Swedish Midsummer A Magical Celebration

Img 8545You haven’t truly experienced Midsummer until you have celebrated it in Sweden, so this past June we did just that! We offered a trip to Sweden to enjoy the Swedes’ favorite holiday as part of our Signature Journeys program. My name is Andrea Berkeland and I am a Scandinavian Specialist at Borton Overseas, and I was the lucky one selected as the host of this fun adventure. As the leader of the group, I think I speak for everyone when I say we had a fantastic time visiting Sweden and participating in this special holiday.

Midsummer was, of course, the highlight. We had gorgeous weather to enjoy the days outside, and we stayed in a beautiful, historic hotel in the middle of Dalarna, the best area in Sweden for celebrating the holiday. On Midsummer Eve we had a large smørgåsbord lunch featuring plenty of herring, salmon, fresh vegetables, and berries, with a strawberry cake and coffee for dessert. Afterward, it was time to raise the maypole. Our hotel raises a small maypole in their central courtyard, and it was a fun ceremony with dancing, singing, and laughing. That evening our group headed over to the nearby town of Leksand to enjoy more festivities. Leksand has the largest maypole in Sweden and while we didn’t stay long enough to see it be fully raised, it was quite the event to take part in!

Another highlight of the trip was visiting the Kingdom of Crystal (Glasriket) in Småland. Besides the beautiful wooded scenery, the area is known primarily for its abundance of glass factories. We had the privilege of visiting the Kosta Boda factory and even had the opportunity to try our hands at glass blowing there. The glass blowing experience was an unforgettable experience, and everyone brought home their own creations. After the class, we had a Hyttsill dinner in the shop where there was music and dancing during the meal, as well as a professional glassblower creating an impressive platter right in front of us.

The most unique part of the trip was our stay in Vadstena at the Klosterhotel, known for being an ex-convent-turned-hotel. The hotel itself was fascinating, as it was decorated in a medieval style and there were ruins of the old monastery next door. They also served a delicious dinner! The city of Vadstena is along the shore of Lake Vättern and features a large 16th-century castle right in the center of the town. Two members of our group had family heritage from the area and we had arranged a tour for them with a local genealogist who showed them the gravestones, houses, and churches of their ancestors. Seeing their family history like that was very meaningful and I know that it was a huge highlight for them.

We ended our trip in Sweden’s capital Stockholm, where we had a tour and then plenty of free time to explore the city. We spent our final night on a fantastic dinner cruise, sailing around the Stockholm archipelago and the next morning it poured rain over Stockholm as we started our journey home, which always makes your departure a bit more tolerable. It was an extraordinary journey, and I for one will always remember fondly my first Swedish Midsummer and the great group of people I got to experience it with. 

Group Shot At Akerblads Wr