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55 Reasons why everyone should visit Sweden

55 Reasons why everyone should visit Sweden

Ever thought of visiting Sweden? In this post,  I’ll share 55 reasons why everyone should visit Sweden at least once. It’s such a beautiful country and it’s about time to let the world know about my home country and our hidden gems, foods, traditions and much more!

Of course, there are a lot more than 55 Reasons to visit my beautiful homeland, but this is a good start, especially if you’re a first-time visitor!

1. Nature

If you’re longing for wild nature filled with mountains, trees, lakes, and animals. Guess what? Sweden is one of the best places to experience it.

In total, there are 29 national parks in Sweden. Going to a city? No worries, every city is close to nature.

Svensk natur

Photo: Niclas Vestefjell/imagebank.sweden.se

2. Crayfish Party

Don’t worry if you’re thinking “what the heck is a crayfish party?”. It’s one of our unique traditions in Sweden, and basically, we make decorations, prepare a massive plate with crayfish, put on our crayfish hats and a bib, singing silly songs that we finish by drinking our famous schnapps.

It’s a huge tradition in Sweden, and if you’re visiting during August, you’ll have the opportunity to see what the fuss is all about. I can assure you that the crayfish party will be a memory for life!

Crayfish party

Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se

3. See Reindeer

YES! We have reindeer in Sweden, and they are amazing and roam freely. If you’re traveling by car in the northern part, don’t be surprised to see yourself road blocked by a herd of reindeer.

reindeer sweden

4. Castles

Do you like castles? Then I’ve got some good news. From Stockholm and below there are hundreds of castles to check out. In Ekerö outside Stockholm, it’s possible to visit the Drottningholm castle where the Swedish king and queen live.

At the picture, you can see the famous Gripsholms Slott, which is often named as one of the most beautiful castles in Sweden. The nearby guesthouse, Gripsholm Inn, is also deemed as one of the most haunted places in Sweden

gripsholms castlePhoto: Håkan Svensson / CC-3.0

5. Stockholm

The capital of Sweden with all of its canals and small islets and islands. Stockholm is a wonderful capital, not too big, not too small, just about right. The rich history and culture offer a fascinating visit as well as the surrounding nature and broad range of entertainments.

Stockholm

6. The Vasa Ship

One of the most well-preserved ships from the 1600s. It was a royal ship that now stands in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The Vasa ship is remarkable and shouldn’t be missed if you’re going to Stockholm.

Vasa ship

Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

7. Birka and the Viking heritage

The Viking era is a famous part of Swedish history, and in Birka it’s possible to experience that heritage and see what life was like. The boat trip is about 15 min to 2 hours depending on where you are in the Capital area.

Another cool thing about Birka – You can see runic scripts and go on a boat ride in a traditional Viking ship. Or simply just learn more about the famous vikings

BirkaPhoto: Stromma.se / CC-3.0

8. Sauna

From the beginning a Finnish invention, but the Sauna is also a huge part of the Swedish culture.

A sauna is basically a wooden room with a special heater where you throw water to raise the temperature.

Then you sit there for a while, but most people can only manage to stay for 10 minutes before they need to cool down.

It can be up to 90 degrees Celsius in a sauna, and it’s meant to be relaxing and allow your body to release toxins.

bastu

9. Fresh drinkable water

Not many countries have fresh drinkable water almost everywhere. The tap water is delicious, but what’s even better is the water from the fjords and streams up in the north. I have never tried better-tasting water.

fresh water

Photo: Fredrik Broman/imagebank.sweden.se

10. Midsummer

Probably our funniest and most “weird” tradition. In short, we are celebrating summer by dancing around a Maypole like frogs and drinking way too many schnapps while singing silly songs.

Visitors that are looking for an unusual and fun cultural experience, then this is definitely a good reason to visit Sweden.

If you want to know more about Swedish Midsummer – Check out the video below and see for yourself what midsummer is all about!

11. Astrid Lindgren’s world

Does it ring a bell when I say Pippi Longstocking? Astrid Lindgren was a famous Swedish writer. Other children book stories that have been translated into English: Ronia the robber’s daughter, Mio min Mio, Karlsson on the roof, and the Brothers Lionheart.

At Astrid Lindgren’s World, these characters come to life. It’s a theme park that your kids will absolutely love!

villa villekulla

12. Skåne, Southern Sweden

This is my home region, and the landscapes here are open, vast, and colorful. When the canola fields are blossoming, Skåne turns into a golden region filled with canola flowers everywhere in the countryside.

It’s also here you can see many of the old windmills as well as charming old towns, such as Ystad. 

Besides canola fields and windmills, Skåne is also famed for its beaches, cute little villages/towns, farmers, and of course the unique accent that we southerners have.

skane

13. Mountains

The tallest mountain in Sweden is called Kebnekaise with a height of 2 106 meters. There are other mountains as well, and you will find lots of beautiful scenery and hiking paths throughout the country.

mountains in Sweden

Photo: Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

14. Architecture

Sweden’s architecture offers a mix of the old and new. Many cities have preserved the old style and you won’t see a lot of skyscrapers here. The details are phenomenal, just look at this photo below which is taken in Stockholm.

stockholm architecture

While we don’t have a lot of skyscrapers, we do have quite a few unique buildings with cool architecture. Our biggest skyscraper can be found in Malmö. It’s called Turning Torso and was the first twisting tower in the world.

It has also been voted as one of the seven wonders of Sweden

turning torso

Photo: Silvia Man/imagebank.sweden.se

15. Smörgåstårta

This can be translated into Sandwich cake, and if you know a Swede, you might already know that we are huge fans of sandwiches. It’s the most common breakfast, so why not make a cake out of it?

There are plenty of varieties of the “Smörgåstårta” and it differs depending on which region you’re visiting. One thing is certain though; it’s freaking delicious, and a classic among Swedish food for large gatherings. 

svensk smörgåstårta

16. 100 000 lakes

With over 100 000 lakes in total, there’s a lake that suits everyone. And I mean, who doesn’t love a peaceful lake with beautiful scenery?

swedish lake

Photo: Heléne Grynfarb/imagebank.sweden.se

17. Glögg and Gingerbread

Two of our most cherished Christmas traditions. Glögg is a beverage that can be enjoyed with or without alcohol. The most famous one is produced by Blossa, pictured below.

blossa glögg

While Gingerbread goes hand in hand with Glögg, it can also be eaten on its own. And do we love our gingerbread? Yes, we do! Each Christmas people buy them like crazy.

It’s definitely something you have to try while visiting Sweden, and the best ones are those called “Annas Pepparkakor”.

annas gingerbread

18. Gothenburg

On the opposite side of Stockholm, on the western coast lies Gothenburg, which is the second biggest city. It’s a charming city with a laid-back culture and beautiful canals along with islets in the Gothenburg Archipelago.

Gothenburg

19. Snowmobiling

Ever tried a snowmobile? In Sweden, you can!

snowmobile

Photo: Mikko Nikkinen/imagebank.sweden.se

20. Swedish Fika

Fika is our sacred ritual that occurs every day, no matter if you’re at work, home, or out with friends. The Swedish Fika is a part of who we are, but to explain it shortly – Having coffee, snacks, or some pastries.

But it’s more than that; it’s a way of socializing and relax from work and stress. It’s one of the most defining features of the Swedish culture.

You’ll see cafées everywhere, and I would go as far as to say that it’s mandatory to sit down and have a traditional Swedish fika while visiting Sweden.

Fika

Photo: Helena Wahlman/image bank.sweden.se

21. Snow

YES! We do have snow in Sweden, and lots of it every winter. However, to be certain to see a good amount of snow – go to the northern part. There you have snow in abundance!

snow

22. IKEA

You’ve probably already heard of, or even been to an IKEA, which is the most famous export of Sweden. A huge furniture store that offers good quality at low prices. The catch? Well, you’ll need to put them together yourself!

A piece of cake for the handyman/woman. To be honest, one doesn’t need to be handy to put them together, and that’s also why IKEA has become such a big company.

Ikea

Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

23. The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi

Did you know that Sweden is home to the world’s first Ice Hotel? In Jukkasjärvi, in the northern part one can stay in a room made up entirely of ice, oh well, actually the entire hotel is made of ice. They even have an Ice bar.

For sure one of the coolest hotels in the world.

IcehotelPhoto by Paulina Holmgren / Icehotel.com

24. Beaches

Sweden is not really considered a beach destination, but as a matter of fact – The beaches of Sweden’s southern parts are both stunning and clean.

There are some nice beaches around Stockholm and Gothenburg as well, but the southern coast has the best range.

If you travel to Sweden during summer, make sure to visit some beaches!

swedish beach

Photo: Conny Fridh/imagebank.sweden.se

25. Cinnamon buns (Kanelbullar)

A classic bun, that could even be considered as the national bun. If you ask a Swede about cinnamon buns, the chance to see a smile on their face is almost guaranteed! The cinnamon bun even has its own day in Sweden.

kanelbulle

26. Wild blueberries

A superfood and antioxidant growing wild in Sweden. And yes, you’re allowed to pick them. They grow in forests all over the country and blueberry picking is a favorite activity among families during the blueberry season from June to September.

blueberries

27. Visby, Gotland

Gotland is a Swedish island that is home to one of Scandinavia’s best-preserved cities from the medieval era. The most notable remain is the stunning 3.4 km long wall encircling the town center.

Since 1995 Visby is also on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

visby gotland

Photo by: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebank.sweden.se

28. Endless forests

When traveling by car through Sweden or flying, one will notice that there are trees surrounding you almost all the time. Approximately 53% of Sweden’s area is covered in forest, so no wonder the forests seem endless.

Swedish forest

29. The Dala Horse (Dalahästen)

You probably wonder, what on earth is this? Is this the Trojan horse? Well, not really. It’s called the Dala horse, and this particular one is situated in Avesta and measures a whopping 13 meters.

All around Sweden, you’ll see smaller variants of this, and the Dala horse was from the beginning a wooden toy and decoration. It’s a classic symbol and souvenir.

Avesta Dala Horse

Photo: Michael715 / Shutterstock.com

30. Lucia

Lucia is a tradition that originates from Italy, but nowadays it’s one of our most celebrated days of the year. Check out the video below and see what to expect on December 13th.

 

31. The Lynx

One of the coolest cats on earth is roaming freely in the northern parts of Sweden. However, one will be considered very lucky to spot them in the wild since they are shy and normally stay away from humans. 

lynx

Photo: Håkan Vargas S/imagebank.sweden.se

32. West Coast

The west coast has a stunning archipelago as well as beautiful lush nature. When visiting the Swedish West Coast one can also enjoy fresh fish and quaint coastal towns.

West Coast Sweden

Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

33. Visit the Sami people

The Sami People are one of the indigenous folks in Sweden. They even have their own language and still, live by old traditions. The Sami people live in the northern parts of the country.

It’s very interesting to go to Sápmi (as it’s known in the local Sami language) and get to know the locals and their way of living.

sami peoplePhoto: Lola Akinmade Åkerström /imagebank.sweden.se

34. Lapland

Often referred to as “the last wilderness of Europe” since vast areas of the Lapland region consists of unspoiled nature.

And look at the beauty of it below, definitely one of the most wonderful places in the world and a good reason to visit Sweden.

Lapland

Photo: Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Lapland

35. Swedish Meatballs

You’ve probably heard about meatballs, and it could almost be considered as a national dish. Whenever I travel and come back home to Sweden, I have cravings for meatballs, mashed potato in brown sauce and lingonberries.

Swedish meatballs

36. Northern lights

Aurora Borealis, one of the natural wonders of the world can be seen during winter in the northern part of Sweden. Abisko is typically viewed as one of the best places to see Aurora Borealis in Sweden, but there are plenty of places in the north. 

For example, you could stay at the Ice and Light Village in Kalix where you have big windows in the ceiling with a possibility of viewing the northern lights from your bed. 

northern lights

Photo: Hjalmar Andersson/imagebank.sweden.se

37. Delicatoboll

Another craving I get when I’m traveling around the world – The Swedish Delicato ball, it can also be called a chocolate ball. To this date, I haven’t seen these in any other country, which is a shame because they’re so delicious.

Delicato is the brand to buy when you’re trying this yummy treat!

delicatoboll

38. Midnight sun

Ever wondered what it would be like if the sun never went down? Well, in Sweden you can, and during summer the sun remains visible all day and night up in the north.

midnight sun

Photo: Tomas Utsi/imagebank.sweden.se

39. The Moose

The king of the forest – The moose is an iconic animal that’s walking freely in our forests.

moose

40. Valborg

Another tradition that goes back to the time before we became Christians. Valborg is always celebrated the 30th of April, and basically, we are lighting up a huge bonfire and dance around it, and socialize.

In recent years we have also, of course, added some schnapps and other alcoholic beverages.

valborg

41. Music Festivals

As the third biggest exporter of music after The US and UK, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we love music. During summer there are many Swedish music festivals in different cities.

One of the biggest is the one called Summerburst, where world famous DJ:s around the world are playing. Check out the video below!

42. Dammsugare

Another classic when it comes to Swedish pastries and cookies. This one could be called both a “dammsugare” or a “punschrulle” meaning punch roll in English.

There are many different brands, but the best one is without a doubt the ones from Delicato (and I know, because I have tried almost every brand, yes I love “dammsugare”).

If I were to translate it into English it would be called “vacuum cleaner”.

dammsugare

43. Dalhalla

An amphitheater located in a former limestone quarry, in the middle of nature. During the summer one can enjoy between 20-30 events ranging from opera, jazz, and other music genres as well. Dalhalla offers an amazing musical experience combined with nature.

dalhallaPhoto: Calle Eklund / CC-3.0

44. Wild wolves

Ever dreamt of seeing a wild wolf? In Sweden, you can! Another amazing reason to visit Sweden.

wolf

45. Sala Silvergruva

An old silver mine that has been transformed into the world’s deepest hotel. The rooms are located approx 150 meters below the surface. At the hotel, you can explore underground lakes, join a guided tour in the silver mine, and much more.

A unique stay that will give you memories for life!

sala silvergruva

46. Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey is together with football sort of the national sport, and almost every city has its own Ice Hockey team. As a matter of fact, some of the most successful hockey players are from Sweden, such as Peter Forsberg and Nicklas Lidström.

sweden ice hockey teamPhoto

47. Saffron Buns

Another Christmas treat that we bake already when it’s Lucia. A favorite bun among many Swedes.

Saffron buns

48. Allemansrätten

Translated to “All man’s right” with the meaning that nature is free for everyone. You can pass almost everywhere you want, pick wild fruits and berries, and you can also camp almost everywhere as long as you don’t disturb others.

Only a few countries in the world have something similar like this right to roam in the wilderness, and most of them are other Nordic countries, like Finland and Norway

camping in sweden

Photo: Tomas Utsi/imagebank.sweden.se

49. Christmas markets

Christmas is a huge deal in Sweden, and so are the Christmas markets. One of the most famous is the one in Stockholm Old Town and “Jul på Liseberg” in Gothenburg.

But you might also be interested in the ancient Christmas markets of Jokkmokk, Gröna Lund, and Skansen as well. Most cities will also have their own Christmas market.

Christmas market

Photo: Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se

50. Skiing

We love snow and we also love to ski, and many Swedes are traveling to the northern parts each winter to go for a ride in the ski slopes!

Skiing in Sweden

Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

51. Kolarbyn

Want to experience life out in the woods, without electricity, running water, and so on? Kolarbyn is one of the world’s most unique hotels and an unforgettable experience!

Kolarbyn

Photo: Mikaela Larm / Kolarbyn

52. Surströmming

Our famous dish fermented herring. While it’s not for everyone it’s definitely unique and something that you have to try!

surströmmingPhoto

53. King’s Garden (“Kungsträdgården”)

Each year you can enjoy the King’s Garden during cherry blossom. It was a gift from Japan, which has now become a sign of spring in the Swedish capital.

Kungsträdgården

Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

54. Stockholm Pride

Everyone is equal here and we welcome all people, no matter race or sexuality. The Stockholm Pride is a big celebration each year to honor and celebrate the freedom of HBTQ-people in Sweden.

Visitors from all over the world come here to enjoy the festivities.

stockholm pridePhoto

55. The Archipelago (Skärgården)

One of Sweden’s most famous attractions – The Stockholm Archipelago. Thousands of islets and islands where locals go during the weekend and summer to swim and relax.

stockholm archipelago

Photo: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

Flight tickets to Sweden

Find hotels in Sweden


Personally, I could probably list 100 of places and things to do as more reasons to visit Sweden. It’s a wonderful country that has a wide range of nature, sightseeing, and culture.

Weren’t your favorite thing listed? If you’re from Sweden or have traveled here already and have some more tips to share, please share in the comment section!

And if you have some more questions about visiting Sweden, leave a question or send me an email and I will happily answer. 

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Cindy

Tuesday 16th of April 2019

Hello, do you have favorite things to do in Skane? My sister and I will be in Sweden in June and want to explore Skane so would like your opinion on what we should do. Also, would you suggest a quaint town to stay in. Thank you!

Alexander Waltner

Wednesday 17th of April 2019

Hello Cindy, unfortunately, I haven't published a post like that yet. I have only posted this https://www.swedishnomad.com/favorite-photos-from-skane/

I suggest that you visit some Castles, but it depends if you have a car or not. Also, what are your main interests? As for a quaint town to stay in I really recommend Ystad, which a lovely old coastal town filled with colorful houses and cobblestoned streets.

Brit on the Move

Wednesday 13th of February 2019

Hi there, was just in Sweeden in Nov 2018 and LOVED IT! Sadly we only had 3 nights and it's not enough time to do it justice. This said you have the most beautiful downtown area, some of the best cafes and an amazing market by the palace. We were lucky enough to get a small snow storm so it was beautiful. I can't wait to return and follow some of your advice. Specifically the moose, I have an obsession with them! PS, why are there so many Italian restaurants? Not that the food was not great - it was but I was surprised by the volume of Italian food..... Nikki

Alexander Waltner

Wednesday 13th of February 2019

Hey Nikki :) Happy to hear you liked Sweden! Did you go to Stockholm?

We LOVE Italian food, and Thai food and Sushi. Most people cook their own food at home, so when we go out and eat, we want to eat something different. Or Pizza and Kebab, those two are so common that it could be considered a part of the Swedish cuisine these days :)

Laura

Friday 25th of January 2019

Hi Alexander,

I have enjoyed your blog. I am an American who does not travel but your blog makes me want to visit. Would it be possible to email with you instead of public post?

Thanks for all the information!

Laura

Alexander Waltner

Sunday 27th of January 2019

Hey Laura, of course. You can send me an email at contact@swedishnomad.com or use the contact form.

Craig

Sunday 20th of January 2019

Alex:

We are coming to Sweden in July 2019 and have about 2.5 days to spend in Stockholm. Do you think going to Birka is a good use of our limited time? Thanks!

- Craig

Alexander Waltner

Sunday 27th of January 2019

Hello Craig, how nice! I think that depends, almost a full day will go to that since you have to get there as well. But if you're keen on seeing Birka I believe it's a good use of your time.

Eden

Friday 18th of January 2019

I can't wait to visit here one day. My great grandparents were from Sweden, so I've always wanted to go. Loved the Midsummer video as well!