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 alpine skiing!

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 or Funäsfjällen.

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 Land, Lopme Laante, open in Vemdalen, December 2016 and during 2018 in 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 affords guests the opportunity to savour delicacies from the Sami cuisine, like reindeer, smoked meats, fish and berries.  

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Dive into Jämtland Culture

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.

10. Keep Warm in Local Winter Gear

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.

11. World Championship Region

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!

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. Cooling 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.

15. 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 Bräcke, Östersund and Strömsund.

16. Treat Yourself at 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.