The Top 10 Places in Sweden

Stockholm-Royal Palace / photo: Ola Ericsson, Imagebank.sweden.se

How does one describe a country that has given the world the Vikings as well as the Nobel Peace Prize, little Swedish meatballs as well as Absolute Vodka, Volvo as well as ABBA, IKEA and H&M and…well, you get the idea.

Sweden is an incredible country that is often missed by those who only venture about Southern, Central or Eastern Europe. It has a spectacular landscape, incredible cities, an educated population (most of whom speak English) and a history and culture much older than ours in North America. Up north you’ll find a pastoral landscape and dense green forests, while to the south there are all those little red island cottages scattered across the Stockholm Archipelago. In between is a pastoral countryside filled with ancient Viking burial grounds, wonderful biking and hiking paths and a heartland in which tradition is still king. And in its cities you’ll enjoy first-rate cultural opportunities, upscale restaurants and wonderful shopping.

For those who would like to explore a bit of this Swedish Smörgåsbord, here are the most-visited areas of Sweden as reported by VisitSweden.

Stockholm / photo: Phil Price

1) Stockholm

Stockholm is widely celebrated not only as the capital of Scandinavia, but also as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, built where lake meets sea, on fourteen islands, with ten centuries of history and culture. The Swedish Royal Capital is also widely known for its remarkable modernity, progressiveness and trend sensitivity in everything from lifestyle to fashion, design, food and drink and usage of 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.

Swedes like to claim that Stockholm is a city that has all of the qualities and allures of a major international metropolis but few of its usual downsides. 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.

2) The Stockholm Archipelago

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, of which just some one thousand are 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.

Gothenburg / photo: Göran Assner, Imagebank.sweden.se

3) Gothenburg

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, the cobbled streets of historical Haga and countless green open spaces, including Sweden’s biggest botanical garden, boasting over 16,000 species. Immerse yourself in the Swedish lifestyle, soaking up the buzzing outdoor café culture with ‘fika’ (a break for coffee and a sweet bun) or indulge in the intriguing 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.

Malmo / photo: Justin-Brown, Imagebank.sweden.se

4) Malmö

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. In Malmö, it’s easy to shop with a clear conscience and to enjoy ethically produced food and drink. 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.

ICEHOTEL / photo: Peter Grant, Imagebank.sweden.se

5) ICEHOTEL

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.

Kosterhavets Nationalpark / photo: Mikael Almse

6) Kosterhavet

Sweden’s first Marine National Park, Kosterhavet is centred 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. You can rent bikes and enjoy a guided tour or a boat trip to see this marine wonderland. It’s the perfect environment for lobster safaris during the region’s renowned Shellfish Journey, as well as seal safaris, diving and sea kayaking.

Marstrand / photo: Goran Assner

7) Marstrand

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.

Ystad / photo: Juanjo Bazán

8 ) “Wallander’s Ystad”

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. The popular books have been adapted for the screen, and you can now go on a guided tour in an old veteran fire engine around Ystad and listen to stories about the films and the books.

Skane / photo: Måns Fornander, Imagebank.sweden.se

9) Skåne

Skåne’s wonderful nature is a holiday paradise in more ways than one. Here, you can indulge in fantastic views and exciting natural phenomena as well as complete silence and tranquillity, long, light evenings and the luxury of walking on a path in the middle of the forest all by yourself.

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 / photo: Pelle Sten

10) Visby/Gotland

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 stone wall that encircles the city. The wall and Visby’s many other preserved medieval structures have earned its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But there is more to Visby than just its history. 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. In summer, Visby’s nightlife rivals that of Stockholm, whose residents converge on the city in the summer for a week of champagne-soaked revelry. Beyond its history and its cuisine, Visby is also one of the ideal places on Gotland to take in the island’s art scene. The best time to do this is in early June, when artists and artisans open their studios to the public.

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Comments

  1. Jim Ferri says

    Thank you Gadgety.
    I remember Sigtuna and several other places in Sweden from years ago, which I wish could have been included in this listing of the most popular places In Sweden visited by travelers. I’d welcome knowing of other places anyone sees as special and we’ll do our best to write about several of them in the future.

  2. tim says

    You should have taken Are (Åre) most beautiful at winter time, standing on top of “Åre skutan” an early morning when sun is rising…. it just takes you’re breath away and the village is quite beautiful too, the main road from the train station to “bergbanan has been almost the same for 100 years now

  3. Calle says

    I’m a bit surprised you didn’t put Båstad in there.

    Now I don’t live there, but it’s a really beautiful city where they host the Swedish Open in Tennis every year, attracting thousands and thousands of visitors. It’s like a small-Stockholm, without the archipelago. :)

  4. Waqar Ali says

    I love all cities of sweden.If almaty Allah give me a chance then i visit.
    I request the gov of sweden give me a visa of our country.thanks.

    • john says

      The fact that you say “almaty Allah” would make you unwelcome in Sweden and in most other peaceful areas in the world. Please, just stay home.

  5. mehrdad abou says

    To whom it may consern : amazing places. The nice pictures stimulated me to visit sweden for next summer . I am very interested in beauty of nature and virgin areas .
    Please inform me that any such places is there acording to my interests?
    Thank you
    Mehrdad

    • Jim Ferri says

      I would love to see Dalhalla some time. But we didn’t ignore it – the places listed in the article were those the Swedish Tourist Board told us were the most popular and most visited places by tourists in Sweden. I really enjoy Sweden and can’t wait to go back.

  6. Mateo says

    Sweden is a lovely country, but I much prefer Ireland. It is richer in history, scenery, people, and is deservedly named ‘God’s own country’.

  7. AliReza says

    thank you very much because of these grate pictures .
    Sweden is one of my favorite country.
    i would be very pleased if you send more pictures.

  8. yesif jahan hemel says

    Sweden is extra ordinary country..it is nice environment & so beautiful..looking beautiful .. Allah give me a change with my wife visiting at this country…Sweden is one of my…fevorite country …..i like it i like it…..thank you ( HEMEL,SHORNA ) from Bangladesh.

  9. Shakil says

    Sweden is one of the beautiful country of Europe and most of all the number one admiring Peoples with full of humanity and loving peoples.
    I travel almost around the world but Sweden is different.

    I pray to God give me a chance to spend the rest of my life in Sweden and Swedish peoples. Amen………………….

    Shakil
    Pakistan…………………

  10. says

    Sweden is great to visit in summer. In winter, it is necessary to get dressed properly then it will be either really cold or it rains a lot.
    Skåne is my own favorite, visited Ystad and Osterlen several times and love it.

      • Sarah says

        Kyle, Ali is from a refugee camp. That was a terribly ignorant response. How about recognising that someone who has limited opportunities is trying to interact in a language that isn’t his mother tongue? That he’s putting himself out there while trying to convey the gratitude he has for the help he’s received? How many languages do you speak? And if English is the only one – your grammar is far from perfect mate.

  11. says

    For those who like beautiful landscape & nature plan a visit to Värmland .
    Paddle the sparkling waters of the Klarälven stay at Byns Camping hire from Klaralvdalen Kanot.
    Ekshärad with its historic church is a busy small village with lots to see.

  12. Jon Porter says

    For those who are harping on the writer of this piece for not including other places I would like to point out that he did open with the following quote, “here are the most-visited areas of Sweden as reported by VisitSweden.”

    Still I appreciate your input as it is most helpful in directing me to areas I should visit with my family.

    Thank you

  13. Prabir Kumar Dey says

    My Dream SWEEDEN:- ABBA;The beautiful Country;The sweet & beautiful women of the State-Sweeden the State of the Art- Sweeden is the PARADISE to all the Touring persons or Tourists.I ever like to visit Sweeden before end of my life if funds permit me: Thanks.

  14. Narayan Bhattacharjee says

    From my childhood days I have a dream to visit Sweden . I heard Sweden is the country of peace and love.

  15. Richard says

    Three best activities I’ve ever encountered in Sweden – (make sure to book Oops Hotell and Zombie escape a few weeks in advance).

    1. Oops Hotell in Västerås. http://visitvasteras.se/aktor/ooops-hotell/
    2. Zombie Escape in Strasså http://www.bataljevent.se/
    3. Boda Borg (multiple locations) http://www.bodaborg.se/

    We took 2 cars and left Stockholm at 4 in the morning. Drove to Strasså for the Zombie Escape event, then headed to Boda Borg in Karlskoga for 2 hours of quests and lunch. Then we went on to Västerås, stopped at Erikslund to shop for some food (remember the ice and beverages). BBQ, Sauna, swiming, great weather and company. Left Oops Hotell at midnight and were back home around 1.30 am.

  16. sanjay pandita says

    I am very much interested in visiting sweden during winter i,e, dec to feb, kindly guide me regarding visa and trip

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  1. […] The Top 10 Places in Sweden | NeverStopTraveling – I remember Sigtuna and several other places in Sweden from years ago, … thank you very much because of these grate pictures . Sweden is one of my favorite country. … Sweden is one of the beautiful country of Europe and most of all the number one admiring Peoples with full of humanity and … […]

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