Sweden Travel Guide

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Sweden is a very peculiar country in Northern Europe, an EU member and a place filled with contrasts like almost no other nation in the world. The geography of Sweden is also very interesting, ranging from its golden beaches and green hills in the South to the country’s majestic mountains and dense forests in the North. However, diversity and contrast has a more profound meaning in Sweden than geography, as Sweden’s 7 major cities are all profoundly different, each one with its own history, character and specific architectural style. To start from the beginning, Sweden has a land surface of 449,964 square kilometers and a population of approximately ten million.

Sweden is bordered by Finland on the East, Denmark on the southern border and Norway in the North.  Also, it’s worth mentioning that Sweden is the biggest Scandinavian country of them all, boasting a long and tumultuous mercantile history, together with an interesting (some may call it suicidal actually) open borders policy which made Sweden one of the most welcoming and culturally open countries in Europe.

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The largest city in Sweden is also the capital, Stockholm respectively, a place which is already famous for its beautiful architecture, cosmopolitan inhabitants and a quasi-magnificent sense of style. Stockholm is composed from fourteen islands and boasts a romantic yet brutal medieval beauty, offering paradise on Earth for travelers searching for the ultimate experience in terms of culture, art and historical treasures.

However, Sweden’s most surprising city is definitely Malmo, more on that in a minute, right after the break.

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Beyond Sweden’s urban landscape, I must pay homage to the country’s magnificent countryside, which has its own rugged charm, especially those places near the Norwegian border. A huge percentage of Sweden’s land area is heavily forested, and there are also hundreds and hundreds of lakes, while in the distant North you’ll be able to visit and admire the bleak tundra, and also to stand in awe for the Northern Lights.

What to See, What to Do

While in Sweden, do what Swedes do, i.e. if it’s summer (and it is summer), make the most of your vacation and chill out on the country’s hundreds of kilometers of golden and serene beaches, especially on the West coast,because the West is the best baby, get here and we’ll do the rest, as Jim Morrison used to say. The country also has over 96 thousand lakes, all of them offering interesting opportunities for killing time, such as windsurfing, snorkeling, diving and water-surfing, you name it, they got it. Also, there are myriads of high end tourist resorts, so you’ll not be disappointed.

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If you’re into sailing, you can always enjoy a boat trip from Stockholm and going from there, you’ll be able to visit the fourteen islands, including the 18th century Drottningholm Palace, a place of rare beauty. You can also get a ticket for canal cruises, on the MS Ceres and go sailing along the Gota Canal, built in the 19th century, 382 miles long, stretching like a main circuit cable from Gothenburg way over to the Baltic Sea.

Cycling, fishing and golfing are also national sports in Sweden, while the Bohuslän province is like a Mecca for history buffs, being one nodal point for understanding and learning things about ancient Swedish culture and civilization, being a must-see on any respectable’s tourist map.

Stenshuvud, Skåne

Stenshuvud, Skåne

I told you before about Malmo as being an unfairly ignored and much demonized Sweden’s third largest city. After the Öresund Bridge was completed, the city lived a true renaissance period, and the key sights while visiting Malmo are St Petri Church, Malmöhus Castle, Konsthallen and the flabbergasting Turning Torso sky scraper.

Food and Drink in Sweden

Sweden is a country of fishermen and hard working people, historically speaking, so don’t expect much in terms of sophistication. Specialties include Smörgåsbord, i.e. boiled potatoes with pickled herring, together with various fish dishes, small meatballs called Köttbullar, smoked reindeer meat from Lapland, marinated salmon and various wild fruit (strawberries, cloud-berries). Regional drinks include Akvavit, vodka and sweet ciders.

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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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