Surrounded by lots of salt waters, Norwegians and Finns, Sweden is the top destination of Scandinavia. The country has a liberal and progressive attitude to pretty much everything and the Swedes are easygoing, respectful of everyone’s private space and integrity and make lifelong friends once the same attitude is taken towards them and their country. The freedom available to any tourist in Sweden is rarely match by other countries and that includes the freedom to roam, to walk anywhere without hinder if respect and thoughtfulness is shown. Although this freedom to roam should not be taken literally. The country is long and large and roaming all over would exhaust you.
A short drive from Denmark and Norway if the south of Sweden appeals is what many European tourists do. The infrastructure in Sweden is exquisite and the drivers are rule-obeying so driving in Sweden is relaxing if you don’t mind the rain and the snow on occasion. There are plenty of cruises from/to Finland, Latvia, Estonia nd even St. Petersburg in Russia. All heading to/from Stockholm!
Being polite, avoiding conflict, punctual, thorough and open minded is in the DNA of the Swedes. Try to be the same while visiting. There are a lot of small towns and villages that are off the hidden path, less advertised and would make a visit very rewarding. The islands of Gotland, Öland and Visingsö are considered little paradises by many. Summer is when the whole population of Sweden turns up a few notches and reach the emotional maximum and everyone is in their best mood possible.
There are many towns in Sweden that are worth a visit or two and most of them do have their own character and since it was the Germanswho helped establish these towns most of them have preserved the German architectural style. Everyone and their grandparents speak English in Sweden but best not make fun of their accent and avoid Ikea jokes, you will get a look that might leave you emotionally disturbed for a while.
OVERRATED (Be warned!):
-Weather. It varies from south, central and north of Sweden but all locals worship the sun and for a good reason.
-Prices. Sweden is expensive and a night out will set you back a significant amount
-Swedes are known to take a long time warming up to strangers/foreigners. But once that is out of the way…
-Distances. Being a geographically large/long country distances between cities are greater than in any other European country, although Americans and Canadians will find these distances amusingly short
-Parking is a problem in the cities due to old narrow streets and when available is not cheap and strictly enforced.
-Liquor, wine and strong beer are a government monopoly and it’s sold in specialized stores at higher prices than other European countries.
UNDERRATED (Cool unknown facts):
-Everyone speaks very good English and even decent German
-The food. The Swedish food deserves a better reputation and the focus is on organic or locally sourced ingredients.
-Most of the town in Sweden have a long history and have been established for centuries. The architecture of old is still dominant in the cities’ centers.
-There are beaches in Sweden where sunbathing and all other activities connected to a beach resort are common.
-The freedom to roam. Everyone has the right to visit and roam every unfenced and uncultivated area in the country. You can even camp (for one night) on private property (at a certain min, distance from the owner’s residence) without problems.
-Sweden is also a paradise for boaters and fishing.
-Nature and the Swedes’ love for it and for the outdoors
What surprised you about Sweden when you visited? Leave a comment and if so inclined, a picture!