Winter in Sweden is no walk in the park – and if it is, you'll need a flashlight, a parka of mammoth proportions, three pairs of socks, and your warmest snow-proof boots. All black, of course.
Swedes have developed a few ways of handling the rough winters, including overdosing on pastries and coffee, hibernating underneath piles of fleece Ikea blankets, and investing in SAD lamps.
But there are also better methods – like a change of scene.
With daily departures from Stockholm to various locations in the UK, airlines like SAS make it easy to break up the darkness with a weekend away. And with upgraded cabins, extra points for travellers, and special deals on loyalty cards, there's no better time to fly SAS.
So put away the Stockholm winter black-and-blues, pull out your plaid, and get ready for a pint someplace where winter is a bit chiller – in a good way. (Though actually, these are great options any time of year!)
Photo: Loco Steve/Flickr
Alright, so this one is obvious. But it's also a tried-and-true classic.
Just a hop, skip, and a short SAS flight away from Stockholm, London offers world-class shopping, an unbeatable cityscape, and West End musicals to brighten your day.
This is the obvious choice for those who like a little glamour as well – why not stop by for a selfie with Big Ben or Buckingham Palace? Or just enjoy the bustle of a city that doesn't shut down in winter. (Sorry, Stockholm.)
Plus you get skies like this even in December. What's not to love?
Speaking of love, if you have a SAS EuroBonus American Express Card - whether Classic, Premium, or Elite - you can get extra points and travel 2 for 1. So make it a date – winter romance on the Thames.
The SAS EuroBonus American Express Card information is in Swedish, but we have it on very good authority that SAS has amazing English-language customer service – don't hesitate to get in touch! Just give +46 771295600 a ring weekdays from 8am to 8pm Swedish time.
Photo: Mike Kniec/Flickr
Like your holidays a little rough around the edges? As George Orwell said, “Manchester is the belly and guts of the nation.”
Swedish hipsters dig the down-to-earth vibe of the city, and the indie music hub which is brimming with vintage shops, vinyl stores, and jazz.
Why not grab some curry while you're there, or take a stroll down Coronation Street? The shopping centre isn't as claustrophobic as busy London, but it's still got a killer selection.
Plus, when you shop with a SAS EuroBonus American Express card you'll also earn extra points on everything you buy, which makes the flights even cheaper, too. It's the SAS snowball karma effect – what goes around comes around!
Photo: Tony Hisgett/Flickr
Birmingham sometimes gets forgotten as a tourist destination – but that's why it's one of the best secret getaway spots, especially if you want a little downtime.
The second-largest British city is the perfect place for a little self-indulgence. Get your chocolate fix at Cadbury World (or opt for the custard factory if that's your thing), feast your eyes on the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art at the museum.
It's also the gateway to a variety of other adventures. In fact, landing in Birmingham is kind of like a choose-your-own adventure book. You could opt for castles or countryside retreats, a trip to Lichfield, Stratford upon Avon, or Warwick. History fans can spend a day at the unique Black Country Living Museum in nearby Dudley. Options galore!
If you and your travel buddy have different tastes, no worries - When you sign up for a SAS EuroBonus card from American Express, you get an extra card for that special someone (and two extra someones with the Elite card), so you and your sweetheart can both add points to the same account. Sharing is caring, after all!
Photo: Giuseppe Milo/Flickr
Speaking of castles. Edinburgh is the best bet for fantasy fanatics, offering fertile imaginations plenty of fodder. Narrow cobblestoned alleys lead to a medieval castle right in the city centre, there are ghost walks galore, and you can visit the coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book.
Get your nature fix up in the highland lochs or take the Arthur's Seat walk, and take stunning city shots at Calton Hill.
Top things off with some true Scottish whisky and you'll forget all about the cold.
In fact, why not start things off at the airport? Choose the Premium EuroBonus card from American Express and you can also chill at the SAS airport lounges, and go Elite and you even get concierge service. That's living the good life - do dheagh shlàinte!
Alright, it's not part of the UK – but we still thought Dublin deserved a place on this list, with plenty of flights from both Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Dublin is the alternative UK getaway – the alternative everything. It's where indie meets luxury, where you can indulge in a pint of Guinness or skip straight to dancing your socks off. Rummage through the Ha'Penny Flea Market or hang at Grafton Street.
There's really no wrong way to do Dublin – it's pretty much the craic no matter what your tastes. Remember that your SAS EuroBonus American Express card also gets you exclusive offers on concerts and events, so bring your dancing shoes and your best attitude, and be prepared to headbang the Irish way!
This article was produced by The Local in partnership with American Express.