Just as Stockholm gets a real summer; with long, hot, sunny days, swimming in the sea, barbeques and boat parties – It also gets a real proper winter; snow, freezing cold and long dark nights. As Claire and Valerie have been shaping up for the wintertime in the last few weeks, I thought I might share a few of my favourite things about winter that I got the chance to see in Stockholm last year, and what I’m looking forward to this year!
Most international students at KTH try to make the most of this wintery weather. It’s a special thing that you can’t experience everywhere and there are lots of activities the cold brings that you can’t find in warmer climates. Here in Sweden, they are very well used to the cold, and so they make the best of it.
Whether you’re strolling through the city, hiking through forest or just sitting in bed with a cup of coffee, the snowfall just makes every situation romantic. There’s a Swedish way of describing a cosy situation – mysigt. One of the most wonderful things about Stockholm is how picturesque, mysig and cosy the city gets on winter evenings.
Although we have mulled wine at home at the Christmas parties, it is nothing as good or as popular as the tradition of glögg here in Sweden. As soon as Halloween is finished, the shops are stacked full with that spiced wine that is just the perfect cosy, warm drink to lift you up after a cold day.
The Frozen Lakes
When the weather gets cold enough, usually around January or February, you will start to see people going around on public transport carrying skis, ice skates and sleds. Even in and around the city, there are lots of places to go skiing and ice skating. By far my favourite of these is at the frozen lakes. It was such a shock for me when I saw it first – but a lot of the waters around Stockholm freeze over, and for a few weeks people can go walking, skating and skiing right across them.
I had never been in a sauna before coming to Sweden – it’s just not a popular thing at home. When I came here I realised that the sauna is a cultural phenomenon that is unmissable in Scandinavia. In Stockholm, most housing blocks and many houses will have a sauna. The hot sauna is perfect after a cold day, especially with a few friends. Although it wasn’t something I thought about before coming here, I am now a big sauna fan.
The Christmas Markets
Finally, the markets! The Stockholm Christmas markets are famous around Europe and many tourists travel here just to see them. Unfortunately with the pandemic last year, most Christmas markets around Stockholm couldn’t open, but this winter it’s what I am most looking forward to seeing.