Sweden’s long coastline and nearly 100,000 lakes provide endless opportunities for water-based fun. Much of the shoreline is rocky, often with smooth, gently sloping cliffs perfect for sunbathing, but you’ll also find plenty of beautiful sandy beaches along the coasts and lakeshores throughout the country.
At many beaches, the water deepens very gradually, perfect for families with children. However, be alert for strong underwater currents, which can arise in deeper water under certain wind conditions, particularly in Skåne, whose shores are lined with dozens of stunning beaches.
Stenshuvud & Knäbäckshusen
The white-sand beach at Stenshuvud National Park in eastern Skåne rivals the Caribbean for natural splendor, albeit with colder water. A lushly forested 97m (318ft) headland, Stenshuvud, provides a dramatic backdrop, along with broad sandy heaths and flower meadows.
At neighboring Knäbäckshusen, deep blue water contrasts with spectacular white-gold sand and a dense backdrop of trees. Although the beach’s beauty makes it very popular, there’s generally room to spread out. For off-season strolls you’ll likely have the beach essentially to yourself.
Sandhammaren & Mälarhusen
At Skåne’s southeasternmost point a series of wide beaches with fine white sand stretches more than 15 km (9mi) between Löderup and Skillinge. One of the most stunning, Sandhammaren, is a nature reserve with dunes, pine forest and a historic lighthouse.
Just to the north, the equally gorgeous Mälarhusen beach has sandy woodlands and shifting dunes that can reach several feet high. Because Mälarhusen has fewer facilities than Sandhammaren, it’s often somewhat less crowded.
Don’t come to Tylösand in summer if you’re looking for peace and quiet. Just west of Halmstad on the Kattegat strait, this very popular beach has fine, light-colored sand and a festive summer atmosphere, with restaurants, bars, hotels and a nightclub. If you’re looking for something a bit calmer, head to Frösakull beach at Tylösand’s northern end, which tends to be less crowded.
Of Falkenberg’s more than 10.5 miles (17km) of beach, Skrea Strand stands out with its long, wide stretch of nearly white sand backed by high dunes. The shore zone slopes very gradually, so if you prefer to jump right into deeper water, head to the north end, where you’ll find the west coast’s longest bathing jetty – 248m (814ft) – with a ramp for wheelchair access. There are snack bars and kiosks all along the beach, as well as a spa at Hotel Falkenberg Strandbad.
Råbocka & Havsbaden
Grassy dunes separate this stretch of pale golden sand from the city of Ängelholm in west Skåne. Located on Skälderviken bay, it’s ideal for both scenic walks and swims in water that’s usually among the region’s warmest. At the southern end is a nature reserve with forested walking and cycling paths. Further north are a campground, beach volleyball courts, minigolf, snack bars and a long bathing jetty with a wheelchair ramp.
Sandviken’s long curve of white sand, soft seabed and warm, pellucid water may make you think you’re in the tropics rather than just a few miles outside Sölvesborg in Blekinge, southern Sweden. Though the beach gets crowded in summer, there’s always room in the water thanks to the long shallows. Facilities include a bathing jetty, a beach volleyball court, playgrounds, snack bars and grills.
Located near Öland’s northeastern tip, Böda Sand comprises nearly 12.5 miles (20km) of soft sand and beautiful dunes sloping down to a turquoise sea. This part of the Baltic never gets particularly warm, but that doesn’t stop the crowds from flocking to Böda for fun in the sun at Sweden’s largest vacation village, which has campsites, cabins, restaurants, waterslides, minigolf and more. If this feels too busy, you can sometimes find more peace and privacy further up the beach.
Sweden’s largest island, Gotland, has many excellent swimming spots, but the most popular beach is Tofta, about 20 km (12mi) south of Visby. Known for white sand and turquoise water, it attracts large numbers of bathers and sunseekers, drawn also by a swimming pool, minigolf course, restaurant and a beach club with a lively happy hour. The northern section of the beach tends to be a bit calmer.
A free six-minute ferry ride off Gotland’s northeastern tip, Fårö has one of Sweden’s most stunning beaches, Sudersand, which enjoys full sun all day thanks to its south-facing orientation. On windy days it can feel a bit exposed, but hollows among the sand dunes provide shelter if needed. A campground, a café and a resort complex contribute to big crowds in summer, but if you move away from the center of the action you can usually find a quieter spot.
One of the Stockholm archipelago’s outermost islands, Sandön – generally referred to by the name of its village, Sandhamn – is a yachting hub that hums with activity in summer. For Sandhamn’s best beach, follow the easy marked path through the woods to Trouville, a lovely stretch of pale sand framed by rocks and trees at the island’s southern end. Though the water never gets particularly warm here, it's less chilly when the wind is off the water.
A 30-minute boat ride from Nynäshamn, Nåttarö has several fine bathing spots, including one of the Stockholm archipelago’s largest beaches, Stora Sand, located on a small bay just under a mile along a wooded path from the dock. The surrounding waters are protected as a marine reserve, with a marked snorkeling trail to guide underwater exploration. On land, there are cabins, a hostel and a small campground, plus bicycle, kayak, rowboat and SUP rentals.
A gorgeous swimming beach a degree south of the Arctic Circle may sound unlikely, but that’s where you’ll find Pite Havsbad, northern Sweden’s best spot for a dip in the sea. Located just south of Piteå, by the mouth of the Piteälven river, this surprising beach frequently has some of the warmest water in Sweden, thanks to long shallows and sheltering sand dunes. A large beachfront resort complex has accommodations, restaurants, and a water park.
Sweden’s second-largest lake, Vättern, is known for its clear – if rather cold – water. On its eastern shore, near Motala, Scandinavia’s longest lake beach pulses with activity on warm summer days, from cafés and ice-cream kiosks to minigolf and waterslides. If you’d rather not be in the middle of the action, the north and south ends are generally more tranquil. Wherever you spread your towel, Varamobaden’s west-facing orientation makes it perfect for catching the afternoon sun or a beautiful sunset.
Lake Vättern’s even larger sibling, Vänern, also has its share of swimming spots, none better than this long stretch of golden sand in a forested nature reserve at the base of Hindens Rev, a narrow spit jutting into the lake. With a soft lakebed and clear, shallow, pleasantly warm water, Svalnäs is a family-friendly beach that also has a small play area and a refreshment kiosk.
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