Produced by The Local’s Creative Studio in partnership with Visit Dalarna 

Dalarna stole my heart’: 16 reasons to visit Sweden’s winter gem

Dalarna stole my heart’: 16 reasons to visit Sweden’s winter gem

Winter is coming – and in Sweden that means every reason to stay indoors, right? Wrong! Actually, there’s every reason to head outdoors to reinvigorate your mind and body – and where better to do it than Dalarna?

When we asked The Local’s readers for their best winter memories of this majestic region of mountains, lakes, and Swedish wildlife, you had plenty to say. There are many places in the world that I love but Dalarna stole my heart completely,” Mirka Mati, from Slovakia, told us. Ready to pack your bags? Thought so! But first, here are 16 fun things to do once you get there.

Discover all that Dalarna has to offer to make the most of this winter in Sweden

1. Go cross-country skiing 

Cross-country skiing is a perfect way to discover Dalarna’s mountains – and it’s easier than you might think! Grövelsjön in the north of Dalarna offers some of Sweden’s finest cross-country skiing, whether on marked trails or by choosing to make your own tracks across pristine snow. Stay in a cosy cottage, a hostel or a four-star hotel – then get up for a hearty breakfast and set off once more.

2. Skate on natural ice

One of the joy’s of Sweden’s big freeze is the opportunity to safely undertake fun activities on natural ice. With over 70 km of ploughed courses, the Skating Dalarna network can satisfy both novice outdoor skaters and experienced enthusiasts. Check out the wide choice of locations around Dalarna, ice reports and more.

3. Cook over an open fire

Outdoor cooking is a quintessential Swedish experience. Do it fearlessly in winter to be even more like a local! Maybe you just want to grill some sausages on a break from cross-country skiing? Or perhaps you fancy a luxurious outdoor meal with friends after preparing all the ingredients at home? Dig a snow pit, so you can unwind and enjoy the crackling of the fire as the food cooks.

4. Go hiking

Lace up your winter boots and grab your backpack! Many of Dalarna’s finest walking trails are open in winter. Once you hear the snow creaking under your feet as you breathe in pure mountain air, you’ll know you made a good decision. You’re also spoilt for choice as Dalarna has over 360 nature reserves to explore.

Photo: Frans Bjorklund/Visit Dalarna
Photo: Frans Björklund/Visit Dalarna

5. Just switch off 

After a busy year, wouldn’t it be nice to just switch off? “I usually tell people who travel to Sweden to see Stockholm to stay a little longer and visit Dalarna as it has this different vibe, where you can relax your mind,” says Mirka, who lived in Dalarna in 2013, and still returns frequently. She recommends “just wandering in the forest or enjoying calm days at Bojsen beach [in Falun] or Lake Siljan”.

6. Enjoy a sauna (but earn it with an icy dip!)

A sauna can work wonders. But it’s no longer enough. To take things to another level for body, mind and spirit, take a winter dip first. If you’ve thought about it but never found the time (or courage?), you’ll have no excuses once you’re in Dalarna with its many lakes. Just make sure you have a companion to be safe – and keep thinking of that wonderful hot sauna!

7. Go walking in snowshoes

Fulufjället National Park outside Särna is spectacular all year but has a special magic in winter. Don’t miss the ice art works that form when Sweden’s highest waterfall Njupeskär freezes! Walking in snowshoes is a great fun for both children and adults – and a novel way to reach areas you’d otherwise miss. Snowshoe hiking is offered for all levels at Yttermalungs camping and Green Owl Travel in Rättvik.

8. Follow the pack – try dog sledding

Ready for an unforgettable experience that you’ll only find in a handful of locations globally? Various places in the northern part of Dalarna offer dogsled tours. Watch the fabulous scenery rush by as you’re pulled along by a powerful pack of huskies. Exhilarating.

Discover what you could do in Dalarna to brighten up your winter

A family enjoy dog sledding in Dalarna. Photo: Anna Holm/Visit Dalarna

9. Take a summit tour 

At Bjursås Berg & Sjö in Falun Municipality, you can sign up for a summit morning – heading up the mountain before the ski lifts open. A guide leads the activity, so you don’t need any prior knowledge, and the tour ends with breakfast – at the top while taking in the views as long as the weather allows!

10. Join a snowmobile ‘safari’

Another great option for those who want to feel their pulse racing. You’ll find various places where you can rent a snowmobile in Dalarna’s north and join a guided snowmobile ‘safari’ to give you an adventurous experience of the Swedish wilderness.

11. Find your spark with a kicksled 

Kicksledding is another popular winter activity in Dalarna and you can borrow a kicksled (also known as spark) at a number of hotels. But wait: what exactly is it? This is a small sled, with a chair mounted on metal runners, that you propel by kicking the ground with your foot. Got it? Off you go then! 

12. Lap up the Christmas magic

You’ll need to plan your trip soon to enjoy this one – but it’ll be worth it. Michael Bryant, originally from the UK and now based in Gothenburg, can still feel the magic of a Christmas spent skiing and staying in a log cabin in Dalarna over 20 years ago. “The smell of the fire, the snow-capped cabins, and the evening lights glistening in the thick snow,” he recalls. “It was the truest Christmas feeling I’ve ever had.”

13. Meet the reindeer 

Reindeer walk and graze freely in the countryside around Idre and Grövelsjön in northern Dalarna. Idre is home to Sweden’s southernmost Sami village and an ideal place to experience and learn about Sami culture. Want to be sure of meeting these enchanting creatures? Sign up for reindeer experiences at Renbiten, a Sami family business in the area.

“Dalarna has this different vibe, where you can relax your mind."

14. Go ice fishing

Once thick ice settles on Dalarna’s lakes, how about some fishing for perch, pike, trout and rainbow trout? You need an ice drill, fishing equipment, a valid fishing licence, and a safety-conscious attitude: check the ice, bring ice studs and dress appropriately. Need help? Book a guided ice fishing tour at Anglerman Fishing Adventures in Älvdalen or Rösjöstugorna by Fulufjället.

15. Stroll through a historic town

If you prefer a gentle stroll to a vigorous hike, towns such as Falun – a World Heritage Site thanks to its mining history – and Rättvik are great choices. “I fell in love with Dalarna, and especially Falun, because it reminds me of my hometown in Slovakia,” says Mirka.A mountainous region full of ski resorts, lakes, and untouched nature.” 

16. Go spring skiing

Well, ok, you might argue that this shouldn’t be on a winter list. But in Dalarna, the ski season is long and the spring conditions are often fantastic. If you’re not sure when you’ll get away, this is an option to keep in mind! Check out the list of Dalarna’s top resorts for Alpine skiing.

For members


How much can I charge if I rent out my home on Airbnb in Sweden?

Whether you’re looking to earn a bit of money renting out your home when you’re on holiday, or looking to buy a property for renting out more permanently, there are some rules you should be aware of on how much rent you can charge.

How much can I charge if I rent out my home on Airbnb in Sweden?

For people living in rental properties

If you live in a rental property rather than a property you own yourself, you may need to ask your landlord for permission before renting out your home.

If you’re planning on renting out part of your home while you’re still going to be living there, you won’t need to ask for permission, as this falls under the rules of having a live-in tenant (inneboende in Swedish).

You’ll need to ask your landlord for permission if you’ll be renting out the entire property or if you’ll be living somewhere else while your property is being rented out, even if you’ll only be renting it out for a night or two. Note that you will need to do this for each tenant.

It’s important that you get written proof that your landlord has given you permission to rent out the property – an email or text message is enough – before you start renting it out.

You’ll also need some sort of contract between you and the prospective tenant. If you’re renting out via Airbnb then their contract is sufficient, but if you’re renting out yourself you’ll need to sort this out separately.

If you’re a member of the Swedish Tenants’ Association (Hyresgästföreningen), they offer examples of contracts which you can download and fill in with your own information.

Note that the rules on the amount you’re allowed to charge for second-hand rentals also apply to short-term lets, meaning (for a furnished apartment) you can’t charge more than 15 percent over the amount you pay in rent for the same time period.

This means if you pay 6,500 kronor per month in rent plus 600 kronor in running costs (electricity, water, internet and so on), and you’re renting out the entirety of a furnished property, you can charge a maximum of 8,075 kronor a month.

If you’re just renting out part of your apartment then you will also need to take account for this when setting the rent your potential guest will be paying. For example, if you have a two bedroom apartment where both bedrooms are roughly the same size, where your guest will have access to shared spaces such as the bathroom, kitchen and living room, then the maximum amount you can charge is half of your own rent, although you are allowed to charge a reasonable amount for electricity, water or internet costs for the period in question.

Be aware that you can’t use your rental apartment in a way which could be considered similar to a hotel, either, for example by renting out to multiple different guests over an extended period of time. If you do this, you risk being evicted by your landlord.

If you own an apartment in a housing association (bostadsrätt)

If you own an apartment in a bostadsrättförening, you don’t technically own the apartment, but you own the right to live in it.

This means that the rules are broadly similar to those for people living in rental apartments – if you have someone living in your apartment while you still live there, then they count as a live-in tenant, so you don’t need to seek permission from the board of your association in order to rent it out to someone else.

If you’re planning on renting out the whole apartment, or if you won’t be staying in the apartment while your guests are staying there, then you probably need to ask the board of your housing association for permission, just like you would for a standard second-hand let.

Technically, this depends on your housing association’s terms and conditions, but in practice the majority of housing associations do require you to ask for permission before renting out your apartment.

Usually, you’re required to make an individual request to rent out your apartment for each guest you’re planning to rent out to, rather than making a generic request for permission to rent out, as the application will normally need to include the personal details of your prospective tenant, but check your association’s specific rules to see what applies to you.

There are often specific situations in which an association board will approve a request to rent out a bostadsrätt, like moving in with a partner, working or studying in a different city, or renting out to your child or another family member, but this does not include renting out to tourists over a short period of time or buying an apartment for the sole purpose of using it as a rental property.

How much can I charge in rent?

So, your housing foundation has approved your application to rent out your property. How much can you charge?

Again, you are bound by similar rules as those discussed for renters above, meaning you must charge a reasonable rate for the property.

For bostadsrätter, this is calculated based on the market value of the property alongside the costs to run it. More specifically, an avkastningsränta (literally: “profit interest”), which is essentially the Riksbank’s reference interest rate plus around two percent.

At the time of writing, the Riksbank’s reference rate was 3.5 percent, meaning you can charge up to 5.5 percent, plus fees for costs to run the property and a 15 percent fee if it’s furnished.

Let’s say you live in an apartment valued at 2 million kronor. First, you’d calculate the avkastningsränta of your property, which would be 2 million times 0.055, giving you 110,000 per year, or 9,166 kronor per month.

You’ll then need to add the monthly running costs of the property. Let’s say you pay a 4,000 kronor fee to your housing association, and a further 500 kronor a month for things like heating, water, electricity, TV and internet. That puts our total at 13,666 kronor.

Now, is the property furnished? It probably is if you’re only renting it out for a short period. This means you can add a further 15 percent fee on top of the avkastningsränta and the running costs. This would give us a total of 15,715 kronor for a full month, or around 523 kronor per night.

If that’s too much maths for you (or if you want to make sure you’ve definitely got the right figure) you can use a calculator online. Try searching for kalkylator skälig hyra and make sure you select the bostadsrätt option.

What can I do if my landlord or the board of my housing association doesn’t give me permission?

If your association’s board or your landlord does not approve your request to rent out your property, you can apply for permission from the rental board (Hyresnämnden).

If the rental board grants you permission, you’re allowed to rent out your property even if your landlord or association has not agreed.

Bear in mind that again, you would have to apply for permission for each period you’re planning on renting out, and you’re still expected not to treat your apartment in a way which could be considered similar to a hotel, so this is more applicable to longer-term sublets than multiple short-term lets to different people.

If you rent out your property without approval from your landlord, the board of your association or the rental board, then you risk eviction and could be forced to sell your property in the case of a bostadsrätt.

What if I own my property outright?

You can also own your property in Sweden, this usually applies to houses and is known as an äganderätt, although some houses (usually terraced houses) are bostadsrätter.

If you’re renting out your house you don’t need to ask anyone for permission, but you do still need to charge a reasonable rent.

This is usually calculated by looking at other houses up for rent in the same area, or houses up for rent in similar areas if there are no other houses for rent near your property.

If there are absolutely no houses which can be used as a comparison, it’s up to the rental board to decide on a reasonable price based on factors like the size of your home, how modern it is and what kind of facilities it has. You can charge the tenant a reasonable percentage of costs like electricity and water, too.

What about insurance?

If renting via Airbnb, insurance may be included for you as a host up to a certain amount, although it may be smart to check the terms of this insurance and, if needed, take out separate insurance to protect yourself against any damages caused by a potential tenant.