Autumn in Sweden: the Indian Summer in Stockholm

Autumn in Sweden can be a nasty time of the year. It rains a lot and the first frost always comes earlier than you’d expect. Darkness looms, days get dramatically shorter and the day after we move back the clocks I always feel jetlagged. Autumn in Sweden can be a real pain, yet some days I get to be reminded it still is my favourite season. Those days, when the sun is out, the crisp air is so thin and everything looks incredibly sharp. When such days occur Sweden turns the colours of its flag. Most of the trees display a glorious yellow foliage in the backdrop of that saturated blue sky that I love so much in Scandinavia.

Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm
Norra Bantorget
Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm
The Swedish flag explained by nature


The Indian Summer is actually the one feature that makes me so crazy about autumn and makes me feel like it is the most beautiful of seasons. Coming from northern Italy I have witnessed all my life the beauty of the vineyards that turn yellow and red around mid-October. There would always be a sunny week in the middle of that glorious foliage display, and that would be my favourite time of the year. It wasn’t until I found myself in Canada during the fall that I got to learn that that beautiful fraction of warmer autumn has a name, and that name is Indian Summer.

In Sweden the Indian Summer generally occurs around the 7th of October. That is not a random day, as it is the day when Sweden celebrates its patron saint, Saint Bridget. In Swedish the Indian Summer is known as Brittsommar, after the Swedish name of the saint, Birgitta. So if you are hoping for good weather and clear skies on a fall trip to Sweden, that is when you want to be planning your visit.

Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm
Vasaparken displayed lots of yellow and some red, too
Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm
A perfect day for shooting with the polarizer

Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm

The autumn blues

I missed my chance at taking some fine pictures around Saint Bridget’s day, this year. We had decent weather at the beginning of October, then the rain came and most of the leaves fell. This made me really sad, I thought I had lost my yearly slot for foliage photos. I had barely managed to take one photo with my phone, that’s it. Among this general dissatisfaction, a last minute trip to Stockholm came my way. I needed to visit a place and was given a time in four days. Trains are expensive in Sweden if bought close to the journey date, but there was nothing I could do. To make everything more frustrating, the weather forecast for that day was promising a disgusting mixture of cold and rain.

Two days before my trip to Stockholm I got sick and even had to skip school. A nasty cold, fever and runny nose kept me in bed all day. I thought I’d never make it out and about Stockholm all day in that state. I couldn’t reschedule and my train tickets were non refundable. It looked like I really had to go. The only thing that cheered me up was the fact that in Stockholm I would meet up with a friend, so at least I did not have to spend the whole day wandering alone (I really was not in the mood for that). If the weather was going to be too rainy or I was going to be too sick we would just take it easy and make many warming fika stops. That’s how you roll in Sweden.

Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm
More Vasaparken in all its glory

Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm

Autumn foliage in Stockholm

The forecast unexpectedly changed the day before. No more rain, and no more clouds. This convinced me to pack up my camera, just in case. Stockholm is always beautiful, not taking the chance to snap some photos of that gorgeous city in the sun is a sin. Deep down I knew I didn’t care about photographing the buildings I’ve been photographing every time since my first visit. I wanted the leaves. Birgitta’s day was long gone, but I was hoping that the trees in Stockholm would have lasted a little longer than up here.

The train ride was already a bliss, the more south we travelled, the more leaves I was seeing on trees. When I got to Stockholm and saw how beautiful that city is even in the fall (it was my first time visiting in October, I realized) I was so happy I had brought my camera. The fact that I was on paracetamol and with a runny nose did not matter anymore. Stockholm in the autumn colours was beautiful. Autumn in Sweden is beautiful. I was reminded one more time that when a sunny day happens staying at home is really the worst thing you can do. Even with the heaviest of colds, get out and enjoy the colours. They don’t last long, they deserve being experienced.

Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm Sweden's Indian summer: the fall colours of Stockholm

Stockholm you are so beautiful. I will keep coming back, and you will keep being important to me.


Autumn in Swede: enjoying the fall colours in Stockholm

38 thoughts on “Autumn in Sweden: the Indian Summer in Stockholm

    1. Thanks! And totally! I’m so glad that despite being sick I chose to carry around the extra weight because it was really worth it!

    1. Thank you! I love the fall colours too! I can imagine how pretty Slovenia can be in the fall, as it has a pretty similar climate to where I’m from (North-West Italy)!!

  1. Oh I just love autumn, I moved from the North of the equator to the South of the equator this year and just had to miss autumn completely! Can’t wait for it to come here and see all the colors of the tree change to a gold, orange and red! Loving your pics.

    1. Thank you very much! I never had that situation, that is to say to get to completely miss a season, it must feel quite weird especially when you are used to the passing of seasons. I hope you’ll get all that fall has to offer when it comes!!

    1. Well, summer has that charm of the very long days and the weather has decent chances of being okay. But on those sunny days fall really looks gorgeous!

  2. Wow. I would never have guessed that fall weather in Sweden was so unpredictable and generally not favorable. So glad they still have the beautiful autumn colors; I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden and still might in the fall (early October, sounds like), but I appreciate the debriefing of what to expect! 🙂

    Sorry to hear you got sick on your trip, by the way. That sucks. Hope the fika stops made up for it!

    1. May and August are other fantastic options for nicer weather in Sweden (but expect it to be unpredictable anyway), but I think that generally speaking late September and early October are also pretty nice. If you want to see a winter wonderland I’d recommend February though.
      And thanks, luckily onthe day of the trip I felt a little bit better. Coffee did help, and also beer (after many hours since my last tablet of paracetamol I fugured I’d treat myself to a beer before hopping on the train back!) 😀

  3. Amazing fall colours! Coincidentally I was visiting Stockholm around that time this year too! I agree that the colours were spectacular – especially when the sun is out. Great photos.

    1. Those few days when the sun is out are much needed to survive an otherwise unspectacular rainy, cold and dark climate until the snow comes and everything is beautiful again. But the sun and the golden leaves… wow, just wow! I’m thankful for those days!
      Good to know you have been able to enjoy the foliage in Stockholm!

  4. I love your story. You are lucky to have another home to go to once a year. Those pictures are exhilarating! I don’t talk about my life too and where I live now (wink. wink). I guess because I just don’t like it here.

    1. I am happy I live in a place I like, but I have been in places I have definitely appreciated less. I still did my best to see the beauty, and I must admit I actually succeeded. But I like Sweden more, so I’m lucky I’m calling this place home. Yeah, even with wintertime 3 PM pitch darkness 😀

  5. I felt like I was in Sweden with you, looking for the perfect sport for a fika! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the travel inspiration. <3

  6. That’s it, I have to visit Sweden during Brittsommar! A friend of mine just moved there and I’ve been meaning to see her in Stockholm. The leaves look amazing and all golden!

    1. Thank you very much! I guess every place has their best seasons. I don’t think I’d survive a proper summer in a southern country, though!

  7. These colors are the best and I have to admit that I really like Indian Summer too! I had no idea it was called something else in Stockholm! You were so lucky that the weather ended up being great 🙂

    1. I was indeed! Just the sight of the sun lifted my spirit so much I instantly felt much better! I really can’t imagine walking around all day in the rain and cold.

  8. Such absolutely gorgeous colors – nothing beats Autumn leaves 🙂 I’m sad because I’ve spent most of my Autumn in northern France where the leaves don’t change so much as just fall off and die haha

  9. lovely shots of a great sunny autumn day! I’m glad the trip to Stockholm turned out to be alright (or at least better than expected!) and you managed to see some beautiful foliage there 🙂

  10. I know exactly what you mean! I love the autumn leaf colours, and the peculiar golden tint to the sunlight, but I hate that it’s darker and wetter and so much of the time the sun is hiding away! Those Indian summer times are the best. We visited Stockholm for the first time this May and I fell for the city, so it’s lovely to see the autumn photos.

    1. May is an excellent time of the year to appreciate Scandinavia. There is already a lot of sunlight and on sunnydays the sky turns a perfect shade of blue! I love May up here, so I can imagine being totally charmed by Stockholm that time of the year. Sadly autumn is 85% of the time a bummer, colour-wise. But on those 15% chances of sunny days when the colours are all back, it’s almost like May!

    1. Stockholm is beautiful, especially under that deep blue sky. I hope you’ll make it there next year and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

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