Winter for many of us here in the UK is largely snow-free, but in Sweden it’s a very different story. In many areas of Sweden, the snow typically arrives in December and stays until the spring thaw around April. Throughout the winter months, Sweden’s vast areas of forest and mountains are covered in a thick blanket of snow and the lakes freeze over, with ice which may be several feet thick.
All of which make Sweden an ideal destination for a winter holiday, whether you would like to experience the challenge and adventure of dog sledding, combine Sami culture with the beauty of the Northern Lights on a reindeer sled safari, or take the children away for a traditional family-friendly snow adventure.
As an ecotourism company, Nature Travels does not offer downhill skiing or snowmobile safaris. But there is no shortage of excitement, as anyone who has commanded their own dogsled on an extended expedition into the mountain wilderness can tell you! We offer a wide range of dog sledding holidays and possibilities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Sweden throughout the winter season for independents, families and groups.
For the young, the romantic and the young at heart, here are a few more ideas for ways to make the most of the snow and enjoy the beauty of the Swedish winter landscape:
Take a horse and sleigh ride
Our popular Winter Wonderland on a Forest Farm experience is ideal for families. Your hosts Lasse and Åsa will delight in taking you on a horse and sleigh ride through the magical forested winter landscape of Hälsingland.
Sledging is a time-honoured way to enjoy the snow, with or without the kids! It is often said that the Inuit have many words for snow – in Swedish there many words for things to sit on when going through snow, including “pulka”, “kälke”, “toboggan”, “snowracer”, “släd”, “stjärtlapp” (which translates as “bum patch”) and “ackja” (a traditional sled used by the Sami people in Lapland) .
Sweden’s gentle slopes provide the perfect terrain for sledging. Just don’t forget to brake!
An unfamiliar piece of apparatus for UK guests, kicksleds are perfect for getting around in the winter on slippery surfaces such as ice or hard-packed snow, and have been used in Sweden for centuries for everything from ice fishing on the frozen lakes to transporting the weekly shopping! Some people even use the family dog for a home-made dog sledding experience!
The combination of ice, snow and light always produces beautiful results. Snowlights are a simple but magical way to light up the Swedish winter evenings. Simply take a tealight, make some snowballs and build a pyramid around your candle. Then step back and enjoy the show! If you would like to try your hand at something more ambitious, visit the International Ice Sculpture Festival at our Country Manor Multi-activity Getaway experience between 9th and 21st February 2009.
Dive in and make a snow angel
One of the easiest ways for artists to express themselves in the snow, but their simplicity and beauty means that snow angels have a timeless appeal!
Build a snowman
There is nothing which reminds us more strongly of the traditional, Dickensian Christmases of our childhood (real or imagined) than building snowmen, and the activity is no less popular today. For a “classic” snowman, take three large balls of snow of decreasing size and stack them vertically. Complete the effect with a carrot or tennis ball nose and stones for the mouth and eyes. If there’s an old scarf and hat about, you can really bring your snowman (or snowwoman) to life!
Have a snowball fight
Sometimes the temptation is just too hard to resist, and an all-out snowball fight is a marvellous way to complete a day in the Swedish outdoors. As well as developing hand-eye coordination, reflexes and arm muscles, it’s also a great way to warm up when you’re getting chilly. Just remember to play fair, or the next snowball may be down YOUR neck!
A winter holiday in Sweden provides endless opportunities for fun in the snow, whatever your age. Let the games begin!
The Nature Travels Team