Sweden has natural beauty right on its doorstep. You'll fall in love with the cosmopolitan vibe of big cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg. Swedish Lapland in the north is like nowhere else on Earth. A once in a lifetime destination. Where you can experience the Northern lights whilst whizzing through the snow on a dog sledge and camp under the stars. Southern Sweden has rolling hills and pastoral landscapes that spring to life in summer. To the West are stunning archipelagos. With quaint fishing villages and thousands of lakes stretching all the way to the Norwegian border.
Sweden is becoming revolutionary as a top foodie destination. With a plethora of eateries to suit every budget and taste. Swedes are actually a little nuts about their gastronomy and have a whole season dedicated to sweet treats. Including 'cinnamon bun' day, and 'waffle' day. A serial dessert lover will have a field day in Sweden, where fika 'a coffee and cake break,' is practically a state of mind. A chance to slow down and appreciate the good things in life. In Stockholm especially, coffee is one of the very best. Not a sweet tooth? Try the pickled herring, Swedes can't get enough of it.
The progressive and dynamic cities in Sweden are bursting with activity and cultural heritage. From historical museums and art galleries to contemporary pop culture. Go full-on dancing queen at the ABBA museum in Stockholm. Or have an authentic wilderness experience with the indigenous Sami people in the North. Though the history of Sweden has not always been sunshine, daisies, and ABBA records. The country once became one of the biggest powerhouses in Europe, and subsequently lost it all. The turbulent history is depicted in the Army Museum in Stockholm. Nowadays, there are few places more inclusive and accepting than Sweden. They've moved on from equality among bipeds to quadrupeds. Making sure even the dogs have rights.
Sweden has a dynamic, practical, yet aesthetic approach to design. Design is synonymous with Swedish life and must add a practical and sustainable element to every day living. From furniture to fashion, to everyday essentials. Take a part of Sweden home with you in the form of handcrafted glasswork, award-winning outdoor gear, or just visit Ikea in its homeland.
Know Before You Go
Sweden has some fantastic cities. The colourful geometry of the architecture and culinary offering is enough to attract inquisitive travellers. But cities are not the only allure of this exciting environment. The islands among the archipelago are well worth a visit. Even the Swedes spend their holidays among the coastal villages and fishing towns. As they say, do as the locals do.
Swedes are all about sustainability and recycling. You'll find the place clean and trash free, so be sure to be respectful in the city or country. Take your trash with you and recycle when possible. The water in Sweden is some of the freshest and crisp you'll ever taste. So take advantage and fill up your water bottle. Sweden is also a great place for a beverage detox, as the alcohol cap means beers and wines are only available from a shop called a Systembolaget. Most towns have one and cities have a few.
Swedes love order and have perfected the art of waiting in line. Most places have a ticket system so you can take a number and politely wait your turn. Join the Swedes for a laugh over fika multiple times a day, just don't push in front of a queue.
Best Time To Visit Sweden
If you spend a day among the bright and airy life in Sweden in the summertime (May to September) you might notice it never ends. As it is so far North, the sun rises early and sets late.
If you're going for snow, aim for late November and March and remember your warm layers. Winters are long, dark and cold, so when summer does arrive, the locals get so excited you can almost feel the buzz on the street.
Avoid the city for midsummer (The longest day of the year that falls on a Friday between June 19 and June 25). Unless you're really looking forward to some quiet time. Most of the locals empty out for the holidays so many businesses close and the city can become a bit of a ghost town.
Whatever the season, Swedes love a good chat about the weather and the best ways to tackle the great outdoors in each season. With fishing, sailing and hiking a favourite in summer and cross country skiing in winter.
What To Expect
Planning your adventure to Sweden? Here are a few tips.
Currency - The official currency is the Swedish Krona.
Language - The official language is Swedish. Swedes are great polyglots and English is widely spoken. Though the proud locals will love it if you learn a few phrases.
ATMs - ATM's are common and easily found, though Sweden is so tech-forward that some places don't accept cash anymore.
Plugs & Sockets - Sweden uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. As well as the Type F plug with 2 round pins and 2 earth clips. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - Sweden is considered very safe, but be aware of pickpocketing in busy and heavily tourist populated areas.
Climate - The climate in Sweden varies across the country. With so many lakes, inlets, and the gulfs of Bothnia it has a mild climate with temperatures reaching 13 to 17 degrees Celsius in summer. The dark winter chill sets in around late November. It's coldest in February with an average temperature below freezing and reaching as low as -30 degrees in some parts.
Approximately 15% of Sweden is within the Arctic circle where the sun never sets in the peak of summer and is cast into perpetual darkness in winter. There is life up here still, and it's a perfect opportunity to see the Northern Lights.