Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in northern Europe, bordered by Norway to the west, and the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea to the east. In the waters off of the eastern coast are thousands of small islands. It is connected to Denmark, its southern neighbor, by the Öresund Bridge. It is one of the largest countries by land in Europe, with large expanses of pristine natural environment characterized by forests, lakes, and rivers. 53% of Sweden’s land area is covered by forest, home to a variety of wild animals including moose, lynx, bears, wolves, foxes, and boars, to name only a few. A large number of migratory birds can be spotted in the winter, and fish thrive on the coast and in the many lakes.
According to the Swedish right known as Allemansrätten (Right of Public Access), people can wander freely on open land, and through forests, picking berries, hiking, and camping. Most of Sweden’s population live in cities, the largest of which are Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.
Situated on 14 islands, Stockholm is surely one of Europe’s most fascinating cities. All within the parameters of Sweden’s capital, sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North,” lie a medieval old town (Gamla Stan), a modern metropolis teeming with fashionable shops, upscale restaurants, a trendy and diverse population, historic buildings, open parks, and gorgeous sea views. In addition to these interesting juxtapositions, Stockholm even has its very own National Park – Tyresta National Park – a vast area of unspoilt beauty just 20 kilometers from the city center. Stockholm is where most visitors first arrive, but truly it is only the beginning – and a grand one at that – to what lies beyond.
Just 20 minutes from the city begins the stunning archipelago, a stretch of nearly 30,000 islands extending into the Baltic Sea, which visitors can explore on foot, by bicycle, kayak, or by boat.
In northern Sweden is Lapland, home to the native Sami people, where a deep rooted culture is kept alive by these once nomadic people who still herd reindeer, wear traditional clothing, and maintain a strong oral tradition.
Nature is an integral part of the Swedish experience, for both the visitor and Swedes alike. There are ample opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, cycling, skiing, snowmobiling, and outdoor exploring. There is plenty of daylight for these experiences too, as during the summer months daylight hours can extend for nearly 24 hours at a time (indeed, in some places the sun shines for days on end).
Swedes appreciate nature and love to enjoy their beautiful surroundings. The country is sparsely populated outside of the cities, and almost everyone takes time to enjoy the slow pace of the countryside during their holiday breaks. Swedes are known for their smart fashion sense and efficiency, as well as their love of nature and ability to relax and enjoy life when the work is done. They are reasonable, kind and welcoming, and though they may not pour open their heart or their home to you upon first greeting, those who stick around and explore a little will be rewarded with a most unique and memorable experience.
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