Sweden is a prominent Scandinavian country that has been attracting immigrants from across the globe for decades due to its high standards of living. In the last few years, many expats from around the world have settled down in the land of Vikings.
However, living in any foreign country for a long period can get to you, especially if you don’t have family or friends nearby. Moreover, Sweden is prone to dark and cold winters, and at times you may see as little as three hours of sunlight a day.Fortunately, there are several things to see and do in Sweden in order to keep yourself from giving up and going home. Below is a list of things we’d recommend for you to try while you’re living there.
1. Visit Medieval Stockholm
Gamla Stan, also referred to as the Old Town, is one of the most well-preserved medieval city centers across Europe. It also happens to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. One of the settlements in this area has been there since 1252 though it is now used by the locals who run eateries and taverns. Take the historic tour through the maze of ancient churches, small squares, winding alleyways and the Royal Palace.
2. Walk Through The Woodland Cemetery
Skogskyrkogarden or The Woodland Cemetery, located in central Stockholm, is a great reflection of architectural development from Nordic Classicism to Functionalism. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to notable interments like Greta Garbo, Oscar Lund and Gustav Fonandern. The main attraction of this cemetery though is its landscaping. A crematorium has been concealed underground while the grounds provide a picturesque setting for the chapels above. Many visitors often refer to the Woodland Cemetery as a place for quiet contemplation.
3. Look For The Viking Era
The Swedes are mainly a peace-loving people, but they take a lot of pride in their warrior heritage. You could be treated to an impressive collection of Viking artifacts at the Museum Of National Antiquities, and several other museums too. Alternately, just keep an eye out for “Viking stuff” in your day-to-day life, and you’ll be surprised at how often it turns up – for example, if you take a drive around the countryside, you’ll find that it’s full of ancient burial mounds that memorialize fallen Viking heroes.
4. Get A Souvenir From The Kingdom Of Crystal
For centuries, Sweden has been popular for glassblowing, a glass-forming technique in which molten glass is inflated using a blowpipe. At the Kingdom of Glass you can browse through a wide variety of unique glasswork or even try to blow your own glass product. It is located between Vaxjo and Kalmar. For more information on packages, visit their website at www.glasriket.se/en.
5. Go to Gotland
Sweden’s largest island, Gotland, is easily accessible from the mainland and people get around by car or bicycle. It receives a high amount of sunshine during the summertime. With more than 800 kilometers of coastline, Gotland has become a popular spot for sunbathing, relaxation and picnics. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its old-world shops, shady arches, red-rose covered cottages, tall towers, and twisty cobblestone streets. For more information on events held around the year, visit www.gotland.com/en/.
5. Celebrate Christmas
While Finland may be the official home of St. Nicholas, Sweden has its own take on Christmas. At this time of year you will find snow on the ground with blue skies and sunshine almost everywhere. A trip to Mora at the heart of the Swedish Lakeland region is the icing on the cake, as you could meet Father Christmas at the Santa World theme park. Every holiday season, this park attracts more than 2 million visitors (adults and children) from around the world. The main attractions include Santa’s house, his workshop and the post office. Several people choose to stay at the park’s hotel with their families to get into the whole “Christmas Spirit”.
6. Stay at the Ice Hotel
Soak in the Nordic Lights while you lie in a thick sleeping bag placed on an Ice Bed. A stay in an igloo-like hotel is a unique experience that no one should miss. The Ice Hotel, made completely of ice, is situated in Jukkasjarvi in Lapland. This hotel melts in summer and has to be rebuilt each year. It is therefore open only during the winters. For more information, bookings and photos log on to www.icehotel.com.
Those are our suggestions for spicing up your expat life in Sweden. Do you have any other suggestions to help others deal with the expat blues? Let us know in the comments.