The Ultimate Bucket List for a Winter Holiday in Sweden

Skiing wide-open landscapes, ice skating on a frozen lake or a toboggan race. Hot tub in a winter wonderland or a quick cold water dip. Delve into the mountains, enjoying culture and gastronomic treasures. Winter holidays in Sweden is perfect for all wishing to increase their well-being, returning home well-rested and strengthened. Here’s the ultimate winter bucket list for your holiday in Sweden and the region of Jämtland Härjedalen.

Hundpann – vinteräventyr | Foto: Fredrik Broman
Winter fishing in Sweden | Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson
Cross country tracks | Photo: Martin Söderqvist

Winter Activities for a Holiday in Sweden

Here’s a bunch of great winter activities to spend your days with when your legs are tired from too much skiing!
Simply do it like the Swedes, do not ski every day. Explore more in the winter landscape. With proper clothing staying out feels good and will invigorate you.

1. Husky Express

Want to steer your own team of Huskies racing along a mountainside, lake or in the forest? Try your hand at dog sledding in Åre, Södra Årefjällen, Vemdalen, Strömsund, Bräcke, Krokom and Östersund. A must-do during winter holidays in Sweden.

2. Cross Country & Nordic Skiing

What would winter holidays in Sweden be without some cross country skiing? Almost every village in Jämtland Härjedalen has well-tended trails in a variety of distances. Many also have floodlighting so you can ski late in the evening and early mornings. To become a real star why not ask one of our ski instructors for help to improve your technique. We promise that you’ll find cross country skiing even more fun after that!

If you prefer slicing your way along on a pair of broad skis in undisturbed, wide-open landscapes, letting the fresh mountain air kiss your cheeks, we highly recommend the marked  trails for Nordic Skiing in for example Storlien, Södra Årefjällen, Funäsfjällen or Vemdalen for some winter fun.

3. Snowmobile Safari

There are many opportunities to an adventure with snowmobile on a winter holiday. Go on a guided trip into the mountains, driving your own snowmobile or sharing with a friend. Most winter sports center in Jämtland Härjedalen have snowmobile companies that offer trips, from half a day to several days, with guide. Try for example Destination Vemdalen, Funäsfjällen, Lofsdalen or Åre.

4. The Land of Sápmi

The landscape of Jämtland Härjedalen is part of Sápmi, the land of the Sami. The sami have lived in this area for as long as we can remember. In Härjedalen there’s now possible to take part of an interactive introduction to the Sami culture during a winter holiday in Sweden, and learn more about the role played by the Sami people in swedish society and in the development of the region Härjedalen. The Sami park, Lopme Laante, is both in Vemdalen and Funäsfjällen. Come along on an adventure in Sápmi. Meet the reindeer, try throwing lasso and engage yourself in Sami culture with their relationship with nature. The Sami are present in other places in Jämtland Härjedalen as well and several places gives guests the opportunity to savour delicacies from the Sami cuisine, like reindeer, smoked meats, fish and berries.  

5. Feed the Reindeer Experience with the Company Explore Åre

An unforgettable family adventure in the southern Åre mountains. Guests can pet and feed the cute reindeer from their bare hands with lichen. The tour includes a snow shoe hike (about 1 km), throwing lasso the sami way and making up a fire outdoors. We enjoy a lovely ”swedish fika” (coffee/thea and snacks) by the open fire overlooking the reindeer enclosure and guests are dared to taste some locally produced sami delicacies.

 

Feed the reindeer in Trillevallen, Åre
Trillevallen Åre | Photo: Mats Lind

6. Meet the past at the Muskox Centre in Funäsfjällen

Watch these prehistoric animals from a safe position at the Muskox Centre in Tännäs and get your introduction to the impressive animals. They might look like something you would like to pet with their woolly look, but they are indeed forcefull animals with a strong will and temperament. The corral´s aim is to preserve the wild muskox in Sweden and help zoos around the world get new blood/genes as well as for research, letting us know more about our past when these animals roamed freely.

7. On Snowshoes Like a Yeti

Regardless of the snow levels – try something different during your holidays in Sweden and strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the landscape by foot. This is a proven alternative to ascend mountains lacking ski lifts, before attempting to make your own tracks downhill. Shoes are available to rent in Vemdalen, Södra Årefjällen and Södra Storsjöbygden.

8. Gastronomic Treasures

When hunger strikes there is no better way to get your taste buds humming than with local jämtlandish ingredients and products. With over 150 small-scale gastronomic producers, this is a region that perfects the combination between high quality restaurants, world-class cheeses, charcuteries, micro-bakeries, chocolatiers, brewers, roasters and farm stalls. Indulge yourself.

Over 20 restaurants and cafés in Jämtland Härjedalen are featured in the White Guide. Two notable restaurants are celebrity chef Magnus Nilsson’s Fäviken Magasinet and the Sami restaurant high in the fells, Hävvi i Glen.

9. Crispy Waffles, Overnight Stays and Drop-in Weddings at Igloo Åre

Allways wanted to try sleeping over in an igloo? Here is your chance including a five-course meal and an outdoor jacuzzi to let you watch the stars in the sky from a comfortable angle. The igloos are decorated with snow art works by a swedish artist. After a good nights sleep you get a healthy breakfast from local artisan foods. Take your chance and invite your loved one for a drop-in wedding on February 4th or April 1st 2017 by the igloos and with the majestic mountains as a backdrop. When skiing in the slopes of Åre you can stop by the igloos for an all-you-can-eat-waffles-buffet. Naturally with local cloudberry jam as an option for topping!

10. Ice Sculpting in Åre

To create your own ice sculpture is a fantastic experience and in Åre you have the chance. You are provided with the crystal clear ice, tools and an instructor. All you need to do is to unleash your inner artist and be creative. Ice is a vivid and very grateful material to work with and the ice we use is absolutely crystal clear. The guide is always nearby, to help you when needed and more importantly to keep the fire burning so the coffee and hot chocolate is warm when you’re ready for a “fika”-break.

 

Snowshoe hike | Photo: Anette Andersson
Snowshoe hiking in the Swedish mountains around Storhogna is a magnificent experience – not too steep, amazing views and never far for the nearest waffle hut. Photo: Anette Andersson

11. Experience the Magic of Swedish Christmas

The historical buildnings at Jamtli, Östersund, create a unique Christmas atmosphere. As Swedens Christmas museum Jamtli makes it possible to experience this special holiday from November to the beginning of January. Learn more about swedish traditions today as well as in the past and why not try Swedish Christmas buffé. In Åre there’s Christmas activities from the end of November until Christmas Eve.

12. Toboggan Driving License

Outdoor life during winter is so much more than skiing. It includes snow castles, toboggans and sledges. The winter city of Östersund has a fairytale castle made in snow and an Great Lake monster in ice that makes a perfect slide. Persåsen, south of Östersund, has Sleigh Cross, where kids obtain a “driving license” and then are free to use the slope to their heart’s content.

13. Ballet on Ice

Strapping on a pair of tour-skates and setting off on a frozen lake is a wonderful way to spend a winter’s day, weather permitting of course. For safety always bring a friend and remember to have ice spikes, ice-picks and safety line with you. Lake Ånnsjön, west of Åre is popular for ice skating.
Starting from Östersund, a 10 to 15 km course is ploughed along the frozen lake every February and March. Furthermore, most of the schoolyards in Jämtland Härjedalen also have ice rinks that are open to the public during evenings and weekends.

14. Try Sweden´s Longest Ice Skating Track

In the center of Östersund you find Sweden’s longest ice skating track, located on the frozen Lake Storsjön. If you have not tried nordic skating it can really be recommended, the feeling when sweeping over the ice in downwind is fantastic! The track is plowed up to about 15 kilometers and is normally open February – beginning of April.

15. Get a Kick from Flying in the Air on a Zipline 

60 meters above ground, several hundred meters long with speed of up to 70 km/h – experience the hair raising feeling of Zipline. Zipline is a ropeway where you’re strapped in a harness, swishing above the beautiful nature of Åreskutan, with the sensation of flight. Åre Zipline is open all year round. The adrenaline kick is guaranteed.

 

Outdoor Ice Skating | Photo: Anette Andersson
One of the best early winter experiences in Sweden is heading to the nearest lake for outdoor ice skating – an adventure out of the ordinary. Photo: Anette Andersson

16. Dive into the Culture of Jämtland

Kick-start your holiday diving into the Jämtland culture! Start off with a visit to the Jamtli museum in Östersund. The exhibitions at the museum engage with visitors on an active level and probe for answers to the many questions in the variety of displays and activities available. Walk through the Land of Sami, the Stone Age Camp and the Gender worlds and don’t miss the unique tapestries from Överhogdal, produced during the Viking Era.

17. Keep Warm with Local Winter Gear from Sweden

If you’re leaving the city and heading out into the backcountry for winter holidays in Sweden, make sure you are well equipped. There are a whole host of high quality, outdoor products that are made and have their roots in Jämtland Härjedalen. For the first layer choose Woolpower and for the shell garments Klättermusen, Lundhags or Stellar Equipment. Prepare your meals on a Trangia stove and sleep comfortably in a Hilleberg tent. For the chic but sporty, pick your selection of outdoor wear from Peak Performance, which started in Åre, and the popular awarded insulated skirts from SkHoop.

18. World Championship Region Jämtland Härjedalen

The sun rises in the mid-morning and sets in mid-afternoon, just like any other winter’s day in Jämtland Härjedalen. But the streets are thronged with foreign athletes and supporters, clothed in their respective team colours and the sound of the world languages are floating in the air. Östersund is home to 2019 World Championships in Biathlon and Åre will host the World Championships in Alpine Skiing the same year. Major events are often staged in the region and it’s always worth following a band of happy supporters to the nearest stadium to cheer on your fellow sportsmen!

19. Surf on Frozen Waves with a Snow Kite

Trade crowded beaches for frozen lakes where the snow makes the waves. Try the winter’s answer to surfing – Snow Kiting. With the help of the wind and with skis or a snowboard on your feet, the sensation of gliding over a frozen lake, with the mountains as a backdrop, is hard to beat. Try kite surfing with Östersund Kite on lake Storsjön in Östersund or with Åreguiderna on lake Åresjön in Åre.

20. Climb a Frozen Waterfall in Vemdalen

With a sharp axe in your hands and crampons on your feet you can test your skills in iceclimbing at the spectacular Fettjå waterfall (Fettjåfallet). The waterfall have a 60 meter vertical drop but with help from the guides there will be no problem to climb the ice wall – as long as your not afraid of heights… End the adventure with a nice lunch, prepared over open fire.

 

Winter fishing in Sweden | Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson
Winter fishing in Sweden is a mindful but still exciting winter experience. Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson

21. Make your Way on a Swedish Kick

When the roads in Jämtland Härjedalen get a hard cover of snow a kick-sled is the right means of transport to get somewhere. Traditionally built from wood the kick-sled has two runners, a bumper at the front and a chair on top – in case you get a passenger. It is steered using handles on the back of the chair. The runners come out behind the chair; you stand on one and kick the sled along with the other foot – which is where the name comes from. Try kick-sledding in Östersund.

22. Cooling and Warming Winter Baths

After a day of open-air activities it’s wonderful to pull on a hat and jump into a steaming hot bath in the middle of a Swedish winter wonderland. Most of the destinations in Jämtland Härjedalen offer outdoor heated tubs with or without saunas and the option of a freezing dip.

23. Try Out Winter Fishing

Ice fishing might not be the most action-packed winter activity, but it is certainly both relaxing and has elements of excitement. A special ice drill is used to drill a hole in the ice and fishermen then use small, delicate jigs and unique movements on the line to trick fish into biting. Some of the best places for ice fishing in Jämtland Härjedalen are in Östersund and Strömsund.

24. Get Around in the Snow on a Fatbike in Åre

Experience winter on two wheels. With the Fatbike´s extra wide tires you can easily ride around in the snowy wonderland. Chose between a guided tour or rent a bike and find your own paths. Try it in Lofsdalen or in Åre.

25. Treat Yourself to a Relaxing Spa

Following a testing day on the slopes or doing any other strenuous winter activity, one would be allowed to relax and be pampered with a luxurious spa treatment during the holidays in Sweden. All the destinations in Jämtland Härjedalen offer some form of day spa and treatments, including Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Åre, Fjällnäs in Funäsfjällen, Quality Hotel Frösö Park in Östersund or Storhogna Högfjällshotell & Spa in Vemdalen.