The country’s unique nature can be experienced from award-winning glamping sites, architect-designed tree houses, and even luxurious rooms made entirely of ice. And the nature extends into the centre of the major cities, where you can kayak, swim and cycle amid trees, granite outcrops and sparkling water.
Soft adventures – all the action, less of the effort
Sweden holidays don’t have to involve exhausting hikes or braving hostile weather. Whether it’s high summer or icy winter, you can always head to a city spa or sauna. You can rent kayaks and explore quaysides from the water, or cycle through forests, historic districts, along canals and through parks. During winter, you can go cross-country skiing or ice-skating in close proximity to many cities.
In Stockholm and Gothenburg, you can hop on a ferry and less than an hour later find yourself lunching by the water on a beautiful island in the archipelago.
Shops like nowhere else
Sweden is known for fashion retailers like H&M (also behind the brands of COS and & Other Stories), and brands, such as Acne Studios, Nudie, Filippa K, Dagmar, Rodebjer and Tiger. But its cities also boast cool, kooky independent shops, as well as some of the world’s best thrift and retro stores.
In Stockholm, head to Södermalm for interesting one-off boutiques as well as charity and vintage shops. In Gothenburg, Magasinsgatan is arguably the best district for boutique shops – offering everything from knick-knacks to high fashion.
A smörgåsbord of cuisine
With your daytime activities done, it’s time for sustenance. You’re spoilt for choice in Sweden – you can eat out in Michelin-starred restaurants. Stockholm has nine, Gothenburg four, Malmö one and the city of Växjö in Småland has one.
Browse the street food in lively food halls like Stockholm’s Östermalms Saluhall, Gothenburg’s Lindholmen Street Food Market or the Malmö Saluhall, or enjoy the mix of cuisines immigrants have brought to Sweden’s cities. The Swedish food scene also offers plant-based and locally produced ingredients; a tasty match if you’re on the lookout for inventive veggie dishes.
The most extraordinary place you ever stayed
Sweden pushed the boundaries of the idea of unique accommodation, close to nature, when it opened the world’s first Icehotel in the far north of Sweden, back in 1990. Unique hotels are now one of the highlights of Sweden travel, with dozens of unusual places to stay, including the Treehotel and the Arctic Bath hotel in Harads, in northern Sweden and the 72 Hour Cabin in Dalsland.
You can also stay in one of the many excellent castle hotels, in cosy BnBs in beautiful farmhouses or in one of the many designer hotels in the main cities. In fact, you don’t even need a hotel at all. Sweden’s public right of access, ‘Allemansrätten’, means you can camp for free almost anywhere in the countryside.
Three climate zones means varied nature
The unusual wilderness hotels make great launch pads for the country’s wealth of nature, which stretches over three climate zones.
You can experience the Arctic tundra of the north, the mountains of the north west and the thick forests and mighty rivers of central Sweden, but also the temperate climate down south, which boasts some of Europe’s largest beech forests.
Then there’s the coast, which varies from the High Coast of the northeast of Sweden, to the fashionable West coast, the sandy beaches of Skåne’s Österlen and the rocky outcrops of the Stockholm and Gothenburg archipelagos.
Few countries can boast such varied landscape or such a combination of modern, minimalist design and untouched nature. Whatever you want, be it snowmobile and husky tours, yoga retreats and forest bathing, somewhere beautiful to sit quietly alone or smart city living, you can find it all in Sweden.