Sweden is the largest and most populous of the Scandinavian countries and it also leads the way in international influence. Not unlike its neighbors, they really run a tight ship in Sweden, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a lot of fun too. This is an expensive country to visit, but if you do some research it can be done without breaking the bank. Going slightly out of season can also help control costs, but be warned that many of Sweden’s summer attractions - such as its tourist islands - open in July and close in late August.
What To Do
Stockholm is obviously at the top of everyone’s list of places to start in Sweden. This gorgeous city is made of up 14 separate islands and the water and bridges can make for some stunning scenery. The small old town island in the center is where you’ll find churches and palaces and tourist shopping, but just cross a bridge and you are in the bohemian district or a modern shopping or nightlife area. An Abba Museum is opening in 2008 and don’t even pretend that you don’t want to check that out.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city and another popular spot for travelers. This town was built on ship-building, but now is home to the largest university in the country. The university in the center of town helps keep the atmosphere young and adventurous, but there is plenty of history here as well. The city has many unique museums as well as the largest amusement park in the country.
You can arrive in Sweden by long distance train - made even easier after the completion of the tunnel/bridge connecting Copenhagen to Malmo - but most people will want to book a flight into Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport. It’s not near the city center and the best way to get back and forth is their special express train. Watch for discounts on the weekend. Stockholm also has a few other regional airports that are used by discount carriers so pay attention to which one you’ll be using to avoid a transportation shock once you land.
Where To Stay
Sweden has plenty of hostels all over the country, but some are very seasonal so check the calendar before just arriving without a reservation. There are plenty of hostels in Stockholm and Gothenburg and they are open all year. There are obviously loads of hotels in Stockholm as well, but prices tend to be high and cheaper places sell out early so plan ahead.