Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe, located between Finland and Norway. It borders the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak. The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country.History
There's a fantastic selection of historic sites to discover in Sweden, including palaces and castles, and you can plan some great things to see on your trips beforehand. Must-see visits include the Royal Palace and Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm, Gripsholms Castle near Mariefred, Läckö Castle near Lidköping, Kalmar Castle in the south east of the country, as well as the castles and palaces around Gothenburg and Malmö.Language
The official language of Sweden is Swedish and it is spoken by the majority of individuals living in Sweden. Minority languages are Saami, spoken in the Northern regions, and Finnish. There are also a number of Romanies in Sweden who speak in Romani. Most Swedes speak enough English to help tourists get by, but it would be useful to learn a few basic Swedish expressions.Fishing
In order to fish at the 60,000 sites identified by the regional federations, you will require a license. This is sold at a price ranging from SEK 45 (£3.80) to SEK 200 (£17) (based on duration and the place you are fishing) in Tourism Offices, sports shops and online. Nevertheless, fishing is free on lakes Vaumlnern, Vaumlttern and Malar, along the coast of the Gulf of Botnie and on the west coast, between Bastad and the Norwegian border.Camping rough
Swedish law allows anyone to pitch a tent (but not a caravan...) on any public land (except on farms and gardens), as long as you respect the rules of propriety: don't make too much noise, do no damage and leave the place clean.Sailing
The Swedish love sailing (almost 1 in 8 people own a boat). There are many places to hire boats along the 4,660 miles of coastline, as well as on the lakes. To hire a pleasure boat, contact the local tourism authorities.Transport
Bus fares in towns and cities are usually around SEK 20 (£1.50), but it usually works out cheaper to get a day card or other travel pass deals. Swedish and Danish trains and buses form an integrated transport system, so buying tickets to Copenhagen from any station in the region is as easy as buying tickets for Swedish journeys.
In Stockholm, vintage trams operate from the city centre to Djurgården during the summer. Underground station entrances are marked with a blue T on a white background. The SL travel card gives access to public transportation throughout the Greater Stockholm area. Rates are SEK 115 (£12.50) for 24 hours, SEK 230 (£25) for 72 hours and SEK 300 (£32.50) for 7 days.
If you wish to discover the entire country, travel by train using the Scanrail Pass or Interrail pass that allow you to visit an unlimited number of destinations over a given period. The railway network has ultramodern night trains that travel right to the north of Nordland (panoramic cars, café and movies): a good way to save time as well as money that would have been spent in a hotel.Discover card
If you wish to visit Stockholm, the 'Stockholm card' grants you free access to more than 75 museums and tourist sites, the urban subway and bus service, guided boat rides and free parking in the city. You can obtain one from the tourism offices and kiosks. The city of Gothenburg also offers the same type of pass. They are available in tourism offices and online.
Surface area : 449964.0 km2
Population : 9000000 inhabitants
Renowned for its interior design (like Ikea), Sweden is also the land of glassware, pewterware, jewellery and handicrafts. In Stockholm, take a look at the department stores, namely NK, Ahlens and PUB.
Sweden's climate and location are largely responsible for the development of its cuisine. Due to Sweden's large North-South expanse, there are regional differences between the cuisine of the North Sweden and the South.
The most common dish is the Smörgasbord, a buffet composed of fresh, smoked or marinated fish, rye bread, meat balls, potatoes and cheese. In this land of fishing, you can treat yourself to salmon, trout, perch, pike, herring and eel. Red berries, especially cranberries, are often served plain or in a sauce with venison or meat balls.
Although Swedish cuisine may not be as popular as that of other European countries, it has been influential. The Russian nation is said to have been established by Scandinavian traders and warriors and Sweden may be responsible for introducing fruit soups, smoked meats, cream sauces, and herring to early Russians.
Surrounded by water on almost all sides, it is no surprise that Swedes love seafood, especially salmon, which is typically smoked, marinated, or cured with dill and salt. Herring, another popular catch, is prepared in just as many ways, and is often eaten alongside bread, cheese, and eggs for breakfast. Crayfish and eel are also popular.
Lutheranism is Sweden's state religion, with approximately ninety percent of Swedes belonging to the Church of Sweden. The Christian holiday of Christmas is uniquely celebrated in Sweden. Lasting for an entire month, Christmas commences on December 13, Saint Lucia Day, named for Lucia of Sicily who was murdered for her Christian faith in 304. (According to legend, Lucia brought food to Sweden during a famine, centuries after her death.) The eldest daughter of each household, dressed in a white gown, a red sash, and a halo of brightly lit candles adorning her head, plays the role of Lucia each year. Before dawn, she wakens her parents with songs, coffee and buns, and processions are organised.
For laymen and religious people, Christmas in Sweden is prepared for far in advance. On Sundays, families light a candle on a four-branch chandelier. On Christmas Eve, the four candles celebrate the birth of Christ. All sorts of celebrations take place: parades, traditional markets, concerts and exhibitions.
The far north, inside the Arctic Circle, is the home of the Sámi - Sweden's indigenous people. Known as Swedish Lapland, it is the land of reindeer, elk and bears, of fast flowing rivers and forests, perfect for endless hiking routes. The world-famous ice hotel is located in Jukkasjärvi, near to Sweden's northernmost town, Kiruna. You may even be lucky enough to see the beautiful multicoloured patterns of the northern lights from here.
Due to its proximity to Denmark and the rest of the European continent, the south of Sweden is the most cosmopolitan part of the country. It is home to the ancient university of Lund, as well as the city of Malmö, renowned for its youthful nightlife. In the centre of the country lies Dalarna, home to beautiful hills and villages as well as Lake Siljan, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. In the North of Sweden, discover enchanting scenery home to bears, wolves and reindeer.
Stockholm is a must-see. Situated on 14 different islands, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, the city boasts fantastic architecture, fascinating museums, and the best nightlife in the country. Spend your days exploring unspoilt island villages and swimming in the clear blue sea.
Gothenburg, the country's second biggest city, is also one of Sweden's most appealing destinations. Its people have a reputation of being the friendliest in Sweden, and the architecture of the network of canals and spacious avenues were designed by architects from Amsterdam. It also has a great nightlife and shopping opportunities.
Swedish weather is best during summer (late May to early September). If you like snow, go to Norrland or Dalarna between January and April. Take care if you are travelling during the winter, as Swedish winters can be very harsh, especially in the North. Delayed trains and flights are difficult to avoid during severe weather conditions. Snow and ice on the roads cause accidents daily.
The currency for Sweden is Swedish Krona, not the Euro. You can use the ATM with your card with no fee from the Swedish bank side, but check if there if your bank has a transaction fee for using your bank card abroad.
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