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Midsommar i Stockholm. A woman is dancing on a meadow. Sunset.

Photo: Rania Rönntoft

Categories: Tourist attractions

Midsummer in Stockholm

Publish date: 14 June 2024

One of the most characteristic and beloved Swedish traditions of all is Midsummer's Eve. It's the longest day of the year – when the sky never darkens – and this year it's celebrated on Friday, June 21.

Midsummer, or at least holidays resembling it, are celebrated in many European countries. But nowhere is Midsummer a bigger deal than in Sweden. So much so that Midsummer's Eve has been proposed as Sweden's National Day!

What's Midsummer?

Since the Midsummer is tied to the summer solstice, dates vary from year to year. But generally, Midsummer's Eve takes place sometime between June 19 and 26.

Midsummer's origins in Sweden have been debated: Was it a pagan ritual predating Christianity, or a Christian holiday, that over the centuries morphed into a secular festivity?

Regardless, modern Midsummer is basically a celebration of summer, light, and warmth. As it happens, many Swedes also start their summer vacation in conjunction with – or the weeks just after – Midsummer. So, in a way, it's also the start of the Swedish vacay season.

Flower wreaths and snaps: Swedish Midsummer traditions

Teenagers dressed in colorful old traditional Swedish costumes, during Midsummer celebrations at the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm. Midsummer is celebrated at the longest day of the year—when the sky never darkens. It’s one of the most characteris
Yanan Li

The most common Midsummer traditions are raising and dancing around a maypole, various family-friendly pentathlons and games, Midsummer buffets, and maybe even a late-night skinny dip.

Ideally, you'll also want to make a summery and colorful flower wreath. A traditional flower wreath is made from at least 7 types of flowers (9 in some parts of Sweden). The flowers should be picked in silence, walking backward (be sure not to pick any protected flowers!). According to some, pickers also have to walk over 7 fences (still backward).

Some traditions go even further, saying that the flowers should be picked after the sun has set, by a graveyard or church (since the ground is consecrated), and preferably naked. But we'll leave that decision up to you!

The most common food items are different kinds of pickled herring, Västerbotten cheese pie, early potatoes, fresh strawberries, gravlax, and a variety of snaps. As in most cases, when small shots of snaps are involved, a short snapsvisa (drinking song) is sung before downing the glass.

More info on the food can be found on the webpage.

Museums and attractions open during the Midsummer weekend

Feel like doing something more beyond celebrating Midsummer? While many museums and attractions are closed during the Midsummer holidays, we've listed some that are open.

Since Midsummer is a national holiday, opening hours might be reduced. Visit the respective homepages for detailed info.

Midsommar 3 foto Bengt Nyman.jpg
Bengt Nyman

Usually, most Stockholmers leave for the archipelago or the countryside during the weekend, to celebrate Midsummer with their friends and family. However, there are still many ways to celebrate Midsummer in Stockholm.

Celebrations in Stockholm

  • Midsummer at Skansen has been celebrated since the park's founding in 1886. Join the various games with your children, see how Midsummer has evolved through the centuries, get a taste of traditional Midsummer delicacies, and visit Skansen's animals.
  • Midsummer at Hasselbacken is a midsummer smorgasbord, DJ session, and traditional celebration, all rolled up into one!
  • Mosebacketerassen (link in Swedish), with a spectacular view over the water, hosts a family-friendly midsummer celebration. In addition to the usual menu, there are sausages and ice cream and there will be singing – and dancing!

Midsummer Celebrations Outside of Stockholm

  • Hotel Djurönäset (page in Swedish) is situated on Djurö island in the Stockholm archipelago. The Midsummer celebration includes food, music, and dancing around the Midsummer Pole. It is also possible to compete against your friends in the pentathlon booths, or check in at the hotel and take it easy in their spa. Booking in advance is recommended.
  • The Grinda island (page in Swedish) lies in the middle of the archipelago, about 75 minutes by boat from central Stockholm. Here, you can celebrate a traditional midsummer including flower-picking and raising the maypole together, followed by a late-night club.
  • At Sandhamn, in the outer Archipelago, the maypole is erected in the middle of the village on Adolf's square. A midsummer procession of musicians and singers tour the village. Sandhamn Seglarhotell serves a midsummer lunch, followed by dancing and partying.
  • In Vaxholm, the maypole is dressed by partygoers collectively before the dancing starts. There will also be a performance by local traditional dancers and folk music groups.

See the list under the guide for more tips. This guide is currently under review. Check back closer to Midsummer's Eve for more tips.

When is Midsummer celebrated in Sweden?

  • Midsummer's Eve 2024 is on Friday, June 21.
  • Midsummer's Day 2024 is on Saturday, June 22.