Top events in Sweden

September
25

Since 1992 this has been the leading festival in Sweden for beer, cider and whisky. The event is held over two weekends in late September and...

August
21

Part of the IAAF Super Grand Prix, DN Galan is one of the leading track and field athletics events in Sweden. Held in the impressive Stockholm...

September
06

An event solely for women, Tjejmilen is a running race that attracts close to 25,000 participants each year. It takes runners on a 10km (6.2 miles...

Knights Island, Stockholm, Sweden
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Knights Island, Stockholm, Sweden

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Sweden Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

449,964 sq km (173,732 sq miles).

Population

9.6 million (2013).

Population density

21.4 per sq km.

Capital

Stockholm.

Government

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state

King Carl XVI Gustaf since 1973.

Head of government

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt since 2006.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are used.

Sweden is a land of incredible contrast. Home to a vast array of landscapes - from the dense pine forests and craggy mountains of the north, to the rolling hills and glossy golden beaches of the south - the gap widens even more when you take the country’s urban centres (home to 84% of the population) into account. The seven major cities, which include Malmö, Gothenburg and the capital, Stockholm - each have their own distinct character, compelling histories and wildly varying architectural styles. Despite these differences, urban Sweden tends to be stylish, modern and sophisticated, while the countryside offers simpler pleasures for those in search of peace and tranquility.

Bordered by Denmark to the south, Norway to the north and Finland to the east, Sweden, the largest of the Scandinavian countries, shares a common heritage with the other members of the bloc but retains distinct traditions of its own. Unsurprisingly for a country whose name comes from the Old English Swēoþēod (people of the Swedes), a long mercantile history has made it one of the most culturally open and welcoming in Europe. The instantly likeable capital Stockholm has long been synonymous with style and its sharply tailored brand of chic has percolated throughout the wardrobes of the world, with hip brands such as Acne among the exports. Hipsters notwithstanding, Stockholm with its 14 islands and picturesque medieval beauty has much to offer those in search of culture, art and historical treasures, as well as a surfeit of fabulous boutiques. To the south, the city of Visby is the country’s best-preserved medieval settlement, with charming cobbled streets and the towering remains of the Sankta Karin church, which glower out over Gotland’s rolling green fields edged with pine and spruce forests.

Perhaps the most surprising of the cities though, is the southern port of Malmö, which belying its unfairly grim reputation, is now one of Sweden’s liveliest destinations. Thanks in part to the Öresund Bridge that links it to the Danish capital, Copenhagen, Sweden’s third city has undergone a real renaissance and is well worth a visit if you’ve got time.

Away from the cities, Sweden's scenery generally has a gentler charm than that the dramatic landscape of neighbouring Norway. Much of Sweden is forested, and there are thousands of lakes, including the large stretches of water between Gothenburg and Stockholm. The border with Norway is home to the spectacular Skanderna (Scandinavian) mountain chain, while in the far north you’ll find wonderfully bleak Arctic tundra – here it’s possible to see the Northern Lights. The south, meanwhile, is dominated by emerald forest, the cerulean waters of the Gulf of Bothnia and the jagged Baltic coastline. Of all the lovely spots in Sweden though, the awe-inspiring panoramas of the Stora Sjöfallet National Park take some beating. Part of the UNESCO-listed Laponian region of northern Sweden, the park’s majestic waterfalls, soaring peaks and crowded clumps of fir trees make it one of the country’s greatest natural treasures.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 21 September 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Over 591,000 British nationals visited Sweden in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free. If you need to contact the emergency services in Sweden call 112.

There is a general threat from terrorism.

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