The home of midnight sunshine, bitter winters, Vikings, meatballs, Volvos and ABBA – whatever ideas you have about Sweden, a journey to this multifaceted land will both confirm them and challenge them at once.
Sweden is unsurprisingly, a land of huge contrasts, with a stylish, modern urban landscape that’s as sophisticated as they come, and miles upon miles of stark countryside that provides us with the simpler pleasures of life. For those searching for tranquility, they’ll find that Sweden’s countryside is much gentler than that of its rugged Norwegian neighbor. Sweden is covered by acres of forest, hiding seemingly thousands of lakes, the most famous of which are those between the capital Stockholm and the second city, Gothenburg.
Sweden New and Old
These days, urban Sweden, historical as it is, buzzes with energy and life. Waves of immigrants have transformed Swedish society, adding variety and spark to its society. Big cities such as Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo are as multi-cultural as they come, overflowing with attractive baroque and medieval architecture, stunning sights, cuisines and nightlife.
Sweden’s most historical area, the island of Gotland, has a terrific youthful vibe to it and is the scene of huge parties and festivals in the summer. Indeed, travelers visit Sweden these days for its exuberant party scene, its chic nightclubs and its awesome restaurants as much as they come for hikes in the wilderness.
The Great Outdoors
Ostersund, Sweden’s biggest lakeside resort, is popular with people from all over Scandinavia, who come to bask in the glorious summer sunshine and take a dip in its fresh, clean waters. The “Kingdom of Crystal” is another big attraction – set in a forested area roughly halfway between Stockholm and Malmo, it is the epicenter of Sweden’s famous glasswork industry.
At the same time, a visit to Sweden is never complete without taking a dose of its wilder side. History and tradition reign supreme in places like the Sami territory in the north, or in Dalarna, known as the Swedish heartland. In short, take a good look round, check out the Vikings and eat the meatballs, but don’t leave it there.
Budget for one week: More than 1000 Euro
Taxes and gratuities: Gratuity is recommended
Local currency: Swedish krona
Spoken language and/or official language: Swedish
Area: 449,964 km2 (173,745 sq mi)
Sanitary requirements: You can drink tap water everywhere in Sweden
Major cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, and Uppsala.
Main images, courtesy Wikipedia.