Dotted with picturesque medieval villages, tranquil lakes, lush forests, coastal island archipelagos and cosmopolitan cities, Sweden may be a tranquil part of Scandinavia but it also offers a surprising range of attractions and activities.
Here you can breathe some of the cleanest air in the world, visit the remote icy tundra of northern Lapland, or drop into cultural hubs as vibrant as any city on earth.
In the south, the capital city of Stockholm encompasses 14 islands that are perfect for exploring by day cruise. The Stockholm archipelago offers some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Europe. Save your energy, though, because this high-tech capital really comes to life at night with its wonderful arts and club scene. If you’re in search of relaxation, why not indulge in a spot of ocean fishing from the very heart of the city, or visit the quaint Gamla Stan (old town) with its maze of narrow cobbled-stone streets shaded by historic houses?
For luxury holidays in Sweden, the west coast offers atmospheric fishing villages and the ancient Viking city of Uppsala, where the newest buildings date from the 18th century and you can find more than 150 museums. Here in the west of Sweden, lovers of seafood will find endless temptations, with fish fresh from the boat cooked and prepared to perfection.
In the north of the country you can explore the icy tundra and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Laponian area in Lapland. Sample a reindeer steak, marvel at the spectacular Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and chill out in the Ice Hotel, which is sculpted each year by the Sami people.
Meanwhile, way down south, Smaland (literally meaning small lands) has been christened ‘the Crystal Kingdom’ in honour of the famous glassworks of Orrefors and Kosta.
Sweden is an enchanting country with a climate that is more hospitable than many travellers imagine. Thanks to its meticulously maintained roads and enviable high-speed train system, it is effortless to get around, and to take in a smörgåsbord of unique Scandinavian experiences.
Sweden’s climate varies from north to south, but it is mainly temperate due to the offshore Gulf Stream waters.
Winters are very cold, particularly in the north, where days are shorter and heavy frosts and bountiful snowfalls can be expected.
Summers are warm and pleasant and the most popular time to visit. July is the warmest month in Stockholm with temperatures averaging around 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit), falling as low as -3 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit) in January’s depths of winter.
Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken by the Sami in the north. Most Swedes speak English, and many also can speak German or French.
A passport valid for the duration of stay is required, along with sufficient funds and tickets for return or onward travel. You may need a Schengen visa (short stay visa) to stay in the country for more than 90 days. Please check the rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit, but the usual precautions against petty crime should still be taken.
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