Sweden Tourism And Travel Guide
1.8° C / 35.2° F
April to August
5 to 6 Days
Sweden is a Scandinavian country in northern Europe, ensconced within mountains and forests and the seaside, with the Arctic Circle rounding its northern reaches. The country boasts of one of the highest standards of living and has a life quality better than most countries in the world. With national parks, Northern Light viewing spaces, amazing cities and welcoming people, Sweden attracts tourism by the ton. Already dreaming of northern lights and ice-covered landscapes? Here’s a travel guide to take you to Sweden.
How to Reach
Arlanda Airport in Stockholm is Sweden’s major international airport and receives regular daily connecting flights from Mumbai and Delhi. Airlines like Emirates, Air India, Qatar etc serve these routes. From Arlanda you can take domestic flights to your Swedish city of choice or choose to travel by car to your next destination.
Swedish roads, like all Scandinavian countries, are well developed. You can drive into the country from neighbours like Denmark, Finland, Poland, Norway, Germany, Estonia etc. Bus services like Flixbus, Eurolines, Nettbus etc also ply across these countries.
Railways in Sweden are a preferred mode of transport by the masses. You can also travel into the country from Western and Central Europe through Eurail. Regular trains connect Sweden to UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Estonia among others.
Waterways serve the ports and coasts of Sweden, with the main docking yards at Stockholm, Malmö, Helsingborg and Gothenburg. International cruise liners make a pit stop at a Swedish port and mostly ferries ply between the different islands and other Scandinavian countries.
The way to get around Sweden is to travel by trains across cities. While ferries and buses are also a great option, flights are expensive unless taken with low-budget airlines. In the cities, the best way to get by is on bicycles or walking, with taxis ready for hailing down the street or on calling too.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Sweden for outdoorsy and adventurous activities is spring/summer, while most tourists choose to come here to see the Northern Lights, which happens to be in winter.
Spring (March to May):
With an average high of 16°C, Sweden sees a pleasant spring. April is the cherry blossom season and attracts tourism to its many events and festivals centred around the new white and pink blossoms. Some areas see flash floods too as snow melts and rivers swell, but this is still a good time to visit.
Summer (June to September):
Summer is one of the best seasons to visit Sweden, what with its warm weather of 27°C highs and berries bursting, midnight sun in the sky and national parks and hiking trails open. For city exploration and sightseeing too this is a great time.
Autumn (October to November):
Autumn should be avoided in Sweden, as it is cold, windy and sees a lot of slush and rain. Not much is done at this time, neither is it the time for dark clear nights to see Northern Lights yet. In the very upper regions you do have a probability of the Lights so September onwards is the shoulder season for Northern Lights.
Winter (December to February):
The thick of winter is the season to see Northern Lights, especially in places like the Swedish Lapland and Abisko. With temperatures going down to -22°C, prepare for bitter cold and carry loads of warm clothes because you will be camped in the open to see the Lights. December also sees Christmas festivities and night markets.
Things to Do
Icehotel in Swedish Lapland is made entirely of ice; ice rooms, ice beds, ice dressers, shots served in ice glasses, and so on and so forth. It is a very expensive place to stay in and has limited rooms, but is an experience worth having. If you want to have it on budget then come down for a meal and some drinks to the bar that is completely made of ice too. Nearby areas are perfect Northern Lights spotting places and there are also other winter sports to indulge in.
See the Northern Lights:
Most people visit Sweden in winter, in search of those beautiful Northern Lights. The best places to witness the phenomenon is near the Arctic Circle, i. e. Abisko, Swedish Laplands, Jukkasjärvi and Tärendö. Late-September to December is the shoulder season, while December to March is the peak time.
Go Dog Sledding:
Huskies and mountain dogs in Sweden are another delight, especially when the said dogs pull a sled you are riding. It is a great snow sport and enjoyed by tourists, not just to go from place A to place B. Find these dog sleds operated in Kiruna, Sarek National Park, Abisko and Jukkasjärvi.
Check out the Hiking Trails:
Swedish summers are filled with greenery in the forests, with peaks becoming accessible due to melted snow. This is the best time to go for treks and walks, hike up trails and enjoy outdoor picnics. Some coveted trails are the 440 km long King’s Trail in Kungsleden, steep climbs of Kullaberg Nature Reserve, red granite cliffs of High Coast and the coastal walk nearby.
Celebrate Cherry Blossom:
Among other city fun, cherry blossom celebration is the greatest highlight. The bloom season is celebrated in April in most cities, as the white and baby pink flowers bow the branches of trees. Go for these events at Kungsträdgården Park in Stockholm, Botaniska Trädgården in Gothenburg and Malmo among others.
What to Eat
The Swedish love their breads and fish, as well as meats and the coveted lingonberry jam (served with almost everything). Thursdays in most homes are meat-free, with pea soup and pancakes; while the most famous delicacies otherwise are meatballs, pickled herring, Crispbread and Räksmörgås or open sandwiches. The locals love their sweets too and you must try the Cinnamon Bun, Prinsesstårta (princess cake) and the candies or sweets that almost everyone indulges in.
Where to Shop
Sweden is known for its luxury brand H&M, but that you will anyway scourge in your home country. So when in Sweden, look for local Swedish fashion boutiques and stores like Grandpa, ACNE, Tiger of Sweden, Björn Borg, Cheap Monday etc. Some amazing streets to shop include Stockholm’s Drottninggatan, Götgatan and Hamngatan.
What souvenirs to take back from Sweden? Well, take home some bold local silver jewellery, handmade wooden toys, utensils and Sami jewellery; along with hard cheese, berries, jams and the famous Dalecarlian Horse.