Sweden is a nature-lover’s paradise. Home to moose, bears, deer, elk and foxes, its countryside is covered in forest, dotted with lakes and has thousands of islands and skerries off its coasts. In the north, the aurora borealis lights up the sky. Tourists book flights to Sweden every year for the wintertime to see these spectacular lights and, of course, to visit Lapland, “home” to Santa and reindeer.
In the south of the country, Skane has 400km of sandy beaches. Even the largest cities of Sweden – Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo – are clean and green.
Stockholm is the capital, and arrival point for most flights to Sweden. It is a beautiful medieval city, lying across 14 islands. Malmo is the capital of Skane County, located at the very southern tip of the country. It’s a popular student town and a thriving new city, with spectacular new architecture and a host of museums and culture.
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Winters in Sweden are a picture of snow-covered beauty, but they are a bit on the cold side, with temperatures averaging near freezing. The summer is a much more comfortable 23 C.
Most tourists booking flights to Sweden look to arrive in the months between June and August, to catch the warmest weather and the longest hours of daylight. Spring and autumn can also be pleasant. North of the Arctic Circle, there are 24 hours of sun in midsummer and 24 hours of twilight in midwinter.
There are a number of large festivals in Sweden, all worth visiting the country for. Midsummer, the summer solstice, is a big event. Walpurgis Night falls on April 30. It is a night for lighting bonfires to ward off evil spirits. The feast of Saint Lucia, the light giver, is on December 13 and marks the start of Christmas.
Winter (November to March) is off season, though many tourists still visit during this time to see the northern lights and to visit Lapland.
The country is very large, so flying around Sweden is one of the best options. Various airlines offer domestic flights, including Skyways, SAS and Malmo Aviation.
Rail is another option. The network is extensive and trains are swift and convenient. The largest company is SJ. Slightly slower, the bus system runs throughout the country, but if you’re travelling long distances this is not the fastest way to travel. The largest operator is Swebus Express.
For a different way of seeing the country, take a trip along the Gota Canal, which has 58 locks and 47 bridges. It runs from Mem/Soderkoping on the Baltic Sea to Sjotorp at Lake Vanern. There are also ferries that run along the coast – the Stockholm archipelago, the islands of Gotland and Oland and the West coast.
(prices quotes are from London)