Where to stay in Sweden
Sweden boasts an excellent range of hotels, covering the full spectrum of prices and standards with many offering discounted rates throughout the summer and at weekends during the winter. Details of these offers and other (including family) discount schemes are available from VisitSweden. Unsurprisingly, the Swedish capital (and elsewhere) does a good line in boutique hotels, with fabulous spots such as Sweden’s oldest inn - the quirky Stallmastaregarden Hotel (tel: (08) 610 1300; www.stallmastaregarden.se) – among the best.
Grading: There is the Hotelstars Union grading system from 1 to 5 stars. An SHR sign indicates that the establishment belongs to the Swedish Hotel & Restaurant Association.
Bed and breakfast
One of the nicest (and cheapest) sleeping options Sweden has to offer, bed and breakfasts tend to be small and cosy but vary hugely in terms of facilities. Some of the more rural operations can be very basic affairs, with washing water provided in buckets. Happily, this type is a rarity and modern versions complete with hot water and proper bathrooms are to be found practically anywhere.
Family camping holidays are extremely popular in Sweden and there is a tremendous variety of attractive sites. Most are located in picturesque surroundings, often on a lakeside or by the sea with free bathing facilities close at hand. There are over 450 campsites, all approved and classified by VisitSweden. Many offer facilities such as boat or bicycle hire, mini-golf, tennis, riding or saunas. It is possible to camp rough in areas away from other dwellings.
There are more than 300 hostels ranging from wonderful old mansions to a renovated sailing ship in Stockholm, as well as many purpose-built hostels. Gothenburg and Malmo are also good places to look for youth hostels and there are numerous others across the country, particularly in university towns such as Lund. Hostels have two to four beds per room, or family rooms, plus self-catering facilities. Members of the International Youth Hostels Federation get a cheaper rate. All youth hostels are open during the summer and some for the whole year. Contact Svenska Turistföreningen (www.swedishtouristassociation.com/staying-at-an-stf-hostel) for further information.
Many old castles and manors in Sweden are now being run as hotels. They provide a unique accommodation experience and are often beautifully located, on lakes or rivers with parklands and golf courses. Take advantage of the low weekend or summer prices. Package deals are also available.
Working farms throughout Sweden offer accommodation, either in the main farmhouse or in an adjoining cottage. Accommodation is normally on a bed and breakfast basis, with self-catering facilities, although some farms offer full board. Accommodation can be booked through local tourist offices.
Forest cabins and chalets are available throughout the country, generally set in beautiful surroundings near lakes, in quiet forest glades or on an island in some remote archipelago. Purpose-built chalets generally consist of a living room, two or three bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen and a toilet. They can generally accommodate up to six people, and cooking utensils, cutlery, blankets and pillows are provided. Renovated cottages and farm buildings are also available, usually in remote spots.