With a population of about 9 million, Sweden is a small country, but a nice place to be by all counts. This is one place with rich history associated with each nook and corner of the country be it the frozen north or the famous Stockholm on the other side. Though Sweden has to offer a lot in all times of the year, but for a traveller the best time to go is in summer or at the start of fall when one can feel the hint of winter in the air and trees can be seen changing colours so as to greet you with their sheer charm.
When I planned to go to Sweden last summer, my friends told me that the country is not cheap, in other words going there will cost my pocket heavily. And that was even proved true but I found the Swedes to be really nice people. The beauty of Sweden was fantastic and their residents were equally warm hearted and charming. Today I can say that this land of Vikings is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Today tourism is fast growing in Sweden as it has all starting from the arctic wilderness in the north to the best of the cities and places to indulge in wine and dine. Though I shall discuss some special places that I visited during my visit to Sweden, but broadly I remember the place as the one offering Natural Tourism. The virgin wilderness and the breathtaking natural views that I saw there shall remain in my memories till my last breath on earth.
I still remember my experience with the Lapland. The experiences of the midnight sun, the magnificent aurora borealis (the Northern lights) and the magical silence of the arctic deserts is something that has changed myself for all times to come.
The other best exposure in Sweden was with Stockholm, the capitol of Sweden. This is the place known for its rich heritage, ideal natural settings and is known as the worldwide centre for design, fashion technology, art, food and music. The other cities worth visiting in Sweden are that of Gothenburg (on west coast) and Malmo (to the southern end of the country).
Sweden is also known for one of the world’s best ski resorts, a birthplace for many famous pop musicians and hometown of world-famous discount retail companies as IKEA or H&M. Some of the great moments that I had spent in Sweden are related to exploring the west coast in a Kayak, experience of horse riding in Gotland, the Swedish palaces, castles and also the Viking establishments.
On my trip to Sweden, I spent 8 days in the country doing many things but mainly visiting Stockholm, visiting the northern part, and getting an experience of the great forests of the country.
I started my trip to Sweden from Stockholm, the capital of the country. Let me share some of the best tourist spots that I saw there. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that this is a city that one normally dream of living in. It is easily walk able and the best way to see it is on foot. Some places that are must see are:
Rosendals Trädgård is a great garden cum café. It is located on the island of Djurgården. It has a small garden, a shop, many greenhouses, an apple orchard and a calm cool café. The island also has Skansen, a museum that is must to see. I really enjoyed eating the donut at the bakery and was a witness to the midsummer festivities. Some other good restaurants that one can visit when in Stockholm are Kottbären (a restaurant cum butchers shop), Östermalms Saluhall (a really big food market where one can have all).
For doing my purchases in Stockholm I used to prefer the Stockholm Stadmission, which are chain of stores spread across the city and provide everything from clothes to day to day accessories. If you prefer the natural fibre made products then I suggest that one must visit the Nygårds Anna. For vintage clothing the Grandpa is found to be the best.
Another great activity to be done in the city is the boat ride to the islands of archipelago. One can also try, like me the towns of Finnhamn and Grinda.
During my time in the city, I paid many visits to the Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal. It was really fun to roam on its pathways and eat at the café. The garden’s nursery and lush greenery was really a treat to the eye. Though a little away from the city and one need to take bus to reach there, but the place is worth visiting.
After Stockholm, I shifted to the western part of the country with plan to simply see its forests. The town of Hagfors and the places around it are ideal for the purpose. The place is practically in a solitary location and one see only nature at its best when there. The forests are really untouched and make you feel closer to mother earth till the time you are around. I suggest that whoever is coming to Sweden must find time to visit this place for few days.
Next I decided to travel to the Arctic North. Sweden is located close to Arctic Circle near latitudes of 65 to 72 degrees. This place is in the aurora oval, a zone in which the solar particles collides with the gas particles in earth atmosphere and this creates many dancing light ribbons called aurora borealis. When I reached there it was a cold winter clear night and sky was cloudless with no moonlight. As the place where our guide took us was far from the city lights so there were so many of the stars to see. The phenomenon started at about 0630 PM, though the best shown comes around 10PM. These lights came in many colours of red, purple and green. They danced as if some curtain is unfolding in the sky. The day I went, I was lucky to have the phenomenon occur for about an hour.
If you are going to Sweden and want to witness the northern lights I suggest that the best location for this will be Lapland and you plan to be there for 2-3 days to get a chance to actually see the phenomenon clearly. I was rather lucky that I could get a chance to see the act on my first visit only.
When in Lapland, I also went to the Abisko National Park which was located close to the town of Kiruna and another best place to see the Northern Lights. It is said that the lake Torneträsk is a sort of blue hole where the sky remain clear even on cloudy nights and thus one gets the best view of northern lights at this place. After the lake we went to Aurora Sky Station through the chair uplift. There we could have the breath taking view of the Abisko National Park.
Sweden is definitely a costly country compared to other parts of the Europe, but the stunning natural beauty of the country makes it a place worth visiting once in a lifetime. I am happy that I did