The winters in Stockholm are long, starting around late October or early November and lasting for up to six months. At the end of December, around the winter solstice, the days will be at their shortest, with as little as six hours of daylight.
If you visit Stockholm during the coldest season of the year and want to join in the custom of friluftsliv with the locals, you had better dress appropriately to stay warm while outside. Friluftsliv means to be outside, enjoying nature with those you love. Luckily there is plenty to do outside to keep you warm.
Stockholm has plenty of options for skating. It is a great way to be both outside, have fun and stay warm. The most popular rink is Kungsträdegården near the bridge leading to Gamla Stan, which you can easily reach with the Hop-on Hop-off bus. In the evening they turn on the lights for some disco skating. You can rent skates here but the actual use of the ice is free.
If you want to avoid the crowds and brought your own skates you can visit the rink in Vasaparken or, for the real skating enthusiasts, go on a one-day ice skating tour on the waterways around the city.
If you prefer not to step on the ice but still want to explore some of the waterways and nature surrounding Stockholm, winter kayaking might be just the thing for you. The Vaxholm archipelago can be very busy in summer but during the coldest months of the year you'll have the place almost completely to yourself.
A guide will take you around the archipelago. The route will depend on the weather and sea conditions. But you are likely to pass by a 16th-century fortress, traditional fishing cottages and Bogesund Nature Reserve. On the way your guide will tell you local stories and point out the best sights.
When the football season halts for the winter months, Sweden focusses on their national sport: Ice-Hockey. The Swedish ice hockey league, SHL, is ranked as one of the best in the world and the national teams have several Olympic and World Cup medals.
Stockholm's local team, Djurgården, plays at the Hovet stadium in central Stockholm. The season lasts from September till March. Tickets can be bought at the arena on game day or through the clubs' website.
Stockholm looks particularly picturesque when viewed from the water, even in winter, with the city's roofs and streets covered in a layer of snow. Though not all boat tours run all year round, some keep going until the waterways have actually turned to ice.
Try our Winter waterways tour for example. With heating and a café with delicious Fika, you'll see the Royal Island of Djurgården, several famous museums such as the Vasa Museum and the ABBA Museum. The tour will take you past the shores of Östermalm, Nacka Strand and Södermalm, all with an audio guide to let you know exactly what you are seeing.
Yes, Stockholm has a ski resort in the city limits and the locals spend plenty of time there especially on weekends in the winter. Hammarbybacken is a landmark of the city. There are 5 slopes, a children's area and a snow park.
You can bring your own skiing or snowboard equipment or rent it on site. The resort is suitable for everyone from beginners to those with more experience. There are cafes and restaurants if you need a break or a bite to eat as well.
If after all that you want to warm up a bit. A Swedish sauna, locally known as bastu, is a great way to relax after a day spend outside in the crisp, fresh air. You'll find plenty of opportunities to try a sauna in Stockholm's spas and swimming pool complexes. Centralbadet is one of the best known, with a beautiful Art Nouveau design and plenty of saunas and heated swimming pools.