Sweden: Nature and Sights
Sweden, the land of moose and the legendary midsummer night festival. Experience exciting cities, stunning natural spectacles, and walk in the footsteps of Pippi Longstocking.
Located between Norway and Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden is one of the few parliamentary monarchies in Europe. About 10 million inhabitants live here and even around 300,000 moose. The capital, Stockholm, is located right on the coast and is the most populous city in the entire country.
Sweden is characterized by great hospitality and an intense love of outdoor sports. You can go hiking or skiing in the many beautiful landscapes, and the coastal regions also offer a variety of opportunities for fun water sports.
There are many cities worth seeing in Sweden, the largest of which are all by the sea. We introduce you to the five most interesting places in the land of the moose.
The country’s capital, also known as the “Venice of the North”, is very modern and hospitable. Stockholm is built on several islands and has many buildings worth seeing, for example, the 13th-century Storkyran Church, which is one of the oldest buildings in the city. You should visit the great old town Gamla Stan and the more than 100 metro stations, which are decorated with fascinating works of art.
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and attracts many sights and leisure activities. It is located in the west of the country and is home to, among other things, Sweden’s largest port, including an adventure museum and walk-in historic ships. You can also look forward to a compact inner city and the Haga district, which used to be a suburb and has developed into a cozy and popular neighborhood in the friendly coastal city.
Haga is also home to the last tower of the Skansen Kronan Fortress, built-in 1639, which is now an exciting reminder of the past and offers a great view of the city. Another highlight of this city is the Liseberg amusement park, which is integrated into it and offers a variety of attractions and where Jimi Hendrix liked to visit. If you are more in the mood for some peace and nature, you should visit Slottsskogen Castle Park and the nearby archipelago islands.
In the south of the country, opposite Copenhagen, is the country’s third-largest city with 340,000 inhabitants: Malmö. This city, which is very young on average, impresses with a historic old town, the 190-meter high Turning Torso, and the Sankt Petri Church. Also worth seeing is the imposing Malmöhus Castle, where Danish kings once lived.
Tip: Always look at the ground in Malmö. The artist collective Anonymous has built mini buildings for mice all over the city.
The city of Uppsala, located in east-central Sweden, is best known for its long university history. With the university established in 1477, this city has the oldest educational institution of this type in all of Scandinavia. Right next to the Gustavianum, which is a former university building and now houses an exciting museum, the next superlative awaits: Uppsala Cathedral, the tallest church in Scandinavia.
Other sights of this city are Uppsala Castle with an integrated art museum and a park worth seeing, and the old town Gamla Uppsala, which gives a deep insight into the past. Because of the large university, many young people live here, so the nightlife scene is correspondingly strong. There are also many excellent restaurants in Uppsala.
Another city that looks directly onto the Danish mainland is Helsingborg, which is over a thousand years old. In the right places, you can even look at the age of the eighth-largest city in the country. In the historical old town, some buildings are several centuries old, and also the 35-meter high tower Kärnan, which is the only remnant of the former castle and offers a great view over Helsingborg. The 12th-century Gothic St. Mary’s Church is also an absolute highlight.
Also worth seeing is the nearby Kronborg Castle, which is truly an imposing sight and is the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The city also offers a great pedestrian zone, which became car-free in 1961 as Sweden’s first shopping street, the exciting Fredriksdal open-air museum, and many opportunities for hiking or cycling in the surrounding nature.
You can also discover that Sweden is a mystical and historical country outside of the cities. We show you the most exciting sights.
A must-see castle made famous by Kurt Tucholsky ‘s novel of the same name is Gripsholm Castle, located on Lake Mälaren. West of Stockholm is this building, which was a magnificent castle estate until 1537. It currently includes the State Portrait Collection, which consists of over 2,000 paintings. Don’t miss the picturesque town of Mariefred, which owns the castle and is where Tucholsky’s grave is located.
In the west of the country, on the island of Marstrandsö, lies a magnificently preserved castle, the origins of which date back to the 17th century. To build this fortress, which was primarily intended to defend the island, which was important for trade, criminals were forced to build it. So the castle, which is called Carlstens Fästning in Swedish, has a dark past. To get as much information as possible out of your visit to Carlsten Fortress, you should book a guided tour.
The Stones of Ale
Mass grave or Bronze Age solar calendar? Distributed over the Scandinavian Baltic Sea region you can visit several so-called ship settings. Ship settings are circles of erected building blocks that form the outline of a ship. The best known of these settlements is Ales stenar, which is located in Ystad Municipality.
It is now fairly certain that these stone circles represent cemeteries, as numerous urns have been found during excavations. But there is also the assumption that Ales stenar could be a solar calendar. Come by yourself and find out what this mystical, Stonehenge-like place means.
Sculpture Park Wanås Konst
North of Kristianstad lies an impressive art collection that consists of an indoor gallery and an outdoor sculpture park. The gallery contains paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens, among others, while the sculpture park scores with objects by world stars such as Ann Hamilton and Yoko Ono, the widow of music legend John Lennon. At the end of an informative forest walk full of art, you can then treat yourself to delicious dishes in the café.
Good to know: Admission to the sculpture park is free for under-18s.
In Sweden, there are some places worth seeing in nature where you should have been. We’ll show you which ones.
East of Sweden lies its largest island: Gotland. This island has around 3,000 km² and is also one of the places with the most hours of sunshine in summer. Here you can relax on one of the beautiful sandy beaches and enjoy the sea, use the flat landscape for cycling or visit Visby, which is well worth a visit.
But there is also a lot to see here. The island is especially known for the rockets, which are rock formations that are spectacularly jagged by wind and sea and sometimes reach up to ten meters in height. There are several hundred rocks here. Also worth seeing is the town of Visby, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 due to its numerous well-preserved medieval buildings. The series “Pippi Longstocking” was also filmed on Gotland, and you can even visit Villa Kunterbunt.
Archipelagos are small, rocky islands formed by the retreat of the ice masses from past ice ages and dot the entire Swedish seascape like a mosaic. The archipelago around Stockholm alone consists of around 30,000 islands, the vast majority of which are under 2 km².
But there are also larger archipelagos with buildings, such as the island of Vrångö near Gothenburg or the popular island of Öland on the southeast coast. The best way to explore the archipelago around Sweden is by ship or boat. How about an adventurous kayak trip, for example? Or would you prefer a guided tour on a yacht? There is something for everyone here.
The forests of Värmland are an absolute recommendation, especially for holidaymakers who like to be active. This region covers a total of 18,204 km² and is located in the central part of the country. Here you can experience interesting cities, visit sights such as the sculpture park Rottneros Park or get active yourself, for example by climbing the 343-meter high Tossebergsklätten mountain. The extensive forest landscapes invite you to extensive forest hikes and excursions.
Höga Kusten, which means High Coast, is an impressive coastal region with high mountains. Here you can, among other things, hike fantastically and enjoy great views, cycle through the forests, or take a paddling trip along the varied coast. The entire region is located in north-eastern Sweden and is a World Heritage Site.
The seventh-largest lake in Sweden is called Siljan and is located in the middle of the mainland. In addition to many leisure activities such as hiking, swimming, and cycling, large music festivals take place here in summer. Also north of the lake is Orsa Grönklitt, where you can ski and one of the largest carnivore parks in Europe.
Whether hiking, dancing at the Midsommarfest, or being enchanted in Astrid Lindgren’s world: Sweden has great activities to offer. We’ll show you which ones.
Sweden is a popular travel destination, especially for outdoor sports enthusiasts. You can hike, mountain bike or do water sports here. One of the country’s most well-known long-distance hiking trails is the Kungsleden, which means ‘King’s Road’. In terms of its scope, this path is reminiscent of the Spanish Way of St. James, because you should plan an average of one month for the entire stage. However, shorter sections are also possible. The hiking trails lead through beautiful landscapes and Sweden’s highest mountains.
You should experience one of the most famous folk festivals in the country if you are in Sweden during this period. Midsommar is celebrated on a Saturday in June, usually around the 20th. Cheerful Swedes in brightly colored clothes dance around the traditional tree and celebrate life.
The very short days are the reason for this beautiful festival, where there is not only a good portion of joie de vivre but also delicious Swedish food. In some places, the sun doesn’t even set at all. You will experience the largest Midsommar festival in Leksand, the second-largest takes place in the Stockholm open-air museum Skansen.
Watching the Northern Lights
Sweden is one of the countries where you can witness the natural spectacle of the “Aurora Borealis”, the Northern Lights. The best viewing opportunities are in Kirona and Abisko, both of which are in the historic province of Lapland.
Astrid Lindgren’s world
Vimmerby, the birthplace of the world-renowned children’s book author Astrid Lindgren, is located in Småland in southern Sweden. If you like the Swedish cult author’s books, you will love this place. Because here is Astrid Lindgren’s World, an entertaining theme park.
On more than 130 km² you can experience the author’s stories and characters in real life, so to speak. Whether Pippi Longstocking, Ronja Räubertochter, Karlsson vom Dach or Michel from Lönneberga, more than 125 actors and breathtaking scenery and productions give you the feeling of being right in the middle of Villa Kunterbunt or the little village of Bullerbü.
To ensure that your trip to the natural paradise of Sweden is an all-around beautiful experience, we have summarized everything you need to know here.
When is the best time to travel to Sweden depends primarily on what you want to experience? If you are more interested in hiking or beach holidays, you should come in summer, from June to August, because the temperatures are mostly mild during this time. The months of December to April are suitable for winter sports enthusiasts of all kinds .
Documents & Currency
If you want to enter Sweden, it is sufficient to have a valid identity card with you. You can also visit with a valid passport. Both documents must be valid for the duration of the stay.
In Sweden, the Swedish krona (SEK) is used to pay. It is also common here to pay smaller amounts by card. It is therefore highly advisable to have a credit or debit card that is valid abroad with you.
In Sweden, you can expect uncomplicated and rather simple home cooking. The traditional Köttbullar (meatballs in a creamy sauce) are well-known all over the world, and Biff a la Lindström (meat roast) is also a very meaty dish. The interestingly concocted stir-fry pyttipanna also lures with outstanding taste, as does the deliciously spiced Swedish lutfisk (stockfish).
Also, drinking coffee is very common in Sweden, so you can expect top-quality products here. Fika is doing a coffee break with delicious biscuits and cakes. Spiced schnapps is typical for Sweden, for example with anise, dill, or St. John’s wort.
Hotels & Accommodation
In Sweden, you are spoiled for choice when choosing your accommodation. You can stay in a boutique hotel in the city, a family hotel on the coast, or a more traditional holiday home.