If you’re reading this, you probably know that I love combining travel with my love for the Eurovision Song Contest. If not, click here to find out more! I’ve found that Eurovision and Travel are the perfect companions and following the contest has taken me all over Europe. Yet the Eurovision Song Contest only happens once each year. How does a Eurovision fan fill the remaining months with Eurovision travel? How do we survive the dark months where there’s no Eurovision to brighten our lives? (This struggle is real – if you saw me the day after Eurovision you’d understand!) Visiting Sweden for Melodifestivalen is the perfect solution!
What is Melodifestivalen?
Melodifestivalen is the competition where Sweden selects its entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The competition has been running in various formats for over 60 years and is one of the reasons why Sweden have been so successful at Eurovision. Sweden has had 6 victories at Eurovision; only Ireland has had more than this!
Why is Melodifestivalen so good?
Sweden takes the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously, and it shows.
Sweden’s biggest singers enter the competition, many of them returning year after year. The competition also attracts famous singers from other countries including former Eurovision winners.
Mans Zelmerlow (below) has entered Melodifestivalen twice, winning in 2015.
The competition has a huge following in Sweden, where it is often the biggest TV event of the year. To give a sense of scale, over 15 million votes were cast in the 2019 final, more than the population of Sweden!
More recently, the competition has attracted an international audience and is followed closely by Eurovision fans across the globe. You can watch it from anywhere in the world using SVT Play.
Because the competition is so big, the quality of entries is extremely high and even the non-winning entries can become huge hits in Sweden after the competition.
Want to hear more? You can see some of my favourite Melodifestivalen entries in the playlist below.
Where and when is Melodifestivalen?
Melodifestivalen tends to run over 6 weeks (4 semi-finals, a second chance round and a grand final) visiting a different Swedish city with each edition.
The competition takes place between January and March.
Although different cities host the competition each year, Gothenberg, Linköping and Malmö are regular stops and the grand final usually takes place in Stockholm. All fantastic places to visit!
Visit Sweden for Melodifestivalen
Visiting Sweden for Melodifestivalen is a must for Eurovision fans and a great experience for everyone else. It really is a pop culture phenomenon in Sweden!
I tend to visit Stockholm for the final as only the best songs have qualified at this stage. There are also good opening acts and interval performances at this show.
How to visit the Melodifestivalen Finale in Stockholm, Sweden
Tickets for the Melodifestivalen live shows tend to go on sale in November / December. You can purchase tickets from Ticketmaster Sweden.
Where to stay?
For travellers who aren’t familiar with Stockholm, I’d recommend accommodation in Norrmalm, which is one of the city’s most central neighbourhoods.
Norrmalm has good transport links which makes it easy to travel to the Friends Arena for Melodifestivalen (cacth the train from T-Centralen). The rail link to the airport is also in this neighbourhood making this a good place to stay if you aren’t staying in Stockholm for long.
Norrmalm is also a great base for exploring Stockholm city during your spare time.
The Scandic Grand Central offers reasonably priced rooms featuring stylish Swedish design throughout. This hotel is located very close to the airport rail link.
The Sheraton Stockholm is close to the T-Centralen Metro station and is walking distance from the Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town.
How long to stay?
The live shows of Melodifestivalen are on Saturdays, which makes this a good opportunity for a weekend escape.
There’s a lot to see in Stockholm and I’d recommend extending your trip if possible. This will be give you time to visit more of the city’s attractions.
For more information on Stockholm and what it has to offer, view my Stockholm city guide.
If you’re looking for food before the Melodifestivalen final, I’d recommend grabbing something before you head to the arena.
There is a shopping centre at the arena and many restaurants there. However, 20,000 fans are also heading to the arena and many of them will be eating here.
We struggled to get a table and the food in the venue was limited. Eat whilst in Central Stockholm or make plans to eat after Melodifestivalen.
As with most large events, there is a rush for trains at the end of Melodifestivalen and most of these passengers are heading back into central Stockholm.
I’d recommend keeping an eye on the train times and leaving early if you don’t want to wait too long for a train. We tend to leave just after the final result has been announced to beat most of the queues.
Remember that Sweden gets cold in March so waiting at the station could be chilly. If you want to see the end of the show, make sure you’ve brought a coat with you.
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you are feeling inspired to visit Sweden and to see Melodifestivalen live.
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