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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.

Weather forecasts predict the Swedish summer will be hotter and dryer than normal, which could lead to an increased risk of wildfires. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT


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.

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.

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. Here’s a list and map of planned construction work.

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 restrictions in Sweden, or requirements for visitors to be vaccinated. You may wear a face mask if you want to, but it is unlikely that you’ll be seeing a lot of other people masking up.

Sweden removed some of its remaining Covid recommendations for the public on July 1st, including advice to stay home and avoid close contact with others if you’re ill or have Covid symptoms – although Swedish laws on communicable diseases still state in general that anyone who has an infectious disease should take appropriate actions to protect others against infection (which could include self-isolating).

You are generally not required to get tested if you think you have Covid, but you can still buy a Covid antigen test at Swedish pharmacies or supermarkets. Keep in mind that there’s always a risk of a false negative result.

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SAS wins case against Ryanair over Danish and Swedish Covid support

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Scandinavian airline SAS did not receive illegal state backing from Denmark and Sweden during Covid-19 lockdown, in a case initiated by rival company Ryanair.

SAS wins case against Ryanair over Danish and Swedish Covid support

The case, which has been tried at several levels of the ECJ, has now reached its conclusive judgement, meaning SAS is cleared.

Ryanair brought about the case against its competitor because it argued the Covid support given to SAS represented preferential treatment.

The Ireland-based low-cost airline said that SAS was given a credit guarantee of a maximum of 1.5 billion Swedish kronor by Denmark and Sweden.

The money was partly compensation for lost turnover resulting from Covid-19 restrictions. But Ryanair said that gave SAS an unfair advantage in competition with other airlines.

READ ALSO: Airline SAS taken to court over passenger compensation delays

Ryanair’s claimed was dismissed by the ECJ on Thursday, with the court finding that the Danish and Swedish backing was in line with EU rules.

SAS’ larger market share than its rivals meant the company was harder-hit by travel restrictions, the ECJ found.

“The Court of Justice definitively dismisses Ryanair’s actions concerning the loan guarantees put in place by Sweden and Denmark in April 2020,” the court said in a statement.

“The Court of Justice points out, in particular, that the aid measure at issue could be limited to SAS. It was not necessary for it to benefit all undertakings that suffered damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added.

SAS continues to struggle financially long after Covid-19 travel restrictions were rescinded. The airline reported a loss of 638 million Swedish kronor in August, it said in results published this week.

It was, however, able to present a profit in its results from the second quarter of this year.