Sweden welcomes visitors with a tremendous variety of events and experiences, ranging from a peaceful countryside of lakes and forests, and the long coastline of islands and archipelagoes to the tundra of Lapland. In Sweden, you are never far from water and sailboats.
Stockholm, the capital, straddles 14 islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic. City Hall, a red-brick building, captures the essence of the city--a blend of ancient and modern, high-tech and small-town friendliness.
It's a walkable city where visitors feel immediately at home. Almost everyone is fluent in English. Younger Stockholmers set the tone for the city's night life. The city's many restaurants offer great variety and high standards. Swedish chefs have won many prizes in recent years in contests with Europe's best. You cannot escape modern Swedish design, now enjoying a renaissance with young designers and artists after a long sleep since the 1950s. The performing arts from ballet to opera, music and film, have a long and distinguished history. As for fun, you have the many pubs, discos, jazz and nightclubs in the city center.
The opera and concert season runs from fall through May. In summertime, there are many festivals up and down the country as well as classical performances at the Royal Palaces on the outskirts of Stockholm. This most beautiful city on the water appeals to almost every interest.
Beyond Stockholm, Sweden's attractions range from the Ice Hotel and the Sami people's reindeer roundups in Lapland to the design trails in Småland in the southern part of the country where the world-famous glassworks like Orrefors and Kosta can be visited.
New boat trips in the Stockholm archipelago
The one-day trip in Roslagen onboard the Östanå begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Travelers will be served lunch and dinner prepared by well-known restaurateur Coco Frisk. There’s also an evening cruise from 7.30pm-10.30pm on the Drottningholm with three-course meal in the boat’s early 20th-century dining room and a guided tour of Drottningholm Castle´s grounds. The classic full day “1,000-Island Cruise”, a full-day guided excursion on the Waxholm III, sails from the southern inner archipelago’s tree-shaded beaches to the outer islands near Sandhamn. The ocean air whets the appetite, so both lunch and dinner are served onboard. Departure at 9.30 AM and return at 8.30 PM. www.stromma.se
Alternatively, travelers can take their own yacht round the Stockholm archipelago and enjoy some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Europe. Competent sailors can handle the boat themselves, while those who just want to sit back and enjoy the ride can let the experienced skipper do the work. The itinerary is flexible, so stops can be done at any time, perhaps to do a little fishing, grill the catch over an open fire or visit any of the excellent restaurants that can be found on the islands in the summertime. www.sycharter.com
Something for culture vultures
Step back in time with a visit to Uppsala, where the 18th century
buildings are the most modern in the city. Culture vultures and tourists
alike will find the city has more than enough to enthrall and amuse
them. Attractions include the stunning Cathedral Treasure Chamber, Sweden’s
oldest university and the botanical gardens, which served as a base
for botanist Carl Linnaeus, featuring more than 10,000 plants. A boat
ride to Skokloster Castle is a must, as is a visit to old Uppsala, complete
with its ancient burial mounds, heathen temple and Viking treasures.
Take the culinary road through West Sweden
Enjoy wonderful meals—from gourmet dinners at castles to the freshest fruits of the sea served in picturesque fishing villages on the West Coast of Sweden.
Don’t miss Gothenburg, the Swedish capital for gourmet restaurants. Many of the restaurants here have been awarded with a star in the prestigious Guide Rouge (formerly Guide Michelin). Furthermore, thirty restaurants in West Sweden are certified according to the criteria of Västsvensk Mersmak, a culinary body that promotes the use of the freshest, finest local produce of the region. Bon appetit! www.vastsverige.com, www.vastsvenskmersmak.nu
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Sweden FactsArea: 173,800 square miles (larger than California).
Population: 8,946,000 (Stockholm, 1,545,000; Göteborg, 751,000; Malmö, 460,000).
Language: Swedish. However, English is widely spoken