Welcome to a curated collection of intriguing facts that unveil the captivating essence of Sweden as well as some travel tips. For the travel tips, we are with you all the way and will make sure to make your trip relaxing and interesting!
As you embark on your Swedish journey with Bodin och Partners, we invite you to explore these nuggets of knowledge that highlight the country’s distinctive characteristics, rich history, and remarkable achievements. From natural wonders to cultural phenomena, Sweden’s facts will pique your curiosity and deepen your appreciation for this enchanting Scandinavian nation.
Experience the Magic of Swedish Holidays: Tradition Meets Travel
Sweden’s calendar is rich with unique and vibrant holidays, each offering an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the country’s rich traditions and culture. Traveling to Sweden during these special times provides a chance to experience the nation’s heritage first-hand, alongside the beauty of its landscapes and the warmth of its people.
Midsummer – A Celebration of Light and Joy Midsummer, usually celebrated in late June, is a quintessential Swedish festival marking the summer solstice. The countryside comes alive with flower garlands, maypoles, and traditional dances. Visitors can join in the festivities, which often include singing and enjoying classic Swedish fare like pickled herring, new potatoes, and strawberries. The magical White Nights, when the sun barely sets, create an ethereal backdrop for this joyful celebration.
Christmas – A Cozy, Winter Wonderland Swedish Christmas is a time of warmth and coziness, contrasting with the cold, snowy winter. Towns and cities are adorned with lights, and markets spring up, offering handicrafts, seasonal treats, and mulled wine, known as ‘glögg’. Traditional dishes like ‘julbord’, a Christmas smorgasbord, and ‘pepparkakor’, gingerbread cookies, are a must-try. The historic city of Gothenburg hosts one of the country’s largest Christmas markets at Liseberg Amusement Park, providing a festive destination for visitors.
Walpurgis Night – Welcoming Spring Celebrated on the last night of April, Walpurgis Night is a traditional spring festival. Bonfires light up the evening as people gather to sing traditional songs to welcome spring. It’s a perfect time for visitors to explore the lush green landscapes of Sweden that are just starting to bloom, offering picturesque hikes and outdoor activities.
Lucia – A Festival of Light On December 13th, the Festival of Lucia brings light to the Swedish winter darkness. Lucia, an ancient mythical figure with an aura of both light and dark, is celebrated with processions featuring singers clad in white and wearing crowns of candles. This tradition is best experienced in churches and schools, where concerts and processions are held, showcasing Sweden’s deep-rooted cultural heritage.
Easter – A Blend of Tradition and Modern Celebrations Swedish Easter is a mix of religious traditions and modern celebrations. Children dress up as ‘Easter witches’ and go door to door, exchanging paintings and drawings for sweets. This season is also a time for ‘påskbord’, an Easter version of the smorgasbord, featuring eggs, herring, and lamb. Visitors during Easter can partake in these unique traditions while enjoying the budding spring landscape.
National Day – A Patriotic Celebration June 6th, the Swedish National Day, is a patriotic celebration with flag-raising ceremonies, concerts, and public speeches. In recent years, it has become a day to celebrate Swedish culture and heritage. Visitors can witness the national pride in cities like Stockholm, where the Royal Family participates in a public celebration at Skansen, an open-air museum and zoo.
Halloween -While not traditionally a major holiday in Sweden, has been steadily growing in popularity, especially among the younger generations. This holiday, largely influenced by international cultures, particularly American, offers a different yet intriguing aspect of Swedish festivities for travelers.
Traveling to Sweden during these holidays offers a chance to engage in authentic Swedish traditions and connect with the locals. Each festival, steeped in history and cultural significance, provides a unique lens through which to experience the Swedish way of life, making any visit during these times exceptionally memorable.
- The Land of a Thousand Lakes: Sweden boasts an astounding number of lakes, estimated to be around 95,700. The largest, Lake Vänern, is one of Europe’s largest freshwater lakes.
- Innovations Galore: Sweden has given the world some of its most iconic inventions, including the zipper, the pacemaker, and the safety match.
- Lagom Lifestyle: The Swedish concept of “lagom” (translated “just enough”) signifies a balanced and moderate way of life, emphasizing contentment and harmony.
- Allemansrätten: In Sweden, there’s a unique legal concept called “allemansrätten,” which grants everyone the right to access and enjoy the countryside, allowing for activities like hiking, camping, and foraging.
- Nobel Prizes: The Nobel Prizes, including the Nobel Peace Prize, were established by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor, engineer, and industrialist.
- Midnight Sun and Northern Lights: In the northern parts of Sweden, you can experience the Midnight Sun during the summer months when the sun never sets. In the winter, the Northern Lights paint the night sky with mesmerizing colors.
- Royal Palaces: Sweden is home to several majestic royal palaces, including the Royal Palace in Stockholm and Drottningholm Palace, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Swedish Cuisine: Discover the delights of Swedish cuisine, from traditional dishes like meatballs and gravlax to modern Nordic cuisine celebrated in Michelin-starred restaurants.
- Gender Equality: Sweden is renowned for its commitment to gender equality, ranking high in global gender equality indices.
- Swedish Design: The country is synonymous with design excellence, known for iconic furniture, glassware, and fashion brands.
- Parental Leave: Sweden is known for its generous parental leave policies, allowing both parents to share in caring for their newborns. It’s a reflection of Sweden’s commitment to work-life balance.
- Vacation Time: Swedes value their vacation time, and it’s common for many businesses to close or operate with reduced staff during the summer months when locals take their annual holidays. It’s a great time to experience the leisurely pace of Swedish life.
Rest assured, we’ll be with you every step of the way, so there’s no need to delve deep into these tips. Feel free to reach out to us anytime for assistance or guidance before, during or after your luxurious Swedish journey. Your comfort and enjoyment are our top priorities
Currency and Payment Methods in Sweden
- Currency: The official currency in Sweden is the Swedish Krona (SEK). However, credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and shops. It’s a cashless society in many ways.
Electrical Voltage and Adapters
- Voltage: Sweden uses the Europlug Type C and Type F outlets with a standard voltage of 230V and a frequency of 50Hz. Travelers from countries with different plug types may need a universal adapter.
Efficient Public Transportation
- Public Transportation: While you’re in Stockholm, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the city via the efficient and picturesque Stockholm subway system. In Gothenburg, hop on the trams for a unique and scenic way to get around.
Time Zone and Bank Holidays
- Time Zone: Sweden is in the Central European Time (CET) zone, which is UTC+1 in standard time and UTC+2 during daylight saving time (CEST).
- Bank Holidays: While planning your visit, keep in mind that some of Sweden’s major holidays include Midsummer’s Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, when many businesses and services may be closed or have limited hours.
Language and Emergency Services
- Language: The official language of Sweden is Swedish. English is widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas, making it easy for travelers to communicate.
- Emergency Services: In case of emergencies, dial 112 for assistance. Sweden has a highly efficient emergency response system.
Healthcare and Safety
- Healthcare: Sweden offers high-quality healthcare services. Travelers from the European Union (EU) should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for access to healthcare. Non-EU travelers should have travel insurance that covers medical expenses.
- Safety: Sweden is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s essential to exercise common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding personal belongings.
Visa Requirements and Public Transport
- Visa Requirements: Check the visa requirements for Sweden based on your nationality. EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) citizens have visa-free access to Sweden for short visits.
- Public Transport: Sweden has an efficient and well-connected public transport system, including trains, buses, trams, and ferries. Travelers can use public transport for convenient and eco-friendly travel within cities and between regions.
Tipping, Alcohol, and Duty-Free Shopping
- Tipping: Tipping is not mandatory in Sweden, as service charges are often included in bills. However, it’s customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation for good service.
- Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages in Sweden are sold in state-owned stores called Systembolaget. These stores have limited opening hours, so plan your alcohol purchases accordingly.
- Duty-Free Shopping: Travelers arriving from non-EU countries can take advantage of duty-free shopping at the airport for items such as alcohol, tobacco, and luxury goods.
Driving, Internet, and Cuisine
- Driving: If you plan to rent a car, Sweden drives on the right side of the road. Ensure you have the necessary international driving permit (IDP) if required based on your country of origin.
- Internet Connectivity: Sweden offers excellent internet connectivity, including 5G and Wi-Fi in most urban areas and 4G almost everywhere. It’s easy to stay connected and share your travel experiences with friends and family. Let us know if you want us to get you a local SIM card and/or wifi router.
- Cuisine: Explore the flavors of Swedish cuisine, which includes traditional dishes like herring, gravlax (cured salmon), and Swedish meatballs. Don’t forget to try the Swedish fika (coffee break) tradition with a pastry.
Outdoor Activities, Seasons, and Price Levels
- Outdoor Activities: Sweden’s vast landscapes provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and kayaking. Ensure you have the right gear and clothing for your chosen activities, depending on the season.
- Seasons: Sweden experiences distinct seasons. Summers (June to August) are ideal for outdoor adventures and enjoying long daylight hours. Winters (December to February) offer opportunities for skiing and witnessing the Northern Lights. Spring and autumn are transitional seasons with milder weather.
- Price Levels: Sweden is known for its higher cost of living. Travelers should be prepared for higher price levels, especially in major cities like Stockholm. However, the quality of services and experiences often justifies the cost. EDIT 2023: with the weak Swedish krona most countries will find Sweden very affordable, against the US dollar Swedish krona has lost about 30% the last years.
Eating Habits and Fika Tradition
- Eating Habits: In Sweden, eating habits often include a substantial lunch as the main meal of the day. Lunch is typically served between 11 AM and 2:00 PM where almost everyone eats at noon. Lunch consists of a balanced and hearty meal for a bargain price. A full meal is also served in kindergarten and at all schools free of charge.
- Fika Tradition: The Swedish “fika” tradition is an essential part of the culture. Fika is a coffee break accompanied by pastries, such as cinnamon buns or cookies. It’s a social activity where friends, family, or colleagues gather to enjoy coffee and sweets. Fika is observed throughout the day and provides opportunities for relaxation and conversation.