some way off, and it's still mainly locals you'll encounter relishing the improved weather. In fact, with many businesses just opening for the summer season, May can still be a good time to grab deals on accommodation and activities.

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Where to Go

Everywhere in Sweden in May is inviting, including the big cities. Stockholm's 30,000 island-strong archipelago invites watersport enthusiasts of all kinds. Then there's Kosterhavet Marine National Park on Sweden's west coast, another island-speckled hotspot for a kayak or boating excursion. Meanwhile, hang out at a pavement café in trendy Haga in Gothenburg or visit the Botanic Gardens, a blaze of colorful blooms. Malmö's Lilla Torg square is another atmospheric spot to eat out in the sun, while the city is replete with green spaces to walk, cycle, and picnic, such as Kungsparken.

Those who want to hike might like to try the long-distance Kustsigen trail. The southern coastal path leads along the western seaboard from Tjörn near Gothenburg to Oslo (in Norway). Alternatively, for one of Sweden's finest hiking adventures, venture to the High Coast with its steep wooded cliffs rising out of the Gulf of Bothnia: May is the perfect month to visit, as temperatures are cool and mosquitoes absent.

What to Do

May is a month for appreciating Sweden's diverse terrains. This might involve a tour along the city canal network in Stockholm, journeying out by boat, or a self-guided kayak into the Stockholm Archipelago. Not to be outdone, Gothenburg also has its archipelago with boat trips running to most of the tranquil islands throughout the month. 

The best kayaking is in the Kosterhavet Marine National Park on Sweden's west coast. Still, any of Sweden's many lakes make tempting excursions this month, too: Lake Örsjön is one of many bodies of water with an idyllic wood-fired sauna where you can plunge into the lake water afterward. Most lakes have ample opportunities for swimming too. 

Hiking should be on your agenda in this green and pleasant month. You might like to consider one of Sweden's beech forests, which begin to bloom in May. Soderasens National Park near Helsingborg has enchanting beech forests. For gentle countryside rambles, Sweden's southernmost county, Skåne, is ideal this month, while more challenging hiking awaits further north in places such as the Gulf of Bothnia's craggy High Coast.

The increased sunshine hours and lessened snow make cycling a great option too. Bike Sweden's leading mountain bike park at Slite in Gotland or adventure along the 400 miles (640 km) cycle path that now runs around the shore of the largest lake in Sweden (and in the European Union), Lake Vänern.

Events in May

Kristi Himmelsfärdsdag, country-wide. This public holiday marking Ascension Day (on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter) is the invitation locals need to plan a long weekend away.

More Useful Information

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