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Europe » Sweden » Sweden

The midnight sun, the snowbound winters, meatballs, herring, Vikings and Volvos, ABBA and the Hives - whatever your pre-existing notions about Sweden may be, a visit to this multifaceted country is bound to both confirm and confound them. Though you’re unlikely to be greeted at the shore by throngs of mead-swilling berserkers in longships, evidence of the Vikings and their pillaging days is easy to find. Cycling routes frequently pass through fields crowned with ship-shaped stone graves. A stroll through the Swedish countryside will often lead to a picnic on some ancient king’s burial mound.

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Popular destinations in Sweden

Stockholm: Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, spans the attraction gamut from the delightfully historic Old Town to the trendsetting and fashionable island of Södermalm. Spanning 14 separate islands, it beckons travelers from all over the world with class and beauty.

 

Gothenburg: Sweden’s second-largest city celebrates the wonders of the land and the sea. Educate yourself at the Museum of World Culture, slip into the Feskekôrka fish market for some slippery wares or treat your ears to an evening at the Gothenburg Opera. Metalheads who prefer something a little heavier are in luck—every summer, Gothenburg plays host to the Metaltown Festival, two days of head-banging glory.

 

Malmo: Malmö is Sweden's third largest city and home to the Øresund Bridge, which connects Sweden to Denmark over the Øresund Strait. The city, once plagued by an industrial past, is now known for its university and green buildings.

 

Visby: Visby is a popular vacation destination for Scandinavians during the summer and receives thousands of tourists every year. It is by far the most populated locality outside the Swedish mainland, with more than 22 000 inhabitants. Visby is also the only municipality seat of Sweden that is accessible only by boat and air traffic.

 

Gavle: is a city in Sweden, the seat of Gävle Municipality and the capital of Gävleborg County. It had 71,033 inhabitants in December 2010. It is the oldest city in the historical Norrland (Sweden's Northern Lands), having received its charter in 1446 from Christopher of Bavaria.

 

Uppsala: Uppsala is the fourth largest city in Sweden. Situated on the coast just north of Stockholm, it is home to a major university, Sweden's largest Cathedral, and the Uppsala castle.

 

Nacka: Nacka is the municipal seat of Nacka Municipality and part of Stockholm urban area in Sweden. The municipality's name harks back to a 16th-century industrial operation established by the Crown at Nacka farmstead where conditions for water mills are good. However, and somewhat confusingly, that spot is not densely populated and the municipal seat is on land that once belonged to Järla farmstead on the other side of Lake Järla.

 

Falun: Faluån is a river, floating through the city, separating it into two sides. Falu copper mine is located on one of the sides which during many centuries was one of Sweden's main business. This side of the river was usually called "the mining side", where not many plants grew due to the toxic smoke which contaminated the soil. On the other side of the river, where the smoke did not reach, sets a large number of beautiful, large villas, which made this side to be called "the delightful side". The center of Falun consist of classical pedestrian streets with small shops. in 1998, the city reclaimed the award of "the city center of the year" in Sweden.

 

Linkoping: It is the seat of Linköping Municipality and the capital of Östergötland County. Linköping is also the episcopal see of the Diocese of Linköping (Church of Sweden) and is well known for its cathedral. Linköping is the center of an old cultural region and celebrated its 700th anniversary in 1987. Nowadays Linköping is known for its university and its high-technology industry. Dominating the city's skyline from afar is the steeple of the cathedral.

 

 

Climate

Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, with four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The country can be divided into three types of climate; the southernmost part has an oceanic climate, the central part has a humid continental climate and the northernmost part has a subarctic climate. However, Sweden is much warmer and drier than other places at a similar latitude, and even somewhat farther south, mainly because of the Gulf Stream.

 

Temperatures vary greatly from north to south. Southern and central parts of the country have warm summers and cold winters, with average high temperatures of 20 to 25 °C and lows of 12 to 15 °C in the summer, and average temperatures of -4 to 2 °C in the winter, while the northern part of the country has shorter, cooler summers and longer, colder and snowier winters, with temperatures that often drop below freezing from September through May. The highest temperature ever recorded in Sweden was 38 °C in Målilla in 1947, while the coldest temperature ever recorded was −52.6 °C in Vuoggatjålme in 1966.

 

 

Transport

The Stockholm metro is the only subway system in Sweden and serves the city of Stockholm via 100 stations. The rail transport market is privatized, but while there are many privately owned enterprises, many operators are still owned by state. The counties have financing, ticket and marketing responsibility for local trains. For other trains the operators handle tickets and marketing themselves. Operators include SJ, Veolia Transport, DSB, Green Cargo, Tågkompaniet and Inlandsbanan. Most of the railways are owned and operated by Trafikverket.

 

The largest airports include Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (16.1 million passengers in 2009) 40 km north of Stockholm, Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport (4.3 million passengers in 2008), and Stockholm-Skavsta Airport (2.0 million passengers). Sweden hosts the two largest port companies in Scandinavia, Port of Göteborg AB (Gothenburg) and the transnational company Copenhagen Malmö Port AB.

 

 

Culture

Sweden has many authors of worldwide recognition including August Strindberg, Astrid Lindgren, and Nobel Prize winners Selma Lagerlöf and Harry Martinson. In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. The nation's most well-known artists are painters such as Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, and the sculptors Tobias Sergel and Carl Milles.

 

 

Music

Sweden has a rich musical tradition, ranging from mediaeval folk ballads to hip hop music. The music of the pre-Christian Norse has been lost to history, although historical re-creations have been attempted based on instruments found in Viking sites. The instruments used were the lur (a sort of trumpet), simple string instruments, wooden flutes and drums. It is possible that the Viking musical legacy lives on in some of the old Swedish folk music. Sweden has a significant folk-music scene, both in the traditional style as well as more modern interpretations which often mix in elements of rock and jazz. Väsen is more of a traditionalist group, using a unique, traditional Swedish instrument called the nyckelharpa while Garmarna, Nordman and Hedningarna have more modern elements.

 

 

Cuisine

Swedish cuisine, like that of the other Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Finland), was traditionally simple. Fish (particularly herring), meat, potatoes and dairy products played prominent roles. Spices were sparse. Famous dishes include Swedish meatballs, traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam; pancakes, lutfisk, and Smörgåsbord, or lavish buffet. Akvavit is a popular alcoholic distilled beverage, and the drinking of snaps is of cultural importance. The traditional flat and dry crisp bread has developed into several contemporary variants. Regionally important foods are the surströmming (a fermented fish) in Northern Sweden and eel in Scania in Southern Sweden.

 

 

Nice café’s, bistro’s and restaurants

Ahlströms Konditori, famous for their Cortina cake with pistachio marzipan deep inside a cream and almond marzipan topping.

 

Rosenkaféet, a picture pretty summertime secret surrounded by a glorious garden of roses.

 

Röhsska Café, at the Röhsska is an airy space with high ceilings and a feeling of calm. Healthy buffets for lunch, GI friendly foods and herbal teas a specialty.

 

Da Matteo Caffe é Gelato, is about as hip as it gets in Gothenburg. This famous joint is so well established the walls breathe a cool vibe.

 

Pubologi, for communal long tables and the deli bar in Restaurang AG does superb tapas and wine by the glass.

 

Marie Laveau, does not disappoint with a New Orleans vibe, Southern food, and killer cocktails.

 

The Cadier Bar, is the Grand Hôtel’s bar, classic in every way.

 

Guldbaren at Nobis Hotel, serves award-winning cocktails.

 

Sturehof, is a reliable, refined Stockholm institution.

 

 

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