Finding Swedish magic in the cold and gloom.
As we discussed in last week’s post, Sweden is dark and gloomy and winters last about five months here. So while the winter season has already been in full swing in some parts of Sweden for a month now, I thought as it is the start of December, it would be a good time to talk all things winter in Sweden.
Because Sweden is so long, the weather can vary a ton depending on where in this country you are. The country can be roughly divided into three key regions: Götaland in the South, Svealand in the middle, and Norrland in the North.
Starting from the top, Norrland is the coldest and darkest region of Sweden, and even reaches as far north as the Arctic Circle (where there’s no daylight at all!). The winters here are long and very cold, with sub-zero Celsius temperatures lasting several months. The weather here is also dry and very snowy, making it perfect to enjoy winter activities. Nordic skiing anyone?
Svealand reaches from Stockholm on the Eastern coast to Norway on the Western. This region has average temperatures that are just below zero in January. You are likely to also get snowfall here and there are many ski resorts located in the northwestern part of this region.
And finally Götaland in the South. This region includes cities such as Gothenburg and Malmö and is also where you will find me living! Here, the winters are shorter and milder. But it is much more humid here, with wind blowing off the Baltic Sea on the east and off the North Sea / Øresund on the west. This makes the cold days even colder and adds a misty layer to everything. Bike seat cover at the ready! It rarely snows in Götaland now, but it used to snow much more even just 10 years ago according to my friends that have grown up here. Climate change is real, people! We did get a little bit of snow (about 7 cm / 3 in) my first winter here – and, magically, it was on Christmas Eve. We also had some snowflakes fall a few nights ago!
I know all of this sounds a little glum and gloomy, but winter in Sweden is really a special time – or at least you can choose to look at it that way. In the North, the sky dances green, pink, and purple to the Aurora Borealis most nights. And while it is cold and dark throughout most of Sweden, you will find everyone happily tucked into their homes, illuminated by a warm candlelight glow and surrounded with family and friends for dinner. Det är så mysigt (it is so cozy). There is also Lucia and Christmas to look forward to, which I will be talking about in my next posts. Be sure to subscribe to follow along!
- Sweden is 1,574 km / 978 mi in length north to south.
- A Swedish winter lasts from November/December to February/March, depending on where in Sweden you live.
- Most Americans know “Nordic skiing” as “cross-country skiing”.
- Since we bike so much here, always be sure to have a bike seat cover with you. Just slip it on over your wet seat to avoid looking like you’ve just peed your pants! A plastic bag works well too. They are so useful here that my partner’s company actually gives them out as a welcome-to-the-team gift!
- The Aurora Borealis is magical yet elusive. Be sure to do your research on when and where to see the Northern Lights, and prepare yourself for disappointment if it is too cloudy to get a good look. I have some links below in the Sources section.
Hope you learned some new Swedishness today and I’ll see you in the next post!