Life in Sweden


Winter and summer temperature differences in Sweden are extreme, but generally, the country enjoys a temperate climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream.

Above the Arctic Circle, winter is severe with temperatures going below -30°C, while summer temperatures here, and in the rest of the country, regularly hit +20°C. In the south, winter is generally mild with an average temperature above 0°C/32°F degrees. Sweden’s northerly position has a definite summer advantage in that temperatures are rarely extreme and humidity levels are not high.

You can divide the country into three regions: central and southern Sweden, the northeast, and the northwest, or far north to describe the weather in Sweden.

In central and southern Sweden the winters are short and quite cold, and summer temperatures are with a lot more hours of sunshine and daylight.

In the northeast meanwhile, the winters are severe, the more so as you travel further north, while the summers can be surprisingly warm.

In the far north, the winters are also severe, with snow lying the year-round on elevated areas, and the summers are short and changeable. And because Sweden lies at a high latitude much of the country has very long hours of daylight in summer and very long nights in winter.

Dark and light hours

Between the end of May and mid-July, the midnight sun lights up the night in northern Sweden lengthening your sightseeing days.

Sweden is a country with big differences in daylight. In the far north, the sun does not set at all in June and there is darkness around the clock in January. However, in January in Stockholm, the sun rises at 8:47 am and sets at 2:55 pm, while in July the sun rises at 3:40 am and sets at 10:00 pm.

From November, you will begin to get acquainted with the relatively boring face of Sweden. Most of the dark hours between November and February can make you relatively depressed, but it can also be prevented. From November onwards, try to get up earlier so that you can see the visible light for at least 3 hours a day.

If natural sources do not work, consult your physician to determine the best dosage of vitamin D. There are different dosages of vitamin D for different uses, so you will want to have your vitamin D levels checked first before taking any supplements.

Sweden conforms to Central European Time, which is one hour (or two hours) ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight saving time (put your clock 1 hour forward) is in effect from the last weekend in March to the last weekend in October. In Sweden, this is called ‘sommartid’. When setting the clock back 1 hour in October, it’s called ‘vintertid’.

Swedish people

In many parts of Sweden, you will find local people smiling and helpful. The most positive thing for visitors from abroad is that 90% of Swedes speak English fluently.

There is a societal code of conduct in Sweden which really has no direct translation. Loosely translated, the word lagom means ‘just enough’, ‘in moderation’, ‘appropriate’ and other synonyms you can pull out of the dictionary. When used in reference to societal behaviour, it means blending in appropriately without extreme displays of emotion.

Special days celebrating food

Swedes celebrate Christmas, Easter, Midsummer and Walpurgis Eve. But almost as important are the days celebrating foods: Shrove Tuesday (Fettisdagen), which in Sweden calls for a semla; Waffle Day (Våffeldagen) on 25 March; and Cinnamon Bun Day (Kanelbullens dag) on 4 October.

Slower month

Full-time employees in Sweden are entitled to at least 25 days of paid holiday per year, and many take out a large chunk of these during July – statistically the country’s warmest month. So generally speaking, service will be slower. Many small businesses shut down the entire month.

Drinking tap water

Drinking tap water is the norm in Sweden. The water is clean and fresh, so you can save both money and the environment by not buying bottled water.

Cash & Card

In Sweden, most people prefer to pay only by card, and many places do not even accept cash payments. For this reason, do not prefer to take cash with you when travelling to Sweden.

Post Office

Post Office – Sweden’s Postal Service (postnord) has pick-up and drop-off points in shopping centres, grocery stores, and petrol stations. You can find yellow mailboxes in many convenient locations. At the postal services, you can buy stamps, and envelopes, register your mail and send express mail. Post services are normally available during the shops’ opening hours.

Health care and Dental care

Tax-funded health care – health care in Sweden is tax-funded and ensures that everyone has equal access to healthcare services. Unlike health care, dental care is not covered in the same way as other medical treatments.

Health clinic (vårdcentral) – your first point of contact with medical services when you become sick or sustain mild injuries. As part of the publicly funded social insurance, you only pay a moderate fee when visiting a doctor or physiotherapist within the national health scheme.

Emergency care – in case of an emergency, dial 112 or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency ward at the hospital. If you are unsure whether to visit the hospital or health clinic, call the medical advice telephone service, and dial 1177.

Dental care (Folktandvården) – there is a public dental service and there are private dental clinics. If you need urgent dental treatment, call any dental clinic and ask for advice. Dental care is not included in the social benefits in Sweden.

If you are insured in Sweden, you can receive free dental care until the age of 23 (which differs depending on the County). The year you turn 24 and are required to pay for dental care, you can receive a national dental care subsidy. If you have a special need for dental care, you may be eligible for dental care subsidy from your county council or region (county council’s dental care subsidy). You will not receive a national dental care subsidy for that dental care.

Hospital (Länssjukhuset Ryhov) – before you go to a hospital, you are advised to call the medical advice telephone service, dial 1177. In case of an emergency, dial 112, or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency ward at the hospital.

Here you may find information about COVID-19 in Sweden.




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