Monday, September 7, 2009


Sweden is a land of cultural contrast, from the Danish influence of the southwest to the nomadic Laplanders in the wild Arctic north. And while urban Sweden is stylish, modern and sophisticated, the countryside offers many simpler pleasures for those in search of tranquility.

 stockholm, sweden

Sweden’s scenery has a gentler charm than that of neighboring Norway’s rugged coast. Much of Sweden is forested, and there are thousands of lakes, notably large stretches of water between Gothenburg and the capital, Stockholm. The lakeside resortof Östersund, in the center of Sweden, is popular with Scandinavians, but most visitors opt first for the cities and the Baltic islands: the largest island, Gotland, with its array of ruined medieval churches, is a particular highlight. Another major attraction is the so-called ‘Kingdom of Crystal’, a forested area between Malmö and Stockholm boasting many fine glassworks.


Sweden Weather

In spite of its northern position, Sweden has a relatively mild climate which varies greatly, owing to its length. The summers can be very hot but get shorter further north. The midnight sun can be seen between mid-May and mid-June above the Arctic Circle. Winters can be bitterly cold, especially in the north.

Required Clothing
Light- to medium weights for summer, heavyweights for winter and rainwear all year.

Swedes like straightforward meals, simply prepared from the freshest ingredients. As a seafaring country with many freshwater lakes, fish dishes are prominent on hotel or restaurant menus.

Things to know:
Picnic sites can be found at roadsides. Top-class restaurants in Sweden are usually fairly expensive, but even the smallest towns have reasonably priced self-service restaurants and grill bars. Many restaurants all over Sweden offer a special dish of the day at a reduced price that includes main course, salad, soft drink and coffee. Waiter service is common although there are manyself-service snack bars. Wine, spirits and beer are sold through the state-owned monopoly, Systembolaget, open during normal shopping hours. Before 1300 on Sundays alcohol cannot be bought in bars, cafes or restaurants. After midnight alcohol can only be bought in nightclubs that stay open until between 0200-0500.

Swedish Food – Cuisine With A Scandinavian Flavor

Husmanskost - potatoes, minced meat with cabbage, berry jam

National specialties:
• Smörgåsbord (Scandinavian cold table. First pickled herring with boiled potatoes then perhaps a couple more fish courses, smoked salmon or anchovies followed by cold meat, pâté, sliced beef, stuffed veal or smoked reindeer).
Köttbullar (small meatballs).
• Smoked reindeer from Lapland.
• Gravlax (salmon that has been specially prepared and marinated).
Wild strawberries and cloudberries.

National drinks:
• Akvavit (a Scandinavian spirit that is traditionally drunk chilled with smorgasbord. Flavours vary from practically tasteless to sweetly spiced).
Vodka is also popular, as is sweet cider.

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