If I am being 100% honest, when I found out I would be moving to Sweden, the thought of living in Europe gave me more excitement than calling Sweden home. Stockholm was the only city I knew of, and seeing the Northern Lights was my only must-do activity while being an honorary Swede. After living here for 9 months, though, I found Sweden has a lot more to offer.
Things to do During Covid- Sweden Edition
Scooter Around the City
In the past 5 years, electric scooters have become more and more common. In any large city, you will find several people riding around on them- either for enjoyment and sightseeing or as their mode of transportation to work. Using these scooters is quite easy, although it takes a little practice to get the hang of steering and speed. (I advise finding an empty parking lot to start!) Pricing between brands also changes, although the best deal we found was a pass for ＄8 a day. Simply download the app, enter in your card details, scan, and go!
Scooters are fun, in general, to ride around in any city. You don't have to return them to a set location, so they come in handy for 1-way trips to a museum or getting to the train in time. With Covid in mind, riding scooters requires limited contact and keeps you outside in the fresh air. Recently my friends and I took them for a day cruise throughout Stockholm, where we had great fun riding along the river, bumping along cobblestones in Old Town, and admiring the Cherry Blossoms in the park. Great way to see a new city without walking, meanwhile also enjoying the Spring weather.
Parks and Picnics… Hiking, Too!
I´ve always loved the outdoors, whether it was a day kayaking down a river or an afternoon hiking a mountain. Although Sweden does not have the mountains and views I´ve seen and experienced in Australia and the US, there are several parks and forests you can spend a day exploring. When it warms up, I also have my eye on some lakes to visit. Kayaking through the Archipelago is also something on my list of things I would like to do.
A big interest and past time for Swede´s is skiing! Something everyone needs to try at least once in their life. At the end of the season, when it wasn´t really as cold or busy, my friends and I went skiing for a day. To say the least, I will be sticking to sledding...
On several of our hikes we have taken so far this spring, we have come across Vikings ruins and engraved stones, sometimes just casually in a family's backyard! My favorite way to spend some time outdoors and hiking is to pack along some snacks or lunch. It's great to take a moment and simply pause and enjoy nature while crunching on some chips or chocolate. Views and food, what more do you need?
Brunch, Lunch, and Drinks
Although in Sweden restaurants and bars have limited hours and seating, you can still visit with a friend or two. Some places are requesting you book tables ahead of time, while others simply ask you to wait longer than usual in the queue. Find a new place to meet up with someone for a drink or bite to eat.
A favorite place my friends and I came across in Stockholm is called, “Aifur.” Aifur is a Vikings restaurant- which means everything is Vikings inside. (No, not the purple and yellow representing Minnesota, but the big burly men from the 10th and 11th century.) The staff was dressed as Vikings, as well as Viking memorabilia and relics scattered throughout the establishment. In non-Covid times your table would be welcomed by a giant horn! We enjoyed eating entire chickens and lamb, as well as homemade, “mead.” Each entree had a story that correlated to it from Vikings time which was an interesting twist.
Escape Rooms, City Scavenger Hunts, and Murder Mystery Dinner Parties
Escape rooms are something people have well enjoyed long before Covid was a thing. With the limit to how many people can socialize with one another, as well as needing to socially distance, Escape rooms have seen an increase in bookings in the last year. Invite your close circle of friends to an Escape Room and see if you can break out within the hour. Some places are expanding their Escape Rooms and keeping social distancing in mind by having them outdoors. This means you no longer are just confined to a room, but rather an entire city to find clues and solve the mystery. If you don´t feel comfortable leaving your house, looking into hosting, or attending a Murder Mystery dinner party my quench your thirst for adventure. One person can host the party, while the attendees socialize. You can get as invested as you would like, dressing up as your character or eating a special meal. Let your imagination run wild!
Scenic Small Towns
If you are looking to get out of the house, but cities worry with the large crowds, explore small towns near you! Road trips are great to explore those places we may have taken advantage of in the past. Walk around the town, take some food to go and have a picnic, and admire the calmness small towns have to offer.
During our Easter break, a friend and I ventured to the west coast of Sweden to a small town called Smögen. Smögen by no means is a large city or tourist destination, but rather a quaint beach town. Ironically enough I saw a picture from Smögen as a default Windows background! With the feeling I had already exhausted activities in my area, we took an 8-hour train trip and a 6-hour bus ride to Smögen for the day. (Yes, we were that desperate to get out that we traveled 14 hours for a day trip!) With it being chilly and not tourist season, we were the only non-locals in the city. We ate a delish lunch- served with soup, bread, salad, gnocchi, fresh fish, cookies, and drinks- before walking the boardwalk and taking too many stereotypical photos in front of the colorful boathouses. With our fingers cold and noses numb, we headed back home content with what we had seen. Quick, but fun trip!
Although Covid may have put a damper on your adventures and plans, there are still many things you can do while still being socially responsible and keeping your distance. Get out and enjoy the fresh air, socialize within your bubble of close friends and family, and enjoy some great food and views. One day this will all be behind us, and we will once again have limitless places to visit and things to do.