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WHY VISIT SWEDEN
Starting with a visit to Stockholm seems a logical choice given the situation of the city which is towards the south of this vertically aligned country. Built on fourteen islands in the Baltic Sea, the ‘Venice of the North’ can be reached by sea or approached overland. With a hundred museums, the Royal Palace, the typically Swedish houses of Vaxholm, and not forgetting the special “Stieg Larsson” route following the traces of the Millennium heroes, there are many reasons for making a long stopover in Stockholm.
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Then you could go on to visit Vadstena, on Lake Vättern, and admire its castle and abbey.
Afterwards, lose yourself in the beautiful outdoors by going up north. Discover vast and peaceful landscapes: Storforsen falls are spectacular and unique in Europe, with suspension bridges above them; Jokkmok, Lapp village, which is close to the polar circle and where you will find handicrafts and reindeer meat sandwiches, and finally Kiruna with its multicoloured houses, the starting point for hiking into Abisko Park with it’s amazing and unforgettable landscapes, valleys, mountain ranges, lakes, where you can contemplate the midnight sun.
Whatever your itinerary maybe, the water will be the most important element in your discovery of the country: Fjords, rivers, rapids and no less than a hundred thousand lakes…
WHAT TO SEE IN SWEDEN
Top destinations in Sweden are:
- Fulufjället National Park
WHEN TO GO TO SWEDEN
Weather in Sweden
The best period to visit Sweden is from May to July.
In general, May to September is the best time to visit Sweden – north or south. Summer weather in Sweden is similar to that in southern Britain, though there are more hours of sunshine and less rain. By the end of August, the leaves in northern Sweden start to change colour and night frosts are not uncommon; the first snows fall in September.
In Stockholm, snow can fall in October but doesn’t generally settle; by November, though, the ground is usually covered in a blanket of snow, which will last until the following March or even April, when there can still be snow showers. Winters in the south of Sweden are often mild whilst in the north, you’re likely to encounter snow until well into May and temperatures can fall to -30C.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Sweden
- Valborgsmässoafton (April 30). Walpurgis Night. One of the most important festivals in Sweden, heralding the beginning of spring with bonfires and songs.
- Labour Day (May 1). A none-too-thrilling marching day for the workers’ parties.
- Swedish National Day (June 6). In existence since 1983, though a bit of a damp squib even though it’s now a public holiday; worthy speeches are delivered in the evening and the king often puts in an appearance at Skansen in Stockholm.
- Midsummer (the Fri & Sat between June 20–26). The biggest and best celebration anywhere in Sweden, with festivities centred around the maypole, an old fertility symbol, which is erected at popular gatherings across the country. The maypole is raised in June because it’s often still snowing in northern Sweden in May. There’s much dancing and drinking into the night – and severe hangovers the next morning.
- Crayfish parties (throughout Aug). Held in the August moonlight across the country to say a wistful farewell to the short Swedish summer. Competitions are often held to establish the season’s best and tastiest crayfish.
- Surströmming (late Aug). In coastal areas of northern Sweden, particularly along the High Coast, parties are held at which people eat surströmming, a foul-smelling fermented Baltic herring which is something of an acquired taste – though a quintessentially Swedish experience.
- Nobel Prize Day (Dec 10). Official ceremonies are held in Stockholm as the winners of the annual Nobel prizes are awarded. Although this is not a public festival, it is a key date in the Swedish calendar.
- St Lucia’s Day (Dec 13). Led by a girl with a crown of candles, this is a procession of children who sing songs as they bring light into the darkest month. For many Swedes, this is a welcome highlight during the ever-shortening days of December and a chance to look forward to Christmas and the longer nights of January and onwards.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH SWEDEN
by plane, the main airports are:
- Stockholm – Arlanda
- Stockholm – Skavsta
- Stockholm – Bromma
- Göteborg – Landvetter
- Göteborg – City
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SWEDEN
health tips & vaccination: none
local currency: Swedish krona
local time zone: GMT+1 (+2)
electricity: type C and type F (230 V – 50 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN SWEDEN
typical food in Sweden
- Smörgåsbord, the Scandinavian cold table that includes a starter of pickled herring with boiled potatoes followed by a couple more fish courses (usually smoked salmon or anchovies) then cold meat, pâté, sliced beef, stuffed veal or smoked reindeer;
- Varmrökt lax, golden, slow-smoked salmon;
- Köttbullar, small meatballs;
- Smoked reindeer from Lapland;
- Gravlax, salmon that has been specially prepared and marinated;
- Räksmörgås, an open sandwich piled high with shrimps and a mix of boiled egg slices, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, often topped with crème fraîche blended with dill sprigs and roe;
- Lingonberry jam, widely used to accompany a variety of dishes;
- Jordgubbar (wild strawberries) and cloudberries;
- Filmjölk, fermented dairy product made from soured milk with a slightly acidic, yogurty taste, someway like kefir;
- Prinsesstårta, layered sponge cake filled with jam and vanilla custard, and finished with a heavy topping of whipped cream, sealed with a thin layer of sugary sweet green marzipan and topped with a bright pink sugar rose;
- Kanelbullar, cinnamon buns;
- Nyponsoppa, wild rosehip soup served hot or cold;
souvenirs from Sweden
- Dalahäst (Dala Horse), wood carved and brightly painted horse figure;
- Hand-crafted crystal glass;
- Viking stuff or troll figures;
- Knitwear or wool blankets, tea towels and covers;
- Swedish clogs;
- Snus, powder tobacco;
- Surströmming, fermented herring, beer, Vodka and wines and alcoholic beverages (such as Akevitt, Mjød, Glogg, Punsch, Brennevin);
How are you?: Hur mår du?
Thank you: Tack
What is your name?: Vad heter du?
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