Sweden is a fantastically fun and easy place to travel with children, from infants up to teens. Most sights and activities are designed with kids in mind, with free or reduced admission for under-18s and plenty of hands-on exhibits. Dining, accommodation and transport providers are also well accustomed to handling families.
Best Regions for Kids
- Stockholm & Around
Museums, a petting zoo and an amusement park make the capital city a delight for kids.
- Uppsala & Central Sweden
A great water park, zoo, family-friendly ski slopes and tons of camping.
- Gothenburg & the Southwest
The country’s biggest amusement park, plus great museums and public parks.
- Malmö & the South
One of Sweden’s best open-air museums, plus a rad skatepark.
- The Southeast & Gotland
Take the family on an easy, round-island bicycle trip on Gotland, or visit Astrid Lindgrens Värld in Vimmerby.
- Östersund & the Bothnian Coast
A legendary sea monster, a great zoo, an open-air museum and several kid-friendly hostels.
- Lappland & the Far North
Hit the ski slopes or take the kids on a dogsledding adventure in winter, or a good long hike in summer.
Sweden for Kids
If you’ve got kids, you’re guaranteed an easy ride in Sweden. As a general tip, get the kids involved in your travel plans – if they’ve helped to work out where you’re going, chances are they’ll still be interested when you arrive! Remember, don’t try to cram too much in. Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children is a useful source of information.
Swedes treat children very well, and domestic tourism is largely organised around children’s interests. Many museums have a kids’ section with toys, hands-on displays and activities, and there are numerous public parks for kids, plus theme parks, water parks and so on. Most attractions allow free admission for young children – up to about seven years of age – and in many cases up to about 18. Tours and hostel beds are usually half-price for kids. Family tickets are often available.
High chairs and cots (cribs) are standard in most restaurants and hotels. Menus usually feature at least a couple of children’s meals at a reasonable price. (These are generally along the lines of Swedish meatballs or pancakes with lingonberries and cream – a fairly easy sell even for fussy eaters.) Swedish supermarkets offer a wide choice of baby food, infant formulas, soy and cow’s milk, disposable nappies (diapers) etc. There are nappy-changing facilities in most toilets (men’s and women’s), and breastfeeding in public is not an issue.
- Skansen A miniature Sweden.
- Himmelsberga A farm village with quaint cottages.
- Kulturen A vast museum with buildings from all points in history.
- Fredriksdals museer och trädgårdar An old manor house, a farm, lovely gardens and a French baroque theatre.
- Vallby Friluftsmuseum A farmyard and several craft workshops.
- Jamtli The north’s answer to Skansen.
- Murberget A traditional shop, smithy, church and school, in typical Norrland style.
- Tekniska Museet Thrill tiny nerds with science and gadgetry.
- Naturhistoriska Museet The forest comes to life in this diorama-filled museum.
- Medeltidsmuseet Go back in time and underneath Stockholm for the gripping story of the city’s foundations.
- Värmlands Museum Everything there is to know about the region, plus great contemporary art.
- Ájtte Museum Sami culture gets the attention it deserves, with beautiful multimedia presentations.
When to Go
Parents will find that travel in the summer tourist season (mid-June to August) is easier than outside those times, simply because more visitor facilities, sights and activities are up and running. Be sure to book ahead, though, as this is also when hostels tend to fill up.
If your family is interested in outdoor activities, winter is also a great time to visit; several ski hills (including the world-class Åre) have family-friendly facilities, bunny slopes, ski schools, day care and so on.
Campgrounds have excellent facilities and are overrun with ecstatic, energetic children. They get very busy in summer, so book tent sites or cabins well in advance.
Hotels and other accommodation options often have ‘family rooms’ that sleep up to two adults and two children for about the price of a regular double. Cots for young children are available in most hotels and hostels, usually either free of charge or for a nominal fee.
Hotel staff are accustomed to serving families and should be able to help you with anything you need, from heating bottles to finding a babysitter for a parents’ night out.
Car-rental companies will hire out children’s safety seats at a nominal cost, but it’s essential that you book them in advance. Long-distance ferries and trains may have play areas for children.
Ask about free rides on public transport for young children; this is offered at certain times of day in many cities (for instance, kids under 12 ride free at weekends in Stockholm). Buses are nicely set up for strollers/prams, and most of the time you’ll be swarmed by locals trying to help you get the stroller on and off the bus.