Sweden has something for everyone, quite literally. It’s one of the most liberal countries in Europe, and the Swedes are champions of human rights. Whether you’re a religious, cultural, ethnic or sexual minority, you can rest assured that you will feel right at home in Sweden. The Swedes are also extremely environment-friendly, and take great pains to conserve their country’s resources and protect its natural habitat. There’s a huge amount of appreciation for natural beauty in Sweden, and the country has a lot to offer for anyone with a love for the outdoors. For those who are more inclined towards intellectual or cultural pursuits, Sweden’s big cities have plenty to offer, with opera houses, theatres, museums, universities and lots more.Beyond the big cities and across the countryside as well, you will find mediaeval ruins, beautiful castles and mansions that could have been drawn straight out of a fairy tale book! And of course when it comes to pop culture and music as well, Sweden isn’t one to be left behind. From the iconic ABBA of the 70s and Europe in the 80s to the burgeoning heavy metal scene with the likes of Arch Enemy and In Flames, the country is home to a thriving live music scene.
Sweden has so much to offer to its inhabitants that it’s hard to narrow your options down to just five – or even ten – choices for that matter! However, to keep it simple and spare you the ordeal of having to sift through a long list, here are a few things that you absolutely must do:
You cannot live in Sweden and fully experience Sweden if you do not partake in a fika. Fika, like the Italian reposo and Latin American or Goan Siesta, is a defining cultural feature. It is a term that is used to describe a short break or interval from work to socialize over coffee and pastries. There are plenty of Fika cafes across Sweden, and if you ever do have to leave Sweden, this is what you will probably miss the most.
2. Visit the Museums and Zoos
Whether you’re exploring the country with your kids in tow or simply wish to learn more about Sweden’s rich heritage, the museums in Sweden are a good place to start. There are plenty of museums and they are exceptionally well planned and maintained, making them a must see even for those not inclined towards history. Skansen is in fact an open air museum and it even has a children’s zoo, aquarium and amusement park. The Wasa Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Technology, all of which are in Stockholm are also well worth a visit.
3. Experience the Wildlife
Sweden is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts as it is home to plenty of national parks encompassing very varied terrains. Härjedalen Valley is one of the best spots for observing wildlife and it’s the only place in which you will see musk oxen. If you head towards Southern Lapland on the other hand you will see plenty of buzzards, beavers, elk, lynx and reindeer.
4. Explore the lakes and islands
Sweden has close to a 100,000 lakes in its territory, most concentrated in the Swedish Lakeland area. This region is home to some of the most picturesque scenery you could every lay your eyes on, with gorgeous old castles and quaint little villages. Sweden’s islands may not be as numerous as its lakes, but at a staggering 24,000 there’s still a lot of island hopping you can do. The islands are a great destination because of the natural beauty and nature activities on offer, but they’re also great for laid back picnicking.
5. Observe the craftsmanship of Swedish glassworkers
– Sweden’s glassworks are world famous with brands like Orrefors and Kosta Boda, both of which have their glassworks in Smaland, which is in southern Sweden. Often referred to as the Kingdom of Crystal, the region houses 13 glassworks. A visit to the glassworks will give you a unique glimpse into the craftsmanship that goes into making glass. Visitors don’t just get to see craftsmen in action but can also try their hand at blowing, painting and engraving glass.