About Sweden and the Capital Stockholm

Sweden, a nation of 10 million people in the north of Europe is home of the Vikings, moose, trolls and cheap furniture (IKEA). The capital, Stockholm is a beautiful city that is sometimes referred to as ‘Venice of the North’.
Two Swedish wooden houses and a big green hedge

Because of the location close to the north pole, Sweden is quite dark and cold during the winter. In summer, however, it’s the opposite. In June, July and August, the sun is up most or all day and night, the weather is warm and things are great!

People go to Sweden for different reasons (obviously). The main reasons are to enjoy the beautiful nature, the comfortable summer temperatures and lack of crowds. The mountains in the north are deserted and full of reindeer roaming around. Sweden has a lot of coastline and several archipelagos that are suitable for swimming and boating. People also appreciate the country side because the forests there are beautiful and dotted with many lakes.

‘Venice of the North’, Stockholm, has earned this nickname for good reason. Located right where Lake Malar (Mälaren) meets the Baltic Sea, there is a lot of water in and around Stockholm. In addition, the city is full of culture and history ready to explore. Stockholm also makes a good starting-point for day-trips to other more rural destinations.

Like other Scandinavian cities, Stockholm really livens up during the summer. The days are long (you won’t see the midnight sun, but close to it) and people are happy. Residents and visitors enjoy the many sidewalk cafés, water-front restaurants and well-maintained parks. You can go swimming downtown, either from some of the many soft granite cliffs, or from a few small (and usually crowded) sandy beaches.

Red house on field full of flowers in Swedish country side

When you have had enough of the city-thing, you can do nice day trips from Stockholm. For example, you can visit the Viking capital of Birka, take a boat trip to the Stockholm Archipelago, visit the Royal Castle of Drottningholm or explore Old Uppsala, a village dating back to before the Viking age.

Dog Attitude and Regulation in Sweden

Sweden is fairly dog friendly, but there are rules for where and how dogs are allowed. But in Sweden, you will meet mixed personal attitudes towards dogs.
Sunset over Swedish lake. Mountains in background and purple frowers in foreground.
Silhouetto of dog standing in front of hazy lake during fall

There are many rules for where dogs are allowed and not, even inside restaurants and busses.

We sometimes felt that the rules surrounding dogs in Sweden went a bit too far. For instance, if you can’t immediately locate the one subway cart out of seven where dogs are allowed and walk through the carts in search of the sign indicating where dogs are allowed, you may well get told off.

Swedes are often perceived as closed people who are hesitant to speak to strangers. However, their bar for talking to strangers is much lower when it comes to correcting people in their surroundings. Pompe and I have been told off many times by people who feel they have more right to the sidewalk than we do.

A surprising number of adults in Sweden are scared of dogs, even the leashed ones. If you visit Sweden with your dog, expect to see a few people run off in fear of your dog.

You must pick up after your dog in Sweden, and you need to buy the poop-bags yourself. Poop bags are usually sold in supermarkets.

In many places, dogs are allowed off leash if they are well trained and will come back to you when you tell them to. We really like that about Sweden!

Another good thing is that traveling with a dog in Sweden is a great way to meet locals. Dog owners in Sweden are surprisingly quick to talk to each other. On our trip, Pompe and I had many nice encounters with Swedes.

Dog on Water-front in Stockholm during sunset

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Sweden

It is easy to find dog-friendly accommodation in Sweden! As much as 45% of all Swedish accommodation listed on Booking.com has at least one dog-friendly room. Compare that to only 13% on Malta.

However, when you find a hotel that welcomes dogs on Booking.com, bear in mind that dogs are usually just allowed in certain dog-friendly rooms and not the entire hotel. Sweden is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to allergies, so there is good reason for there policies.

As far as we can tell, the hotel booking systems are not advanced enough to filter out available dog-friendly rooms in each hotel. Instead, they display hotels that have dog-friendly rooms. If you are out of luck, all the dog-friendly rooms in the hotel may be occupied. So, when booking accommodation in Sweden, you must call the hotel to make sure you get one of the dog-friendly rooms.

Chart showing Dog-friendly hotels in Sweden

You usually pay an extra fee for brining your dog. The fee varies from hotel to hotel, but 200 SEK per night seems to be a common surcharge.

Many of the dog-friendly hotels are quite nice and exceptionally welcoming to dogs. Dogs often get a dog bed and food bowl. Once, Pompe even got a cute little welcome bag full of heart-shaped dog treats!

Swedish hotel room, very nicely designed in grey
Pie-chart showing dog-friendly hotels in Sweden

Sweden – Where Dogs are Welcome

Dogs are welcome in many places in Sweden such as public transportation and a few shops and restaurants. However, compared to countries like France and Malta, dogs are often prohibited in places like bars, shops, supermarkets and most restaurants.
Fried fish in restaurant in Sweden

Dogs and Restaurants in Sweden

In our opinion, it’s quite a drag to try and visit restaurants in Sweden if you want to bring your dog. The vast majority of restaurants prohibit dogs, and the restaurant owners don´t always state on the website if dogs are allowed or not.

If dining out and visiting bars is an important part of your trip, we recommend you and your dog visit France instead. At least in the French Alp region, dogs are welcome in most bars and restaurants, even the high-end ones.

As for bars where dogs are welcome, there really aren’t many in Sweden. But the places that do are extra welcoming to dogs! One example is the Stockholm-based bar Folk and Friends. One of their menu items is dog ice-cream.

In another Stockholm bar, Brew Dog Pub, doggy-hamburgers are served. The burgers are raw hamburgers served in dog-bowls and garnished with pieces of carrots cut like little flowers.

If you travel to Stockholm, there is an extremely useful webpage that lists many, but not all, of the dog-friendly restaurants, cafés and other dog-friendly places and services in town. The site is called Hundvänliga Stockolm, which means “dog-friendly Stockholm”.

On the site you will find everything from dog-friendly bars to dog-friendly gyms. We use the site’s map a lot to locate nearby dog-friendly eateries and dog-parks. Unfortunately, the site is only in Swedish, but with the help of Google Translate, it should still be fairly useful.

Dogs and Public Transport in Sweden

Dogs are welcome, so no worries here! You can take your dog on the bus, on the subway and on the ferryboats. Forget omnipotent bus-drivers, like the ones in Malta, who make their own rules and forbid dogs to enter “their” bus if and when they feel like it. In Sweden, the same rules apply on all buses and trains, regardless of who the bus driver is.

However, dogs are not allowed everywhere inside the bus, subway car or ferryboat. So, make sure to check where dogs are allowed in each instance. Stickers on the windows indicate which part of the bus or subway car dogs are allowed and where they are not.

Dog-Friendly Activities in Sweden

Dogs are generally not allowed in museums or in exhibitions, the exception being Sami-museums and some outdoor museums. But there are plenty of things for you and your dog to do in Sweden.

 

Exploring the Swedish Culture

Like other European countries, there is a lot of history and culture to be explored in Sweden. Viking-age and pre-Viking-age archaeological sites are common in Sweden, and dogs are welcome in many of them. For example, two nice open-air archaeological sites that you can enjoy with your dog are Birka and Ale’s stones.

Blonde Swedish child holds blanck and tan dog

Walking around the many old towns is also quite nice and you can easily do it together with your dog. Stockholm has an old town, as does Ystad, Uppsala, Malmö, Lund, Kalmar and many other towns. However, don’t forget to bring the poop bags as you must pick up after your dog in Sweden.

We recommend paying a visit to Karlbergs Palace. This less-known castle is beautifully located on the water, so you can arrive either by walking or by kayak (as we did when we visited it). The palace is used as a military school, so you can’t go inside. But you can wander around the park and visit the grave of Pompe, King Karl XII’s dog, who was laid to rest in the park in 1699. There is also a runestone in the park. The Vikings engraved it some 1,000 years ago.

Because you won’t be able to bring your dog into museums or exhibitions, we recommend getting a dog sitter for a day if there is something you really don’t want to miss. We have used the convenient Swedish dog-sitter app DogBuddy. On the app you find dog sitters with good track records. The service works great!

Enjoying Nature in Sweden

It’s easy to enjoy and access nature in Sweden. You can get to many green areas by public transport. Not only are dogs allowed in public transport, but also on long-distance trains. Public transport runs often and is usually on time (although Swedes will be quick to point out that timeliness is worse than it once was).

Dog in front of Sami museum in Norway
Beautiful Norwegian forest. Pine-trees stand on moss-covered ground. The sunset makes the trees cast long sadows.

Many times, you can combine exploring culture and nature in Sweden. At Drottningholm, for example, you can enjoy the royal castle and the vast surrounding royal gardens.

In the castle garden there is a great dog-park. The dog-friendly area is surrounded by a water-filled pit and is quite large, so your dog can get any excess energy out of his/her legs. Like other dog parks in Sweden, this one is quite popular, so you and your dog will likely make new friends there. How to get to this dog park? You can take a public bus, or why not take the scenic ferry-boat?

Sami-museums are usually quite dog friendly. The Samis are the people who lived in Scandinavia (and northern Russia) before the modern-day Scandinavian people moved in.

The Sami’s were half-nomadic and lived off reindeer herding and whatever else the Scandinavian nature had to offer. Samis have their own culture and language. They share many attributes with the American Indians. For example, their culture stipulates living in harmony with nature and they saw their culture squandered by the modern-day people who moved in.

Hiking with a Dog in Sweden

Sweden has many and great hiking paths. However, most of them are in the remote northern parts of the country and you can’t hike as comfortably as you can in the Alps. This is because there are not many (but some) huts along the hiking trails that serve cooked meals and comfortable accommodation, like there are in the Alps.

If you go hiking in Sweden, you are better off bringing a tent, camping-kitchen, sleeping bag and other camping equipment.

We think that Svenska Turistföreningen is a great place to start when planning a hiking trip in Sweden. This organization runs many of the mountain huts and other facilities in the Swedish mountains. Svenska Turistföreningen has dog-friendly rooms in some of their hostels and mountain huts.

Pompe, the TravellerDog, looks happy as he is standing on a hiking path in Sweden. Nose twisted indicates that he is sniffing the air.
White sailboat on bright blue water in Swedish archipelago

Boating with Dogs in Sweden

Stockholm, Gothenburg and Karlskrona have big, beautiful archipelagos close to the cities. Many small and large islands that usually are lined with soft granite cliffs make up the archipelagos.

Boating and sea kayaking are popular activities during the summer. However, we don’t know of any affordable organized boat-trips in Sweden, like the many organized boat-trips in Malta.

Usually people organize their own boat-trips in Sweden. On Blocket, you can find private people who are willing to rent their boats by the week or by the day to people who know how to operate boats and navigate in archipelagos.

Water Sports with Dogs in Sweden

Sea-kayaking, sail-racing and SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) are fairly popular water sports in Sweden. The air and sea in Sweden isn’t as warm as in Malta but it’s still great fun to do these activities in Sweden.

In Stockholm there are many places where you can rent kayaks and SUP’s for the day, Rålis Kajak and Brunnsvikens Kanotklubb are just two examples. Brunnsviken is located close to Haga castle, which is the royal castle where the Crown Princess and Prince of Sweden currently live.

You can also rent sea-kayaks at many locations in the archipelagos. We have used one and called several others. Every rental-representative we talked to was positive to bringing along a dog when renting their kayaks.

Dog in life-jacket standing on kayak on Swedish lake, woman paddling
kayaking woman outside royal castle in Sweden

Dog-Amenities in Sweden

The amenities for dogs in Sweden are great! There are many dog-parks in the country as well as dog-sitting services.
Pompe, the TravellerDog, is enjoying the wind in his little face. He is standing on the ferry to Öja, a small island outside Stockholm, Sweden. He looks satisified as he is looking towards the sun.

Dog Meet-Ups in Sweden

Many Swedes love dogs, so there are dog-owners most everywhere. There will be no shortage of dogs for your pooch to befriend on your trip to Sweden!

The Swedes in general are known to be a bit closed and not very talkative with strangers. However, that is not true for Swedish dog-owners! Swedes who own dogs are quite nice to each other and commonly engage in conversation about their dogs. For this reason, exploring Sweden with a dog is a great way to see the country and learn more about the culture.

Swedes are very organized and conscious about not disturbing one another. So, there are well-maintained dog-parks in every town. In Stockholm, there is even a dog-park in every neighborhood. The parks are quite popular. For this reason, the dog-parks are great place for your dog (and you) to meet new friends.

Drottningholm, the royal castle has one of the nicest dog-parks in the country in the castle garden. The park is surrounded by a water-filled pit and is quite large, so your dog can get any excess energy out of his/her legs. How to get to this dog-park? You can take a public bus, or why not take the scenic ferry-boat?

Dog-Sitters in Sweden

It is much easier to find dog-sitters in Sweden compared to in Malta!

If you need a dog-sitter for a day or two, the easiest way to find one is by using an app like Dog Buddy. We have used this app in Sweden, and it works great! Surely you will find a dog-sitter fast and easily if you use it.

You can also try the dog-sitting site PuppyPartners or in the Stockholm area you can try Pawshake. We haven’t tried them, but we hear they are good as well.