From rosy-cheeked ice skaters in the parks, to warm, mulled wine (glögg) served at cafés and Christmas markets, to the golden glow of candles on a Lucia crown, Christmas in Sweden fills visitors with a sense of joy and well-being. Join us for a season of traditional celebrations that feel as fresh and vital today as they did in generations past.
Celebrate in Stockholm
Christmas markets will put you in a festive mood as you shop for one-of-a-kind gifts of food and handicrafts, and snack on holiday treats. You’ll find them all over Stockholm, especially on weekends, from late November through Dec. 23. Popular Christmas markets include those in Old Town (Gamla Stan), Kungsträdgården, the palace gardens at Rosendals, Drottningholm and Steninge, and at Vaxholm and Utö in the Stockholm archipelago.
Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, is a key venue for many of Stockholm’s holiday events, especially the crowning of Lucia, Queen of Light, on Dec. 10. The candlelit procession of Lucia and her maidens on Dec. 13 is uniquely Swedish and truly magical to behold. Skansen also hosts a Christmas market and holiday concerts. www.skansen.se
Christmas, Lucia and New Year’s concerts take place at various venues, including Stockholm Cathedral (www.sthdomkyrko.com), City Hall (www.habanera.se), Globe Arena (www.globenarenas.se) and many churches.
Stockholm is a city of islands, and seeing them from the water is a delight, especially on a Christmas cruise through the archipelago. Travel the waters on a historic ship while enjoying a traditional Swedish Christmas buffet or opt for a Winter Tour Combination that includes a coach tour of the city followed by a 90-minute cruise. www.julbord.org, www.stockholmsightseeing.com, and www.stromma.se
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Celebrate in Gothenburg
Christmas in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, centers on Christmas at Liseberg, Gothenburg’s charming, historic amusement park. Decorated for the season, with more than four million twinkling lights, the park is a true winter wonderland. Visit for the Christmas market, outdoor ice-skating, shows and attractions, delicious Christmas buffets served at the park’s many restaurants and this year’s new addition: the Liseberg Ice Gallery and Bar created in cooperation with the world-famous Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland. www.liseberg.se
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Celebrate in the Kingdom of Crystal
The Småland region, home to Sweden’s world-famous glassworks, is called the “Kingdom of Crystal.” For holiday gift-shopping, you won’t find a better destination. Visit with the Glasriket Pass (SEK 95, about $12) and you’ll receive free admission to 15 glassworks and discounts at all of the glassworks’ shops.
Småland’s glassworks are known for their hyttsill evenings, when festive meals of fresh herring are prepared and cooked on the glass furnace fires. Nothing could be cozier in wintertime! Kosta glassworks hosts hyttsill evenings Nov. 15-Dec. 16, along with a Christmas market Nov. 24-Dec. 23.
Celebrate in Malmö
Holiday celebrations in Malmö, the main city in Sweden’s southern Skåne region, generally kick off on Dec. 3, “Shop Window Sunday”, when the city’s stores unveil their holiday window displays. There are children’s Christmas events at medieval Malmöhus Castle, Lucia processions through the city on Dec. 13, holiday concerts and Christmas markets at various locations, and the fun continues after Christmas with the Winterland outdoor celebration in picturesque Folkets Park amusement park, Dec. 26-Jan. 7.
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Holiday Travel Packages
Fly SAS Scandinavian Airlines to Stockholm this winter and take advantage of low seasonal fares. Outbound travel must take place Dec. 14-25 and must include a Saturday night stay. Nonstop departures are available from New York/Newark ($275), Washington, D.C. ($300), Chicago ($375) and Seattle ($385). Prices are one-way, based on round-trip purchase and include fuel surcharges. (Tax and security fees are extra.) www.flysas.com
Borton Overseas invites you to explore the wonders of Stockholm in winter on the “Stunning Sweden” package. The package includes round-trip airfare from the U.S. on SAS, five nights accommodation, daily breakfast, city tours, a trip to the amazing Ice Bar at the Nordic Sea Hotel, and the option to extend your travels with a visit to Copenhagen. Prices start at $1,017 per person based on double occupancy. Departures daily, Nov. 20-Mar. 25. www.bortonoverseas.com
The Gothenburg Christmas Package includes overnight stays at comfortable hotels, daily breakfast and free admission to Christmas at Liseberg. Prices start at SEK 495 (about $68) per person. www.goteborg.com
For more on Sweden at ITKT