Sweden is a unique mix of things and a visit here is not just about seeing the history or eating the food, it’s about experiencing a way of life, immersing yourself in an idealistic culture where equality is valued and the future is now.
Streets adorned with quaint cafes and Fika-loving locals, modern design and ancient architecture. It is, without a doubt, a feast for the senses and a city well worth exploring. More than that, the Swedish culture is one well-worth experiencing first-hand.
This Sweden travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Fast Facts about Sweden
- Sweden, the standard is 230 volts. You will need Plugs C & F.
- The Swedish currency is the Swedish Krona (SEK) and is around 8 SEK to 1 USD dollar.
- If you’re looking to buy alcohol (above about 3%) outside of a restaurant or bar, you’ll have to find the nearest Systembolaget, which is a government-owned and run store that is the only legal option for buying take-home booze in Sweden. Som if you enjoy a drink, you might want stock up on duty free en route to Sweden.
- Sweden’s water supply is well filtered and incredibly clean, so bring a long a portable water bottle and make sure to fill it up when you go exploring!
- Always ask if you should remove your shoes or not when entering a Swedish home. In most homes it is customary to remove your shoes.
- When picking your hostel or hotel, pay the premium for a central location. You’ll save a ton on public transportation. Also try to get one with breakfast included as it will always be cheaper than a regular breakfast at a restaurant or café.
- From bus stations to malls to public parks, toilets are nearly always pay-to-pee. This requires inserting a 5 or 10 kronor coin into a machine to unlock the door.
Things to See and Do in Sweden
- Go on a Kayaking Adventure: Do the North organizes kayaking trips to all the non-Swedes out there who haven’t experienced the amazing untouched and beautiful nature of Sweden.
- Watch the Northern Lights: Have you seen the Northern Lights? If so, where? And if not, when are you planning to? Gotta check this off the life-list….they definitely live up to their reputation.
- Visit Fairytale Drottningholm Palace on the island of Lovö: a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this palace is around 11 kilometers west of Stockholm. Dating from the 17th century, the palace is now the official residence of the Swedish Royal Family.
- Take a free walking tour – If you don’t want to walk around aimlessly, take a walking tour! Learn about the history and the different areas of the city
- Leave central Stockholm – As soon as you get out of the city centre, prices drop. There are plenty of pretty areas 10-20 minutes away on the subway. A good place to visit would be Solna, you can find Mall of Scandinavia, Friends Arena, beautiful parks like Hagaparken and Ulriksdals Slott, and it’s only 7 minutes from central with the subway.
- Take The Capitals & Fjords Tour: Let’s face it, Scandinavia is expensive. That’s why we chose to do a guided tour of Scandinavia for our first outing. With a guided tour we could sit it in comfort with a bit of luxury and relaxation.
- Take advantage of the free parks – Stockholm has some beautiful parks worth a visit. Check out Rålambshovsparken, Gärdet, tantolunden or if you take the subway 10 minutes on the blue line, to Solna, you can find Ulriksdals Slott or Hagaparken.
Sweden Travel Guides
Budget – If you are traveling on a budget in Sweden you can get one-person accommodation in a hostel or at a campsite. These will typically cost between $25 – $45 per night. These spaces are clean and have shared spaces for sleep and will offer hot water and wifi.
Mid Range – You can secure a double room in a Swedish mid-range hotel for about $60 – $140 per night. These hotels provide clean lines and furnished rooms, complimentary breakfasts, and in some cases, pools and fitness centers.
High End – In Sweden, high-end hotels offer luxury rooms from $145 – $280 per night. These hotels give high-quality room and bathroom amenities, have world-class restaurants and bars on-site and treat their guests to luxurious experiences.
- Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com, Tripadvisor and VRBO for the best deals on accommodation.
- Kanelbulle – The cinnamon bun is a famous treat in Sweden and can be found in every bakery, café, and food store in the country.
- Herring – Herring is native to the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, and the Swedes have expert experience at smoking and cooking these little fish perfectly.
- Godis (Pick n Mix) – Pick n mix sweets are loved by the young and the old in Sweden and there are usually whole aisles in supermarkets that sell these treats.
- Husmanskost – This is a style of cooking that combines some of Sweden’s best foods into a comfort meal with meatballs, potato gratin, or other delicacies.
- Prinsesstårta – This is a green layered sponge cake with a dome that is typically baked for important celebrations like birthdays, graduations, and retirement.
The Best Ways to Get Around Sweden
Getting to Sweden:
Flights: Sweden accommodates flights from around the country and across the world. Stockholm Arlanda Airport is Sweden’s largest and busiest airport, while Goteborg Landvetter Airport is Sweden’s second-largest airport.
You can check for the best flights to Sweden on Skyscanner.
Buses: There are buses that run within the cities of Sweden and across the country as well. Although it might be more efficient to go across the country by air, buses are definitely cheaper and you can get daily passes.
Taxis/Uber: In Sweden, you can get a taxi at a stand, hail one on the street, or call one on the telephone. Some taxis are metered while some charge fixed fares. Uber is also readily available in Sweden.
Car Rental: It is easy to rent a private car in Sweden and there are many rental companies. You need to be above age 20 and have a valid driver’s license to rent a car. You can also compare prices here.
When to go To Sweden
To take advantage of the warm sun, go in between May and September. Boating is a popular activity during this time of year.
If you want to enjoy the snow, go between November and March. You’ll enjoy outdoor activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the cold winter weather.
Where to Stay in Sweden
- Hotel Langholmen – Locate in Stockholm, this former prison turned hotel has simple but stylish rooms with metal bunks and bare walls – prison style. A popular beach is close by and the hotel is friendly for couples with children.
- Hotel Flora, Gothenburg – This boutique hotel is located in the middle of Gothenburg, is classically designed and has rooms with workspaces in it. Food and drinks are offered on the terrace, making it a great place to mingle.
- https://theplanetd.com/copperhill-mountain-lodge-tripadvisor – This luxury ski hotel is rated five stars. It offers ski-to-door facilities and its spa is award-winning. It has different rooms and suites, as well as a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool.
What to Pack for Sweden
Sweden has a much milder climate than most other regions of the world that lie as far north. July temperatures in Sweden average 13 to 17°C. February is usually Sweden’s coldest month, with temperatures from – 22 to -3°C. In northern Sweden, winter temperatures often drop to -30°C, sometimes even lower.
Expect snow in souther Sweden from December to April and in northern Sweden from the beginning of October. Northern Sweden lies in the Land of the midnight Sun and as a result has continuous daylight during part of the summer.
The number of days of continuous daylight increases as one goes farther north. Southern Sweden never has continuous daylight, though it averages 19 hours of daylight a day in midsummer. In winter, Sweden has similar periods of continuous darkness.
- Day bag – Pack a smaller backpack or day bag you can throw all your gear into for day trips, like water bottles, scarves, beanies, gloves, camera etc and will need somewhere to put those things if you’re exploring the great outdoors.
- Swimwear – If you’re visiting during the winter months and wish to go to a sauna, or if you’re visiting in summer and just want to have a swim, you’ll need your swimsuit. Don’t forget to pack whatever else it is you usually like to swim with.
- Personal Safety Products – Before leaving for your trip, make sure to pack some personal safety products, like money belts and locks, so that you can keep your valuables safe on your trip.
- Layers – You should pack a fleece jacket, woolen sweaters, chunky knitwear and other warm items you can layer. Warm legwear is important too so you may like to think about packing thick stockings to layer under jeans, and thermal underwear is a good idea. Make sure to pack warm (and good quality) socks, gloves, and a hat. These are incredibly important if you plan on doing any outdoor activities or if you plan on walking around outside to sightsee. Lastly, pack at least one thick warm coat that is windproof and waterproof.
- See our post Winter Layering Tips to Dress for the Deep Freeze
- Beauty Products – if you are prone to dry skin, then make sure to pack some beauty products like moisturizer, lip balm for chapped lips, cracked heel balm and hand balm or moisturizer.
- Bug spray: Summer’s in Sweden are much more humid and full of mosquitos. Definitely, pack bug spray for your trip to Sweden.
- Rain gear: The capital city of Stockholm, Sweden, gets 22 inches of rain annually. Prepare by bringing a waterproof raincoat, rain boots, and a small umbrella. Stockholm receives the greatest rainfall between the months of July and September, so make sure to pack a light waterproof jacket.
Sweden Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
- Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
- Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
- VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
- Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
- Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
- Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
- Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
- World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.