© Hans Bjurling / age fotostock
Nature dominates the north, where there is sometimes only one inhabitant per half a square mile: it is a real human desert where forests, lakes, mountains and cloudbursts prevail. The immensity of the natural setting, the silence and the midnight sun will sweep any traveller away any into a new and exotic world.
Sweden's coasts have the advantage of benefiting from various climates and landscapes that will suit everybody's wants. Those who prefer remote spaces will prefer the province of Bohuslän. You won't any fine sandy beaches here but rather steep reliefs that are wild and authentic. The islands of Ôland and Gotland, off the Baltic coast, provide a scenery of sheer cliffs. Nevertheless, Gotland is ideal for its sunny climate and (few) beaches. Those who really love the sun will prefer to head south to the province of Scania, where they will find the most sunlight. It is also where you will find manors and castles which, combined with the traditional fishing villages of Bohuslän, make Sweden's coasts a great destination for a road trip.
Provided that you are not too close to the south of the country, it is possible to see numerous animals here that are able to survive the harsh winters. So don't be surprised if when you're out walking you come face to face with a reindeer or an elk. There are actually hundreds of thousands of the latter, considered to be the lords of the forest. A little more exotic are the musk oxen and bears, which live in the natural parks. Some might say that the birds here are more exotic than the ones found in England. Those who are prone to having good luck can expect to see snow buntings, penguins and seals on Gotland island. The climate in this region combined with the clayish nature of the soil together create the ideal place for the proliferation of orchids.
Swedish culture is based on a simple and popular concept. You will find a multitude of museums and touring shows, even in the small villages.
Sweden's architecture may not be notable for its aesthetic side but it does have real historical heritage. Whether you are in the north or the south, it is possible to visit an array of castles with very particular characteristics. You just have to visit Gripsholm, which is entirely pink; Drottningholm, with its fabulous park at the edge of Lake Mälaren; and the Royal Palace of Stockholm, with its decorated façades, to be convinced. If these grand constructions aren't your thing, then you might find what you are looking for along the coasts, where the traditional fishing villages continue to battle against the winds and tides. Otherwise, Stockholm's city-centre with its magnificent medieval streets will undoubtedly put you in a joyful mood.
Like all of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden is an ideal destination for practising boardsports. Some of the resorts (further to the north) don't close until around June. Although they don't rise very high in altitude, the resorts do provide slopes that offer some stunning scenery. While it is possible to cross-country ski just about anywhere in the country in winter, one of the national pastimes remains ice skating on the frozen lakes. As for thrill-seekers, they will enjoy experiencing the fear of driving on ice. In a BMW, a Porsche, etc. it's up to you to decide which one you want to pretend to be Sébastien Loeb in for the duration of a lesson.
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