Are you planning a trip to Sweden? Here are my top tips for a great time in Sweden. Where to go and what to do. What to eat and when to go…
These questions will be answered further below on this page…
- Is it worth going to Sweden?
- Why travel to Sweden?
- Where to go?
- When to go?
- How many days do you need in Sweden?
- What to do?
- Things NOT to do when you travel to Sweden
- Safety tips – How to be safe in Sweden?
- … and more
Tips for your trip to Sweden
Having lived in Sweden for more than ten years, I start considering myself as a long-term Sweden tourist, sort of. I still enjoy discovering new places and Sweden still manages to amaze me with idyllic locations and all sorts of impressive experiences. In this Sweden travel guide I want to share the best places, accommodations, useful tips and general travel advice for Sweden. I hope this guide makes it easier to plan your trip so you can have a great time when you're in Sweden.
In the bottom of this page you find important safety information for your trip to Sweden.
Is it worth going to Sweden?
Absolutely … if you plan your trip right. For example, your trip to Sweden can be a disappointment if you go to the wrong locations or even to the right locations but at the wrong time of the year. But let's start with why you should travel to Sweden in general and after that I'll tell you what is the best time to go there.
Why travel to Sweden?
Sweden offers a lot for diverse types of travellers. You will have a great experience, if you want to discover stunning nature, take your loved ones to one of the family friendly amusement parks. You can buy go shopping in modern stores and afterwards dine in some of the world's finest restaurants and afterwards get to know Sweden's intense night life. You can go into culturally interesting buildings, learn more about historically relevant places and afterwards enjoy some typically Swedish pastry and a cup of strong coffee in a cozy Swedish café.
In short, Sweden is a great travel destination for those who want to
- Discover beautiful nature
- Provide all their family members a fun experience in a child-friendly, safe environment
- Get to know Swedes at the bar and on the dance floor
- Eat delicious food
- Expand your wardrobe with the latest Swedish fashion
Where to go – best destinations in Sweden
Top destinations to visit in Sweden
- Idyllic at the sea: Smögen and the surrounding coast line and villages at Sweden's west coast
- Typical Sweden: beautiful landscapes with lots of lakes and vast forrest: Småland (that's where Astrid Lindgren grew up and many of her tales take place, for example Emil of Lönneberga)
- Party, shopping, archipelagos and royal family: Stockholm
When to visit Sweden?
Unless you like skiing – in which case – the best time to travel to Sweden is mid/end of May to mid September. Sweden really comes to life during this time of the year:
When to visit Sweden? What is the best month?
Best months to travel to Sweden: mid/end of May to mid September (the big cities and the south of Sweden are great in summer, due to green landscapes, long, sunny days and smiling Swedes) and December (Christmas fairs and shopping).
How many days do you need in Sweden?
Two days, if you're going there for a short trip. Stockholm and Gothenburg are absolutely worth visiting, even if it's just for one night or one full day.
A great way to experience Sweden, which I strongly recommend, is having a round trip/road trip, of at least a week, better two. This way, you can experience the cool cities as well as the idyllic little towns with their typically Swedish red houses and other beautiful country- or seaside locations. I will share the best destinations for your route through Sweden further below…
Practical travel advice
Things NOT to do when you travel to Sweden
- Short distance to Swedes when standing in line
- Spanking your children even slightly (illegal). Sweden is a child-friendly country. Already in 1979 Sweden became the first country to ban corporal punishment of children. “Beating or spanking a child is also a criminal offence according to the Swedish Penal Code”.
- Expecting cash payment option
Buying alcohol and drinking age
To buy alcohol that you want to drink in your Swedish cabin or hotel, like wine, spirits and beer with high percentage alcohol (over 3.5%) you have to go to the state-owned alcohol shop Systembolaget. Also, you have to be 20 years old to buy alcohol at Systembolaget. In bars and restaurants on the other hand: 18.
Currency in Sweden – Do I need cash in Sweden?
Swedish krona (svenska kronor). You get around Sweden pretty well with electric payment methods, even without cash in your wallet (personally, I rarely use any cash nowadays). Yet, I'd recommend you have about 500 SEK in bank notes with you, just in case a card payment processing system might be defect at the time you're visiting a café or bar.
Tipping in Sweden – How much?
Tips are included in the prices. It's not uncommon that Swedes don't pay any tips in bars and restaurants at all. Waiters and bar keepers won't look at you angrily when you just give them the amount that's written on the bill. That said, if you found they provided great service, you can show that by giving a tip. (Personally, I pay about 10-20%, or round up the sum when I am very satisfied with the service, but usually only at places where food is served at the table. Same with taxi drivers: Was it a pleasant ride and you had a good conversation, you can give a little extra. Again, it's not expected.)
What should I take to Sweden?
There's actually not that much you have to think about, apart from your standard travel equipment like passport etc. When it comes to clothing, in winter, make sure you have a pair of proper winter boots with you that can persist in snowy winter conditions. In summer, when you stay in the country side, you might want to buy mosquito spray in the local pharmacy. Other than that… no, there's nothing specific to consider compared to other travel destinations.
Power plugs, outlets, sockets and electricity in Sweden
What food to try when you're in Sweden
- Sweden is known for their köttbullar, meat balls. You have probably tried them already at IKEA but now it's a good opportunity to eat original Swedish meatballs, in Sweden.
- For all who can't decide whether to have a kebab or a pizza, Swedes came up with the glorious idea to combine those two in the famous kebabpizza.
- When you are in a café and don't just want to eat sugary pastry, but rather something that feels like “proper food”, order a räkmacka, a shrimp baguette or sandwich.
- Popular pastry you should try:
- kanelbulle (cinnamon roll),
- the green princesstårta (princess cake),
- a dammsugare aka punschrulle, a little marzipan role, also green
More about traditional Swedish food, here
Communication with Swedes – “Is English widely spoken in Sweden?”
You can't speak Swedish? Almost all Swedes speak English. So no worries, you can have a conversation with almost any Swede you meet.
Still want to impress Swedes with some Swedish? Here are basic Swedish words and phrases for your Sweden trip.
Is Sweden an expensive place to visit? /How expensive is a trip to Sweden?
To be honest, it kind of is. A beer costs about 5 to 8 Euros, a Pizza around 10 and 5 kilometers in a Taxi cost about as much as a Pizza and a beer.
Sweden on a budget
Ways to save some money when you're in Sweden:
- Buy groceries at LIDL or Willy:s
- Stay at ..
- Use public transport (SJ Swedish Railroads)
How to go to Sweden
Travel to Sweden by plane
- Stockholm: Arlanda Airport (which is not far from Uppsala as well)
- Gothenburg: Landvetter Airport
- Malmö: It's usually most convenient to choose Copenhagen airport (Denmark). From there you go by train or rental car to Malmö crossing the majestic Öresund bridge which connects Sweden with Denmark.
Travel to Sweden by car
Fastest way to Sweden by car: from Germany to Sweden via Denmark. Take the ferry from Putgarden (Germany) to Rodby in Denmark. Ten about two hours by car to Copenhagen and from there via the Öresund bridge to Malmö.
If you want to avoid ferries and only go by car
Drive via Kiel in the very North of Germany, through Denkmark, and then crossing the Öresund bridge, to arrive in Malmö. From there it's about …
- 7 hours to Stockholm
- 3 hours to Gothenburg
- 2 hours to central Småland (Växjö)
If you want to stay away from ferries (due to sea sickness for example) you can travel to Sweden by car, and it doesn't even take so much longer. Here is the route. It goes leads through Germany and Denmark.
Best Hotels in Sweden
Here is a list of hotels I have stayed at and would recommend
- Stockholm: Berns
- Göteborg: Comfort Hotel
- Malmö: not stayed there over night yet, but here's a list on Booking.com
- Uppsala: Radisson Blu or Elite Hotel Academia (both excellent hotels)
- Umeå: U&Me Hotel
- Växjö (Småland): PM & Vänner (Disclaimer: haven't exactly stayed in one of their rooms, but experienced their roof top bar and restaurant.)
Sweden for families
Best amusement parks for kids
- Astrid Lindgren's World, Vimmerby (Småland)
- Liseberg, Gothenburg
- Junibacken, Stockholm
- Gröna Lund, Stockholm
- High Chaparral, Kulltorp (Småland)
List with all amusement parks in Sweden, here.
Other Sweden travel guides online
If you didn't find my travel guide useful enough, you might get the information you need from one of these online guides:
Sweden Travel Guide Book, recommendation
My recommendation for a printed Sweden Guide, for the time when you want to keep your eyes off a screen and enjoy the haptics of paper… Lonely Planet Sweden (Country Guide)
Yes, there are a few dangerous animals in Sweden, here is a list
Emergency number to call: 112
Official information for Sweden travellers provided by the Swedish state, for example requirements for visa etc, can be found on their Website: Sweden Abroad, here
Enjoy your trip! :)