Midnight sun to light up northern Sweden this week

Treriksröset, Sweden’s northernmost point and where the country borders Norway and Finland, saw its last sunset at 48 minutes past midnight on Sunday. The sun will now not set in the far north of Sweden until July.

Midnight sun to light up northern Sweden this week
Midnight sun in Kiruna. Photo: Asaf Kliger/

The days will now get longer and longer fast. The midnight sun is set to reach Abisko and Karesuando on May 25th, followed by the city of Kiruna on May 28th. It will reach the Arctic Circle just before Midsummer’s Eve and then the days will get darker again.

Midnight sun, as well as polar night, the period of the year where the sun does not rise above the Arctic Circle, are both caused by the axial tilt of the Earth and its revolution around the sun.

In the northern hemisphere the North Pole is tilted towards the sun in summer, so instead of setting, the sun instead moves in a horizontal circle above the horizon. From midsummer, the North Pole gradually turns away from the sun, with the nights getting darker and darker until midwinter.

The same is true in the southern hemisphere, with a six-month time difference – that’s why summer and winter occur at different times in both hemispheres.

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What to expect when travelling to Sweden in summer 2023

From weather forecasts to rail disruptions, here’s what to consider when planning a trip to Sweden this summer.

What to expect when travelling to Sweden in summer 2023


Sweden is the perfect country to visit in summer – long, warm days that never really turn into night, but not as suffocatingly hot as southern Europe this time of the year.

That might not be the case this year.

In 2018, Sweden sweltered under a series of heatwaves with wildfires ravaging the country, and several weather forecasts suggest we could get to see a repeat of that this summer.

Heatwaves caused by African anticyclones are expected to make their way towards Europe this year, creating particularly hot conditions throughout the summer months, and meteorologists are already warning that Sweden could get less rain than normal.

Keep up-to-date with weather alerts via Sweden’s meteorological office SMHI.

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If you’re planning a barbecue, you also want to make sure you’re aware of any fire bans. A standard fire ban means that you’re not allowed to light fires in the wild, but you may still light a fire at designated spots for grilling. In the summer of 2018, this was upgraded to a total fire ban – no fires permitted, at all – in large parts of Sweden.

You should also keep an eye on local hosepipe bans or appeals to save water. You can always use water for food, drink and personal hygiene, but perhaps you can help avert a water shortage by having shorter showers and not letting the tap run longer than needed.

Restaurant closures and empty cities

Swedes take long summer holidays, with most full-time workers legally entitled to four consecutive weeks off in June, July or August. If you’re planning a city break, be aware that a lot of shops and restaurants close for several weeks as Swedes leave the cities and head to their countryside summer houses. You will still find some places open, though.

Public holidays and other events

National Day on June 6th and Midsummer’s Eve on June 23rd (and Midsummer’s Day on June 24th) are public holidays so plan ahead to avoid getting caught out by closures.

If you’re travelling around those dates, you should know that a lot of other people will also be doing so, and if you’re driving, be prepared for busy roads around Midsummer.

If you’re in Sweden for Midsummer’s Eve, go to the local celebrations where you are to watch Swedes dance around the Maypole, pretending to be little frogs without ears.

Swedish high schools graduate around mid-June, so traffic may also be busier than normal around this time, with students dancing and singing on the back of trucks.

Travel disruptions

See above for information on particularly busy travel days.

If you’re travelling by train, be aware that several parts of the rail network are being upgraded this summer, so you should expect altered routes and replacement buses.

This is particularly true for the week starting June 12th, when no trains will be running on the 350-kilometre line between Norrköping and Hässleholm (if you’re travelling between Stockholm and Malmö, this will affect you). Trains will either be replaced by buses or take a different route, and your ticket should contain information on this.

You can also keep up-to-date via the Swedish Transport Administration’s website. Click here and scroll down to trafikläget i realtid (“the traffic situation in real time”) to get the latest whether you’re travelling by train (tåg), road (väg) or car ferry (vägfärja).

If you’re driving, read this to avoid parking fines. The speed limit in Sweden is usually 50 km/h in villages, towns and cities, 70 km/h in the countryside and 110 km/h on the motorways, but it does vary and there are nearly always signs stating the speed limit.

Covid rules?

There are no longer any Covid-based legal restrictions in Sweden, or national requirements for visitors to be vaccinated. You may of course wear a face mask if you want to, but it is unlikely that you’ll be seeing a lot of other people masking up.

If you’re sick and have symptoms that could be Covid, such as a cough or a fever, the Swedish Public Health Agency recommends that you stay home to avoid infecting others. You are generally not required to get tested if you think you have Covid.

You can generally still buy a Covid antigen test at Swedish pharmacies or supermarkets, but keep in mind that even if the result is negative, you’re encouraged to avoid close contact with others until you’re well, in order to avoid the risk of a false negative.