Midsummer festival in Sweden – a celebration from another world

When the days are getting long again, the Swedes prepare for the festival of festivals.

Midsummer is considered the second biggest festival of the year, just after Christmas. Together with relatives, friends and neighbors, people wear garlands of flowers in their hair and families dance and sing around the beautifully decorated May tree.


Midsommar, called midsommarafton (midsummer evening) always takes place on a Friday between June 19th – 25th. Most of the stores are closed and the inhabitants of the big cities make a pilgrimage to the countryside for the celebrations. On Midsummer’s Eve, a tree trunk decorated with green leaves is lifted up, the Midsummer pole (midsommarstång) or May pole (majstång). Maj here has nothing to do with the month of May, but goes back to the ancient verb maja (“to decorate with flowers”). This pole can look slightly different in different regions of the country. The trunk is decorated with leaves and flowers and raised upright, afterwards people dance around it in a circle, whereby various game dances are common. One of these dance songs is Små grodorna: it is about frogs and people imitate their movements while dancing.


Here are some of the best places to experience a real Swedish midsummer festival.


  • In Swedish Lapland, you can dance through the night under the midnight sun and lose track of time with 24 hours of sunshine.

In the village of Riksgränsen (“border of the realm”) in the far north, the Swedish and Norwegian borders meet. Here you can dance around a maypole in ski boots 24 hours a day in daylight.


  • Dalarna in central Sweden has some of the most beautiful locations for Midsummer celebrations with professional dances, parades, garlands, maypole raising and perhaps even a church boat race. This region is known as ‘Sweden in miniature’. The Summer Solstice is also celebrated in a typically Swedish way in Tällberg against the breathtaking backdrop of the mountains and Lake Siljan glistening in the sun.


  • In Stockholm, Skansen is also a popular address for a public yet traditional midsummer celebration. The open-air museum provides an irresistible summer atmosphere throughout the Midsummer weekend with wreath-making, market stalls, live music and much more.


  • The Stockholm archipelago with its 30,000 islands also offers a breathtaking backdrop for the longest days of the year. The islands of Vaxholm, Dalarö and Värmdö are connected to the mainland and can easily be reached by bus. Further out in the archipelago are popular excursion destinations such as the islands of Grinda, Sandhamn and Utö.


  • In Gothenburg, locals and visitors gather every year on the large lawn in front of Björngårdsvilla in Slottsskogen to take part in a classic midsummer festival. A number of castles and manor houses in the Gothenburg area also hold a Midsummer Festival, and their magnificent walls and gardens provide the perfect backdrop for such a traditional celebration – for example Tjolöholm Castle, Gunnebo Castle and Näss Castle.


  • On the island of Gotland, you can take part in the Midsummer Festival in Visby. A parade awaits you, as well as traditional activities such as the raising of the maypole and folk dancing to live music.


  • Sofiero Castle in Helsingborg invites you to a traditional midsummer festival


  • Numerous midsummer festivals are held in Skåne. This is also the case at the open-air museum Kulturen in Lund. Here you can celebrate Midsummer in a traditional but youthful atmosphere. Because the students from Lund University perform folk dances in the open-air museum Cultures. One of Sweden’s largest open-air museums, the Fredriksdal Museums  and Gardens in Helsingborg attract thousands of visitors every year, but also Sofiereo Castle and Hovdala Castle in Hässleholm also invite you to celebrate.


  • In Malmö, the Bulltofta sports center invites you to a traditional midsummer celebration in the recreation area. Also Borrby, Brantevik, Backåkra and Skillinge also offer music, dancing and games and in Folkets Park there is a great midsummer program during the day especially for children.



Although the Swedish national holiday is on the 6th of June, the real celebrations take place on Midsummer only. In 2024 the Midsummer Eve falls on Friday, June 21, but many places also celebrate on Saturday, June 22, the official public holiday. Whether in Sweden or in your own garden – take the opportunity to celebrate the longest days of the of the year. Important note: The public holiday also means that the stores and many restaurants are closed.



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