Sweden, a land of pristine forests and crystal-clear lakes. Thousands of islands, Viking ruins, and reindeer herders in a windswept arctic wilderness. At the same time, hearty cuisine, steaming saunas, and vibrant cities. Come visit, for a taste of the great outdoors, and that unique, elegant Swedish style.
In beautiful Stockholm, wander the narrow alleys of the Gamla Stan, and see the impressive and historic Vasa warship. Explore Lake Mälaren, the Viking island of Birka, the royal residence of Drottningholm, impressive Gripsholm castle and lush Gallno island.
In laidback Gothenburg, people-watch at the cafes along Avenyn, and view Swedish paintings at the Konstmuseum. Visit the fortress island of Marstrand and the attractive towns of medieval Mariestad and lakeside Karlstad. Relax at the isolated Koster islands and the fishing villages along the Bohuslän coast, and go rafting on the Klarälven River.
Visit the fortress prison of Varberg, the beaches of Halmstad, the stunning cathedral at Lund, and the bustling cities of Malmo and Helsingborg. Go fly-fishing around Falkenberg, hiking in the Bjäre peninsula, and explore Viking monuments in the Österlen countryside.
Explore the Renaissance town square of Kalmar and the exquisite Kalmar Slott castle and cathedral. Visit the glass factories of Växjö, the atmospheric abbey of Vadstena, the laidback coastal town of Nyköping, and the medieval walled city of Visby. Linger at dynamic and youthful Umeå, the heritage church towns of Luleå and Skellefteå, the grand stone buildings of Sundsvall, the idyllic fjords of Höga Kusten, and the resort beaches of Pite Havsbad.
Celebrate Midsummer at picturesque Dalarna, ride the Inlandsbanan railway, and go hiking in the mountains of Härjedalen. Visit the open-air museum at Östersund and the beautiful mountain village of Klövsjö in Jämtland. In remote, wild Lapland, see the indigenous timber huts of Arvidsjaur, sleep on snow at the Icehotel at Jukkasjärvi, and walk the iconic Kungsleden Trail near Jäkkvik, before crossing the Arctic Circle to shop at the Winter Market of Jokkmokk.
Major cities are linked by air, with many special offers during summer. Do ask about stand-by fares if you decide to travel at the last minute. Otherwise, trains connect larger towns, and are the fastest and easiest way to get around this rather large country. Always reserve in advance during the summer. Where trains end, buses take over, usually linking villages to towns.
For flexibility, driving your own vehicle is a good idea, especially since roads are well-maintained and toll-free. Ferries ply the islands of the Stockholm archipelago, and there are also car ferries if you're driving. For shorter distances, join the Swedes and get on a bicycle, as most towns have bike lanes. City transport is well integrated with the train and bus networks, and Stockholm has an extensive metro system.
The smorgasbord is Sweden's most famous culinary tradition. Help yourself to an enormous buffet of herring, smoked salmon, mashed potatoes and chopped dill, rye-based crispbread, cheeses, cold cuts, and warm dishes like meatballs with lingonberries. Finish with the various desserts and coffee. Change a plate for every new dish, and remember: pace yourself.
The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon where the sun remains visible for 24 hours a day, at latitudes north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees North). Catch it in Swedish Lapland, usually between late-May to mid-July. Can't make summer? There's always the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, visible between September and March.
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