Sweden's weather has many faces. The country enjoys a mostly temperate climate despite its northern latitude, mainly because of the Gulf Stream. Stockholm is warmer and milder, while in the mountains of northern Sweden, a sub-Arctic climate predominates.
North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer during June and July, which is called the Midnight Sun, one of Scandinavia's natural phenomena. The opposite occurs in the winter when the night is unending for a corresponding period. These are the Polar Nights (another one of Scandinavia's natural phenomena).
There is an important weather divergence between northern and southern Sweden: The north has a long winter of more than seven months. The south, on the other hand, has winter weather for only two months and a summer of more than four.
Annual rainfall averages 24 inches and the maximum rainfall occurs in late summer. Sweden boasts considerable snowfall, and in Sweden's north snow remains on the ground for six months each year.
Popular Cities in Sweden
Stockholm's climate is mostly pleasant with more mild winters than you would expect. The city receives quite a bit of sunshine and has summertime temperatures that average 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). Winters are much colder, averaging between 27 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 2 to minus 1 degree Celsius). Most of the rain falls during the fall and winter months.
Gothenburg has a humid, continental climate, with an average temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. The climate has grown milder in recent years, with winters hovering around freezing and summers averaging above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius).
Malmö has an oceanic climate. Temperatures are typically above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) during the summer months, dropping to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1 degree Celsius) during the winter. Malmö does receive some snow from December through March, but heavy accumulation is rare.
Uppsala has cold winters and warm summer. Temperatures are warmest in July when they average around 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius), and coldest in January when the average high temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero Celsius).
Spring in Sweden
Daylight hours and temperatures begin to increase in March, but snow is still possible. Ski season starts wrapping up in April, although in the far north reaches, snow and cold are possible well into May. The Midnight Sun typically starts in late May and lasts through August.
What to pack: You can experience sudden changes in the weather during the spring months and there's also incredible variability depending on where you're visiting. In general, you'll still need warm clothes like jeans, sweaters, and in some parts of the country, a heavy jacket and winter accessories like a scarf, gloves, and hat.
Summer in Sweden
Summers in the north are short and cool, but still, have the long days Sweden's summers are known for. Further south, temperatures can reach up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), although that's not especially common. No matter where you go, you'll experience long, mostly sunny days that are perfect for being outside.
What to pack: Nights are quite cold, especially in the northern part of the country and along the coast, so you'll still want to pack warm layers. Otherwise, during the day in Stockholm and other major cities, you'll likely be comfortable in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt.
Fall in Sweden
Fall in Sweden is dominated by cool, cloudy weather and increased rainfall. Temperatures can vary widely throughout the country; the northern part of the country will already be experiencing frosts regularly and sometimes snowfall, while the south can still be quite pleasant.
What to pack: Start breaking out your layers and your heavy jacket in the fall. You'll also want to bring along sturdy rain gear, including a waterproof jacket, insulated boots, and warm socks.
Winter in Sweden
Days are shorter during winter, with Polar Nights—periods of almost complete darkness—beginning in the north by December. For southern Sweden, which is largely surrounded by water, winters can be mild and dry. The Western part of the country is typically the wettest during the winter.
What to pack: Your winter wardrobe in Sweden will vary in part depending on where you visit. In general, it's best to pack heavy-duty clothing like an insulated parka, long johns, thermal base layers, wool socks, gloves, a hat, a scarf, and other wintry accessories.
Midnight Sun and Polar Nights in Sweden
Swedish Lapland experiences near-continuous daylight from early June into August. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sweden's far north areas also experience polar nights, periods of complete darkness during winter months within the polar circles.
Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, typically become visible in Swedish Lapland at the beginning of September. They last through March, and the best place to see this incredible phenomenon is at the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park.