Many visitors to Europe tend to forget about Scandinavia and its largest country, Sweden. But that’s one of the best reasons to spend some time in this almost wild, pristine and perfect paradise. Outside of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden is an amazing palette of outdoor adventures. There are countless places to hike the road less travelled or paddle the canals to destinations unknown. Since there’s so much history juxtaposed with modern life, travellers’ “Aha!” moments at ruins of the Vikings, castles of yore, and villages that time has left untouched makes Sweden a place that discerning travellers shouldn’t miss.
Make sure to leave time to visit the Northern Lights, cruise the canals (including Stockholm’s), hike/ski Kungsleden, sail the Archipelago (Stockholm), explore Vasamuseet, or experience Malmö at night. Summer is the best time to visit the country because summer’s gorgeous light-filled days at the longest of the year and the entire country embraces this festive season. Some travelers do prefer the Swedish winter holidays because the entire country seems to transform in reaction to cold temperatures and shorter days—hotels, quaint shops, and elegant hotels create an especially hospitable and inviting inner landscape at this time of the year.
Visitors are likely to land at the airport in Stockholm, the country’s capital and the capital of all of Scandinavia. This gleaming metro landscape causes many visitors to draw breath in delight! Stockholm is built on fourteen different islands, so there’s diverse beauty here.
Stockholm’s Smörgåsbord of Scandinavian food, drink, design and fashion is like the city’s cold, clean air for many. The vision of Scandinavians has always revered minimalism and color. There’s really no place like Stockholm in the world!
As visitors leave the city, here are some special places to consider:
The ICEHOTEL is certainly a magnificent must-see place. Nestled in sparkling Jukkasjärv, the hotel is completely fashioned of ice and snow. There’s an amazing ice bar and even an ice church here! Because Sweden experiences (and celebrates) the ice-thawing warm weather, the ICEHOTEL and surrounds must be rebuilt each November and December. For that reason, the experience is quite brand new each year. Visitors start at the ICEHOTEL as a portal to stunning Northern Lights views, the Arctic trails, safaris by dog sled, and even design tours. It’s essential to plan ahead, because a world full of discriminating visitors want to see these sights!
Sweden’s National Marine Park, Kosterhavet, is found on the beautiful, auto-free Koster Islands. The glorious coastal drive is just two hours from Gothenburg. Take a lobster or seal safari or dive, kayak, and explore some of the world’s most immaculate and flawless beaches.
The Mastrand area is just an hour by car from Gotheburg. This glamorous, flawless spot is a favourite for rich and famous travellers or members of the royal family in Sweden. Fantastically coloured and quintessentially Swedish wooden homes, Carlsten’s Fortress (a former residence of King Oscar II), and views of this generally impeccable landscape must be seen. For incredible views of the landscape at sunset, visit the Havshotellet Mastrand restaurant.
Sweden is one of the best-loved “secrets” of well-travelled visitors to Europe. Its unspoiled and perfect charm make a visit to Sweden worthy of consideration this year. Gothenburg, Skane, and Malmö are some of Sweden’s most culturally and historically-rich places in the land. Although this post just touches some of the sights travelers can experience in Sweden, it’s a great short list of places that are bound to please the most discriminating!