The northern European summer nights, are so short the sun never sets, giving you plenty of time to see the sights. The land of Vikings, IKEA, the Nobel prizes, and ABBA will have you dancing around a maypole on midsummer, and eating Swedish meatballs accompanied by the local firewater called Aquavit to keep you warm and merry. Come winter you will be riding reindeer, sleeping in an ice-hotel and watching the northern lights work their magic.
Not all Swedes have blond hair and blue eyes anymore, as with a generous policy towards the displaced in the world the demographics are changing rapidly, but they do all look stylish. There is no such thing as a dishevelled Swede. This Nordic welfare state which has combined socialism with capitalism keeps its head cool and its houses warm.
Whether you sail around the Swedish archipelago outside Stockholm, go swimming in one of its many lakes, pick mushrooms and berries in the endless forests, or participate in the 90 km’s cross-country ski event called Vasaloppet there is something to see and do for everybody. And, best of all, the fine Nordic cuisine will give you energy for whatever activity you choose.
So forget the Mediterranean and head up north!
Highlights from Sweden
- Stockholm, the pearl of the north, should not be missed. This city is spread out over a host of islands, and taking a boat is a must. Visit the old town, with its Royal Palace and government buildings, before taking in the Vasa museum, and Skansen. Don’t forget to try one of the many good eating establishments, the city boasts eight Michelin starred restaurants
- Go down south to Lund, the oldest university town of Sweden, and look at its fine cathedral
- Visit Gotland and the walled town of Visby a World Heritage Site
- See Drottningholm, a residence of the Royal Family and another World Heritage Site
- Take a boat trip down Göta Canal through the heartland of Sweden past lakes and forests
- Visit Gothenburg (aka Göteborg) and the west coast full of picturesque fishing villages
- Stay in the ice-hotel just north of Kiruna in Swedish Lapland and take in the northern lights
- Celebrate midsummer, or crayfish day, waffle day or any other of the crazy food days the Swedes delight in, and don’t forget the good old fashioned smörgåsbord!
- Wander around the forests picking berries or mushrooms, or take a dip in one of the lakes you will surely encounter along the way
- Take a boat ride around the Stockholm Archipelago
Hints and Tips for Sweden
- Sweden has the highest rate of non-native English speakers in the world, so you don’t need to worry about language barriers.
- Alcohol is expensive in Sweden, as it is in all Nordic countries.
- Sweden has a great public transport system so it is easy to get around.
- It is free to camp nearly everywhere in Sweden, but if you see a farm or a house nearby it is polite to ask the owners if it is alright to set up your tent.
- Beware that summer days are long (24 hours up north) and winters are dark.