1. Snuggle up in a Swedish library
Sweden has more than 1200 public libraries
for its population of just under 10 million. It's completely free to borrow books and plenty also offer cosy spots where you can sit and read them or flick through Swedish newspapers or magazines. If you're learning Swedish, why not consider taking out some children's literature?
Need a taste of home? Most locations have a selection of books in English and other major global languages. Gothenburg City Library
announced earlier this month that it had seen "significantly more visitors" coming through its doors this summer. Recently renovated it offers 3000 square metres of book shelves, study areas and reading rooms. In Stockholm, Kulturhuset
, right opposite the central station includes a beautiful wooden children's playground and regularly hosts talks and events in English.
Stockholm public library. Photo: Simon Paulin/Image Bank Sweden
2. Enjoy a "fika" in a cosy coffee shop
There's nothing more Swedish than spending a gloomy afternoon in a cosy coffee shop enjoying a hot drink and a bun, or having a "fika" as the Swedes call this national institution.
If you're in Gothenburg check out The Local's guide
to some of the city's coolest affordable cafes. In Stockholm our top tip is the very hip ilCaffe
outlets around the capital. Or for a coffee shop, gallery and clothing store rolled into one, head for Snickarbaken 7
, in the elite Östermalm disrict. Up north? Don't miss Bokcafe Pilgatan
in Umeå, an incredibly friendly spot which doubles as a book and craft shop.
Swedish students enjoying a fika. Photo: Susanne Walström/Image Bank Sweden
3. Seek sanctuary in a stunning church or cathedral
Despite being one of the most secular nations on the planet, Sweden has some 3500 churches. Uppsala Cathedral
is among the most stunning, welcoming around half a million tourists a year. In Stockholm, the beautiful yellow dome of Katarina Church
is unmissable, with free live music events held inside twice a week. Declining church attendance means that if you head out to the suburbs you could find a pew or ten all to yourself.
Uppsala Cathedral during sunnier weather. Photo: Samir Hadi/Image Bank Sweden
4. Marvel at modern art
Sweden's global reputation for art and design is much deserved and there are some fantastic contemporary exhibition spaces around the country.
is the kind of place that would be rammed if it existed in Paris, London or New York, but rarely gets too packed for comfort thanks to its location in the northern Sweden's highly cultured but chilly city. A work of art itself, with sweeping views of the river from the ceiling-high windows, its summer 2015 exhibitions include nominations for the the best Swedish picture book of the year and contemporary art from Vietnam. Elsewhere, check out Sweden's biggest photography museum (Fotografiska
) in Stockholm and Malmö's newly renovated Moderna Museet
Visitors arriving at the Moderna Museet in Malmö. Photo: Miriam Preis/Image Bank Sweden
5. Exercise in the rain
In Sweden there's a famous expression which roughly translates as "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes". So do like the Swedes do and get outside and exercise the long days away, even if they are a bit wet. At least it's not getting dark at 2pm at this time of year.
You'll find outdoor gyms in most major downs and cities and plenty of safe outdoor swimming spots
. Or if you need a bit more motivation why not join one off the many free running clubs up and down the country, or even start your own with friends or colleagues. Take a look at Göteborg Running Club
or Ssideline City
in Stockholm for inspiration. The latter also offers free yoga and pilates classes.
If the kids can do it, why can't you? Photo: Emilie Asplund/Image Bank Sweden
6. Take Sweden's most popular history lesson
One Sweden's top tourist attractions is the Vasa Museum
, which traces the history of the country's best known ship, which sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged in the 1960s. Trust us, even if the words maritime and history usually send you to sleep this is a fascinating place where you can step back in time and learn about some of the cutting edge techniques being used to preserve the vessel. Plus you get to spend time on the beautiful island of Djurgården where you can also take a short walk down one of the city's most stunning streets
. Just don't forget your umbrella.
The Vasa Museum. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/Image Bank Sweden
7. Munch on some meatballs in Ikea
The world leader in flatpack furniture
was born in Sweden and Stockholm is home to one of the largest Ikea stores in the world. Summer best is the time to head to branches in Sweden's major cities, while huge chunks of the population are away on their annual July vacations. Ikea is also the place to enjoy some of the best value meatballs you'll find on Swedish soil, with 12 costing just 39 Swedish kronor ($4.50) or 16 for 49 kronor ($5.74) for 16. Veggie balls have been on the menu since last month.
Ikea meatballs. Photo: Heiko Junge/TT
For more tips on what to do in Sweden this week, check out the interactive calendar below.
In cooperation with DoToday