Top ten most visited places in Sweden
Stockholm is located where lake meets sea, on fourteen islands, having ten centuries of history and culture behind. The Swedish Royal Capital is also renowned for its remarkable modernity, progressiveness and trend sensitivity from lifestyle to fashion, design, food and drink and new technology. The combination of magnificent scenery, ancient history and tradition, and a pervasive innovative spirit combine to give Stockholm its truly exceptional character and charm. It’s a city where it’s easy and efficient to move around, where the air is fresh and the waters clean, with vast green areas permeating the city with plenty of space for everyone to roam freely. Few other places let you experience the pleasures and enchantments of nature, urban sophistication and cultural history, all in a single day.
One of the most fantastic parts of Stockholm and Sweden is still a secret for many — the magnificent Stockholm archipelago. This maritime landscape of more than 30,000 islands, islets and skerries, with only 1,000 of them being inhabited, is unique in the world both in summer and winter. Stockholm’s archipelago is accessible from central Stockholm all year round thanks to the characteristic and historic white archipelago boats, some of which are well-preserved old workhorses dating back more than a century and still steam powered. You can choose from shorter excursions lasting just a couple of hours, to day tours or even longer excursions with overnight stays. Many boat tours also offer gourmet lunch or dinner.
City breaks don’t often come more perfect than they do in small, beautiful Gothenburg, the capital of West Sweden. Here you can discover quaint canals, cobbled streets and countless green open spaces, including Sweden’s biggest botanical garden, boasting over 16,000 species. Here you can truly experience the Swedish lifestyle, the outdoor café culture with ‘fika’ (a break for coffee and a sweet bun), food markets, impressive museums and multitude of enticing restaurants — five with Michelin stars, including the most recent addition to the list, Thörnströms Kök. What’s more, there’s the city archipelago right on Gothenburg’s doorstep — easy to reach via a half-hour tram ride and a short passenger ferry trip.
Malmö is the biggest city in Skåne and a multi-cultural place full of energy. In recent years, Malmö has developed into an exciting city with a focus on cultural offerings, innovative architecture and a strong organic social character. Malmö was certified as Sweden’s first Fairtrade City in 2006 and this has spurred the city’s organic and fair trade offerings. Here, you can dine at one of Sweden’s most acclaimed organic restaurants and shop for the latest fashions made with the environment and ethics clearly in mind.
Located in Jukkasjärv, ICEHOTEL is the world’s largest hotel made of ice and snow. The 5,500 square meter complex includes an Ice church and an Icebar. It is constructed anew every November-December and melts in April-May, but you can, of course, visit the area all year round. ICEHOTEL’s accommodation features snow rooms, ice rooms and Art suites. Additionally, guests may book a wide range of snowmobile excursions such as Arctic Trail that takes one through the wilderness trails of Swedish Lapland’s aboriginal people, the Sami, whose life is integrally tied to reindeer migration. Fishing for char, trout and grayling, sauna and dinner programs, ice driving, moose watching, ice sculpting, Northern Lights viewing, and dog sled safaris are just a few more of ICEHOTEL’s tour options.
Sweden’s first Marine National Park, Kosterhavet is centered around the car-free Koster Islands, only a two-hour drive up the lovely coast from Gothenburg. Once on the Kosters, you’ll see small fishing villages surrounded by an amazingly beautiful landscape, with many different plants and flowers. The appeal focuses on the unique seaside location, with beaches, rocky islands and the enchanting ‘Koster light’, which has inspired many artists on the island. It’s the perfect environment for lobster safaris during the region’s renowned Shellfish Journey, as well as seal safaris, diving and sea kayaking.
Located only an hour’s drive from Gothenburg, Marstrand island is Sweden’s version of Hollywood as the playground of royalty and celebrities, boasting a rich, intriguing history. Enjoy an impressive vista from grand Carlsten’s Fortress, looking down upon the island’s colourful collection of wooden holiday homes and sailing boats of all shapes and sizes, alongside rugged rocks and the navy-blue ocean. Stay at the former residence of King Oscar II, Grand Hotel Marstrand, or the new Havshotellet Marstrand, just opposite the island, which has a superb spa (designed to reflect its natural coastal setting, with treatments to match) and a restaurant that lets guests watch the sunset over the island.
No other city in Scandinavia and few cities in Europe can boast such a complete and ‘living’ picture of bygone days as Ystad. Many of the 300 half-timbered houses and other buildings bustle with restaurants and shops, and picturesque corners are alive with surprises and bargains. Best-selling author Henning Mankell has put the city of Ystad on the world map with his detective stories about Police Superintendent Kurt Wallander, a bachelor who grapples with murder investigations and difficult criminal cases in Ystad and its surroundings and with his private life.
Skåne’s wonderful nature is a holiday paradise in more ways than one. Skåne is a province of contrasts. It has vast forests with light and airy deciduous trees and many forest-clad ridges that rise above the landscape. There are glorious fields with fertile soil and, like the peninsula that Skåne actually is, wonderful, chalk-white beaches stretching along the different seas.
Visby is Gotland’s gateway, as it has been for centuries. Sitting on the west coast of Gotland, the port city of Visby has a long history stretching back to the Middle Ages, when it was prosperous member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval trading alliance in northern Europe. Relics of this past exist to this day, most notably the Ringmuren, a two-mile medieval stonewall that encircles the city. The wall and Visby’s many other preserved medieval structures have earned its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city hosts some of the best restaurants in Gotland — and in all of Sweden — many featuring the fresh, farm-to-table cuisine that Gotland is known for. Visby is also one of the ideal places for art, with artists and artisans opening their studios to the public in early June.