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The ice chapel, Sweden
The ice chapel, Sweden

Sweden travel guide

Stretching from the high Arctic to sunny southern island beaches, Sweden offers outdoor activities and cosmopolitan cities for every taste

Home to ABBA, IKEA and the Nobel Peace Prize, but also uninhabited islands, pristine national parks and Arctic wilderness, Sweden is a fascinating place. Here, the mood of the nation depends on light. Summer days are endless and carefree while in winter, at the northerly latitudes, the sun scarcely bothers to raise its head and a gloomier attitude descents – leavened by the sparkle of the northern lights and Christmas markets.

The Swedish are never happier than when outside, making this a great destination if you’re a fan of outdoor fresh-air fun. History buffs can explore Sweden’s stone circles and Bronze Age rock carvings, while fashionistas will love pottering and partying in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

Peddle past traditional windmills on the tiny island of Oland and then gorge on black caviar when you’re done. In the summer, head north to experience the midnight sun or go during winter to stay in a snowy suite at the Ice Hotel.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Stay in the coolest hotel on the planet – Sweden's Ice Hotel, at Jukkasjärvi, is resculpted every season. Drink in the Ice Bar before snuggling under a seriously thick sleeping bag for a chilled night's sleep. 
  2. Herd reindeer with the indigenous Sami – head to Kiruna, in the Arctic Circle, to arrange your trip.
  3. Explore Gothenburg – tour the streets of the fascinating city, then head off to an outlaying island for lazy cycling.
  4. Get lost in Gamla Stan, Stockholm's Old Town, before boarding a ferry to explore the city's stunning archipelago.
  5. Pedal along pretty coastal paths and laze on the beaches on the island of Gotland, in the Baltic Sea

Wanderlust tips for travel in Sweden

Be careful with the Swedish word mil. The Scandinavian ‘mile’ is actually 10km.

Pre-book hostels wherever possible. Swedish hostels often refuse to check people in outside of their reception opening hours.

The idea of a smörgåsbord is that you keep popping back to the table; avoid looking like a glutton by not overloading your plate.

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