Seven reasons to stop worrying and learn to love autumn in Sweden

Maddy Savage
Maddy Savage - [email protected]
Seven reasons to stop worrying and learn to love autumn in Sweden
Uppsala university students enjoying an autumn stroll. Photo: Magnus Liam Karlsson/Image Bank Sweden

Dark winter days are just around the corner. Which means it's time to embrace autumn in Sweden – while it lasts. From cosy candles to cinnamon buns, here's The Local's guide to enjoying the year's most colourful season.


1. Unexpected sunshine
Whereas summer in Sweden is accompanied by high expectations – which often get washed away by wetter and chillier weather than everyone was hoping for – the great thing about autumn is that every mild sunny day feels like a bonus. It's still light in most places until at least 5pm and temperatures usually remain above freezing in the north and hover around 10C in the south, although they can be much warmer.
Compare that to the chilly period between November and February, when much of the country is plunged into total darkness and even in Stockholm there are only a handful of daylight hours between sunrise and sunset. Scientists actively recommend topping up on vitamin D ahead of the winter in Sweden, by soaking up as much sunshine as you can. 
University students in the autumn sunshine. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/
2. Technicolour parks and forests
Sweden has 29 national parks and more than 4,000 nature reserves and autumn is the best time to head out and explore them, as they burst into bright shades of red, orange and yellow. It's the perfect climate for hiking and you can still camp overnight without the need for any high-tech sub-zero gear. Look out for mushrooms and berries on your walks too. If you're brave (very brave), don't rule out taking a dip in one of the country's many celebrated swimming spots either. The water can be warmer than the air during the autumn after heating up throughout the summer. 

Sweden is at its most colourful during the autumn. Photo: Maskot/Folio/
3. Cities without tourists
While Stockholm is swarming with international tourists during the summer and Swedes dash about visiting friends and family around the country during their long vacations, there's a certain calm about Swedish cities come September and October. The visitors have gone and the locals have returned to their desks or schools. Now is the time to find out what exhibitions are on at your favourite museum, which new restaurants you want to visit and which cafés offer the best snuggly rugs, so you can keep enjoying your morning coffee outdoors even when the season lays out its chillier days.

Malmö's Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art). Photo: Mirium Preis/Image Bank Sweden
4. Cinnamon buns
Cinnamon buns have been a firm favourite in Sweden since the 1920s. While they are eaten year round, Swedes love them so much that they have given the baked goods their own annual day, 'kanelbullens dag', which is marked on October 4th each year. Look out for special versions of the spiced sweet snack in cafes and bakeries during the autumn. Cinnamon buns are also surprisingly easy to make at home, so why not test out our favourite recipe.

Cinnamon buns. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask/TT
5. Fall fashion 
While packing away your summer shorts or dresses can feel depressing, autumn gives you the chance to rediscover parts of your wardrobe that have been gathering dust. Layering is key during a season of sometimes unpredictable weather. And if you're keen to shop for new items, there are plenty of sources of inspiration in stylish Sweden. Check out the latest collections at the country's biggest fashion houses from Acne to H&M or simply grab tips from fellow bus and train passengers during your morning commute.

A Swedish fashion store. Photo: Tove Freiij/
6. Cosy homeware
Twinkly lights, flickering candles and soft rugs and cushions are a Swedish staple during autumn and winter, which means that now is the time to make any new purchases that will keep your home looking bright and cosy until the spring. Find ideas and keep your eyes peeled for seasonal special offers at Swedish homeware chains such as Åhléns, Hemtex and Granit.

A cosy Swedish home. Photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/TT
7. Sofa time
While most Swedes will tell you it's important to spend time outdoors, autumn also brings the opportunity to wind down after a hectic few months. Summer may be a holiday period in Sweden, but it often consists of long action-packed days when you want to make the most of the sunshine and can't quite bring yourself to spend the long light evenings relaxing indoors. In September and October there can often be a better balance, allowing you to mix up strolls in the forest with chilled dinners and box set nights at home. Just don't get too comfortable on your sofa, or you'll be stuck there for the next six months until it starts getting light again.

A Swedish family relaxing at home. Photo: Ulf Huett Nilsson/
Article written by Maddy Savage in 2015 and updated in 2017.


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