Being neither too cold nor too warm, September is considered an ideal time to visit Sweden. In the south, temperatures are still in the pleasant zone of 47°F-62°F (8°C-17°C), and sunshine hours are a decent 5.5 daily on average. Meanwhile, the water temperatures are just below those of high summer at an average of 57°F (14°C). Temperatures have dropped far more in the north (37°F-50°F/3°C-10°C), but snow has not yet fallen, and the Arctic tundra is ablaze in fall colors just as captivating as those in the forests of the south.
September is a fairly wet month, however. This is Stockholm's wettest month of the year, with close to 3 inches (7 cm) of rain expected to fall, while parts of the north are also quite damp. The good news for outdoor lovers is that the mosquitoes that plagued hikers and kayakers in July and August across Sweden have also mostly gone.
Crowds & Costs
This is shoulder season in Sweden. The summer crowds have gone, although there are still plenty of visitors in most key destinations. Many businesses will close at the end of September for the winter, so it is possible to find decent deals on accommodation and activities at this time of year and enjoy them without a lot of tourists.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Where to Go
Stockholm continues its lively program of festivities with its fringe festival, celebrating experimental theater and other art forms, while Gothenburg has its street food festival. If you find yourself in the capital or Gothenburg, it's a great idea to take advantage of the fact that both cities are close to fantastic nature and that September is the last month in which you are fully able to enjoy much of it. The best places to visit are the Stockholm and Gothenburg archipelagos, either by kayak or boat trip. Plenty of waterways lace the city and its surroundings.
Further afield, on the west coast, the Kosterhavet Marine National Park offers guided kayaking excursions to explore the island-speckled coast. If you prefer wild swimming to kayaking, visit a lake like Lake Örsjön, where you can cool off in the water after experiencing one of Sweden's most atmospheric wood-fired saunas, a tempting countryside tradition to indulge in this month here or elsewhere. Another perfect way to work up a sweat before a wild swim is to pedal some of the 400-odd miles (640 km) around the edge of Sweden's biggest lake, Lake Vänern, on a breathtaking trail.
In the north, hardcore hikers will relish the prospect of trekking some (or all!) of the epic 280-mile (450-km) Kungsleden. The wilderness trail bisects the four national parks of Abisko, Stora Sjöfallet, Sarek, and Pieljekaise, plus the vast Laponian Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What to Do
September is one of those months where it's the last opportunity for a long while to try many activities. Particularly with hiking and biking, snow cover will mean trails are either snow-covered or too muddy as of next month. The warm seawater will also start chilling as of October, so this is also a great chance to get in some water-based activities. The great thing about Sweden is that you don't need to venture far outside the big cities to experience these things in spectacular nature: the Stockholm Archipelago, littered with remote islands to boat, kayak, ramble and swim around, highlights this fact.
In addition to the Kungsleden, other more accessible hiking options include Skåne county's Skåneleden Trail, an 807-mile (1,300-km) route with stretches through sweeping beech forests just becoming tinged by fall colors. Soderasens National Park near Helsingborg also features old-growth beech forests full of the blaze of fall. You could also make the most of the year's last pleasant weather by doing some biking: the island of Gotland has probably Sweden's best mountain bike park, while Lake Vänern's huge shoreline cycle path is a popular route created only in 2022.
Besides the kayaking spots mentioned above, consider attempting a stretch of the High Coast by self-guided kayak or come up here for hiking amid forest-lined shores and rock formations. The 80-mile (129-km) High Coast Trail winds right through the region, which is UNESCO-listed for its pristine beauty. The High Coast is also the setting of one of September's top festivals, the adventure-themed Utefest in Friluftsbyn on the edge of Skuleskogens National Park.
It's also worth planning your trip around some of the unusual festivals this month, some of which are themed around September harvest time. The standout extravaganza occurs in Southern Sweden's Kivik, where the apple harvest is celebrated.
Events in September
Baltic Sea Festival, Stockholm. This is one of the most highly-regarded fixtures in Sweden's festival calendar: a week or more of classical music spanning late August and early September.
Gothenburg Street Food Festival, Gothenburg. Sweden's most prominent street food festival, held between the three big cities of Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Malmö, with Gothenburg hosting festivities this month (for around four days, at the beginning of the month).
Utefest, Friluftsbyn. For a couple of days in early September, adventurers descend on Friluftsbyn on the High Coast for outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, and braving a via ferrata trail.
Stockholm Fringe Festival, Stockholm. This six-day event is a chance for everyone from installation artists to comedians to actors to perform their work, usually with an experimental or groundbreaking theme.
Kivik Apple Market Festival, Kivik. Skåne is the apple-producing capital of Sweden, and in late September, for two days, they celebrate the apple harvest with events, including the production of large-scale artworks made out of apples.
Lidingöloppet, Lidingö. Regarding the number of participants, this is the largest cross-country running event in the world, happening on Lidingö, an island connected by road to the mainland just east of Stockholm. It takes place at the end of September.
Öland Harvest Festival, Öland. One of Sweden's most important harvest festivals happens in late September on the island of Öland.