Sweden is bordered by Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast, with a long Baltic coast to the east and south. Approximately half the country is forested and most of the many thousands of lakes are situated in the southern central area.  Compare hotels prices in Sweden.

Sweden is a land of such cultural contrast. While urban Sweden is stylish, modern and sophisticated, the countryside offers many simpler pleasures especially for those in search of tranquility.

Throughout the 20th century, Sweden was neutral during times of world conflict. Through this neutrality, Sweden has been able to act as intermediary between hostile factions on many occasions.

As of 2011, the total population of Sweden was estimated to be 9,450,000.

Sweden has managed to integrate a capitalist environment with substantial welfare benefits, a feat which other larger nations have failed to emulate successfully.

Travel Advice: Visits to Sweden are trouble-free in the main. You should, however, be made aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising caution following two cars exploding in central Stockholm on 11 December 2010. For further information:
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tel: 0845 850 2829.
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

Formalities

Sweden is a member of the Schengen Agreement and therefore has no formalities with countries of similar standing. However, be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. Airports in Europe are divided into “Schengen” and “non-Schengen” sections, which effectively acts like “domestic” and “international” sections elsewhere. If you are arriving from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Customs and Immigration at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks.

Languages Spoken

Swedish and English (nearly 90% of all Swedes). Sometimes, Swedes are prone to overconfidence with their grasp of “The Bard’s” language, and throw in a whole load of expletives. Please do not take offence.

Weather

Sweden enjoys a temperate climate in spite of its latitude due to the Gulf Stream. In northern Sweden, a sub-Arctic climate prevails.  The average January daytime temperature in Stockholm is 1/-2°C (30°F) and in July it is 23/15°C (72°F). The average precipitation is between 500 and 800 mm.

When to go

The most popular time to visit Sweden is during the summer months (late May to early September). Naturally, snow holidays (including “midnight sun”) are also popular (including Christmas). For those that appreciate fewer crowds, a good time to go is February through to May.

Historical Places

Sweden has 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 12 cultural, 1 natural and 1 mixed site.

The top cities to visit are:

Stockholm has it all: unique location, great architecture, historical sights, museums, parks, nightlife, shops – and an archipelago of 24,000 islands just around the corner. If you haven’t seen Stockholm, you haven’t seen Sweden.

Also of great interest are Karlskrona (the town centre is a world heritage site), Kristianstad (historical town, boulevards in the Parisian style), Lund (university town with a famous cathedral) and Kalmar (beautiful location, old town and well-preserved Renaissance palace).

Bucket & Spade

Sweden has 33 blue flag beaches and 39 blue flag marinas dotted along its coastlines. (Blue Flag is an International body that grades beaches (and marinas) to a high standard with facilities nearby – for further details: www.blueflag.org).

Heads Up

  • It’s confusing but when it comes to distance, Swedes say mil “mile” which equals 10 kilometers and has nothing to do with the distance of a statute mile.
  • If you need to contact the emergency services in Sweden, call 112.
  • “Viking” is not the name of a separate tribe or nation – it is simply the old Norse word for “sailor”, “navigator of the fjords” or “pirate”.
  • In September 2003, Swedes rejected the adoption of the Euro and have remained with their own currency. The national currency is the krona (SEK, plural kronor).
  • An unofficial national symbol, the Dala Horse (Swedish: dalahäst) is the souvenir of souvenirs to bring home from Sweden.
  • Swedes are some of the highest consumers of coffee in the world.
  • Absolut Vodka comes from Sweden.
  • There is no smoking in bars or restaurants except where there is a garden.
  • The legal age to drink alcohol is 18.
  • If driving on the highway, keep a lookout for moose, deer and boar. They sometimes stray onto the road.
  • Swedish medical care is normally of a very high standard.
  • In summer, beware of the dreaded mosquitoes. They carry no disease but the bites are itchy.
  • Sweden has dozens of parks and nature reserves.
  • 10% of Sweden’s population is made up of immigrants (mainly asylum seekers and refugees).
  • As at the end of 2009, 92% of Swedes were ‘online’.

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