Sweden Travel Guide, The Land of Contrasts

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Sweden

Welcome to Sweden, yet another Scandinavian country, with a beautiful landscape, even more beautiful women and making for a very interesting place to spend your vacation.

Sweden is the land of incredible contrasts, just like the title says, with a magnificent scenery abundant in dense forests and dreamy mountain tops, golden beaches and beautiful hills.

Sweden’s cities are just like the landscape, filled with contrasts, cosmopolite, with unique architectural styles and boasting of history and culture.

Let’s begin with some hard facts : Sweden is the biggest of the Nordic countries, with a population just shy of 10 million people. The country is bordered by Denmark on the south and Finland and Norway on the east. The land surface of Sweden is 173, 732 square miles.

Now, let me share with you another cool fact : Sweden is a highly developed country, one of the richest in the world (GDP per capita) and also one of the most culturally open and warm countries in Europe. If you’re a tourist, you’ve just hit Bonanza!

The capital Stockholm can be described in two words : Style and Chic. The city spreads over 14 islands and brags with its medieval beauty, hence if you’re a culture buff, Stockholm is the pearl in Sweden’s crown of goodies.

Here you can admire numerous  museums, art galleries and various historical treasures. Along with Stockholm, there’s Malmo (a city, yes yes), a surprising place to visit while traveling to Sweden. But let’s not anticipate, shall we?

Stockholm

Things to see and do while in Sweden

It may sound surprising enough but Sweden’s beaches, especially the ones on the west coast, are awesome places to see and enjoy during the summer. Sweden has hundreds of miles of sandy beaches, so if you like to swim, sunbath and enjoy waterskiing, well, Sweden is the name of the game for you.

You can take a retro boat trip from the city center of the capital Stockholm to virtually anywhere and see the beautiful islands on your way to Drottningholm Palace. Also, while we’re at boat trips, you can enjoy canal cruises on the MS Ceres that floats majestically on the ancient Gota Canal, that was built in the 19th century and spreads for over 600 km from Gothenburg to Soderkoping, in the Baltic Sea. That’s a trip you’ll remember, believe me!

gota canal

Cycling is a national sport in Sweden and especially in Stockholm, where you can admire virtually everything on two wheels (Stadhuset for example or Gamla Stan).

Norrbotten is a fisher’s paradise, offering awesome place for fishing aficionados.

Sweden’s crystal artworks were spawned by German immigrants in the southern province named Smaland, back in the 16’th century; you can visit the local museum if you like glassworks and art generally.

Utställning

Goteborg is the place where Volvo cars are built and to prove it, they actually built a museum. If you’re a history buff, go no further than Bohuslan province, the place to visit if you’re into ancient Swedish civilization, an area filled with art galleries and museums, showing archeological relics dating waaay back to the Bronze Age.

Malmo-Castle1

Sweden’s 3rd city in terms of population is Malmo, an unfairly ignored touristic attraction on most travel guides. Must see places include St Petri church and Malmohus Castle, also Konsthallen and a beautiful skyscraper named Turning Torso.

Bo01 området med Turning Torso i Västra Hamnen

Lund is a city both medieval and modern, founded over one millennia ago by king Sven and home to a very nice 12th century built cathedral, a 14th century built astronomical clock and thousands of (she) students. Here you’ll find an open air museum, a huge one actually, namely Kulturen plus lots of impeccably preserved medieval streets. Lund harbors the world’s longest single span bridge, Oresund Bridge, that unites Sweden and Denmark.

Gothenburg is the place where you can admire Sweden’s historical treasures harbored inside the Historical Museum, filled with stunning pieces of medieval art and lots of prehistoric artifacts.

Vasa Museum contains a 360 years old wooden ship, perfectly restored, recuperated from Stockholm’s harbor back in 1961 . While you’re here you can delve even deeper in Sweden’s culture and history visiting the beautiful open-air Skansen museum.

Lund--Sweden

Food and Drink in Sweden

Swedish cuisine is far from sophisticated, some may call it even “simple” (oh the horror) but that doesn’t mean anything! Even the simplest of foods has its charm and excellent taste if cooked properly. Swedish people are fishers in their essence hence fish is the national dish, along with wild foods, i.e. mushrooms and blueberries/cloudberries.

The traditional food in Sweden is pickled herring, a delicious stereotype, served with sliced potatoes and tomatoes.

Another staple of the local cuisine is pea soup and meatballs. Specialties include Scandinavian cold table (pickled herring with boiled potatoes and other fish courses like salmon and anchovies), small meatballs, reindeer meat (smoked), marinated salmon and wild fruit.

Regional drinks include cider, akvavit and vodka (it gets pretty cold during the winter).

cuisine

Visa requirements

Sweden  is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport, just an ID (if anything). For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

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