Climate of Sweden
Where is the country of Sweden located? Sweden is centrally located in Scandinavia and has four climate types. The southern part of Sweden has a temperate maritime climate, type Cfb according to the Köppen climate classification. The weather and climate type here are reasonably similar to that of the Netherlands. The middle part of central Sweden (Svealand) has a moderate continental climate (type Dfb) and the northern half of Sweden has a cool continental climate (type Dfc). The mountains have a high mountain climate (type EH). Characteristic for the climate of Sweden are the relatively high summer temperatures and the fairly mild winters compared to the surrounding countries that are on the same latitude. The country benefits from being on the leeward side of the mountains in Norway. These mountains largely stop precipitation and depressions. The mountains also provide a hair dryer effect in the summer months, so that it can get tropical warm even in the north of Sweden.
Sweden is well protected from depressions that can cause precipitation. The southwest coast of Sweden is the wettest area in the country because this area is on a supply route of rain fronts. The amounts of precipitation measured here on average per year are between eight hundred and thirteen hundred millimeters. Much of this falls in the form of rain; snow falls here about 25 to 30 days a year, which provides an average of about 40 to 50 days of snow cover.
Southeast and central Sweden are already a lot drier. On an annual basis, four hundred to slightly above six hundred millimeters of precipitation is recorded here. In the mountains this is mainly in the form of snow, along the eastern coastal areas and in central Götaland it is more rain than winter precipitation.
The north of Sweden is very dry. In the Swedish part of Lapland, only three hundred to more than four hundred millimeters of precipitation are measured per year. This makes this part of Sweden one of the driest areas in Europe, along with parts of Spain, Turkey, Finland, Cyprus and Romania.
Despite Sweden’s relatively warm climate, snow is an indispensable part of this country’s winter streets. In the south it is not that bad, because Götaland only has thirty snow days on average per year and forty to fifty snow cover days. Winter sets in relatively late here, usually early December, although snowfall in November cannot be ruled out. In mid-March, the winter turns into spring-like weather and the chance of snow becomes a lot smaller, although there may still be a few snow showers in April. Much more snow falls in the mountains. It can snow in the mountains from October to the end of May. Because the temperatures in this period are largely below freezing above an altitude of 500 meters, the snow remains for a long time. On average, the higher areas of the mountains are covered by a snow cover for about 200 to 225 days a year. In the lower parts along the leeward side of the mountains this is about one hundred and fifty days. Sweden is therefore also an excellent winter sports destination, where you can enjoy yourself for no less than six months. Jämtland in central Sweden is a very popular ski resort, where the average snow depths in the ski season are between 80 and 160 centimeters. This winter sports area has a higher snow security than many ski resorts in the Alps.
Striking for Sweden are the relatively warm summers with fairly stable weather. During the day temperatures are on average between 18 (north) and 22 degrees (south). In the mountains it is often a few degrees cooler due to the difference in height. Long periods of sunshine and summer temperatures of 25 degrees or higher are common in summer. Not only in the south, but also in the north of Sweden it is very pleasant summer weather. A few days a year the thermometer even shoots up to 30 degrees or even higher. The number of tropical days on an annual basis varies from six in eastern Götaland and inland to two in Lapland. Tropical temperatures almost never occur on the highest peaks of Jämtland, but they do occur in the valleys.
Because the relative humidity in Sweden is low, it still feels pleasant even at temperatures above thirty degrees Celsius. On the warmest days there is often little to very little wind, even in the normally windy coastal area in the southwest.
Winter in Sweden
Winters in Sweden are mild (south) to cold (north). Along the southwest coast, the average temperature is a few degrees above freezing during the day and slightly below freezing at night. The stretch between Malmö and the border with Norway has on average the highest temperatures in the winter months. The east coast of Götaland is already slightly fresher because there is less influence here from the relatively warm North Sea and the Baltic Sea has much less control over the weather than you might expect based on its geographical location. During the day temperatures on the southeast coast are around freezing and at night it usually freezes moderately. Inland it is often a few degrees cooler, especially if there is a layer of snow and there is radiation cold during a clear night.
It can get quite cold in winter along the coastal areas of Götaland. In that case, there is almost always a northerly flow, which supplies polar air, or an easterly flow, which brings in cold air from the continent.
In the mountains and in Lapland it is a lot colder in winter than in the south. It freezes both during the day and at night. During the day light to moderate and in the nights there is often severe to very severe frost. The mercury easily drops to freezing temperatures of minus twenty to as much as minus thirty degrees. In extremely cold periods it can even get to minus forty degrees or even colder. Such cold is usually quite predictable because Sweden’s climate is not very fickle. Changes in the weather usually announce themselves well in advance.
On average, Sweden has about 1500-1600 hours of sunshine per year. Compared to many other European countries, this number is not very high. The mountains are the bleakest, with over a thousand hours of sunshine a year and the coastal areas of Götaland are the sunniest with almost two thousand hours. The hills in the interior of Götaland are a lot darker: there the counter stands at 1300-1400 hours per year. Those who go on holiday to Sweden, however, do not have to worry about sunshine in the period from May to July. On average, during this period, the sun shines in almost all of Sweden for no less than 8 to 9 hours a day. The only exception to this are the mountains again, where the average is around 6-7 hours per day.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit Sweden
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Sweden? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result.
The best time to travel to Sweden is from June to August. It is then summer in Sweden, which is the warmest and sunniest period for this Scandinavian country. It is by far the most pleasant time to take a holiday in Sweden, despite the fact that there is on average slightly more rainfall in the summer months than in the other seasons. This is mainly because the moments when it rains, more precipitation falls within a relatively shorter time. Average maximum temperatures in summer range from 20 to 24 degrees in the south to about 16 to 22 degrees in the north of Sweden. At night the minimums average between 6 and 15 degrees, with the lowest minimum temperatures being measured in the cooler north. In terms of precipitation, you can be lucky and unlucky during the Swedish summers. One summer is quite dry and very sunny, while the next is mostly unpredictable and somewhat lower temperatures. You don’t have certainty about summer weather in Sweden.
Visiting Sweden during spring or autumn
If you want to travel to Sweden in the spring or autumn, you have to count on lower temperatures, less sun and especially in early spring on possible winter conditions in central and northern Sweden. The months of April, May and September are generally fine for a city trip to, for example, Stockholm, Malmö or Gothenburg. Especially in the spring there is a good chance of reasonably pleasant weather. This is the driest period in the south of Sweden, where the larger cities are located.
The winter period in Sweden
If you want to travel to Sweden in winter, you will mainly have to deal with fairly gloomy weather with low temperatures. It is not that bad in the southern part of Sweden, but as soon as you travel more northerly, the weather quickly takes on a wintery character. A fairly large part of Sweden is covered with snow during the winter. The days are quite short, especially in December and January. In the north of Sweden you then have to deal with only a few hours of daylight. In the city of Kiruna, which is located in Swedish Lapland, it is continuously nighttime during the last three weeks of December. At the end of January, the day there lasts more than five hours.
If you want to enjoy the winter atmosphere in Sweden in the winter, it is best to travel to Sweden in February or March. You can then enjoy winter sports and still fully enjoy the northern lights, if that phenomenon occurs. In winter, the chance that you can see the aurora is greater than in the other seasons, because you need darkness for that.