Sweden 10 Day Itinerary with Kids

In August 2015 we took our children Ben (4) and Emma (1.5) to Iceland, Sweden, and Norway for two weeks. We spent five days in Iceland before heading to Sweden, starting with two days in Stockholm, followed by a tour of Sweden’s West Coast (including a quick trip into Norway) and then a few days at an island house on Lake Malaren. 

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Trip Details
Date of Trip: August 14, 2015
Departure: Seattle, Washington, USA
Arrival: Stockholm – Arlanda International Airport (Roughly 50 minutes outside of the city). The flight from Iceland to Stockholm was approximately 3 hours.
Total driving distance: 1561 km. (970 miles)
Accommodations: Privately-owned cottages and hostels/hotels (see below)
Rental Car: We spent two days in Stockholm without a car, only picking one up after we’d finished our time in the city and were ready to explore the countryside.
Route: A more detailed route map of our trip, including places we stayed and ate, can be found here.

 

Trip Itinerary
Day 1
Driving: 50 miles.
Accommodation: (Urban Hostels in Old Town made through Hotels.com. Family room: 3 single beds with shared restroom. Location in Gamla Stan is ideal.)
-3 hour flight from Iceland to Stockholm (Arlanda). Arrive at 11:55am.
-Take Uber from airport into city (50 minutes).
-After a quick nap (we’d been up since 5 am Icelandic time) we walked around old town Gamla Stan, admiring the boats, buildings (the Palace is close by), and finally settled for dinner at an Italian restaurant with an outdoor patio.

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Day 2
Sightseeing day around Stockholm
Accommodation:Urban Hostels in Old Town (2 nights total)
-Grab a takeaway breakfast from the chic coffee shop Albert&Jack’s and eat it outside on the waterfront pier.
-Catch a water taxi nearby for a 15 minute ride to a new island
-Tour the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum with an ancient sunken ship. Sadly we had to pass on the nearby ABBA museum.
-Spend the afternoon at Skansen, an outdoor museum/zoo/playground/amusement park. The kids LOVE it.
-Rent a boat at GoBoat and tour the harbor
-Walk back to Gamla Stan for dinner and bed

 

Day 3
4.5 hours drive time. 277 miles.
-Take an Uber back to the airport and pick up a rental car. *
-Drive southwest to the town of Boras/Gothenburg. We’d tried to reserve a hotel in Gothenburg but there was a Metallica concert PLUS a world sailing cup and consequently the city was booked solid. Hence our accommodations in Boras. Which were fine, but nothing to write home about. The adjacent park is lovely for the kids. The swim center was closed otherwise we’d have gone for a visit.
–In hindsight, I wish we’d had a full day to explore Gothenburg–

*Many of the rental cars in Sweden are stick shift. If that’s not ideal for you, ask for an automatic, which may cost a bit extra. Or, as the rental car guy said: “Huh, you got a stick shift. Can you handle that? Usually we automatically give the Americans automatics.”

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Day 4
Sightseeing the West Coast of Sweden
5 hours drive time. 230 miles.
Accommodation: Norway Island House (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
-Did a quick driving tour of Gothenburg
-Spent some time playing and wading at an idyllic little beach on the island of Tjorn (next to the Nordiska Akvarellmuseet
–Explored the sweet waterside town of Fjallbacka and climbed the Devil’s Staircase for amazing coastal views
-Crossed into Norway (easy! No stopping or stamping of passports required)
–Met the owners of our rental house for a quick boat ride to our Norde Sandoy Island house. (My favorite part of the trip!)
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Day 5
No driving.
Accommodation:Norway Island House (3 nights total)
-Spent the day fishing, walking around the car-free island, picking fruit from the orchard, swimming at the house’s private beach. Vacation perfection.

 

Day 6
No driving.
Accommodation:Norway Island House (3 nights total)
-Same as above. The house also came with a boat and we motored around the island. More hiking, this time down to the ‘village’ at the south end.

 

Day 7
6 hours drive time. 300 miles.
Accommodation: Lake Malaren Island House (4 nights)
-Got picked up by the owners and deposited back on the mainland.
-Drove back into Sweden and east to our accommodation on Lake Malaren. This one is also on an island and comes with a small boat for boating and fishing.
-Spend the afternoon fishing, BBQinging, and exploring the island.

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Days 8-9
No driving.
Accommodation: Lake Malaren Island House (4 nights)
-Explored the island by foot and by boat. Kids went swimming and were hugely successful fishing for small lake fish. The house came with a sauna and fire pit. No other people on the island.

 

Day 10
6 hours drive time. 300 miles.
Accommodation: Lake Malaren Island House (4 nights)
-Day trip north to sweet old town of Vasteras. Enjoyed walking around the farmer’s markets, parks, and outdoor eating areas.
-Also visited the Sala Mines (but declined to go down the pit!)

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Day 11
2 hours drive time. 110 miles.
-Drove from Lake Malaren to the airport for flights back to Seattle, via Iceland.

 

What would we have done differently?

-Spent more time on the West Coast, specifically Gothenburg and the small towns further north (Fjallbacka, Tjorn). They were spectacular.
-Spent fewer days on Lake Malaren (it was lovely, but the kids got a bit bored as the weather was pretty cold and it limited our outdoor time)
-Added another day in Stockholm. So much to do, so little time.

 

 

 

 

— COMING SOON–

Here are a few additional posts from our Scandinavian adventure with kids:

 

5 Day Iceland Itinerary with maps and travel information.
10 Day Sweden and Norway Itinerary with maps and travel information.
Iceland: The Golden Circle (Part III)

 

Sweden: Stockholm 
Sweden: The Lake House

 

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