The Scandinavian country of Sweden is officially known as the Kingdom of Sweden. It is the largest country in Northern Europe and is famous for the Northern Lights. The country attracts thousands of tourists each year from all over the world to view the spectacular lights and also be a part of the country`s other well-known activities. From music and food to fashion and tradition, this diverse country welcomes all with different types of views and backgrounds - the natural landscape of Sweden is amazing! Sweden is also considered among the cleanest countries in the world. If you have a sweet teeth, make sure to sample Swedish chocolates on your trip to Sweden. You`ll also want to partake in the well know coffee culture here. And we can`t forget the heritage from the Viking Age and the 17th-century Swedish Empire, the glamour of the Nobel Price and the county`s successful pop music scene.
If you are looking for some of the top cities to visit, you`ll want to make sure to check these out: Stockholm is Sweden`s capital city of 14 islands, the so-called `Venice of the North,` and the home to one of Europe`s best-preserved old towns. Gothenburg is Sweden`s largest port and industrial center, and second in population. Malmo is another top city, with a quarter million inhabitants; it is connected to the Danish capital Copenhagen by the Öresund Bridge.
The three traditional lands of Sweden, Götaland, Svealand and Norrland, are further divided into 25 provinces, which largely define Swedish people's cultural identity. We have broken down some of these areas into regions, explained further below:
Enjoy the diverse landscape of Southwestern Sweden. This region boasts varied coastline from rocky in the north to miles of sandy beaches in the south. Here you`ll find the town of Gothenburg, the gateway to northern Europe; Malmo, Sweden`s third largest city; the historic city of Lund; and beautiful Trollhatten, to name a few.
Sweden`s Bothian Coast forms a stretch of land that is quite unlike the rest of the north of the country. The entire coastline is peppered with towns and villages that tell a story of the faded history. You`ll also find many cities, like Gavle, Harnosand, Skelleftea, and Umeaa that are more typical of the region offering lively metropolises.
Swedish Lappland is the rolling hills and the roaring rivers. It is the land of eight seasons, the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. These vast woodlands and rural mountains make for the perfect region to explore new adventures. This is where you`ll find the ski resort town of Hemavan and Kiruna, the largest city in the world, in terms of geography.
Southeast Sweden is a sleepy but peaceful place to visit. This region offers a rich history, evident in its medieval towns, cobblestone streets and `fairy-tale` castles. The southeast is also filled with nature: plentiful elk, large forests, a plethora of lakes, flowering meadows and long stretches of gädesgårdar (the timber fences typical of this region). You`ll also find towns such as Karlskrona, Jonkoping, and idyllic small town of Vaxjo.
Sweden has much to offer visitors any time of year and all season offer some great benefits. The country enjoys a mostly temperate climate despite its northern latitude, mainly because of the Gulf Stream, which also makes the temperatures vary considerably. Stockholm is warmer and milder, while in the mountains of northern Sweden, a sub-Arctic climate predominates.
If you`re on a budget, you may want to avoid the summer months, which is the most popular season to visit. As a whole, the summer offers sunny days, but not too hot. July is the warmest month and February is the coolest month when temperatures in Stockholm average around 26°F. Winter months can be the best time to go to Sweden if you`re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights or partake in outdoor winter sports, which are a huge attraction to this country. While it`s up to the individual traveler to decide what most appeals to them, below you`ll find a general overview of what to expect throughout the year. If you are well prepared, you`ll have a wonderful trip regardless of the time of year. For more information, check out: Best Time to Visit Sweden.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
By Train:The Swedish Rail can take you to all parts of the country. The national system is the Statens Järnvägar (SJ), the Swedish State Railways that offers an extensive railway network. MTR Express also operates several trains between Gothenburg and Stockholm. Because point-to-point tickets are quite expensive, for more train journeys, a Sweden InterRail (for European citizens) or Eurail (for non-European citizens) pass might be useful. Purchasing single journey tickets online in advance can also help save money, although the cheapest tickets often come with more restrictions. The national public transport carriers operate an alliance service called Resplus for multiple-leg travel.
Regional public transport typically has a carrier per county. For instance, when travelling regionally in the province of Scania (Skåne in Swedish), one should refer to Skånetrafiken. For travelling in the region of [Mälardalen] (the "Lake Mälaren Valley"), you can check all train and bus operators at Trafik i Mälardalen. This regional traffic cooperation includes many of Sweden`s major cities, such as Stockholm, Uppsala, Västerås, Linköping, Norrköping, Örebro and Eskilstuna.
By Bus: Rail lines cover only some of Sweden`s vast distances. Where the train tracks end, buses usually serve as the link to remote villages. Buses are often equipped with toilets, adjustable seats, reading lights, and a telephone. Fares depend on the distance traveled.
Flixbus and Nettbuss runs a number of bus lines in the southern third of the country, Götaland and Svealand. They tend to cost less than going by train, if you can`t take advantage of SJ`s youth discounts. Y-buss, tapanis, and Härjedalingen operate between Stockholm and Norrland.
City buses are operated by the counties` public-transport companies.
If you plan to use city buses, check out the local arrangements for how to obtain tickets. In many Swedish cities it is not possible to buy tickets for the city buses at the bus. In this case neither cash nor bank or credit cards are accepted. Instead you need an electronic bus card, a special card for each region, which sometimes also has to be filled with a minimum amount of money, typically 100 kr. This bus card can sometimes be obtained only at dedicated ticket offices, not at the bus, but can often be filled with money for travel at local shops or refill machines that are found at public places. On long distance buses, passengers can normally buy tickets from the driver.
By Car: Sweden maintains an excellent network of roads and highways, particularly in the southern provinces and in the central Lake District. Major highways in the far north are kept clear of snow by heavy equipment that`s in place virtually year-round. Current driver`s licenses from Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States are acceptable in Sweden.
In regards to rentals, the major U.S.-based car-rental firms are represented throughout Sweden, both at airports and in urban centers. The companies` rates are aggressively competitive, although promotional sales will favor one company over the others from time to time. Prior to your departure from North America, it will be advantageous to shop around to find the lowest available rates. Membership in AAA or another auto club may enable you to get a moderate discount. Be aware that you may avoid a supplemental airport tax by picking up your car at a central location rather than at the airport.
The currency in Sweden is the Krona (SEK, often referred to as crowns in English). Once you`re in Sweden you`ll have to use the Sweden Kroner, US dollars are not accepted. There are currency exchange offices scattered throughout the city. However, you may not need much cash during your visit as you can pay with credit card for almost everything in Stockholm. Keep in mind that tipping is not mandatory in Sweden and service charges are almost always included in your bill. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Sweden.
The country`s written and spoken language in Sweden is Swedish. Sweden is considered to be one of the best English speaking countries in the world, except the countries where English is native. You will have no problem finding Swedes to speak English. However, we suggest you get a good guide book and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1-10.