Crisp and clean, the tranquil Scandinavian country ofSweden offers a variety of experiences within its elegant andsophisticated cities, its picturesque medieval villages, coastalisland archipelagos, peaceful lakes, and forests and the icy tundraof northern Lapland.
The capital city, Stockholm, encompasses 14 islandson the shores of the Baltic Sea. It is a high-tech city with asmall-town feel, filled with top class restaurants, pulsatingnightclubs, cosy pubs, and a full array of performing artsvenues.
Best of all, nearly everyone you meet is fluent inEnglish. Few visitors to Stockholm can resist an excursion todiscover the offshore islands: the Stockholm archipelago offerssome of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Europe, and can beenjoyed from the city on a day cruise.
With its delightful fishing villages, the west coastof Sweden is popular with gourmets and seafood lovers. Thosedigging for history will be fascinated with Uppsala, the ancientViking city where the newest buildings date from the 18thcentury.
A really novel excursion is a visit up north to theIce Hotel, sculpted from ice every winter in Lapland where the Samipeople enjoy showing visitors their way of life, centred on theirreindeer herds. Meanwhile, way down south, Smaland (small lands),has been christened the 'Crystal Kingdom' in honour of the famousglassworks that exist there in places like Orrefors and Kosta.
Sweden is an enchanting country, not as cold as onemight imagine despite its situation in the high latitudes, and iswell worth exploring, whether along the meticulously maintainedroads or on the extensive high-speed train system.
Dotted with picturesque medieval villages, tranquillakes, lush forests, coastal island archipelagos, and cosmopolitancities, sightseeing in Sweden is anything but dull. For a breakfrom historical and cultural attractions, hop on board a ferry orenjoy a picnic in one of Sweden's countless parks.
Head north to explore the icy tundra and UNESCO WorldHeritage Site of the Laponian area in Lappland, sample somereindeer steaks, marvel at the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis),and explore the Ice Hotel which is sculpted each year by the Samipeople in the winter months.
Head south to the capital of Stockholm, boasting morethan a dozen islands to explore via day cruises, a wonderful artsand nightlife scene, and ocean fishing from the heart of the city.Visit the quaint Gamla Stan (Old Town), a maze of narrowcobble-stoned streets shaded by historic houses circling the RoyalCastle where Swedish royalty has resided since the 13th century, orexplore the canals of Gothenburg.
The west coast fishing villages are the place to befor seafood lovers, while those who are more into culture will besmitten with Uppsala, the ancient Viking city where the lastbuilding was constructed in the 18th century and more than 150museums can be investigated.
The summer months are the most popular time to visitSweden, but the country truly is a year-round destination, eventhough the winter months are short on sunlight. With a wealth ofattractions and historical sites, visitors will need a few weeks,if not months, to fully enjoy the magic and charm of Sweden.
Three miles (5km) north of Uppsala, Gamla Uppsala was once animportant town, the seat of Swedish royalty and the site of manyhistoric funerals. It was an important religious and culturalcentre as early as the 3rd century AD, and ancient sources identifythe site as the power centre of the legendary Yngling dynasty ofSwedish royalty. The Uppsala temple oversaw rites and sacrifices tothe Norse gods in the pre-Christian era, and it was said that Odinhimself resided there.
However, as Christianity overtook Europe, the ancient temple wasburned and the stone church of Gamla Uppsala was built in the 12thcentury. The church still stands today, along with a grave field ofabout 250 burial mounds. Once, between 2,000 and 3,000 ancientburial mounds could be found at Gamla Uppsala but farmlands haveencroached on the archaeological treasures. Gamla Uppsala also hasa small museum detailing the rich history of the town, and a fewhistoric old buildings.
Today, Gamla Uppsala has a population of under 20,000 and it isa picturesque little town, well worth a visit for its historicalatmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Visitors can spend the dayon a guided tour (available during the summer months). The mainattractions include Gamla Uppsala Museum, Gamla Uppsala Church andthe open-air museum behind it, and Odinsborg restauarant. The townis accessible from Uppsala by a quick bus trip.
Stockholm's main attractions are convenientlypackaged close to the heart of the city on the island ofDjurgarden, crammed with entertainment options, museums,restaurants, and wooded green space. Once upon a time the islandwas a royal hunting ground. Now visitors can hunt for souvenirs atthe Handarbetets Vanner (handicraft centre), browse the artgalleries, enjoy the exciting Grona Lund amusement park, exploreSweden's past at the Skansen open-air museum, meet Nordic wildlifeat the zoo, and watch folk dancing. Also on the island, accessed bya pleasant stroll along the waterfront, is the Junibacken fairytalefun centre, the National Museum of Cultural History, and thefascinating Vasa Museum featuring a fully rigged, fully restored17th-century galleon raised from Stockholm harbour. Top off the daywith a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants, some of whichare situated on boats and provide excellent views over the water.Djurgarden is one of Sweden's most loved recreational areas forlocals and foreigners and the island attracts more than 10 milliontouristic visitors a year. Just a stroll around the island, on themany walking paths, nature trails, and waterfront promenades, is ajoy.
The official Swedish royal residence is one of the largest andgrandest palaces in Europe, dating back to 1754 (although it wasbuilt on the remains of an earlier medieval castle). The Baroqueedifice is in the heart of Gamla Stan, the old city, and many ofits 608 state rooms are open to the public all year round. Visitorscan admire the Hall of State, the Royal Treasury, the Apartment ofthe Orders of Chivalry, the Gustav III Museum of Antiquities, theKronor Museum, and the Royal Chapel. In front of the palace thechanging of the guard ceremony takes place (Wednesday and Saturday12:15pm; Sunday 1:15pm) with splendid pomp and ceremony that rivalsthe similar tradition played out at Britain's Buckingham Palace.Visitors should note that the palace is used for most of theSwedish monarchy's official ceremonies and receptions and closes tothe public during these events - check the calendar on the officialwebsite to avoid disappointment.
Gamla Stan itself is a treasure trove of Swedish architecture,much of which dates from the 17th century. Today tourists throngthe alleyways once notorious for brothels, but now lined with shopsand restaurants, peddling up cutting edge designs and traditionalswedish fika. Other attractions in Gamla Stan include: The NobelMuseum, which offers a moving account of one of the world's mostcoveted prize in literature, economics, chemistry, physics, andmedicine; the Royal Coin Cabinet, a museum dedicated to the historyof money which contains some fascinating ancient artefacts; andStortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm, from which the currentcity grew, where visitors can marvel at street performers and theiconic, multi-coloured building facades for which the square isfamous.
Stockholm's main landmark, the distinctive red brickCity Hall (Stadshuset) building has stood on Kungsholmen (King'sIsland) since 1923 and has become world-renowned as the venue forthe annual Nobel Prize Banquet. A visit to Stockholm's City Hall isa must for architecture lovers: the rather practical and austerefaçade, dominated by three golden crowns atop a tower, hides anextraordinary interior. The plush council chamber itself has avaulted ceiling resembling an inverted Viking longboat, echoing theViking tradition of using overturned vessels as shelter in winter.Most impressive, though, is the magnificent Golden Hall, its wallscovered with handmade mosaics, while the view of Stockholm from thetower is unsurpassed. The Stockholm City Hall can only be visitedon a guided tour, which can be done by joining one of the publictours that depart every day, or by arranging a private tour.Accredited guides can also bring groups into the City Hall fortours. The public tours last about 45 minutes; private tours canexplore at their own pace.
Sweden's history from prehistoric times to thepresent day is fascinatingly laid out in the Museum of NationalAntiquities in Stockholm, often just called the Swedish HistoryMuseum. It contains a hoard of archaeological artefacts andtreasures, including an impressive collection of gold objectsrecovered from the tombs and treasure caches of the Vikings (in thebasement Gold Room), going back all the way to the Stone Age. Themuseum's most prized possession dates from the Middle Ages: thesplendid gold reliquary, set with precious stones, which containedthe skull of Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia. The museum has a giftshop and cafe with plenty of seating. Photography is allowed in thepermanent exhibitions but tripods are not permitted. Free audioguides in English, German, French, Spanish, and a number of otherlanguages can be downloaded on your phone or borrowed from thefront desk. Guided tours are also available. The displays are welllaid out and there is sufficient information for English speakers,but the audio guide greatly enriches the experience. Thisworld-class museum can occupy visitors for a few hours at least,and even kids enjoy the experience.
The Botanical Garden in Gothenburg is one of thelargest in Europe and generally considered the most beautiful inSweden, boasting about 13,000 different species of plant. The areacovers 175 hectares (432 acres), most of which is a nature reserveincluding an arboretum. Inaugurated in 1923, on the city's 300thanniversary, the garden is one of the most popular touristattractions in Gothenburg and indeed in Sweden. The pride of thegarden is the Rock Garden, but other worthwhile areas to visitinclude the Japanese Glade and the Rhododendron Valley. Thegreenhouses display an impressive collection of about 1,500orchids, among many other remarkable and rare plants, includingextensive collections of Australian and South African flora. Theyhost a series of exhibitions throughout the year so check theofficial website listed below to see what's showing during yourvisit. Well-maintained and extensive walking trails make thegardens a pleasure for hikers, and there are many beautiful nooksfor picnics and relaxation. There is also a lovely cafe forrefreshments. Travellers should note that although the botanicalgarden is open all year, in the cold months there is not much tosee outside of the greenhouses.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Sweden, LisebergAmusement Park has been welcoming millions of visitors a year foralmost 80 years. Besides popular rides like the wooden rollercoaster Balder and tamer rides for the children, there are morethan 30 different attractions, restaurants and entertainment venueswhere concerts and shows attract huge crowds. Apart from all thefun rides, Liseberg Amusement Park offers many diversions in theform of games, shops, and scenic or themed areas. Adults may enjoystrolling through the attractive garden area, with waterfalls andsculptures. There is a good range of restaurants and eateries inthe park, with some fine dining options and plentiful fast food.Besides the ever-popular summer season, Liseberg is also open overthe festive season for the biggest Christmas market in Scandinavia,as well as food specialities of the season, an ice bar, and holidayentertainment. This is a must for travellers in Gothenburg overChristmas, when many locals feel that Liseberg is at its mostspecial. As opening times, dates, and prices all fluctuateaccording to season, visitors are advised to check the officialwebsite in advance to plan their trip.
The well-preserved, 17th-century Alvsborg Fortress islocated on a small island at the entrance of the harbour, at themouth of the Gota River near Gothenburg. With a fascinating historyof battles against the Danes, the fortress was once the mightiestcitadel in Sweden for coastal defence and is said to be the bestpreserved of its kind in the country. A boat trip to the fortressis one of the most popular activities for tourists in Gothenburg.Boat tours of the archipelago offer passage to the fort, along withviews of the pretty waterways. There is also a good view of theharbour from the island and some walking trails around the fortressto explore independently. A dramatised tour in English or Swedishexplaining the history of the castle is included in the admissionfee. It tells the history of the region from the 1600s to thepresent, introducing visitors to the colourful characters of thepast. There is a cafe and a small craft shop on the island forrefreshments and souvenirs. It's also possible to bring your ownpicnic basket. The boat trip to the island takes about 30 minuteseach way, and travellers should note that the boats only runseasonally.
One of the most famous attractions in Sweden, theGota Canal was an important transport route for passengers andgoods between Gothenburg and Stockholm throughout the 19th century.One of the biggest civil engineering projects to ever take place inthe country, the canal stretches 118 miles (190km) from Sjotorp onLake Vanern to the Baltic Sea at Mem and has 58 locks. Gothenburgis linked to the canal at Lake Vanern by the Gota River. Thepicturesque, tree-lined channels are popular for cruises, whichpass through the beautiful lakes of Vattern and Vanern, usuallylasting about five to six days. Many boat trips are available onthe canal, but they are almost always seasonal and often onlyoperate in the summer months. A good option for travellers visitingin spring or autumn is a cycling trip along the banks of the canal.Canal trips are wildly popular with visitors and locals, providinga glorious way to traverse the pretty countryside. The officialwebsite listed below gives details on the different cruises,activities, and accommodation options along the Gota Canal.
Boat trips to the southern and northern archipelagoof Gothenburg are popular with both visitors and residents. Thesouthern archipelago includes eight car-free, sparsely inhabitedislands that boast sandy beaches, good swimming, beautiful nature,walking paths, and a charm of their own. The southern islandsfrequently feature in Viking mythology, adding to their wildmystique. The island of Branno is thought to be the location forthe famous Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. Vargo is a nature reserve anda great spot for bird watchers. Kopstadso is a small island withpicturesque, narrow walking trails. Styrso is more developed andboasts some accommodation for holidaymakers, having been a kind ofbathers' resort since the 1830s. The northern archipelago is moreheavily populated and offers numerous hotels, restaurants, andsea-based activities. Although the islands can be exploredindependently by those who hire boats, and some travellers chooseto spend some time staying in the archipelago, most tourists simplyjoin the general boat tours of the archipelago, which take roughlyfour hours and show passengers the beauty of the River Gota, RiverNordre, Bjorko Fjord and Goteborg's harbour as well as some of theislands.
Visitors can explore Sweden's past at Skansen, the oldestopen-air museum in the world. Historical buildings dating mainlyfrom the 18th and 19th centuries have been relocated here fromaround the country. Visitors move through five centuries of Swedishhistory, gaining a real sense of the nation's character and past.The exhibits include a full replica of a 19th-century town completewith craftsmen in period dress who demonstrate the arts of tanning,shoemaking, baking, and glass-blowing. Many shops are available tovisitors, selling everything from blown glass to cinnamon buns,making Skansen a good place to shop for souvenirs. On summerevenings there is often folk dancing and other cultural displays toenjoy. Skansen is also home to an aquarium and the World of Monkeyswithin the Skansen Zoo, which focuses on Scandinavian animals suchas reindeer, wolverines, elk, lynx, and brown bears. Every Decemberthe central square hosts a Christmas market that attracts thousandsof visitors every weekend. The various restaurants and shops havetheir own opening hours, which can be confirmed on the website; themany special events held at Skansen also make it worthwhile tocheck the website before planning your visit.
Grona Lund is Sweden's oldest amusement park and an amazingattraction for families. Built in 1883, the park features a numberof rides including classics like bumper cars, carousels, and Ferriswheels of varying thrill levels. There are also several fast-pacedroller coasters and high-adrenaline rides to keep adultsentertained. Height charts for the rides are available on thepark's website so parents can see what is available to theirchildren before going. There is also a crèche available. A greatselection of restaurants and eateries, ranging from fine dining tobuffet and fast food options, ensures nobody will go hungry in thepark. Grona Lund hosts plenty of live music concerts during summerevenings, with some serious performers attracting big crowds. Theamusement park only opens seasonally, with a calendar detailingopening days and times can be found on the official website listedbelow. Those likely to be enjoying lots of the rides should buy theride pass which allows access to all rides all day, because buyingthe coupon booklets as required usually works out to be much moreexpensive.
The Uppsala Cathedral dominates the city skyline asthe tallest church in Scandinavia at 390 feet (119m). Also calledthe Uppsala Domkyrka, it was built in the 14th century for royalcoronations and is now the seat of the Archbishop for the LutheranChurch of Sweden. A number of Swedish kings and other prominentcitizens are interred inside. The exterior of the cathedral is madeof red brick, with a French Gothic interior featuring murals of StErik, the patron saint of Sweden. In the summer months there areoften lunch-time concerts on the tower balcony. Those interested inthe cathedral's history should consider hiring a guide as there isa wealth of history on display in the church. There is also a smallmuseum housing ecclesiastical relics and a graveyard withelaborately-carved tombstones. The cathedral has a small gift shopand cafe. Considered by many to be the top attraction in Uppsala,and much-loved by the locals, the cathedral is a hub of activity inthe community, frequently hosting events and plenty of livemusic.
The Linnaeus Garden was founded in 1655 as the first botanicalgarden in Sweden. It wasn't until the 18th century that CarlLinnaeus, a prominent Swedish botanist zoologist, physician, andfather of modern taxonomy and ecology, redesigned the garden andbegan cultivating plants under his own system. It now containsroughly 1,300 plant species and is maintained by UppsalaUniversity. Within the garden is the Linnaeus museum, which was thescientist's home for 35 years. The garden is a living complement toLinnaeus' work; he designed the plot to demonstrate his theories tohis students, choosing each plant for a purpose. Although thegarden fell into a state of disrepair for more than a century, itwas faithfully restored in 1917 using the detailed plant lists andgarden maps of Linnaeus himself. Although in many ways the gardenis an academic exercise, fascinating for people interested insubjects like phenology, it is also a beautiful botanical space inits own right and can be enjoyed for its aesthetic quality alone.Guided tours of the garden are available but must be arranged inadvance by phone or email. There is a restaurant in the garden forrefreshments.
One of the most popular attractions in Sweden, the17th-century warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and wassalvaged in 1961, with thousands of artefacts, including coins,tools, clothing, and other historical items. The ship has beencarefully restored, including the upper gun deck, the admiral'scabin, and the steering compartment. Exhibitions detail thehardships of life at sea, and showcase the primitive supplies andmedical equipment sailors had to contend with. There is even amuseum garden where the vegetables, herbs, and flowers once used bythe crew for food and medicine are grown in season. Guided toursare included in the entrance fee. They are conducted in English andSwedish several times a day and take about 25 minutes, but theschedule varies according to season and day so travellers shouldcheck the website before visiting. Groups of more than nine peoplewill need to book guided tours in advance for a fee. There is arestaurant and a shop at the museum for refreshments and souvenirs.The Vasa Museum is consistently one of the top rated touristattractions in Stockholm and is an intriguing place to visit forpeople of all ages.
The climate in Sweden varies from north to south.Despite its northerly placement, the country is generally temperatedue to the warm offshore Gulf Stream currents. There are threedifferent climatic zones in Sweden: the south has an oceanicclimate, the centre has a humid continental climate, and the northhas a subarctic climate.
Summers in the south and centre of Sweden are warmand pleasant, with average high temperatures ranging between 68°Fand 77°F (20°C and 25°C). In the winter, temperatures in theseregions average between 25°F and 36°F (-4°C and 2°C).
In the north it is substantially colder, with short,cool summers and long, snowy winters, while temperatures frequentlydrop below freezing between September and May. Rain is possible inSweden at any time of year, but is most common in late summer. Thesouthwest of the country receives the most rain.
The best time to visit Sweden is in the summer monthsfrom June to August, when the days are long and warm and theopen-air museums and restaurants are open. As summer is the mostbusy and expensive time to visit Sweden, some travellers prefer togo in the spring or autumn, which are both very pleasant seasonsand far less crowded.
Sturehof is the perfect mix of elegance andrelaxation, decked out with multiple bars, a streetside cafe, andstylish interior dining rooms. The contemporary, brasserie-stylerestaurant is famous for its seafood, serving only the freshestmarine delights like Grebbestad oysters, succulent Norwegiansalmon, and Swedish classics such as skagen (prawns, mayonnaise,and dill served on toast). There's also more to Sturehof than justgood food. Sturehof was established on Stureplan in 1897, andplayed host to the first meeting that established the Volvoautomotive company. Fit for foodies and history buffs alike,Sturehof is open daily for lunch and dinner. Visitors can find therestaurant on Stureplan, the entertainment and nightlife centre ofStockholm, just near the well-heeled district of Östermalm.
Operakallaren is the epitome of high-society andold-world grandeur. Occupying a magnificent, high-ceilinged roomwithin the old opera house, many of the original furnishings arestill in place with frescoes and elaborate gilt-panelling. A dinnerjacket and evening dress are recommended at Operakallaren, whichhas high prices to match its excellent reputation for the food andservice that earned its Michelin star. In the main dining roomguests can choose from a seven-course tasting menu, a five-coursechef's menu, or three courses a la carte (all with or without winetasting). The food itself is a delightful combination of classicFrench cooking and seasonal Scandinavian ingredients, which meansthe food is meticulously prepared using only the freshest flavours.As an epicurean partner to the food, the huge wine list atOperakallaren is extensive and particularly interesting. The maindining room is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm and offersbeautiful views of Gamla Stan. Diners can also find The Opera Barin the same complex, which mixes Art Nouveau with a refinedatmosphere, as well as Bakficken, which caters to a younger crowdwith countertop dining at reasonable prices.
For the two owners of Lilla Ego, a relative newcomerto Stockholm's culinary scene, fine-dining is a thing of the past.Instead this popular, no-frill bistro focuses on plying patronswith delicious, quality food that is both seasonal and carefullyprepared. Think smoked veal with celeriac and chorizo, or fresh codwith cabbage and grape. Lilla Ego asks diners to forego theniceties and instead tuck into some seriously good food. Lilla Egocan be found in Vasastan, a previously-residential neighbourhood tothe north of central Stockholm which is firmly establishing itselfas a place where food dreams come true.
This well-known waterfront restaurant is aninstitution in Stockholm, with celebrity chef Erik Lallerstedtserving up neo-Swedish cuisine and French specialities in a diningroom that hangs beneath a 100-foot (30m) high walkway, much likethe gondola of an airship. The unusual setting allows for diningwith a spectacular view over Gamla Stan, Lake Malaren, and theBaltic Sea. Erik's opens for lunch on Saturdays and lunch anddinner during the week. Examples from the menu are shellfishcasserole, fillet of venison, and Kahlua cheesecake.
The Swedish meatball is a traditional dish which hasgained special prominence in the country's pantheon of traditionalfoods. There is really only one place to grab them in Stockholm,and that place is Meatballs for the People. Here, healthy chunks ofmeat are cut from hand selected game and poultry, all of which areethically sourced and full of local flavour. Meatballs for thePeople can be found in Sodermalm, a trendy neighbourhood with afocus on grungy-chic and student-friendly prices. They are openevery day from 11am to 10pm.
The Swedish monetary unit is the Krona or Crown (SEK), which isdivided into 100 öre. Banks exchange money during business hoursfrom Monday to Friday. At other times money can be changed atairports, ferry terminals, post offices, and Forex exchangeoffices, which are open daily. There are numerous ATMs throughoutthe country, most of which accept MasterCard and Visa. Sweden is analmost cashless society so most major credit cards are acceptedthroughout Sweden, while mobile payment apps are very popular.
Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken bythe Sami population in the north. Most Swedes speak and understandEnglish, while many are proficient in other European languages likeGerman, French, and Spanish.
Electric current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard Europeantwo-pin plugs are used.
To enter Sweden, US citizens require a passport valid for threemonths beyond intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to90 days within a 180 day period.
United Kingdom citizens require a passport valid for at leastthree months beyond period of intended stay, with the exception ofpassports marked 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing aCertificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by theUnited Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issuedby Gibraltar, which will be accepted if valid on arrival.
No visa is required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen','British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar,Identity Cards issued by Gibraltar, and 'British Subject'(containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abodeissued by the United Kingdom). All other British nationals areentitled to a maximum stay of 90 days without a visa, within a 180day period.
Canadians require a passport valid for the period of threemonths beyond the intended stay to enter Sweden. No visa isrequired for a maximum stay of up to 90 days within a 180 dayperiod.
For entry to Sweden, Australian citizens require a passportvalid for three months beyond period of intended stay. No visa isrequired for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
South Africans require a passport valid for three months beyondperiod of intended stay as well as a visa for entry to Sweden.
Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa isnecessary.
To enter Sweden, US citizens require a passport valid for threemonths beyond intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to90 days within a 180 day period.
New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for three monthsbeyond period of intended stay. No visa is necessary for stays ofup to 90 days within a 180 day period.
All visitors are required to have visible means of support aswell as tickets and documentation for return or onward travel. Theborderless region known as the Schengen area includes the followingcountries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland,Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. All thesecountries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entryoption that allows the holder to travel freely within the bordersof all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least sixmonths validity remaining after your intended date of departurefrom your travel destination. Immigration officials often applydifferent rules to those stated by travel agents and officialsources.
There are no health risks associated with travel to Sweden.Medical care in the country is excellent, and reciprocal healthagreements exist with other European Union countries, including theUnited Kingdom. UK citizens in possession of a European HealthInsurance Card (EHIC) will be entitled to emergency medicaltreatment on the same terms as Swedish nationals. All non-EUtravellers should ensure they have comprehensive travelinsurance.
A service charge is included in restaurant bills. Waitrons maysee a tip as demeaning so it's best to make sure if it is finebefore adding a tip. Generally customers round up the fare whenusing a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service inhotels, but are not expected.
Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit. There is somepetty crime in the cities where tourists congregate, but crime isgenerally at much lower levels than elsewhere in Europe. Mostvisits to Sweden are trouble free.
Swedish culture is very liberal and secular. Equalityis an important part of Swedish culture, and boastfulness and openconflict is usually avoided, as is discussing work as an entry intoa conversation.
Chivalry is often considered an outdated concept inSweden, which is one of the most gender equal countries in theworld, and gestures like opening doors for women are not considerednecessary.
Smoking is not allowed in indoor establishments likerestaurants and bars. Swedes have a reputation for beingmeticulously tidy, so it is polite to remove your shoes whenentering a Swedish home.
Sweden is no stranger to corporate culture and ishome to many global companies like Skype and Spotify, not tomention popular automotive company, Volvo. Scandinavians, andSwedes in particular, value the inherent equality and dignity ofall people; this is reflected in business where consensus andcompromise is valued in the decision-making process.
Decisions often take a long time to be made as allopinions are considered. Avoid overt displays of wealth or status.Business practice and personal conduct should always be rational,calm, and disciplined. As a result Swedes often come across asoverly reserved, but it also makes business meetings efficient.
The business world in Sweden draws a strict linebetween work and social gatherings so don't expect many post-worksocial events or dinner invitations. The best way to circumvent thereserved nature of most Swedes in the business environment is atthe twice-daily fika, or coffee break, when the general rulesregarding business behaviour are relaxed a little.
Punctuality is vital and it is a point of pride formany Scandinavians, illustrating mutual respect. It is important toschedule an appointment in advance and have it confirmed shortlybefore any engagement. Handshakes for men and women are commonafter introduction and often first names are used instead ofsurnames.
Dress codes are conservative and smart, but suits arenot always necessary. Business people in Sweden should endeavour toshow honesty, transparency, professionalism, and mutual respect inall business dealings. Sweden is one of the least corrupt countriesin the world, making it a pleasure to do business here.
Business hours run from 8am to 5pm from Monday toFriday. The language of business is Swedish, but English isgenerally spoken throughout the country and many multinationalswill use it as the language of business when necessary.
The country code for Sweden is +46. There is good coverageacross the country for mobile telephones, and many Swedish networksare partnered with international providers to ensure seamlessconnectivity. Internet cafes can be found in all the cities andtowns and public wifi is available in certain areas.
Travellers to Sweden over 18 years from non-EU countries andresidents who arrive on a commercial flight, from a trip exceeding20 hours do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200cigarettes, or 100 cheroots, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco, or aproportional mix of these. One litre of spirits with alcoholcontent higher than 22 percent, or two litres of fortified orsparkling wine, and two litres of non-sparkling wine and beer areallowed duty free; other goods to the value of SEK 1,700 are alsoallowed. Prohibited items include drugs, other than those formedical or scientific purposes; and potatoes that are grown outsidethe EU.
Swedish Tourist Office: www.visit-sweden.com
Swedish Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 4672600.
Swedish Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7917 6400.
Swedish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 244 8200.
Swedish Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 426 6400.
Swedish Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 2700.
Swedish Consulate General, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 265 0888.
Consulate-General of Sweden, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 4999895.
United States Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 783 5300.
British Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 671 3000.
Canadian Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 453 3000.
South African Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 824 3950.
Australian Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 613 2900.
Irish Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 5450 4040.
New Zealand Embassy, Brussels (also responsible for Sweden): +322 512 1040.
Stockholm stretches across 14 islands. But thearchipelago consists of more than 24,000 islets famed for naturalbeauty, wildlife, fjords, and spectacular channels and straits. Ahighlight of any visit to Stockholm is exploring this uniquenatural wonderland, whether independently or on one of the manyorganised boat tours on offer. The standard tour is the 'ThousandIsland Cruise', lasting about 11 hours, which takes you to theouter islands and allows passengers to spend time on some of thelarger islands, like Namdo, renowned for its handicrafts. Thosewith less time to spend can opt for a shorter cruise from betweentwo to six hours, or travel on the high speed 'Cinderella' waterjetboats that service many of the islands. DIY travellers can make useof the regular Waxholmsbolaget ferries that service the inhabitedislands. B&Bs are available for those seeking a longer getawayand perhaps wanting to stay a few days to experience island life.Although most visitors opt to cruise the archipelago in the summer,there are winter cruises available that showcase the area's naturein a unique way.
Sweden's largest island, Gotland was once anindependent kingdom taken over by Denmark in the 14th century andceded to Sweden in the 17th century. Located in the middle of theBaltic Sea, Gotland is a popular holiday destination for Swedishtourists. The medieval atmosphere of farmlands and churches and theold walled city of Visby (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) drawforeign tourists, while locals holiday at the beaches along thecoast. Boat tours around the island are available to interestinglocations like the karst limestone formations of Lummelunda Grottanand the dwarf forests and moors of northern Gotland and Faro. Forvisitors to Visby interested in the ancient history of the island,the Gotlands Museum is a must. It's a fairly small museum butboasts some fascinating picture stones and Viking relics, as wellas some interactive sections geared towards children. The beautifulnational park island of Stora Karlso, a 30-minute ferry ride fromKlintehamn, just south of Visby, is definitely worth a visit fornature lovers; a night or two can even be spent in the lighthouseon this unspoilt gem of an island. Daytrips are easy to arrangebetween early May and the end of August.
Formerly a working silver mine in Vastmanland County,Sala stopped major production in 1908, and has since beentransformed into something of a tourist attraction. Guided toursare conducted down the mine, which also hosts concerts and otherevents. There is even an unusual hotel room located several hundredmetres below ground, said to be the world's deepest. There are anumber of different mine tours to choose from, descending todifferent depths and ranging between one and three hours. Toursshould be booked in advance via phone or email. It gets very colddown in the mine, with ice formations in some areas, so visitorsshould come prepared with warm clothes and good shoes. Some of thetours are suitable for people with limited mobility and areaccessible to wheelchairs. Above ground, many buildings in Salahave been converted into shops, art galleries, and museums. Thetown hosts Christmas markets on weekends in December, while in Julythe Mine's Days are celebrated. As if mine tours weren't excitingenough, there are sometimes high wires, ropeways, hanging bridges,and other adventure activities set up at the mine, allowingvisitors to have fun high in the air as well as deepunderground.