- Places to stay in 5. Camping holidays
- Public transport 6. Contacts with neighbours
- Cultural differences 7. Different landscapes
- Nightlife 8. Eating out
A. Sweden is a land of contrast, from the Danish influence of the southwest to the Laplanders wandering freely with their reindeer in the wild Arctic north. And while Sweden in cities is stylish and modern, the countryside offers many simpler pleasures for those who look for peace and calm. The land and its people have an air of reserved calm, and still the world’s best-selling pop group Abba, which used to attract crowds of hysterical fans, come from Sweden.
B. Historically, Sweden has an interesting story. Its dealings with the outside world began, in fact, during Viking times, when in addition to the well- known surprise attacks of the nearby lands, there was much trading around the Baltic, mostly in furs and weapons. Swedish connections with the other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark, have been strong since the Middle Ages. The monarchies of all three are still closely linked.
C. Sweden’s scenery has a gentler charm than that of neighbouring Norway’s rocky coast. Much of Sweden is forested, and there are thousands lakes, notably large pools near the capital, Stockholm. The lakeside resort in the centre of Sweden is popular with Scandinavians, but most visitors prefer first the Baltic islands. The largest island, Gotland, with its ruined medieval churches, is a particular attraction.
D. Sweden boasts a good range of hotels, covering the full spectrum of prices and standards. Many of them offer discounts in summer and at weekends during the winter. In addition, working farms throughout Sweden offer accommodation, either in the main farmhouse or in a cottage nearby. Forest cabins and chalets are also available throughout the country, generally set in beautiful surroundings, near lakes, in quiet forest glades or on an island in some remote place.
E. Living in a tent or caravan with your family or friends at weekends and on holiday is extremely popular in Sweden and there is a fantastic variety of special places. Most are located on a lakeside or by the sea with free bathing facilities close at hand. There are over 600 campsites in the country. It is often possible to rent boats or bicycles, play mini-golf or tennis, ride a horse or relax in a sauna. It is also possible to camp in areas away from other houses.
F. Swedes like plain meals, simply prepared from the freshest ingredients. As a country with a sea coast and many freshwater lakes, fish dishes are found on all hotel or restaurant menus. 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.
G. Stockholm has a variety of pubs, cafes, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres but in the country evenings tend to be very calm and peaceful. From August to June the Royal Ballet performs in Stockholm. Music and theatre productions take place in many cities during the summer in the open air. Outside Stockholm in the 18th-century palace there are performances of 18th-century opera very popular with tourists.