Sweden is a land of wonderful contrasts, from its southern Baltic shores to high up into the Arctic Circle. This is a country of endless pine forests, majestic mountain peaks and ranges, vast inland lakes and a stunning coastline.
Yet for all this wilderness the country boasts sophisticated, cosmopolitan cities such as Gothenburg, Malmo and Stockholm, a capital that is considered on of the most beautiful in the world, aptly named the ‘Venice of the North’.
Sweden is known for its natural beauty, including thousands of islands, plus lakes, forests and mountains stretching up to the Arctic Circle.
- Stroll around the pretty cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan, the most central and historic island within the Swedish capital Stockholm.
- Experience traditional Swedish food and drink by tucking into a smorgasbord of hot and cold delicacies, washed down with a glass of vodka or aquavit.
- Travel into the heart of central Sweden with its forests, lakes and traditional cottages – you may even get to see a bear or two.
- Head to Swedish Lapland to stay in the legendary Icehotel and then wrap up warm to try to catch the natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights.
When to visit
May to September is a great time to visit all parts of Sweden due to temperatures averaging in the mid-20s and the long summer nights, including the midnight sun in the far north. Snow normally begins to settle from November onwards, although temperatures can remain mild in the south, dropping to well below zero in the north of the country.
Areas of Sweden
Sweden’s human history began after the Ice Age around 10,000 years ago and one its most infamous periods came during the Viking era from 800 to 1100AD. The origins of modern Sweden can be traced to when the country united with Norway and Finland to form the Kalmar Union, which lasted from 1397 to 1520. The country was later unified by King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century and became the major power of northern Europe before being displaced by Russia during the following century. Sweden stayed neutral during the two World Wars in and joined the European Union in 1995.