Looking for a travel guide to Sweden? Want to know how you can travel to this country of beautiful blonde people without breaking the bank? Me, too!
That’s why I brought in a local (thanks Jasmine!) to share her best Sweden travel tips: where to go, what to do, and how to travel Sweden cheaply, safely, and respectfully!
Must go in Sweden
An Island located off the eastern shore. Visiting Gotland and it´s medieval city Visby is like entering another time and space, or if you will, a scene from Game Of Thrones. In 1995 Visby was recognized by UNESCO as part of our world heritage and entered in the World Heritage list.
The city is surrounded by a 3.5 km wall that encloses old stone buildings, churches, and streets. During the 12th and 13th centuries Visby become one of the foremost cities of the Balkan area and throughout the ages has been visited by merchants, Vikings, and kings. Gotland also offers spectacular nature experiences best experienced in summer.
In the south of Sweden you can find beautiful flat farming landscape called Österlen. Österlen is known for being an artist favorite, there’s supposed to be something special about the light, with small sea side fishing villages and lots of apple orchards. The small town Kivik is the center of what is known as the apple kingdom of Sweden.
I like coming here during summer and visiting small farms and buying organic vegetables and fruits witch I enjoy with smoked flounder and other sea delicacies caught, smoked and sold in the area. On my food shopping round I always stop to “fika,”
Swedish word for drinking coffee and having something sweet on the side, at one of the many farm coffee shops were one sits outside having homemade pastries and enjoying the farm surroundings. No Starbucks or McDonalds in Österlen.
Must do in Sweden
Take a castle tour
Sweden is a monarchy so we have a king, queen, and a big ass castle. Actually we have a lot of castles but the one I´m talking about is the royal castle. We just call it The Castle.
Located in central Stockholm, with its 605 rooms it is the largest castle in Europe that is still used by a royal family for living and working. This is also where the Nobel Prize dinner is held.
There has been a castle or fort here since the Middle Ages but most of it was destroyed by a fire in the 17th century and was then restored and rebuilt to take on the fairly modern appearance that it has today. By modern I mean that it was finished 1754.
But there are still some structures in the cellar that one can see when visiting that date back to the 13th century. The tours offer an abundance of historical information or one can take one just because everything is so darn pretty. In one very heavily guarded chamber you can feast your eyes on priceless gold crowns covered in diamonds and jewels.
Midsummer is an old pagan Nordic tradition that is celebrated on the longest day of the year. Our winters are long and this is a celebration honoring light, warmth, and summer.
In the northern parts of Sweden it has been known to snow on midsummer though, horrible thought! Midsummer is perhaps the most Swedish thing you can do. Usually people gather with family and friends out in the countryside, most people want to be near a lake or the sea to be able to take a dip after perhaps a beer in the sauna.
For lunch one eats the first Swedish potatoes of the year, pickled herring, sour cream and chives. We also sing special drinking songs before enjoying snaps. We tie garlands of flowers and were on our heads and dress a big wooden cross in birch twigs and flowers that we dance around. Very pagan indeed!
Visit Stockholm and read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
When I travel I like to read a book about the destination that I am in. It can give a whole new dimension to both the book and the location. Stockholm is a great city and the book is good to.
Must eat in Sweden
A pie-like dessert or snack that only exists in Sweden that is absolutely yummy. This has nothing to do with what Americans call cheese cake. A Swedish “cheese cake” is baked and made out of milk, flour, rennet, almonds (both bitter and sweet), eggs, cream and sugar and is served with whipped cream and jam. Yum!
If you feel adventures you can eat something that most Swedish people won’t touch but that is truly traditional. Some people love it though. An old way of conserving fish by letting the fish rot and then put in cans to rot a bit more before enjoying with potatoes and red onions on bread.
I have not tried this myself but I have smelled it and the smell is unbelievably horrible. You could regard this as an anti-tip; don’t let anyone fool you into eating it!
Cultural tips for Travel in Sweden
When I travel outside Scandinavia and especially the USA I notice that people are more prone to striking up random conversations with strangers. It’s like everybody is networking all the time.
Swedes are more reserved so be prepared to be the one to start conversations and don’t be surprised if we look a bit bewildered at first. We really are very nice people we just need some patience and warming up.
Cheap travel tips for Sweden
Unfortunately Sweden is not the cheapest place to travel. Use public transportation and buy food and drinks in supermarkets.
Airbnbs are often cheaper than hotels if you’re staying for a few days. Here’s a private room in the heart of Stockholm for $41 a night and here is an ADORABLE cottage in Visby for $32 a night. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!
Thanks so much for sharing, Jasmine! Do you guys have any Swedish travel tips to share?