Travel Sweden & Stockholm between Elks, Trolls & Endless Forests

We travel to Sweden, the largest country in Scandinavia. Sweden has two natural borders with the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea and two neighboring countries of Finland and Norway. Hardly any other country in Europe can impress with such diverse landscapes as Sweden. If you are planning a backpacking trip through the Scandinavian kingdom, you will find deep forests, glacial lakes, the mountain chain of the skies, picturesque villages and, of course, interesting cities.

Backpacking in Sweden

This is something for the soul because you can walk for hours through beautiful landscapes and everything you may be going through is an elk. Sweden is a quiet country of majestic beauty and at all seasons. Sweden is also perfect if you like to be active on your travels. From Uppsala, Gothenburg, Malmo and of course Stockholm, the capital, Sweden has many beautiful cities. Each city has its own charm.

Gothenburg is the largest city in the country after Stockholm. The city is modern but has preserved a wonderfully old-fashioned charm. This is evident in the white and red wooden houses that stand in the archipelago. In the Vasa quarter, many houses are reminiscent of the founding period. After Liseberg, Gothenburg has the largest amusement park in Scandinavia and from there you have a great view over the city.

Gothenburg is very nice to explore on foot. Some old streets and beautifully decorated shop windows invite you to stroll. I especially liked the small streets and wooden houses, the old market hall at the harbor and the Stadstheater with its nostalgic charm. Do not forget to take a trip to one of the archipelago islands. The ferries are also included in public transport.

We drove from Saltholmen to the car-free Styrsö-Bratten island. Unfortunately, the weather was very cold and windy and we only made a short hike over the island.

Since 1477, Uppsala is a university town and to this day it is the students who make the city so young. Uppsala has a very colorful nightlife with quaint pubs, jazz cellars and chic cafes. A real curiosity is the London Gallery, a former luxurious needs center, where today interesting exhibitions take place.

Malmo is a city with a nostalgic charm and many beautiful old houses, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. Malmo is beautifully old-fashioned and ideal to spend a few quiet days there.

Stockholm has two faces with the one that is too modern and the other that is not modern enough. Notable is Gamla stan, the old town on the city island. In the small streets, you will find good restaurants, loads of shops and trendy pubs. Stroll through the narrow alleyways of Gamla stan as the snow crunches beneath your feet and you will feel like you are in a scene from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the church bells ring and the streets and alleyways open up to squares Christmas markets.

SoFo can be found in the district of Södermalm, and the post office is closed on weekends. If you want to meet backpackers from all over the world, South of Folkungagatan is the best address.

If you are well on foot, then you should conquer Sweden, because only then you can experience the beautiful nature close up. Småland is worth a hike, especially if you are a fan of Pippi Langstrumpf and Michel from Lönneberga. The landscape in the southeast of Sweden is a fairyland with a beautiful nature, typical red houses, and magnificent mansions. Take a trip to Vimmerby in the Astrid Lindgren world, because there are all the heroes of the Swedish writer.

No less beautiful is Skåne or Skåne with its large selection of campsites and the idyllic city of Ystad, in which, by the way, many Swedish detectives play. In Central Sweden is the province of Dalarna, where the Santa Claus is at home, in the Tomteland. If you are traveling in Sweden during the winter, you should pay a visit to it.

The Swedes are a sporty people, and if you want to be active, then you can try in many sports. Canoeing on the crystal-clear lakes, surfing and windsurfing along the coasts and in winter Cross-country skiing through the snow-covered forests - this is just a small selection of sports for which the Swedes swarm.

To plan a specific itinerary that suits your interests and travel needs, you can get a Lonely Planet guide for Sweden.

Christmas in Sweden

In Sweden, Christmas is very traditional. Everywhere you can see Advent candles and Advent stars in the windows. Lucia is celebrated every year on 13 December every year, where the young girls walk with a candle carcass through the streets. It is a pre-Christmas holiday and thus the main festivity before Christmas. Lillejulafton is the little Christmas Eve on 23 December. The traditional Christmas ham is part of the Swedish Christmas menu. You can write and practice Julklapp rhymes. On Christmas Eve, they reward the housewives, who call them Tomte, with a milk mash.

The Swedish Santa Claus brings the presents on 24 December and therefore this day in Sweden is particularly celebrated. In Sweden, the three goblins Tomtebisse, Tomte and Nisse are taking care of the presents next to Santa Claus Jultomte. They come from Lapland and bring gifts with their reindeer sled.

The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the feast in the Swedish houses. This tradition, which was originally found in Germany, became an integral part of the Swedish Christmas festivities in the 19th century. Under or on the Christmas tree, the Julbock is often found in Sweden. He has a long tradition.

The food and socializing with the family is at the center of the celebrations. The highlight of the Swedish Christmas is the traditional smorgasbord. The Christmas table is set with marinated herring, potatoes, meatballs, various sausages, red cabbage, ribs, pork brawn, Jansson frestelse, a gratin of potato sticks and herring, lutefisk, prepared dried fish, rice pudding or Saffranskaka, cheese and bread. Serve with beer, Julmust, a herbal lemonade, and brandy.

The food for Christmas runs under the label Julbord or Christmas dinner and is also offered in restaurants. At the julbord, the traditional Swedish Christmas dishes are ham and julskinka. Julskinka is similar to cooked steak meat. Glögg is a Scandinavian specialty, a kind of mulled wine served in small cups with almonds and berries. On Swedish Christmas markets you can get it, but it is without alcohol.

The smell of roasted almonds, gingerbread and mulled wine fill the air and the market stands offer traditional, handmade Christmas decoration, handmade toys, and specialties from the region. This is Christmas shopping at Stockholm.

Christmas Market

Visit the traditional Christmas market in the Skansen open-air museum and try to get a candle and bake bread or see the artisans at work. If you are looking for a market with a royal touch, you can visit the Old Town (Gamla Stan), where the Royal Castle (Kungliga Slottet) rises.

Sweden Visa

Current regulations on visas and entry for Sweden can be found here on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Sweden Transport

The best way to get ahead in Sweden is the train. The rail network runs from Trelleborg in the south to Kiruna in the far north. As the north is thinner, there are many buses that make traveling comfortable. You can get these tickets for three, four, six or eight days and travel across the country.

As Sweden is a vast country, it is also worth a flight. Every major city has an airfield, but this alternative is not cheap. Also on the water, you can make good progress in Sweden because there are many natural seaports all over the country and the journey with the ship does not cost a fortune.

Sweden Travel Tips

In Sweden, there is the right of everyone, and according to this right, you can pitch your tent for two days wherever you like. There are, however, 600 campsites, many quaint cottages and a lot of good youth hostels. The summer hotels, student apartments, which are rented to tourists during the semester breaks, are an inexpensive option.

The price level in Sweden is high when it comes to food especially desserts and drinks. Above all, alcohol can tear a big hole during the travel. Depending on where you live and what demands you place, you have to count with a daily budget of 100 Euros and more. In rural areas, however, it is much cheaper than in the big cities like Stockholm or Gothenburg.

You will find free Wi-Fi almost everywhere for your smartphone or laptop. I recommend you a local SIM card with a data packet.

Sweden Language

The official language is Swedish, but the younger generation understands and speaks well in English.

Sweden Currency

Swedish Krona (SEK)

Sweden Best Travel Time

Sweden also has a varied weather from the long dark and cold winters to the mild and short summers, which are not too warm but are bright. The days and nights in the summer are wonderful when the sun does not go down, but if you do not want dark and cold days, you should not visit Sweden in the winter.

The ideal travel season is the months between June and September, as Sweden wakes up in these weeks. There are many concerts, folk festivals and festivals that people celebrate and it is fun to party with. Caution is advised, however, if you are offered a Surströmmingsskiva at a festival, as this is a typical dish made from pre-fermented herring. The taste and smell may put your nerves to test.

Sweden Safety

Sweden is a more than safe country. As everywhere, however, it is also advisable in Sweden to have a healthy mistrust and to take care of the luggage.

Sweden Hotels

A great alternative to hotels and guesthouses are the homestays. Here you can either rent a room or even a whole accommodation.