Fun Things to Do in Scandinavia With Kids
We spent a week in Malmö, Sweden during the summer with our two young daughters. We toured Copenhagen, Denmark, the Southern part of Sweden and also traveled to Gothenburg, Sweden. We rented a car, and found it easy to navigate the roads in the cities and on the motorways. They drive on the right side, and the roads are well-marked and easy to understand. That said, public transportation was also accessible and easy to use in both Copenhagen and Malmö.
Here are some of our suggestions of fun things to do in Scandinavia with kids:
Since we were visiting our Swedish friends, we spent most of our time in Sweden, but we did take a day trip into Copenhagen. The first thing we did was to take a boat tour around the city. A canal tour can help you see all the main sites in Copenhagen, including the famous Little Mermaid statue, and help you get a lay of the land. There are several boat charter companies, but the one we chose was Copenhagen Canal Tours.
Near Malmö, Sweden
Malmö is just a 15-minute train ride to Copenhagen, which is a daily commute that many Swedes make for work. The Oresund Bridge serves as both a motorway and train system and connects Sweden with Northern Europe via Denmark. Oresundtrains cross the Bridge every 20 minutes.
About twenty minutes from Malmö in Hollviken is the Fotevikens Museum or Viking Museum, which is a replica of a Viking village. We spent a fun afternoon here exploring how the Vikings lived, worked and hunted hundreds of years ago. There are real “Vikings” on-site to answer questions about life in Sweden in the 1100s. The kids really enjoyed exploring the different buildings and viewing the Viking ship from the look-out tower. The cost for entry is approximately nine U.S. dollars per person.
Ales Stenar or “Ale’s Stones”
Known by some as the “Swedish Stonehenge,” Ales Stenar is a 67-meter-long assembly of 56 large stones in the shape of a boat. Located on a windy hill overlooking the Baltic Sea near the village of Kåseberga, this ancient site is thought to be a former Viking meeting place. Ales Stenar is an awe-inspiring sight approximately one hour by car from Malmö. With its wide open fields, beautiful sea views, and its mysterious origins, Ales Stenar makes for an interesting day hike destination.
Just another 20 minutes’ drive will bring you to Glimmingehus Castle. The Glimmingehus Castle is one of the only Medieval castles still intact in Southern Sweden. Built around 1500, it has all the architectural features kids appreciate in castles: a drawbridge, moat, false doors, and parapets. Parking is free, but there is an entry fee to tour the castle. There are a lot of stairs, so it’s not good for strollers, but it’s a great place for young ones to explore and expend some energy. There is an extensive gift shop and café where you can enjoy cider and a crepe after your visit.
It’s a drive of about 20-30 minutes between Ales Stenar and Glimmingehus Castle, and we combined our visits into a fun, day-long adventure.
From Malmö to Gothenburg
Liseberg Amusement Park
An easy two-hour drive on E20 will bring you to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. Gothenburg is a thriving city that boasts two universities and is home to Liseberg, a popular amusement park voted by Forbes magazine in 2005 as “one of the top ten amusement parks in the world.”
There are roller coasters, water rides, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number and variety of rides for smaller children. My daughter was just big enough to ride the flume ride for the first time, and now she’s hooked on roller coasters. Teenagers will love Balder, one of the biggest wooden roller coasters in the world.
Adjacent to Liseberg park is the Science Museum, Universeum which offered some kid-friendly (read: hands-on) educational exhibits. Although it was more educational than Liseberg, I think our kids enjoyed it just as much as the rides, especially the rainforest exhibit and the experiments room.
If you’re looking for a convenient city from which to base your Scandinavian excursions, Copenhagen, Denmark is a logical choice. Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel is conveniently located near the center of the country’s capital city and a mere half-hour drive to Sweden.
Tip: Remember that even though Denmark and Sweden are part of the European Union, they still use their own currencies. The current exchange rate hovers around 5.7 Danish Krone to the dollar, and 6.5 Swedish Krona to the dollar.
Erin is a native Floridian who has resided in Atlanta since 1995. Her husband Mike and she have two funny, smart, active girls and two cats.