The World Was Here First

The Perfect 5 to 7 Days in Sweden Itinerary

Last Updated on January 29, 2024

by Olivia Ellis

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From lush boreal forests to cobblestone streets, this 5 to 7 days in Sweden itinerary will take you off the beaten path and give you a look into what makes this country what it is as well as such a happy place to visit.

Being the largest Nordic and Scandinavian country as well as one of the largest countries in Europe, it can become a daunting task to plan a trip across Sweden. Tourists typically tend to flock directly to the capital city of Stockholm , but in reality, the country has so much more to offer.

With this itinerary, you’ll have a remarkable trip full of delicious food, nature, sleek and classic Swedish cities, and everything in between.

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Sweden?

While 2 days are probably enough if you’re just hoping to visit a major city such as Stockholm or Gothenburg, you’re just dipping your toes into the country.

For those searching to get a good feel of Sweden and experience nature as well as city life, 5 days in Sweden should suffice at a minimum.

If you’re hoping to take a bit of a slower pace and be in less of a rush, I suggest spending 7 days exploring Sweden.

Any time beyond that will only enrich your experience, as it’s such a vast country and to see most of the regions, it’ll take more time if you want to spend multiple days in various areas.

For example, Swedish Lapland is more popular in the winter months when visitors can view the Northern Lights and due to the distance from Stockholm or other major cities, you’ll want to plan for at least 4 days in Lapland beyond 1-2 days in Stockholm.

In the warmer months, southern Sweden is quite popular and worth visiting and most things are quite close, so it’s more feasible to do a shorter trip. 

Scenic Swedish countryside

Getting To & Around Sweden

This itinerary starts in Stockholm, so the easiest airport to fly into is Stockholm’s Arlanda International Airport, located in Arlanda, a town about an hour away from the Stockholm archipelago.

Another option when looking to plan a Sweden itinerary is to fly into Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport which is conveniently located just a short train ride from the city of Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city. 

As for getting around while spending time in Sweden, the best ways are either by hire car or by Swedish train transportation. Both modes of transport are great and efficient, but the one you’ll ultimately decide to go with depends on your needs during your trip.

As this trip goes to quite a few destinations within Sweden, the cost will likely come out around the same whether you decide to hire a car or strictly travel by train.

If you decide on a Sweden road trip with a hire car, you’ll have more independence and freedom to decide when you’ll travel and exactly where you’ll go but in comparison to train transport, if you’re not super keen on driving throughout a trip, train transport will give you more relaxed journeys.

The time of year will also make a big difference regarding your method of transport. Swedish winters can be quite brutal, snowy, and icy, so if you’re visiting in the winter and are hoping to make it to Lapland, train transport is the best option if you’re not an incredibly experienced driver with the appropriate hire car. 

Whether you decide to travel by car or train, it’s good to keep in mind that the longer you wait to book a car or a train ticket, the higher prices will be — especially if you’re hoping to travel to Sweden during the summer high season. 

For those who think a road trip in Sweden is their best bet, then we suggest browsing to compare prices across several companies. Alternatively, you can book train tickets in advance here.

Arlanda Airport

5 to 7-Day Sweden Itinerary

As a country with such varying landscapes and history, Sweden is truly a joy to visit. One moment you’re surrounded by dense nature; whether it be solemn seas or deep forests, and another moment you’ll find yourself in the high-tech, stylish Scandinavian big brother that it is. 

Day 1 – Stockholm

Day 1 begins in the vibrant capital city of Stockholm. Spending one or two days in the capital city is a great way to acquaint yourself with Sweden in general and you won’t be at a loss for ways to spend your time while in Stockholm.

Stockholm is quite a large city and you could easily spend a number of days wandering around the center and the deeper corners of the city. However, if you’re short on time, one or two days is enough to experience most of the important parts and to explore the capital of Sweden

Make sure to wander around the medieval, cobblestoned, and colourful Gamla Stan (Old Town) neighborhood, check out one of the city’s many fantastic museums (the Vasa Museum is the most loved and appreciated museum in all of Scandinavia), and wander around the Royal Palace of Sweden while also witnessing the changing of the guard.

To maximise what you see during your time in Stockholm, consider taking a walking tour , bike tour or short archipelago cruise. You should also consider a Stockholm Go City Pass if you plan to visit many paid attractions.

Old Town of Stockholm

Where to Stay in Stockholm

Scandic No 53 – This 3-star hotel located close to the top attractions in Stockholm makes for a great base in the Swedish capital. Perfect for mid-range travelers, they have a number of comfortable rooms available and there’s even an on-site bar.

Downtown Camper by Scandic – Luxury visitors to Stockholm will love this plush, 4-star hotel in the centre of the Swedish capital. Perfectly located to see all the city has to offer, they have a number of elegant rooms to choose from and countless other amenities to ensure you have a wonderful stay.

Gamla Stan Apartments – For those who like to have their own flat while traveling, these apartments are an excellent choice. Centrally located for exploring all that Stockholm has to offer, they have a range of flats on offer and they’re all fully furnished with everything you may need.

Castanea Old Town Hostel – This hostel is an excellent choice for those visiting Stockholm solo or on a budget. They have a range of dorms and some private rooms available, great common areas and a location perfect for exploring the Swedish capital.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Stockholm hotels!

Day 2 – Sigtuna

One of the great things about Sweden is the proximity of special small towns to major cities. On day 2 of this itinerary, you’ll head about an hour away from Stockholm to Sweden’s oldest town, Sigtuna.

Sigtuna dates back to 970 CE and as Sweden’s first city, it just shows how far back and rich the history of the country is. Sigtuna is quite a small and quaint city and that makes it the perfect day trip and is one of the best places to visit in the country.

Begin your day on the idyllic Stora Gatan (Sweden’s oldest pedestrian street) meandering through shops, enjoying a Fika with coffee and a Swedish treat and taking in the traditional architecture and homes.

It’s also worth checking out the Runestones of Sigtuna, the oldest known texts in Swedish dating back to the 4th century CE. There’s a large amount of them in the city, so head to the city hall (worth a visit in itself) to obtain a map to direct you to their locations.

Afterwards, head back to Stockholm for your last night in the city.

If you prefer to do this day trip on an organised tour, this full-day tour goes to Sigtuna and Uppsala , focusing on Viking history. Alternatively, this half-day tour focuses primarily on Sigtuna.

Alternatively, if Sigtuna doesn’t suit, consider heading out to visit the grand Drottningholm Palace.

Sigtuna. Sweden

Day 3 – Orebro 

After spending two nights in Stockholm, day 3 will bring you about 2 hours away from Stockholm to the 13th-century town of Orebro located in the central part of Sweden.

While much of this trip to Sweden route, visiting Orebro is a great opportunity to experience a town in central Sweden.

Like most other cities and towns in Sweden, Orebro has a stunning city center, and many will even say that it’s one of the nicest in the country.

During your visit make sure to visit the Orebro Castle, located on a picturesque islet in the city, wander around the city center, and head to the Svamp Water Tower to get incredible Panoramic views of the city.

I suggest staying in Orebro on the third night of this itinerary as it’s a really lovely city to have a break from large-city Swedish life and enjoy a slower pace. 

Orebro Castle

Where to Stay in Orebro

Livin Station Hotel – This small, 3-star hotel in Orebro is a great accommodation choice for those visiting Sweden on a mid-range budget . They have a range of modern and comfortable rooms on offer and a great location in order to explore all this lovely town has to offer.

Clarion Collection Hotel Borgen – If you’re looking for luxury in Orebro, then this hotel is an excellent choice. They have a range of plush rooms available, a fantastic location for exploring the city and a great restaurant on site (along with many other amenities).

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Orebro hotels!

Day 4 – Gothenburg

On the southwest coast of Sweden, you’ll find Gothenburg , Sweden’s second-largest city after Stockholm.

After enjoying a day in the city of Orebro, you’ll head about three hours away to Gothenburg on day 4. If you’re driving, consider making a detour to visit the charming town of Kalmar on the Baltic Sea and explore the historic center.

While Stockholm is easily the tourist center of Sweden, Gothenburg offers the best of Sweden without tourist crowds as well as tourist prices.

The city itself is full of Dutch-style canals (Gothenburg was mainly built by the Dutch), pure Scandinavian style, classic green boulevards, and a tremendously impressive food scene.

When in Gothenburg, I recommend checking out the 17th-century Domkyrkan (Gothenburg’s Cathedral), the hip and characteristic Haga neighborhood for lunch, and Slottsskogen, the city’s main park.

Gothenburg is full of a mix of sustainable and classically elegant architecture, and even just wandering around the city is a marvel in itself. If you’re looking to try a wide array of foods, head to the Saluhallen Food Hall to enjoy a tasty bite while marvelling at the architecture of the 1800s building. 

Gothenburg Cathedral

Where to Stay in Gothenburg

Hotel Royal – This hotel in the centre of Gothenburg is a great option for mid-range travelers. They have a number of great rooms on offer, a fantastic, central location and they also offer a wonderful breakfast each morning.

Hotel Pigalle – If you’re looking for a luxury escape in Gothenburg then you are sure to love this elegant hotel. There are a range of wonderful rooms to choose from, an excellent location for exploring the city and amenities like room service and more available for guests.

Slottskogens Hostel – Those visiting Gothenburg on a budget (or simply looking for a lively social atmosphere) will love this centrally-located hostel. They offer both dorms and private rooms and also have good common areas and self-catering facilities.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Gothenburg hotels!

Day 5 – Southern Gothenburg Archipelago

The city of Gothenburg is in a unique location with 20 islands spanning Sweden’s western coast making up the Gothenburg Archipelago. The Gothenburg Archipelago consists of two parts; the northern archipelago, and the southern archipelago.

While both parts are worth the visit, the southern archipelago is better connected to the city and easier to access on a day trip.

Gothenburg’s Archipelago islands are one of the prime spots for Swedish local’s summer getaways and visiting one or two of the archipelago islands is the perfect way to experience what local life is like for Swedes spent by the sea, on the beach and under the sun.

The southern archipelago can easily be reached by Gothenburg’s public transport system in around 30 minutes and due to all of the archipelago islands being car-free, cars aren’t allowed on ferries so keep this in mind if you’re hiring a car during your trip.

Styrso Island is the main hub of the southern islands and is a great spot to head to during your day trip, you’ll find numerous places to swim as well as airy and pleasant cafes/restaurants throughout the island.

If you’re spending 5 days, today will conclude your Sweden travel itinerary. The best options are to continue onward by train if you’d like to see other destinations or make your way to Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport or Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport for your return flight.

From Gothenburg, there are numerous direct train services to each city, and directly to Copenhagen Airport.

Southern Gothenburg Archipelago

Day 6 – Malmo

For those continuing to enjoy Sweden in 7 days, days 6 and 7 of this itinerary will bring you to the city of Malmo. The city of Malmo dates back to the 13th century and is the third largest city in Sweden located about a 3-hour drive or train ride away from Gothenburg.

Malmo is located in a unique location, on the southern tip of Sweden and just 30 minutes away from Copenhagen, Denmark across the Oresund Strait. The city of Malmo is a unique mix of urban industrial architecture, classic medieval architecture, and sustainable futuristic architecture all creating the center of the city.

Make a point to spend time at the 15th-century Malmo castle (the oldest surviving Renaissance castle in Sweden), stroll down the Sodergatan and maybe even visit the most unique museum you’ll come across, the Disgusting Food Museum . 

Malmo Old Town

Where to Stay in Malmo

Mayfair Hotel Tunneln – This small hotel is located within a stone’s throw from Malmo’s train station and is the perfect base for exploring the city. They have many comfortable rooms to choose from and other amenities including an on-site bar and restaurant for guests to enjoy.

The More Hotel Mazetti – If you’d like to have your own flat in Malmo, then this aparthotel is an excellent option. Centrally located, this combines the convenience of having your own apartment with all of the amenities of a hotel. There are a number of fully-furnished and stylish flats to choose from.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Malmo hotels!

Day 7 – Lund

While Malmo is an engaging city to visit in its own right, the city itself is quite small, so this leaves you with the perfect day trip opportunity to the university city of Lund.

Lund is a charming, cobblestoned medieval town known for having one of the best universities in the world and is just a short 15-minute train ride from Malmo Central Station. The city center is quite small but large enough to make a day/half-day trip out of by stepping back in time through the city’s quaint and studious old town.

Lund has an incredibly relaxed atmosphere and this itself makes one of Sweden’s oldest cities a great getaway from city life in Malmo. The spectacular Romanesque Cathedral of Lund is one of the most sought-after attractions in all the Nordics , and religious or not, the cathedral is a truly peaceful splendor to walk through.

If you’re looking for a unique experience on your Lund day trip and last day in Sweden, I highly suggest heading to Kulturen, an outdoor open-air museum/experience with replicas from medieval times through the 20th century. 

If you’re trying to sort out the most convenient option for a return flight from Sweden, Malmo is located on train lines with direct connections to Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport in just under half an hour. If it’s not feasible to return from Copenhagen, you’ll also find convenient routes to Stockholm Airport as well as Gothenburg Airport. 

Lund, Sweden

Have More Time?

Perhaps you find yourself with more time beyond the 7 days of this Sweden travel itinerary. In that case, you’re in luck. Sweden is such a large country with plenty more interesting places and things to do, with varying unique options depending on the time of year.

If you’re a winter adventurer and are visiting Sweden in the winter, one of the best ways to enjoy Swedish winter is to head to the northern region of Swedish Lapland.

Witness the dancing, colorful aurora borealis in the arctic after a day of snowy activities and enjoy local Sami culture amongst locals and friendly animals. You can fly into the northern town of Kiruna and also opt to visit the incredible Abisko National Park.

If you’re visiting Sweden in the summer and would like to extend your trip with a unique location, the island of Gotland is a UNESCO Heritage Site located off the east coast of the Swedish mainland and the home of Pippi Longstocking.

Spend time in the city of Visby while wandering through its enchanting streets and corners of this fairytale Swedish island, a magical place without a hoard of tourists. 

You could also opt to spend a few more days in Stockholm and experience the sites and places close to the city.


There are plenty of reasons that Sweden is such a joyful destination that visitors long for and experience when they visit. The country itself is massive, offering a variety of adventures and experiences, the people are generous and kind, it’s one of the most forward-sustainable countries today and the towns bring you back to your childhood fairytale dreams.

After spending one week in Sweden, you’ll likely find yourself looking to come back soon to explore even deeper corners of this especially peaceful haven of a country.

Are you planning a trip to Sweden? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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About Olivia Ellis

Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

Greatly helpful article for us who are planning a week long self-driving trip to Sweden in Sep. we will pretty much follow your itineraries, and try to see as many places as possible. We’ve been in Stockholm for a couple times but have not seen anywhere else in Sweden, so we’re excited about the trip!

I’m so happy you’ve found this helpful! Hope you have a great time in Sweden 🙂

Love your passion for travel and detailed itineraries.

Thanks so much for this itinerary. We love all of it and will avoid Gothenburg as we will see it as part of our biking trip on the west coast a week later. Is the island of Oland worth visiting as well as Gotland.

Appreciate your input. Have you also done an itinerary for Denmark?

I’m happy that you found this helpful! You can find our Denmark itinerary here 🙂

Yes am planning a trip to Sweden sometime in December and will likely spend my Christmas over there. That will be my first time in Sweden so I would really want to have a swell time while am there.

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Walk in the fairy tale Gamla Stan in Stockholm

One of the oldest and best preserved medieval centres in all of Europe, Gamla Stan is a maze of alleyways and baroque style architecture in the heart of Stockholm’s old town. Allow yourself time to explore the cafes, galleries and museums of this 12th century playground.

See the medieval Storkyrkan

Built during the 13th century, “The Great Church” of Storkyrkan is a magnificent cathedral inspired by Gothic design. As impressive as the exterior is, it’s the interior’s large collection of statues and furnishings, including the famous wooden statue of St George slaying the dragon, that will truly leave you in awe.

Visit Royal Palace at the heart of Stockholm's Old Town

The former residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden is an architectural feat with over 600 rooms, found in the centre of Stockholm. Open to the public daily, you can gaze upon Queen Kristina’s silver throne and marvel at the centuries old interiors.

See Lake Vanern, The Largest Lake In The European Union

Spend a day at the EU’s biggest lake and partake in a variety of water activities such as sailing, canoeing, fishing and swimming. On land you can soak up the sunshine whilst dining on Scandinavian treats by the waterfront, making the most of the picturesque sandy beaches.

Enjoy a drink at the world's first Ice Bar

Icebar Stockholm was the first permanent ice bar ever created. Built from 40 tonnes of ice, the bar is adorned by a variety of every changing ice statues. Sip a cool cocktail in -5 degrees Celsius after a big day of exploring.

Our top 5 things to do in Sweden

Whether you journey for history, culture, nature, or a combination of it all, Trafalgar’s deep dive into Sweden will capture your heart. These are just some of the things to do in Sweden you cannot miss.

ABBA Museum

Celebrate the career of pop icons, ABBA at this interactive museum. Record a song with the virtual ABBA and marvel at the band’s costume collection. Entry also grants access to the Swedish Music Hall Of Fame where you can follow the progress of the modern Swedish music scene.

Vasa Museum

A centrepiece of Scandinavia’s museums is a 17th-century ship raised from the seabed off the coast of Stockholm. Explore the story behind the remarkably preserved Vasa whilst being educated on the country’s impressive naval history.

Skansen Museum

Five centuries of history are on display at the world’s oldest open-air museum, Skansen. Here you can observe local traditions and craftsmanship across 150 farms and lodgings, including a zoo featuring domestic and wild Nordic animals. A complete taste of Swedish culture in one dedicated place.

Best museums in Sweden

Over 50 museums can be found scattered throughout Stockholm, giving you the chance to quench your thirst for knowledge over and over again. With Trafalgar as your guide, you’ll be perfectly steered through the cultural gold mine that is Stockholm museums.

Jansson's Temptation

The Swedish take on casserole is a surprisingly tasty dish made from potatoes, onions, cured sprat, breadcrumbs and cream. Though it is a Christmas speciality, you can find the acquired fish taste of Jansson’s all year round.

Nodding to Sweden’s fondness for baked dough, knäckebröd is a traditional crisp Swedish bread made mostly from rye flour. Try it topped with butter, cheese and ham for a delicious on-the-go snack.

Crayfish August

Throughout the month of August, Swedes celebrate the end of summer and welcome the start of autumn by throwing crayfish parties. Expect traditional songs, party hats, drinking and the consumption of many, many crayfish.

Best food in Sweden

Food is a big part of Swedish culture, best proved by the afternoon ritual of fika – a break enjoyed with a sweet pastry and coffee. From meatballs to crisp breads and crayfish, our trips to Sweden uncover the tastes and heritage of traditional Sweden food. 

What to pack for Sweden

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An All-Weather Jacket

No matter the time of year, a jacket is a must in your Sweden travel bag. Go for something lightweight yet warm, waterproof and windproof, and you will be ready for all Swedish weather conditions.

A legitimate camera

While most people are content with using their phone for holiday snaps, if you truly want to capture the beauty of this city you should bring a specialist camera.

Comfortable shoes

One minute you’re walking through Stockholm’s old town, the next your hiking through alpine landscapes in the far north. A comfortable pair of walking shoes will get you through all environments on your trip to Sweden.

A refillable water bottle

You’ll spend most of your time on the move in Sweden. Bring a reusable, lightweight and durable water bottle to keep rehydrated while doing your bit for the environment.

Even in winter, the sun’s glare can be your enemy. A slick pair of sunglasses will not only protect your eyes but will also help you fit in with the fashionable Swedish locals.

Pack for sustainable travel

Consider your environmental impact when you next take a trip and go single-use-plastic-free by packing a reusable water bottle, a steel straw, your own shopping bags and refillable toiletry bottles.

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Sweden – a destination of a different nature

Discover a country where nature is always present. In our cities, in our innovations and in our minds. Our nature has affected what we eat, where we live and how we live. Welcome to a destination of a different nature. Welcome to Sweden!

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Ever since the first cluster of patisseries arrived in Sweden at the end of the 19th century, the Swedish café has continued to flourish in a style uniquely its own. There are cafés for all tastes, whether you are particular with your brew, your pastries or into design and interior.

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Scenic panorama of the Old Town pier architecture in Stockholm, Sweden, on a cloudy

Is it possible for a country to be too beautiful?

Because Sweden, if you’re listening, you’ve been awfully greedy. From the remote reaches of the alpine tundra to Stockholm’s scenic streets, beauty pervades every part of this country including, it would seem, the people. But let’s not be too shallow – there’s also the Viking history, the coffee culture, the Northern Lights and a legally protected freedom to roam that sees locals and those on a Sweden tour taking to the coast, to the hills, to the mountains and rivers in search of a little piece of paradise for themselves.

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Culture and customs.

The Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Norway , Denmark – have had their cultures examined and re-examined over the past few years by disgruntled citizens of the world desperate to improve their lives. Everything from education to work to parenting has come under the spotlight and unfortunately there’s no resounding answer except, perhaps, this: be more Swedish.

Despite the modern world fawning over Sweden’s Swedishness, the Swedes are a humble bunch and don’t take kindly to arrogance and boasting. You won’t seem them going for broke at work either thanks to ‘lagom’, a Swedish word meaning ‘just the right amount’. They do what they need to do and get out, which is perhaps the reason for their enviable work-life balance, not to mention a world-leading amount of parental care on offer to mothers and fathers.

So what are the Swedes doing once they’ve done just the right amount? Probably drinking coffee. Sweden is one of the world’s biggest coffee consumers and the tradition of ‘fika’ is a cornerstone of the country’s culture. ‘Fika’ is a noun, a verb, a concept – a state of mind, even. It essentially translates as a break for coffee and cake, but it’s really an opportunity to catch up and socialize with friends and colleagues.

Like the rest of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden is big on the outdoors. The principle of ‘allemansratten’, or ‘freedom to roam’, is protected by law and this gives all people the right to be free in nature, meaning they can hike, camp, ski tour and forage wherever they like as long as they respect the land and its owners.   

Whether the Swedes are meeting for a hike or having coffee at one of Stockholm’s galleries, you can bet that they won’t be late. Punctuality is key and contributes to the general politeness that pervades society so if you do happen to travel on a Sweden tour, keep an eye on the time.

History and government

Following the last ice age, Germanic tribes from Central Europe moved north into the southern regions of Sweden while the Sami indigenous peoples hunted in the north. These tribes grew over the next thousand years as technology advanced, with the economy coming to rely on fishing, farming and trade.

Scandinavia’s most well-known historical period is the age of the Vikings. The Vikings were fearsome warriors from Norway, Denmark and Sweden, equipped with fast yet sturdy boats that allowed them to raid the Baltic and European coastlines. Sweden had experienced a sudden population boom and needed to import goods to feed the masses and these imports were financed through mercenary activities.

The Vikings went as far as Constantinople and Baghdad, establishing trade with Byzantium, while some went on to establish Russia after conquering the Slavic tribes in the region. The ones that did return to Sweden were rich with gold, silver and slaves.

Christianisation and the Kalmar Union

The Viking age ended with the Christianisation of Sweden over the 12th century. Wars were fought with Denmark and Norway and crusades were led to the unconverted Finnish tribes across the sea, but Sweden would eventually join Denmark and Norway in the Kalmar Union, a response to the increasing power of the Hanseatic League on mainland Europe. This union, at the end of the 14th century, led to riches but it was Denmark that really ruled Scandinavia.

Regionalism increased over the following centuries and separatist parties were formed, which eventually rejected the rule of the Danish king in the 16th century. Sweden was then taken by force and Swedish nobles were executed in Stockholm, leading to a rebellion led by Gustav Vasa, who was named King of Sweden in 1523. Scandinavia was split into the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway and the Kingdom of Sweden.

Age of Freedom

Through the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries Sweden continued to wage wars and lost land in the Baltics as well as economic stability. The death of Charles XII, in 1718, ushered in an era known as the Age of Freedom, as in freedom from the dictatorial king. What the Swedes lost in territory they gained in intellectual progress and the reign of Gustav III, in the late-18th century, was a blessing for the Swedish arts with drama, opera and poetry becoming prominent expressions of Swedish culture.

World Wars and modern Sweden

At the outbreak of WWI Sweden declared itself neutral. This neutrality remained through WWII though much has been made of their decision to let German troops through to take Norway.

Following the war, Sweden introduced child care, unemployment benefits and more socially positive policies. The country went from strength to strength and has become a prosperous nation with strong systems in place to support its population. That said, Sweden’s decision to be a haven for those fleeing persecution has led to a real test of its welfare policies, which is currently coming to a political head.

The government is currently run by the Social Democratic Party, who have dominated the country’s politics for much of the past century, but the Sweden Democrats – a nationalist anti-immigration party – have seen a swift rise, mirroring far-right movements across Europe. As of 2020, they are set to become Sweden’s most popular party, and it remains to be seen what effects this will have on the country.

Eating and drinking

Okay, yes, Sweden is famed for its meatballs thanks to IKEA – an estimated 1.8 million meatballs are eaten daily across their global stores – but there’s more to Swedish cuisine than these glorious balls of bliss. Keep an eye out for these traditional dishes as you’re traveling through the country:

  • Kanelbullar These cinnamon buns could be considered Sweden’s national snack and are a perennial favorite for ‘fika’ (coffee break).
  • Princess cake This bright green cake became popular in the UK after appearing in the Great British Bake Off. It’s a sponge cake covered with marzipan and is popular at Swedish celebrations. It was created by a woman named Jenny Akerstrom who taught three of the Swedish princesses to cook. They loved it so much that she named the cake in their honor.
  • Jansson’s Temptation This creamy potato and anchovy casserole is a stalwart of the Christmas season though the dish can be served at any time of the year. It was named after Pelle Janzon – a food-loving Swedish opera singer.
  • Toast Skagen One day, apparently, a Swedish chef was sailing with a disgruntled crew and threw together some leftovers in an attempt to cheer them up. He ended up with prawns, mayonnaise, dill and lemon served on Swedish crisp bread and when they asked the name of the dish he looked across the water to Denmark, saw the town of Skagen, and named it: Toast Skagen.
  • Smorgasbord The Swedish buffet has as many rules as it does ingredients. For the Swedes it comes naturally, but for the unsuspecting traveler, things can get confusing. Begin with herring and cheese (a smorgasbord without herring is a travesty), then move to seafood and gravlax. The third course is cold meats, pickles and salads, then the fourth is hot dishes like meatballs. A word of advice: go slow.

Plant-based options

Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are common in all major Swedish cities and most rural restaurants will also offer vegetarian options. Travelers who are heading north and spending time in traditional Sami areas may encounter more difficulty in finding vegan options in particular.

Geography and environment

Located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden is bordered by Finland to the east and Norway to the west, as well as the Gulf of Bothnia and Baltic Sea. It’s home to pristine rivers, areas of thick woodlands and forest, pure lakes and windswept islands – natural beauty is eminent here. Sweden actually has over 97,000 lakes, with the largest being Lake Vanern (complete with castles on its shores) and the most mysterious being Lake Storsjon, which is supposedly home to a Nessie-like monster.

The majority of the population lives in the south, away from the freezing cold temperatures and unforgiving terrain of the Arctic north. Here you’ll find Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, Sweden’s three major cities, which are largely built with respect to the natural world and feature dedicated green spaces and waterways. Stockholm is actually built over 14 islands, with the city center essentially on the water, while the land between Stockholm and Gothenburg is the agricultural heartland of the country with low-lying and fertile soils. The northern areas, home to the indigenous Sami population, tend to range from hilly to mountainous.

Given Sweden’s vast length and different latitudes, the weather varies depending on where you’re traveling, but when compared to other Scandinavian countries the rain in Sweden is not particularly abundant. This is thanks to the protection of the Scandinavian Mountains, which run along the Norwegian border, reaching their highest point at 2469 m (8100 ft). The summers tends to be warmer too, though the exceptions are, of course, are the northern areas past the Arctic Circle, which enjoy very low temperatures even in the summertime.

There’s no doubt that Sweden’s greatest gift is the outdoors. Your money is probably best spent getting outside and experiencing as much of nature as possible, or eating your way through some Swedish cuisine, but if you are intent on picking up a souvenir then the following gifts may be just what you’re after:

Hailing from the province of Dalarna, these painted horses have become an unofficial symbol of Sweden. They were traditionally carved by the men at home and then taken to the main workshop in the village to be painted. The traditional color is red, but you can also find blue, black, white or skin-colored horses.

Christmas decorations

The Swedes just know how to do Christmas – the snow’s a little whiter, the lights are a little brighter, and the decorations? They’re just really pretty, so go on and pick up an ornament as the perfect festive monument to your Sweden tour.

Sami handicrafts

The Sami people are the original Swedes, hailing from the northern regions. You can buy hard or soft handicrafts if you’re visiting Swedish Lapland and in other parts of the north. One of the best places is the Jokkmokk winter market, which is held over January and February and has been running for some 400 years. The handicrafts can be either hard or soft, with hard handicrafts like knives and cups traditionally made for men, and soft handicrafts traditionally made for women, like woven bracelets and other jewelry.

Festivals and events

The Swedes make the most of their long-awaited summer with many music and cultural festivals being held nationwide.

National Day of Sweden

Held on June 6 every year, the National Day of Sweden celebrates two events. The first was the election of Gustav Vasa as king in 1523, and the second was the adoption of the new constitution in 1809. Celebrations are held nationwide, while children present the royal couple with bouquets of summer flowers during a ceremony at Skansen, Stockholm’s open-air museum.

Midsummer Festival

Midsummer is perhaps the most important holiday in Sweden. It’s held in the middle of June, and the Swedes take to the outdoors – parks, gardens, wherever – to eat lunch, sing songs, eat herring and drink schnapps. In other words, it’s Swedish people being incredibly Swedish.

Culture festivals

All three of Sweden’s major cities – Malmo, Gothenburg, and Stockholm – hold cultural festivals in the summertime to celebrate local and national arts and culture. Street parties, theatre, food, and live music are all featured.

Public holidays that may impact travel include:

Ascension Day

Whit Sunday

National Day

Midsummer's Day

All Saints Day

Please note that the dates of  Sweden's public holidays  may vary.

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your Sweden adventure, check out these books:

  • The 100-year-old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  • How to be Swedish – Matthias Kamann
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Similar destinations

Sweden or Finland?

Sweden travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

When is the best time to visit Sweden?

The best time to visit Sweden is during the summer months from June to August. The temperature tends to drop towards the end of August, while July is the warmest month and June features the longest days. Sights and tourist accommodation will be open, though some businesses will be shut as the locals may be taking holidays.

If you want to visit Sweden in winter, perhaps to see the Northern Lights or to go dog sledding, keep in mind that the longest days occur in February. December and January really are very dark, but they do make for a pretty special holiday. Be sure to book everything in advance as many accommodation facilities will shut down during this period.

Is it safe to visit Sweden?

Yes, it is safe to visit Sweden. Travelers are advised to stay vigilant in cities as petty crime does occur, particularly in touristed areas, and to keep an eye on local news sources for updates on any planned demonstrations.

Given Sweden’s winter extremes, it’s also important to be wary of environmental factors when driving, walking or skiing. Roads and footpaths may be icy, and inexperienced skiers may find conditions challenging.

Do I need a visa to travel to Sweden?

Sweden is a member of the Schengen Convention, which means that if you travel to an EU member country or countries, like Sweden, for a total of less than 90 days, a visa is not required. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, the UK and other member countries of the EU and Schengen area are included under this arrangement.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your country of origin. Check the Essential Trip Information section of your tour itinerary for more information.

Is tipping customary in Sweden?

Though tipping is rare, leaving 10–15 per cent at dinner for good service is customary. Otherwise it’s not expected though it is, of course, appreciated.

What is the internet access like in Sweden?

Internet access in Sweden is generally very good in populated areas. Most hotels, hostels and cafes will have wifi, usually for free, as will most airports and stations.

In more remote areas, like Lapland, internet access may be more difficult to come by and have a relatively slow connection, but who needs it when there’s all that nature to explore?

Can I use my cell phone while in Sweden?

EU residents can use their cell phones in Sweden at no extra cost. Non-EU visitors wanting to use their normal SIM card will need to ensure their global roaming is activated before leaving home. Be sure to check any additional fees that may be incurred by your carrier. 

Local SIM cards can be easily purchased and topped up in cities and towns around Sweden. Cell phone coverage is excellent in the south of Sweden but will be patchy in the remote northern areas.

What are the toilets like in Sweden?

Flushable, Western-style toilets are the norm in Sweden.

Can I drink the water in Sweden?

Sweden has some of the cleanest drinking water in the world and all tap water is safe to drink unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottle water and bring a reusable water bottle instead.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Sweden?

Visa and MasterCard credit cards are widely accepted in Sweden. In fact, you should be able to use card at the vast majority of shops, restaurants and hotels across the country, as well as for trains and ferries. It’s worth having a small amount of Swedish krona on hand just in case.

What is ATM access like in Sweden?

ATMs can be easily found in cities and towns across Sweden. Card payments are very common so even if you’re unable to find an ATM, you should be able to pay by card anyway.

What is the weather like in Sweden?

Sweden’s climate is more continental than that of Norway, meaning colder winters and warmer summers. That said, Sweden’s weather varies greatly depending on where you are, given the length of the country.

During winter, the temperature averages between 0 and -2°C (32 and 29°F) in the south, -10°C (14°F) in the north-central region, and -15°C (5°F) in the far north. Temperatures can drop much lower, however, when the cold air from Siberia moves east.

In the summertime the average temperature is quite similar across the country, usually around 21°C (70°F) in the north and reaching towards 28°C (82°F) in the south. Daytime in the south regularly sees temperatures climb above 30°C (86°F).

Is Sweden safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers?

Sweden has long been known as a liberal and tolerant country. Same-sex married couples have had the same rights as those in heterosexual marriages since 2009. All of Sweden’s larger cities have thriving queer scenes, with Stockholm hosting the five-day Stockholm Pride festival in late July or early August each year. You can pick up the QX Magazine in Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg, which contains information on LGBTQIA+ happenings around the country.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting  Equaldex  or  ILGA  before you travel.

If you are traveling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travelers who do not wish to share a room.

Is Sweden accessible for travelers with disabilities?

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Sweden is a good destination for travelers with disabilities. Swedish Railways’ trains have lifts and seats for wheelchair users and most street crossings have audible signals for visually impaired pedestrians. Many hotels also have rooms with adapted facilities for those with mobility limitations. The Visit Sweden website contains more information on accessible sights and restaurants, while the Stockholm public transport website has information on traveling around the city by public transport, which is accessible to most people.

What to wear in Sweden

What you need to pack to wear in Sweden will depend on what time of year you are visiting. The winters, and often the shoulder seasons, are freezing, so it’s important to have a warm jacket, thermals, a waterproof jacket and waterproof shoes, as well as something to keep your head warm.

In the summertime the weather is lovely and light clothing or jeans should suffice, though it can still get quite chilly in the evenings.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before traveling?

Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

How do I stay safe and healthy while traveling?

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners, Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilize school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

7 Days in Sweden

A Great Itinerary for a Week in Sweden

Håkan Dahlström/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sweden is one of the most beautiful European countries you’ll ever visit, guaranteed. The landscape is stunning and the people welcoming. Make the most of your trip by seeing as much as you can. The best way to do this is by car. The Swedes are friendly and helpful people, in case you need help or insight on the best places to go and where to stay.

There are countless places of interest in Sweden, including the ice hotels up north. But because Sweden is big, we will focus on a more concentrated trip, taking you on a seven-day road trip through the southern half of Sweden and its most idyllic coastal towns.

Day 1: Arrival & Stockholm

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

Chances are you will be arriving in Stockholm , the capital of Sweden. It is the ideal place to start your journey. The city is beautiful, but over Christmastime, it will take your breath away.

The Old Town part of Stockholm is called Gamla Stan, and if you only get to explore one area, this one has to be it. Dating back to the 13th century, cobblestone streets line medieval alleys and shops. The Royal Palace is also situated in the Old Town. There you can watch the Changing of the Guard and book a trip to the treasure chamber. Stockholm also boasts an impressive number of museums, including the famous Vasa Museum , home to a 17th-century royal warship.

Day 2: Kalmar / Öland

The 358 kilometer trip from Stockholm will be your longest driving stretch, while you are still fresh. Get an early start to properly explore Kalmar, also known as the Crystal Country. Quite self-explanatory, the area is famous for its rich crystal production.

The town itself reminds of a fairy tale village with its castles and cathedral. Don’t rush through, spend a day here and enjoy the delightful town. Kalmar is also joined to the Baltic island of Öland by a 6-kilometer bridge.

Day 3: Through Skåne to Malmö

Also known as Skåne, the southernmost part of Sweden is a unique experience, stretching out into golden sandy beaches and stunning national parks. A 234-kilometer drive from Kalmar, the area will combine peaceful country life in rolling valleys of green forests with a bustling city life. Major cities in this region include Helsingborg and Malmö and offer a large selection of quality hotels  at reasonable prices.

Day 4: Göteborg

Today, let's head north to Göteborg in the morning. It's about a three-hour drive. Some people prefer Göteborg over Stockholm simply because the city provides for a more authentic Swedish experience. It is a bustling metropolis while still maintaining that personal touch. Liseberg and Slottsskogen are the two major attractions. Liseberg is the biggest amusement park in Scandinavia, while Slottsskogen literally means "The Castle Forest". You'll find out what's behind the name as soon as you see it.

Instead of city sightseeing, you can also use Göteborg as a base while exploring the surrounding coastal towns today. Then, stay at one of the local hotels .

Day 5: Örebro

Day 5 starts out with the last long drive of your journey: A scenic 4-hour route going north-east on the E20 to Örebro. Another amazing city, but this one was blessed with one main attraction: Stadsträdgården. It was voted as Sweden’s most beautiful national park and merges with Wadköping museum village, another highlight. Wadköping is more than a museum; it is a life, breathing part of the city. Very interesting.

Day 6: Uppsala

A friendly, famous college town 172 kilometers north-east from Örebro, Uppsala used to be the capital of Sweden and the religious hub for Vikings. It was even voted one of the best cities in Sweden !

Visit Gamla Uppsala to follow in the Viking footsteps by visiting the grave mounds. Visit the impressive 1000-year-old church that still stands to this day and enjoys some mead in a Swedish pub before retiring to one of the many hotels in Uppsala. The city itself is filled with medieval creations and old tales of historic deeds and redemption. It is also home to the largest cathedral in Scandinavia.

Day 7: Stockholm

 TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

Uppsala is a mere 70 kilometers north of Stockholm, so you need not rush the last stretch of your trip. Enjoy a lazy breakfast, head back toward Stockholm and absorbs the sights one last time. If you still have a day or two to spare before your departure, use this time to thoroughly enjoy all the different sights in Stockholm to conclude your trip.

The Best Cities in Sweden

8 Scandinavian Cruises for Any Time Frame

Scandinavia and the Nordic Region: Planning Your Trip

A Guide to Airports in Scandinavia

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scandinavia

How to Travel From Stockholm to Uppsala by Train, Bus, and Car

The 8 Best Day Trips From Stockholm, Sweden

The Regions of Sweden

How to Spend 5 Days in Ireland

How to Travel from Stockholm to Gothenburg by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

Is It Safe in Sweden?

Walpurgis Night in Sweden Is the Other Halloween

12 Top Things to Do in Gothenburg, Sweden

18 Top Things to Do in Stockholm

Best Things to See in Malmo, Sweden

11 Top Things to Do for Free in Stockholm, Sweden

Days to Come

Travelling Without a Passport

A fishing village and mountains in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, at sunset

Your Perfect Scandinavia Itinerary (1 week, 2 weeks, or 3 weeks)

sweden tour plan

As far as European travel destinations go, Scandinavia is easily one of the most captivating. This enchanting region is your gateway to out-of-this-world natural beauty, the northern lights , and an enviable lifestyle that’s considered to be one of the happiest and healthiest on the planet.

I could wax poetic about Scandinavia all day long, but don’t worry — I won’t waffle on. If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’ve already decided you want to explore this breathtakingly beautiful corner of Northern Europe and you’re looking for some itinerary inspiration. Mapping out a Scandinavia itinerary can be as frustrating as it is fun, so let’s dive right in! 

If you’re not sure what to do with your time in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, here are a few itinerary ideas that’ll give you a taste of the region’s greatest hits.

Travel to: Scandinavia

A boat and colourful houses along the harbour in Nyhavn, Copenhagen

One-week Scandinavia itinerary

  • Route: Copenhagen -> Stockholm -> Oslo

Thinking of visiting Scandinavia and only have one week to spare? Not to worry! You can still get a feel for the region by visiting its effortlessly cool capital cities over the course of seven days. 

The perfect introduction to Denmark , Sweden , and Norway , this route is great if you’re after a mix of stellar historical attractions, bohemian charm, and a dose of hygge for good measure. Get ready to explore everything from opulent palaces to top-notch museums and world-renowned cuisine in these stylish capitals. 

Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo are connected by frequent and reliable high-speed trains, so travelling between the cities is a breeze.

People walking on the roof of the Opera House in Oslo, Norway

Two-week Scandinavia itinerary

  • Route: Copenhagen -> Stockholm -> Oslo -> Bergen -> Flåm -> Sognefjord

With two weeks to spend in Scandinavia, you can travel through the contemporary capital cities and explore one of the most spectacular regions in this part of the world: the western coast of Norway .

Immerse yourself in Copenhagen’s superb cafe and culinary scene. Stroll through the cobbled, medieval streets of Stockholm’s Old Town. Learn about Viking history in Oslo. Take in the spectacular vistas on a train ride from Oslo to Bergen. And get ready to be blown away by the spellbinding scenery in Sognefjord. 

Pink skies at sunset over Stockholm, Sweden

See Also: 11 Best Things to do in Stockholm While Travelling Solo

Three-week Scandinavia itinerary

  • Route: Copenhagen -> Gothenburg -> Stockholm -> Oslo -> Trondheim -> Bodø -> Lofoten Islands -> Tromsø

Planning to spend three weeks travelling around Scandinavia? Lucky you! This itinerary will take you through the region’s capital cities before heading to Northern Norway for a glimpse of the country’s wild, unspoiled wilderness and (hopefully!) the northern lights.

You could follow this itinerary any time of the year, but Northern Norway is especially magical during the winter months — and, of course, it’s also the best time to see the northern lights . 

Speaking of the northern lights, Tromsø — a small city located 350km north of the Arctic Circle — is renowned for being one of the best places in Europe to witness the remarkable phenomenon that is the aurora borealis. If you have your heart set on seeing those otherworldly celestial lights dancing in the night sky, plan to spend at least a few days here to increase your chances of spotting them.

Want more itinerary ideas? Explore our range of Scandinavia tours and trips to find your perfect adventure now.

The northern lights over water in Northern Norway

Can’t-miss sights and experiences in Scandinavia

Now that you’ve got your itinerary sorted, it’s time to start planning the most exciting part of your Scandinavia sojourn: everything you’re going to see and do in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Fuel your wanderlust and get even more amped up about your trip with these can’t-miss attractions and experiences.

  • Sail Norway’s fjords. It’s no secret that Norway has some of the most astonishingly beautiful fjords on the planet. There are more than 1,000 fjords dotted around the country’s coastline, but Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord are two of the most famous.
  • Visit Copenhagen’s famous landmarks. The colourful facades at Nyhavn, the famous Little Mermaid statue, and Tivoli Gardens are a few musts when you’re sightseeing in Denmark’s laid-back capital.
  • Go island-hopping around the Stockholm Archipelago. Made up of roughly 30,000 islands, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and go hiking, sea kayaking, or cycling alongside fields of wildflowers and sweeping views of the Baltic Sea.
  • Try an open-faced sandwich. Smörgås in Swedish, smørrebrød in Danish, smørbrød in Norwegian — the pronunciation of this traditional Scandinavian sandwich may change depending on which country you’re in, but one thing they all have in common? They’re delicious (and you have to try one while you’re in this part of the world).

A traditional red and yellow house on the water with mountains in the background in the Lofoten Islands, Norway

  • See the stunning landscapes of the Lofoten Islands. You’ve probably seen photos of the Lofoten Islands’ craggy mountains and idyllic fishing villages on Instagram, but nothing compares to seeing the rugged beauty of this remote archipelago in person.
  • Explore Denmark’s fairy tale castles. Frederiksborg Castle (which can be visited on an easy day trip from Copenhagen) is a highlight for any castle fanatic, but there are plenty of grand palaces scattered throughout the country.
  • Celebrate Midsummer in Sweden. Thinking of heading to Scandinavia in June? Try to plan your visit to coincide with Swedish Midsummer, an annual festival that celebrates the start of summer with traditional food, music, and a whole lot of pickled herring and schnapps.
  • See the northern lights . Head to Tromsø — Norway’s gateway to the Arctic — for the chance to cross this once-in-a-lifetime experience off your bucket list.

Traditional huts and houses on the Stockholm Archipelago in Sweden

Getting around Scandinavia 

Thanks to an extensive network of train, ferry, and bus services, travelling between Scandinavian countries is both easy and convenient.

Express trains are available between popular destinations (like Copenhagen and Stockholm, for example) and overnight trains are ideal for longer journeys. However, like almost everything else in Scandinavia, train tickets are expensive. Booking ahead and buying an Interrail or Eurail pass will help to keep costs down.

Buses are surprisingly comfortable in Scandinavia, and they offer a viable alternative to the region’s rail network. It’s also worth noting buses are the best transport method of choice when travelling to remote destinations or around the northern reaches of Sweden and Norway.

Mountains and a waterfall in Geirangerfjord, Norway

If you’re short on time — and if you’re planning to travel to the far north — hopping on a flight with a local carrier is your best bet.

Ferries are also an essential part of the Scandinavia travel experience, so don’t forget to pack your motion sickness remedies.

Keep in mind that it may be more difficult to get around the northern part of Sweden and Norway during the winter — especially if you’re planning to rent a car or travel by bus. It’s entirely possible to run into service disruptions or road closures due to inclement weather, so extra planning and preparation is necessary for a Scandinavian holiday in winter. 

What does your dream Scandinavian itinerary look like? Let us know in the comments!

sweden tour plan

Ashley Nitransky

Ashley is a Content Editor at TourRadar. When she’s not writing, travelling, or obsessively checking flight prices on Skyscanner, you can find her attempting to fine-tune her photography skills or watching a shark documentary.

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Sweden Itineraries

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1 Week Tour in Sweden

One week in Sweden is an excellent way to sample the various sides of the Swedish lifestyle, history and culture. Many visitors to Sweden for one week spend a portion of their time in cities and the other portion enjoying the outdoor gems of the area. Within the week, you’ll have an opportunity to feel relaxed, intrigued and enamored with what Sweden offers.

Days 1-2, Stockholm :  Take a walking tour of the city’s Royal Palace, Gamla Stan (old town) and the Royal Warship Vasa. Spend time enjoying open-air museums and amusements such as the Drottningholm Palace and Theater or the Skansen on Djurgården.

Day 3,  Sigtuna & Uppsala :  Along your route, stop at one of the oldest towns, Sigtuna. Once you reach Uppsala, visit the beautiful cathedral, Uppsala Domkyrka, which is the largest cathedral in Scandinavia. Take in the other cultural sights of Linnaeus Garden and Museum and the Gamla Uppsala.

Days 4-5,  Gotland & Visby :  Take the ferry to the island of Visby, where you can explore the medieval walled city on foot. Spend the rest of your time exploring the island by car or motorbike.

Day 6,  Kalmar :  Visit the iconic Kalmar Slott, which is a castle known as the “Key of Sweden” for its strategic position.

Day 7,  Växjö & the Kingdom of Crystal :  This region is known as the glass art region of Sweden. Take your time touring the glass factories of Boda Glasbruk, Orrefors Glasbruk, and Kosta Glasbruk.

See all 1 week Sweden tours  » 

2 weeks in Scandinavia (including Sweden)

Most travelers who take 2 week trips to Sweden, enjoy adding on other Scandinavian countries to their itinerary. This gives people the chance to compare and contrast the various cultures and splendors of various countries in the area.

For example, travelers to Sweden may choose to additionally visit Denmark , Norway or Finland on a 2 week itinerary. As with any destination, there is always more to dive into, so staying in Sweden for the 2 weeks is a great option as well. This itinerary features an extended 2 week adventure in Sweden with an added trip to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Days 1-2, Stockholm :  Relax after your flight and get accustomed to your new home in Sweden for 2 weeks. Explore the capital of Sweden and see its major attractions on a walking tour.

Days 3-4, Kiruna :  Sweden’s northernmost city is known for a hotel-museum made of snow and ice, art collections and majestic hikes.

Days 5-6, Kalmar :  Visit the iconic Kalmar Slott, which is a castle known as the “Key of Sweden” for its strategic position.

Day 7, Lund :  Explore the hometown of one of Europe’s oldest universities.

Day 8, Helsingborg :  Known as Sweden’s gateway to Europe, this lively waterfront town is one in which you can enjoy seaside character, architecture and environment.

Days 9-10, Gothenburg :  Home to many cultural festivities and music shows, this modern and ancient city is a great way to engage with the local culture.

Days 11, Travel to Denmark

Days 12-14, Copenhagen & Surrounding Area :  Explore this vibrant city’s culture, arts and cuisine. Take day trips to the surrounding areas to enjoy the countryside or seaside. Or stay put in this capital that hosts numerous museums, collectives and interesting attractions.

See all Sweden tours in two weeks  »

An Active Week in Sweden

A visit to Scandinavia as a whole, including Sweden, wouldn’t be complete without the chance to be active. Known for its untouched wilderness and natural landscapes, a trip to Sweden is an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream destination.

You can find wonderful places to bike, hike, camp, boat, swim- basically any activity, all with a spectacular connection to nature. This itinerary particularly features a bicycle tour of Sweden.

Day 1, Stockholm :  A trip to Sweden wouldn’t be complete without exploring the capital. You will find intriguing museums, cultural landmarks, the arts and cuisine in this cosmopolitan city.

Day 2, Stendörren Nature Reserve :  Take your bike through this nature reserve, where you can additionally add an option to explore one of its many hikes.

Days 3-4,  Trosa : Cycle via the Royal Tullgarn Palace to Gnesta Take yourself on this route, as you engage with the interesting towns, stops and sights along the way. Don’t forget to spot the castles!

Day 5,  Lake Klämmingen to Mariefred :  Take in the beautiful landscapes from your bike seat, as you see the landscape change throughout this region.

Day 6,  Lake Mälaren :  Cycle along this beautiful lakefront, while gaining an appreciation for the open road.

Day 7,  Stockholm's Ecopark :  Cycle through an ecopark within an urban area. Compare and contrast your experiences cycling in other parts of Sweden with where landscapes and people meet.

See all Active Adventure tours in Sweden  »

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Travel into a dreamland of style and natural beauty, preserved heritage, and historical riches. Sweden is a country of craftsmanship and design, Vikings and adventures. From the Northern Lights to the Stockholm Archipelago, you can experience the true majesty of Sweden by exploring the sample itineraries provided below to uncover the exciting possibilities.

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Cross country skier in snowy forest in the Lapland.

8  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $5,923

Embrace adventure and unique wonder on an eight-day Sweden tour that whisks you into Lapland’s natural grandeur. Enjoy a hot-air balloon ride over the white landscape, spend time in a wellness oasis, and relax in the heart of Swedish Lapland’s alluring seasons. Designed to immerse you in the highlights of the country’s far north, chase the Northern Lights or bask in the splendor of winter during your Lapland experience.

View of Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden

Dynamic pricing from  $3,659

Enjoy the picturesque and the historic during your 8-day luxury Sweden tour. From sandy lakeshores to dramatic castles, regal palaces to charming canals, luxurious yachts, to quaint village ambiance, you will discover a variety that covers traditional heritage and natural beauty. As you uncover culture and splendor, you can embrace Stockholm to Gothenburg for a distinctive panorama of Sweden on your custom-tailored experience.

Arctic Bath in Hardas, Sweden.  Photo © Ted Logardt, courtesy of Arctic Bath.

Dynamic pricing from  $3,739

Embrace natural phenomenon, innovative luxury, and unique beauty during your 7-day Sweden tour of Lapland. Float beneath the dancing northern lights, glide across the blanketing snow, meet packs of reindeer, and more. From an ice hotel to a soothing sauna, dogsledding to snowshoeing, you can indulge in the splendor of Lapland as a winter wonderland when discovering Sweden.

Northern lights in Sweden

7  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $3,180

Swedish Lapland, a land of magic and mystique, where the reindeer roam and the aurora shimmer through the night. This handcrafted 7-day vacation showcases a pristine realm filled with ephemeral Lappish experiences. Listen to stories from the Sami, stay in hotel rooms sculpted from ice and treehouses soaring above the snow. Ride a snowmobile beneath the northern lights as you discover a world distinct from everywhere else.

Dogsledding in the Lapland

Dynamic pricing from  $3,763

Silence, serenity, and solitude abound in Swedish Lapland, a white wilderness where the aurora dances and the huskies just keep on running for this 8-day vacation. On a dog sledding safari, explore lands that human eyes rarely see, crossing frozen lakes and ancient forests enveloped in snow. Get away and discover a fairytale world where yours are the only marks in the snow.

Nyhavn - 17th century port, canal and resting place in Copenhagen, Denmark

12  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $5,851

Experience the splendor of Scandinavia for 12 days, from the contemporary and historical charms of capital cities to the picturesque glacial frontiers of Norway’s fjords and the snow-drenched slopes of Alta. Explore the age of the Vikings, trace the origins of Shakespeare’s work, cruise to fairytale fjord towns, and see the Northern Lights on this trip that captures the best of Northern Europe in under two weeks.

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10  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $4,875

Waterfalls tumble through rugged fjords, colorful medieval houses line cobbled alleyways, and a railway line cuts a dramatic line across beautiful mountain wilderness. Welcome to the highlights of Scandinavia with a 10-day European trip across Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. With an ideal balance of history and culture with incredible natural beauty, this handcrafted tour is the perfect first-time trip to the region in packing a variety of highlights into minimal traveling time.

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Small town on the west coast of Southern Sweden

Whether venturing into Lapland in search of the Northern Lights or enjoying a cruise around the Stockholm archipelago, spending time in an ice hotel or reveling in a scenic drive along the rugged coastline, the options are endless for your vacation in Sweden. Explore all that you can enjoy, the best time to visit, and more with our Sweden Travel Guide. When you are ready to plan your custom trip, you can connect with a Sweden travel specialist and put your plans in motion.

Fjallgatan street in Stockholm, Sweden

An incredible country full of wonderful sights, adventures, and a rich history, knowing the best time to visit Sweden will only enhance your overall experience by providing you with the activities you prefer and the possibilities you desire.

From blossoming gardens to dancing lights, each season unveils a different side to this fascinating destination, with activities and must-see sites that provide visitors with a glimpse into its vibrant culture, present and past.

Consider the following best times to visit to guide you to create your Swedish adventure as you uncover when you could experience the right opportunities to create memories you will cherish.

Kyrkesund, Sweden

Sweden promises many things, among them deep-blue archipelagos and the dancing colors of the Northern Lights, and we have the answers to some of your frequently asked questions.

From ancient rune stones to indigenous communities, Viking ships and contemporary architectural style, Sweden is magnetic and unspoiled. Let the Scandinavian destination sweep you off your feet as you explore the best it has to offer by following our insight and helpful travel tips.

We cover everything you need to know in this FAQ on how to plan the perfect trip, whether you are interested in history or outdoor adventures.

An aerial view of an Ice hotel in Kiruna, Sweden

Sweden is a favorite among travelers hoping to explore its snowy peaks, uncover the history of the Vikings, and explore ancient castles, with the following representing the top things to do on your vacation.

Discover rich history in historic cultural villages, see the fascinating architecture that captures royal elegance, and wander the tranquil shorelines of the Stockholm archipelago. There is a wealth of marvelous things to do on a trip to the European jewel.

The following highlights are a few of the spectacular experiences to enjoy in Sweden on a dream vacation to the country’s coastline and alpine regions.

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Stockholm cityscape at sunset, Sweden

From vibrant cities to island escapes, intriguing forests to snow-lovers’ playgrounds, the eight best places to visit in Sweden will excite and enchant you.

Take some time to wander the streets of Old Town in Stockholm and experience the delightful ambiance of quiet neighborhoods hidden in overlooked towns. From storybook charisma to seaside elegance, you can embark on an adventure through forests or wander around glistening lakes to reach the top of a captivating mountain.

Unveil the history, charm, and beauty of this Scandinavian treasure as you let Sweden take you on a journey of remarkable discovery.

Alen Stenar, ancient megalithic stone ship monument in Sweden

Sweden is a remarkable country. Filled with vibrant Viking history, breathtaking coastline, and marvelous scenery, discover these unique things to do that will provide you with unique moments during your trip.

When we move beyond the expected in Sweden, you can find glimpses of authenticity that stir your emotions and create everlasting memories. From a mythic troll forest to an unforgettable hotel carved out of ice, Sweden brims with opportunities away from the familiar path.

With many incredible areas to explore and a vast number of must-see attractions, it is important to know that the country’s unique sites will take you out of the ordinary to enjoy a number of extraordinary experiences.

Colorful buildings, waterways and canals, in Stockholm in the summer

As the capital of Sweden, Stockholm acts as a microcosm of the surrounding country and conserves heritage while constantly innovating through art, architecture, and balancing traditional style with contemporary charm. With so many activities, landmarks, galleries, and cultural highlights to choose from, here are the 8 best historical places to visit in Stockholm.

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Travel Guide Sweden

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The mere mention of Sweden conjures up resonant images: snow-capped peaks, reindeer wandering in deep green forests and the 24-hour daylight of the midnight sun. But beyond the household names of ABBA , IKEA and Volvo, Sweden is relatively unknown. The largest of the Scandinavian countries, with an area twice that of Britain (and roughly that of California), but a population of barely nine million, Sweden has space for everyone: the countryside boasts pine, spruce and birch forest as far as the eye can see and crystal-clear lakes perfect for a summer afternoon dip – not to mention possibly the purest air you’ll ever breathe. The country’s south and west coasts, meanwhile, feature some of the most exquisite beaches in Europe – without the crowds.

Where to go in Sweden

Midsummer mayhem, northern lights, sweden’s brown bears, the winter swede and the summer swede.

In general Sweden is a carefree place where life is relaxed. Indeed, the Swedes’ liberal and open attitude to virtually every aspect of life is certainly one of their most enviable qualities; people are generally left to do their own thing, providing it doesn’t impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. In Sweden, rights go hand in hand with duties, and there’s a strong sense of civic obligation (count how few times you see people dropping litter, for example), which in turn makes for a well-rounded and stable society. Many of the cornerstones of the Swedish welfare state, such as tremendously generous benefits and health-care perks, which Swedes still hold dear today, were laid down during forty years of unbroken rule by the Social Democrats.

Yet, over the years, foreigners have somehow confused the open Swedish attitude to society, including nudity and sexuality, with sex. Contrary to popular belief, Sweden isn’t populated solely with people waiting for any opportunity to tear off their clothes and make passionate love under the midnight sun. It is, though, a country founded on honesty and straight talking – two of Sweden’s most refreshing qualities.

Sweden is principally a land of forests and lakes. Its towns and cities are small by European standards and are mostly located in the southern third of the country, where the majority of Swedes live. Of its cities, serenely beautiful Stockholm is supreme. Sitting elegantly on fourteen different islands, where the waters of Lake Mälaren meet the Baltic Sea, the city boasts some fantastic architecture, fine museums and by far the best culture and nightlife in the country. The 24,000 islands which comprise the Stockholm archipelago are a perfect antidote to the urban bustle, offering endless opportunities to explore unspoilt island villages and to go swimming. On the west coast, Gothenburg, the country’s second city, is also one of Sweden’s most appealing destinations. Gothenburgers have a reputation for being among the friendliest people in Sweden, and the city’s network of canals and spacious avenues is reminiscent of Amsterdam, whose architects designed it.

The Bothnian coast

The south is the most cosmopolitan part of the country, owing to the proximity of Denmark and the rest of the European continent, and home to the glorious ancient university seat of Lund, while nearby Malmö, Sweden’s third city, heaves with youthful nightlife around its medieval core.

Inland, southern Sweden boasts some handsome lakes, the two largest of which, Vänern and Vättern, provide splendid backdrops to some beautiful towns, not least the evocative former royal seat and the monastic centre of Vadstena, and Karlstad, the sunshine capital of Värmland, a rugged province ideal for river-rafting trips. To the east of the mainland lies Gotland, justifiably raved about as a haven for summer revelry, especially within the medieval walls of its unspoilt Hanseatic city, Visby.

Central and northern Sweden represent the most quintessentially “Swedish-looking” part of the country. In the centre lies Dalarna, an area of rolling hills and villages that’s home to Lake Siljan, one of Sweden’s most beautiful lakes. North of here lies some of the country’s most enchanting scenery, home to bears, wolves and reindeer. To the east, the shoreline of the Bothnian coast contains the north’s biggest cities: Sundsvall, Umeå and Luleå are all enjoyable, lively places in which to break your journey north.

The far north, inside the Arctic Circle, is the home of the Sámi – Sweden’s indigenous people. Known as Swedish Lapland, it is also the land of reindeer, elk and bears, of swiftly flowing rivers and coniferous forest, all traversed by endless hiking routes. Sweden’s northernmost town, Kiruna makes an excellent base for exploring the region’s national parks and the world-famous Icehotel in nearby Jukkasjärvi. Swedish Lapland is also where you will experience the midnight sun: in high summer the sun never sets, whilst in midwinter the opposite is true, though you may be lucky enough to see the sky lit up by the multicoloured patterns of the northern lights, or aurora borealis.

Top image © AndrzejL/Shutterstock

Discover more places in Sweden


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• Sweden is the third largest country in western Europe – behind only France and Spain – stretching 1600km from north to south. If the country were pivoted around on its southernmost point, the top of the country would reach as far south as Naples in Italy.

• There is no translation for the Swedish word lagom , one of the most commonly used terms in the language. Roughly speaking, it means “just the right amount, not too much but not too little”, a concept that is the very essence of Swedishness.

• More than half of Sweden’s land surface is covered with forest – mostly coniferous – punctuated by an astonishing 100,000 lakes .

• Sweden is home to the world’s first and largest hotel made entirely of ice and snow. Icehotel is built in December using blocks of ice cut from the local Torne River. The hotel melts back into the river in May.

• In northern Sweden frozen lakes and rivers are used by drivers looking for a shortcut to their destination. The national road agency marks out “ ice roads ” and decides when the ice is thick enough to support a vehicle.

An atmosphere akin to Mediterranean joie de vivre takes over Sweden during the midsummer solstice (the weekend closest to June 24), when maypoles are erected as giant fertility symbols in gardens and parks across the country. Midsummer is not a time for staying in towns – everyone heads to the countryside and coasts, with Dalarna, the island of Öland and the shores of the Bohuslän coast being just a few of the most popular spots. Aided in no small part by copious quantities of alcohol , the population’s national characteristics of reserve and restraint dissolve over midsummer weekend. Long trestle tables draped in white cloths and sagging under the weight of multiple varieties of herring, potatoes with dill and gallons of akvavit are set up outside, and parties go on through the light night with dancing to the strains of accordions and fiddles.

Also known by their Latin name, aurora borealis , the northern lights are visible all across northern Sweden during the dark months of winter. These spectacular displays of green-blue shimmering arcs and waves of light are caused by solar wind, or streams of particles charged by the sun, hitting the atmosphere. The colours are the characteristic hues of different elements when they hit the plasma shield that protects the Earth: blue is nitrogen and yellow-green oxygen. Although the mechanisms which produce the aurora are not completely understood, the displays are generally more impressive the closer you get to the poles – low temperatures are also rumoured to produce some of the most dramatic performances. Gällivare and Kiruna , both well inside the Arctic Circle, are arguably the best places in Sweden to catch a glimpse of the aurora, particularly during the coldest winter months from December to February. Although displays can range from just a few minutes to several hours, the night sky must be clear of cloud to see the northern lights from Earth.

It’s estimated there are currently over three thousand brown bears in Sweden, the highest number since the 1800s, roaming across an area stretching from the far north as far south as northern Värmland. Since the early 1940s it’s been legal in Sweden to hunt bears every autumn to keep the population in check and each year around 250 animals are culled. Although it’s rare to spot a bear in the wild, should you be hiking in an area where bears are present, you’re advised to whistle or talk loudly to alert the bear to your presence, particularly in autumn when they are present in the forests gorging on wild berries ahead of hibernation.

Unsurprisingly, the long, dark winters have a tangible effect on the Swedish psyche . During the winter months, you’ll find that people are generally quieter and more withdrawn, and protect themselves from the rigours of the cold and dark by deliberately socializing indoors, often choosing to light candles throughout the home to create a sense of cosiness. You’ll even see candles burning in public buildings and shops to brighten up the gloomiest time of year. It’s during winter that Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. , causes widespread depression, affecting roughly one in five people. Although you’re unlikely to suffer during a short visit in winter, you’re likely to encounter gloomy faces and a general sense of inertia throughout the winter months. S.A.D. is caused by a lack of daylight which leads to an increase in the production of the sleep-related hormone, melatonin, secreted from a gland in the brain. Naturally people do all they can to alleviate the effects of winter; for example, during the period of 24-hour darkness in northern Sweden, the Winter Swede creates a semblance of day and night by switching on bright lights during what would be daytime, and using low-lighting during the evening hours. Once spring arrives, there’s a notable bounce in people’s step, and the Summer Swede prepares to emerge from months of enforced hibernation – you’ll see people sitting in lines on park benches in the sunshine, faces tilted to the sky, making the most of the return of the sun. Festivals and revelries are thick on the ground in spring and summer, and outdoor life is lived to the full, including picnics under the midnight sun, beach parties lasting late into the night and an exodus to the countryside as people take up residence in their forest or lakeside log cabins to enjoy the brief yet intense summer months. For more on when to visit Sweden, head here.

Travel advice for Sweden

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Sweden

  • How to get to Sweden
  • Sports and Outdoor activities in Sweden
  • Culture and Etiquette in Sweden
  • Eating and drinking in Sweden
  • Getting around Sweden: Transportation Tips
  • Travel Tips Sweden for planning and on the go
  • Best time to visit Sweden

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Sweden Travel Guide – Top Tips for Your Trip to Sweden

Sweden travel guide - Where to go, when, what to think about and more ...

Are you planning a trip to Sweden? Here are my top tips for a great time in Sweden. Where to go and what to do. What to eat and when to go…

These questions will be answered further below on this page…

Is it worth going to Sweden?

Why travel to sweden.

  • Where to go?
  • When to go?

How many days do you need in Sweden?

  • What to do?

Things NOT to do when you travel to Sweden

  • Safety tips – How to be safe in Sweden?
  • … and more

Tips for your trip to Sweden

Having lived in Sweden for more than ten years, I start considering myself as a long-term Sweden tourist, sort of. I still enjoy discovering new places and Sweden still manages to amaze me with idyllic locations and all sorts of impressive experiences. In this Sweden travel guide I want to share the best places, accommodations, useful tips and general travel advice for Sweden. I hope this guide makes it easier to plan your trip so you can have a great time when you’re in Sweden.

In the bottom of this page you find important safety information for your trip to Sweden.

Book about Sweden - How to be Swedish

Absolutely … if you plan your trip right. For example, your trip to Sweden can be a disappointment if you go to the wrong locations or even to the right locations but at the wrong time of the year. But let’s start with why you should travel to Sweden in general and after that I’ll tell you what is the best time to go there.

Sweden offers a lot for diverse types of travellers. You will have a great experience, if you want to discover stunning nature, take your loved ones to one of the family friendly amusement parks. You can buy go shopping in modern stores and afterwards dine in some of the world’s finest restaurants and afterwards get to know Sweden’s intense night life. You can go into culturally interesting buildings, learn more about historically relevant places and afterwards enjoy some typically Swedish pastry and a cup of strong coffee in a cozy Swedish café.

In short, Sweden is a great travel destination for those who want to

  • Discover beautiful nature
  • Provide all their family members a fun experience in a child-friendly, safe environment
  • Get to know Swedes at the bar and on the dance floor
  • Eat delicious food
  • Expand your wardrobe with the latest Swedish fashion

Where to go – best destinations in Sweden

Top destinations to visit in sweden.

  • Idyllic at the sea : Smögen and the surrounding coast line and villages at Sweden’s west coast
  • Typical Sweden : beautiful landscapes with lots of lakes and vast forrest: Småland (that’s where Astrid Lindgren grew up and many of her tales take place, for example Emil of Lönneberga)
  • Party, shopping, archipelagos and royal family : Stockholm

When to visit Sweden?

Unless you like skiing – in which case – the best time to travel to Sweden is mid/end of May to mid September . Sweden really comes to life during this time of the year:

When to visit Sweden? What is the best month?

Best months to travel to Sweden : mid/end of May to mid September (the big cities and the south of Sweden are great in summer, due to green landscapes, long, sunny days and smiling Swedes) and December (Christmas fairs and shopping).

If you like skiing , I’d recommend the time between December and March in one of the big Swedish skiing resorts like Åre , Sälen or Vemdalen .

Two days, if you’re going there for a short trip. Stockholm and Gothenburg are absolutely worth visiting, even if it’s just for one night or one full day.

A great way to experience Sweden, which I strongly recommend, is having a round trip/road trip, of at least a week, better two. This way, you can experience the cool cities as well as the idyllic little towns with their typically Swedish red houses and other beautiful country- or seaside locations. I will share the best destinations for your route through Sweden further below…

Practical travel advice

  • Short distance to Swedes when standing in line
  • Spanking your children even slightly (illegal). Sweden is a child-friendly country . Already in 1979 Sweden became the first country to ban corporal punishment of children. “ Beating or spanking a child is also a criminal offence according to the Swedish Penal Code”.
  • Expecting cash payment option

Buying alcohol and drinking age

To buy alcohol  that you want to drink in your Swedish cabin or hotel, like wine, spirits and beer with high percentage alcohol (over 3.5%) you have to go to the state-owned alcohol shop  Systembolaget . Also, you have to be  20 years old  to buy alcohol at Systembolaget. In bars and restaurants on the other hand:  18 .

Currency in Sweden – Do I need cash in Sweden?

Swedish krona (svenska kronor). You get around Sweden pretty well with electric payment methods, even without cash in your wallet (personally, I rarely use any cash nowadays). Yet, I’d recommend you have about 500 SEK in bank notes with you, just in case a card payment processing system might be defect at the time you’re visiting a café or bar.

Tipping in Sweden – How much?

Tips are included in the prices. It’s not uncommon that Swedes don’t pay any tips in bars and restaurants at all. Waiters and bar keepers won’t look at you angrily when you just give them the amount that’s written on the bill. That said, if you found they provided great service, you can show that by giving a tip. (Personally, I pay about 10-20%, or round up the sum when I am very satisfied with the service, but usually only at places where food is served at the table. Same with taxi drivers: Was it a pleasant ride and you had a good conversation, you can give a little extra. Again, it’s not expected.)

What should I take to Sweden?

There’s actually not that much you have to think about, apart from your standard travel equipment like passport etc. When it comes to clothing, in winter, make sure you have a pair of proper winter boots with you that can persist in snowy winter conditions. In summer, when you stay in the country side, you might want to buy mosquito spray in the local pharmacy. Other than that… no, there’s nothing specific to consider compared to other travel destinations.

Power plugs, outlets, sockets and electricity in Sweden

If you need to charge your phone or run any other electric device, here is the outlet that is common in Sweden: Type C and F als known as “ Europlug “, 230 V, the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

Need an adapter? Here is one on Amazon .

Power outlet in Sweden: "Europlug", Type C and F

What food to try when you’re in Sweden

  • Sweden is known for their köttbullar , meat balls. You have probably tried them already at IKEA but now it’s a good opportunity to eat original Swedish meatballs, in Sweden.
  • For all who can’t decide whether to have a kebab or a pizza, Swedes came up with the glorious idea to combine those two in the famous kebabpizza .
  • When you are in a café and don’t just want to eat sugary pastry, but rather something that feels like “proper food”, order a räkmacka , a shrimp baguette or sandwich.
  • kanelbulle (cinnamon roll),
  • the green princesstårta (princess cake),
  • a dammsugare aka punschrulle , a little marzipan role, also green

More about traditional Swedish food, here

Communication with Swedes – “Is English widely spoken in Sweden?”

You can’t speak Swedish? Almost all Swedes speak English . So no worries, you can have a conversation with almost any Swede you meet. Still want to impress Swedes with some Swedish? Here are  basic Swedish words and phrases  for your Sweden trip.

Is Sweden an expensive place to visit? /How expensive is a trip to Sweden?

To be honest, it kind of is. A beer costs about 5 to 8 Euros, a Pizza around 10 and 5 kilometers in a Taxi cost about as much as a Pizza and a beer.

Sweden on a budget

Ways to save some money when you’re in Sweden:

  • Buy groceries at LIDL or Willy:s
  • a hostel (find hostels here, at Hostelworld ),
  • or why not try out Couchsurfing
  • Use public transport ( SJ Swedish Railroads )

How to go to Sweden

Travel to sweden by plane.

  • Stockholm : Arlanda Airport (which is not far from Uppsala as well)
  • Gothenburg : Landvetter Airport
  • Malmö : It’s usually most convenient to choose Copenhagen airport (Denmark). From there you go by train or rental car to Malmö crossing the majestic Öresund bridge which connects Sweden with Denmark.

Travel to Sweden by car

Fastest way to Sweden by car : from Germany to Sweden via Denmark. Take the ferry from Putgarden (Germany) to Rodby in Denmark. Ten about two hours by car to Copenhagen and from there via the Öresund bridge to Malmö.

List with all ferries that will take you from Germany or Denmark to Sweden

If you want to avoid ferries and only go by car

Drive via Kiel in the very North of Germany, through Denkmark, and then crossing the Öresund bridge, to arrive in Malmö. From there it’s about …

  • 7 hours to Stockholm
  • 3 hours to Gothenburg
  • 2 hours to central Småland (Växjö)

If you want to stay away from ferries (due to sea sickness for example) you can travel to Sweden by car, and it doesn’t even take so much longer. Here is the route. It goes leads through Germany and Denmark.

Best Hotels in Sweden

Here is a list of hotels I have stayed at and would recommend

  • Stockholm: Berns
  • Göteborg: Comfort Hotel
  • Malmö: not stayed there over night yet, but here’s a list on
  • Uppsala: Radisson Blu or Elite Hotel Academia (both excellent hotels)
  • Umeå: U&Me Hotel
  • Växjö (Småland): PM & Vänner (Disclaimer: haven’t exactly stayed in one of their rooms, but experienced their roof top bar and restaurant.)

Sweden for families

Best amusement parks for kids.

  • Astrid Lindgren’s World , Vimmerby (Småland)
  • Liseberg , Gothenburg
  • Junibacken , Stockholm
  • Gröna Lund , Stockholm
  • High Chaparral , Kulltorp (Småland)

List with all amusement parks in Sweden, here .

Other Sweden travel guides online

If you didn’t find my travel guide useful enough, you might get the information you need from one of these online guides:

  • Nomadic Matt
  • Lonely Planet
  • Visit Sweden

Sweden Travel Guide Book, recommendation

My recommendation for a printed Sweden Guide, for the time when you want to keep your eyes off a screen and enjoy the haptics of paper… Lonely Planet Sweden (Country Guide)

Safety tips

Yes, there are a few dangerous animals in Sweden, here is a list

Emergency number to call: 112

Official information for Sweden travellers provided by the Swedish state, for example requirements for visa etc, can be found on their Website: Sweden Abroad, here

Enjoy your trip! :)

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  • Sweden Tours
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  • How long to spend in Sweden

Great Sweden Itineraries: How Many Days to Spend

View of the street with shops and boutiques day on a summer day.

  • ~ mins read

Sweden offers a once-in-a-lifetime Arctic experience for all travelers. Here you can hike through miles after miles of pristine forests deep in Swedish Lapland, gaze at the Northern Lights , spot wild reindeer, and drive a husky sled through the wilderness. However, there is more to this country than just ice and snow. With scenic hiking trails in Abisko National Park, beautiful archipelagos around Stockholm for island hopping, and picturesque villages like Trosa, Sweden makes for a fantastic destination all year round.

How much time should I spend in Sweden

Panoramic view of Stockholm city center with famous Riddarholmen in Gamla S

If you are wondering how many days to spend in Sweden, here is our advice. Five days are enough if your sole purpose is to enter into the Arctic Circle , enjoy winter sports and chase the Northern Lights. However, since the country is much more than just a winter playground, we recommend a Sweden itinerary lasting seven to ten days. This duration will allow you to take in the sights and sounds of Stockholm and discover other highlights, like the medieval town of Visby, before you head for the frigid landscape of the country’s north.

Sweden in 5 days

Wild Abisko river flows swiftly through rocky gorge in Abisko National Park

You might want to focus on Swedish Lapland during your five-day stay in the country. Start in Kiruna, the largest city in the region that is also home to the biggest underground iron ore mine in the world. The mine is open to visitors, so check out its exhibits to learn more about the history of this place.

Not far from Kiruna, there is Abisko National Park, home to frozen waterfalls, ancient birch forests, and an incredible array of plants and animals unique to this region. Having explored the Arctic wilderness, you can then head out to see the Northern Lights. We suggest that you give yourself at least two nights for this activity in order to maximize your chances.

7 days in Sweden

The traditional streets of Stockholm. Walking inside Gamla Stand.

You can fit in a lot more on a seven-day Swedish jaunt. Spend a day or two exploring Stockholm and see for yourself why locals, as well as tourists, call it the "Venice of the North". Do not miss out on wandering through the cobbled streets of its old town, Gamla Stan, and admire the medieval buildings there. Next, head for the southeastern coast of the county, to Sörmland. Marvel at its stunning coastal landscapes, explore its hiking trails, and gaze at the colorful houses of Trosa.

Having discovered Trosa, you can then set sail to the beautiful islands of Nattaro, Alo, and Uto for hiking and fishing adventures. Alternatively, switch up your Sweden itinerary by traveling back to Stockholm and catching a flight to Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden. Spend the last few days of your trip exploring Swedish Lapland.

10 days in Sweden

Beautiful snowy winter scenery of Christmas holiday fair at the Big Square

Extend your stay in the country’s Arctic region during your ten days in Sweden. Abisko, located in the far north of the country, is regarded by many to be one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights from. Spend a night in Jukkasjärvi’s Icehotel, where you can sleep in a sub-zero room surrounded by hand-carved ice furniture, or hike to the top of Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain. You might also want to enjoy the ultimate Arctic adventure by crossing into the Finnish Lapland. Admire the snow-clad forests of Saariselka and go on sleigh rides with reindeers and huskies. Meet Santa Claus in his hometown, Rovaniemi, and browse through the collection of Arktikum Science Museum.

Alternatively, continue to tick off the highlights of Sweden. A good first stop would be the Unesco-listed village of Gammelstad, famous for its more than 400 identical wooden houses built in the 15th century that are still intact. Check out the annual Christmas market of Jokkmokk and visit the Ájtte Museum to learn more about how ancient communities here survived in harsh weather conditions. Then go on a leisurely boat ride through the Gota Canal and take pictures of the incredible feat of engineering that is the Oresund Bridge.

Planning a trip to Sweden?

Drottningholm, the Swedish royal summer residence

Get in touch with one of our travel experts in Sweden for a customized trip. If you’d like to book a package trip or join a group, check out our tours in Sweden .

William Gilman

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Sweden Travel Guide

Last Updated: April 29, 2024

serene lakefront scene in Sweden

From the frozen lands up north to the rugged west coast to the picturesque islands of Stockholm , Sweden is one of my favorite countries in the world. (I love it so much I even spent time living here !)

While the country’s high prices scare budget travelers, Sweden is a country worth exploring. There are medieval cities, beautiful islands, tons of castles, the Northern Lights, a growing foodie scene, friendly people, incredible art, amazing hiking opportunities, and a super high quality of life.

When most people visit, they hit the major cities for a couple days and then head onwards to cheaper destinations. Few people spend extended time here — which is a huge mistake. There’s a lot to do here and the people are really welcoming of tourists. It’s also a lot cheaper than you think (especially if you embrace the outdoors).

The country isn’t the cheapest but this travel guide to Sweden will help you plan your visit, save money, and ensure you make the most of your time in this Scandinavian gem!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Sweden

Click Here for City Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in sweden.

Stockholm aerial view

1. Explore Stockholm

From the museums to nightlife, there’s so much to do in Stockholm that you’ll never get bored. Enjoy the picturesque harbor, charming Old Town, beautiful parks, and everything in between. I recommend spending at least 3 days here.

2. Catch the Midsummer Festival

Swedes celebrate the summer solstice with a giant party. They dance around a maypole, eat, drink, and enjoy nature. Every municipality in the country organizes events, so be sure to find some locals who can show you around. It’s the biggest party of the year!

3. Visit Gotland

Gotland is a popular place for Swedes to visit during the summer. The main town, Visby, is a medieval walled city that is incredibly beautiful to wander around. July is the most popular month so book accommodation in advance.

4. Hike the Kungsleden (King’s Trail)

This 440-kilometer (273-mile) trail stretches through some of the most remote and pristine landscapes in the country. It takes around one month to hike the entire trail, though it is broken up into week-long or day-hike sections.

5. Brave the cold in Lapland

Other things to see and do in sweden, 1. partake in fika.

Like “teatime” in the UK, fika is Sweden’s way of slowing down. Coffee, conversation, and a few baked goods (often cinnamon buns) are an important part of the social fabric in Sweden, allowing friends and colleagues to take a break from the day to day and just relax.

2. Stay in the Ice Hotel

Located up north in Jukkasjärvi, the Ice Hotel is a hotel built during the winter months out of (you guessed it) ice. There’s an ice bar, an ice dining room, and an ice bed (with big fur blankets!). Be prepared to pay the price for a unique stay like this, as nights cost upwards of 5,500 SEK! The hotel is also open for tours, allowing visitors to explore the impressive construction and design. A day pass to the hotel complex costs 295-349 SEK depending on the season. (The hotel has “regular” rooms as well in an adjacent building, which “only” cost 1,500-1,900 SEK per night.)

3. Tour the Stockholm Archipelago

Take a boat around different islands that surround Stockholm (there are thousands!). During the summer, they become big attractions for locals as they boat around and spend nights on the tiny islands. You can take a day tour or just spend a few nights on some of the islands. It’s super peaceful and relaxing and one of my top things to do during the summer!

4. Visit Gothenburg

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city. It sees a fraction of tourists compared to Stockholm so come here to beat the crowds, walk along the cobblestone pedestrian streets of Haga, window shop along the Avenyn, and visit Liseberg, one of the biggest theme parks in Scandinavia. The city has a much more laid-back vibe than Stockholm and offers plenty of nearby hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.

5. Explore the Bohuslän Coast

This beautiful coast is home to over 8,000 islands and almost 300 kilometers (185 miles) of coastline. The region is known for its fishing, swimming, and hiking and is one of the best spots in the country to get fresh seafood (don’t miss lobster season from late September until the end of November). There is also a UNESCO rock-carving site in Tanumshede with carvings and paintings dating back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

6. Go skiing

Scandinavians love their winter sports. One of the most popular ski resorts in the region is Åre, which lies 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Östersund (and around 600 kilometers/375 miles north of Stockholm). The highest peak at the resort is over 1,400 meters (4,590 feet). Daily trains run to the area from Stockholm. Lift tickets are generally around 600 SEK. Other areas that are great for skiing are Sälen, Vemdalen, and Branäs (Sälen and Branäs are the two southernmost options, though all are still several hours north of Gothenburg and Stockholm).

7. Kick back in Uppsala

Uppsala is a quiet university town about 25 minutes from the Arlanda Airport and an hour away from Stockholm by train. It’s filled with quirky shops, picturesque waterways, lovely parks, and beautiful bike trails. A lot of what’s here is centered around the university — from the vast library, home to more than 5 million volumes; to the Museum of Evolution, which boasts over 5 million zoological, botanical, and fossil specimens; to the Linnaean Gardens. You should definitely tour the university when you visit too.

8. Celebrate Valborg Day

Held on April 30th, this annual festival serves to welcome spring. It’s characterized by huge bonfires, even bigger parties, and is a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Municipalities organize events — including the massive bonfires — and many locals also host their own parties.

9. Check out Wallander’s Ystad

Wallander is one of Sweden’s most popular fictional characters. A detective in the city of Ystad, Wallander is the main character in a dozen novels and their corresponding TV episodes — all set in or around Ystad (there was even a UK adaptation of the series starring Kenneth Branagh). Located in Skåne, the town is quite picturesque and full of history. If you’re a big fan of Wallander, you can arrange a tour at the tourist office, but even if you’re not, the town itself has a lot of character and is worth exploring. It’s only one hour from Malmö and makes for a nice day trip.

10. Visit Kosterhavet National Park

Kosterhavet is a marine park located on and around the Koster Islands, which are located two hours north of Gothenburg. It’s the country’s first marine park and home to Sweden’s only coral reef as well as over 6,000 marine species (many of which don’t exist anywhere else in the country). The park spans almost 400 square kilometers (248 miles), and the islands are beautiful. Rent some bikes to get around and enjoy the rugged landscape and the wildlife that call it home (there’s a large seal colony here too). You can access the islands via the local ferry. Return tickets are 136 SEK.

11. Visit the Vasa Museum

This is hands-down a must-see museum in Stockholm. It houses the famous Vasa ship, which sank right as it set sail in the harbor in 1628 due to being too heavy to float. The cold sea kept the ship intact (so much so that it even has the original paint). The museum does a wonderful job of putting the ship into the historical context of the 17th century and Sweden’s Golden Age. There are English guided tours too. Admission is 170-190 SEK. Get your ticket in advance here .

12. Let loose at Liseberg

Located in Gothenburg, this is the biggest amusement park in Scandinavia. There are rollercoasters, a haunted house, tons of rides for kids, and a giant Ferris wheel with stunning views of the city. Concerts by popular artists are common here too and it gets a huge transformation for Halloween and Christmas! Admission is 95 SEK while admission and unlimited rides are 255 SEK.

13. Explore the Universeum

If you’re traveling with kids (or just want to act like a kid) head to Universeum in Gothenburg. It’s an interactive science center that opened in 2011, offering an indoor rainforest, a chemistry lab, dinosaur exhibits, and much more. It’s a great way to have fun and learn a thing or two along the way. Admission is 225 SEK for adults and 175 SEK for kids under 16.

14. See the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, light up the skies of Scandinavia each winter, drawing thousands of visitors to witness the spectacle. The best time to see the lights is from late September to late March, from around 9pm-2am. You’ll want to travel north to the sparsely populated Lapland for the best chance to see the lights (you can’t really see them in southern Sweden).

15. See Stockholm’s stunning subway art

Stockholm’s subway system also doubles as the world’s longest art gallery. Since 1957, artists have been invited to decorate the subterranean stations with their work, and today over 90 out of 100 stations feature public art. Kungsträdgården is one of the most famous stations and features a colorful abstract garden complete with sculptures formerly housed at the palace. If you don’t want to do it solo, you can book a guided tour to ensure you don’t miss anything!

16. Visit Drottningholm Palace

Located just 30 minutes outside of Stockholm, this 17th-century palace is the most well-preserved palace in all of Sweden. Modeled after the Palace of Versailles, the UNESCO-listed complex includes ornate gardens, a theater, a Chinese Pavilion, and elaborately decorated interiors. It is the official private residence of the Swedish royal family and is only open on weekends. Admission is 140 SEK or 170 SEK including a guided tour in English.

17. Experience the Göta Canal

This 19th-century waterway connects a system of lakes and rivers from the Baltic Sea in the east to Gothenburg in the west. The canal is 190 kilometers (120 miles) long and has 47 bridges and 58 locks. You can enjoy the canal via guided tour, by renting your own boat, or by cycling down the towpaths lining the banks. The canal is open from May to the end of September.

18. Get outside in the national parks

Spending time in nature is an integral part of Swedish life and culture. In 1909, Sweden was the first country to establish a national parks system. Today, there are 30 national parks to enjoy – all with free entry. One of the most popular parks is Abisko National Park in Lapland, where visitors come to hike, ski, and snowshoe, as well as view the midnight sun and aurora borealis. Wild camping is legal in Sweden, making it a great destination to travel if you have a tent and want to experience the untamed outdoors.

  For more information on specific cities in Sweden, check out these guides:

  • Gothenburg Travel Guide
  • Stockholm Travel Guide

Sweden Travel Costs

Aerial view of a harbor filled with sailboats and islands in the background in Gothenburg, Sweden

Accommodation – Accommodation, like everything in Sweden, is not cheap. Hostels start around 250 SEK per night for a dorm and about 650 SEK for a private room. Most hostels in Sweden also add a 30-80 SEK surcharge for bed linen to offset the cost of cleaning (you can bring your own sheets, but sleeping bags are not permitted).

Budget hotels cost around 700-900 SEK per night. Cheaper options are available however they usually necessitate sharing a bathroom with other guests. Read the fine print so you’re not surprised. Expect free Wi-Fi, a TV, and a coffee/tea maker in most budget hotels.

Wild camping is a good budget option as it is legal (and FREE!) to camp almost anywhere in Sweden. Sweden has ‘Freedom to Roam’ laws that allow anyone to camp anywhere for 1 night (even if it’s private property). You need to make sure you are not camping near someone’s house, that you take all trash with you when you leave, and that you aren’t in a farmer’s field or garden. But other than that, you can pretty much throw your tent anywhere!

If wild camping is not your thing, campgrounds are also common though many require a Camping Key Europe card. You can purchase it at your campsite or online for 160 SEK. Most campsites have modern facilities, including toilets and showers. Expect most plots to cost around 200 SEK per night.

Food – Food in Sweden is hearty and based heavily on meat, fish, and root vegetables. One of the most iconic and popular dishes is meatballs and a creamy sauce with potatoes and lingonberry jam. Crayfish, shrimp, mushrooms, and fresh summer berries are other popular staples. For breakfast, Swedes usually eat dark bread with cheese and vegetables. For fika, cinnamon buns are the go-to choice for many.

Eating out is expensive in Sweden. You can get cheap food from outdoor street vendors starting at 50 SEK, though they are few and far between. You can get hot dogs for around 30 SEK at places like 7-Eleven and Pressbyran.

Your best bet for cheap food (when it comes to restaurants) is Thai and Middle Eastern restaurants. You can usually find meals for around 65 SEK. Thai restaurants have large portions too, which means you can sometimes get an extra meal from the leftovers. Lunch buffets are another good budget-friendly option. Buffet prices are around 100 SEK but you can fill up and get your money’s worth.

Many convenience stores and cafes offer pre-packaged sandwiches and meals for 50-100 SEK if you’re on the go and want a quick bite. Whole pizzas cost around 65-95 SEK and most nice sit-down restaurant meals begin at 200 SEK for a main dish. The cheapest grocery store chain is Willy’s, though ICA and Lidl also have good deals as well.

If you’re looking for a drink, beer can be as cheap as 40 SEK, though 65-75 SEK is more common. Wine costs around 55-75 SEK at your average restaurant, and cocktails set you back around 100 SEK. If you’re on a budget and want to drink, stick to beer. You can buy your own alcohol at the government-run Systembolaget for even greater savings.

Grocery shopping here costs around 600-700 SEK per week, however, if you cut down on your meat and cheese intake (some of the most expensive food items in Sweden) you can lower your costs significantly.

Backpacking Sweden Suggested Budgets

On a backpacking budget, you should plan to spend around 775 SEK per day. On this budget, you’re staying in a hostel dorm or camping, cooking your own meals, using public transportation, and participating in cheap activities like visiting museums, hiking, or taking free walking tours.

On a mid-range of budget of 1,600 SEK per day, you can stay in private hostel rooms, eat out more, drink a bit, take guided tours, and visit a wider range of activities!

On a “luxury” budget of 2,200 SEK or more per day, you can afford to stay in a hotel, hire a rental car, eat out for every meal, and do as many activities as you want.

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in SEK.

Sweden Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Sweden is expensive. There are just no two ways about it. But, while it may not be the most budget-friendly destination, there are still plenty of ways to save while you’re here. It takes some work, and you won’t be able to eat or drink out a lot, but it can be done! Here are some tips to save money in Sweden:

  • Drink beer – Alcohol isn’t cheap in Sweden as it is heavily taxed. However, beer is quite affordable. If you stick to beer, you can save yourself a lot of money when you go to the bars. To save even more, buy your beer from the Systembolaget (the government-run store that sells alcohol) and save even more (as much as 50%).
  • Book in advance – My trip to the Stockholm train station taught me that travel around Sweden is expensive when you are booking only a day or two beforehand. Booking trains or buses three to four weeks in advance can get you around 40-50% off. Flixbus, SJ, and MTR are the major companies to consider, with MTR being the cheapest train company. Flixbus is a budget-friendly option as well if you’d rather take the bus over the train.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle – The tap water in Sweden, as in all of Scandinavia, is perfectly drinkable. In fact, tap water in Sweden is often cleaner than bottled water! Bring a refillable water bottle and save your money — and the environment! To make sure your water is extra safe, bring a LifeStraw . They have built-in filters and are perfect for traveling!
  • Purchase a city tourism card – These tourist passes give you access to a city’s public transportation system and free entrance into 99% of the museums and attractions. If you plan on seeing the majority of attractions and museums, one of these cards will save you money. (Savings will vary depending on how much you use the card.) The Stockholm Pass, for example, includes access to 60 attractions for just 669 SEK for a 1-day pass and 989 SEK for a 2-day pass (which is the much better choice as there is a lot to see!).
  • Skip the restaurants – Eating out in Sweden is very expensive, especially if you are going to a sit-down restaurant. If you want to eat out, stick to the outside food vendors you see on the street. You can find a decent variety and they are only about 65 SEK per meal. You can also get cheap hotdogs and sausages for about 30 SEK. If you’re craving take-out, stick to Thai and Middle Eastern food, as they are usually the cheapest.
  • Go for the buffet – Lunch is the best time to eat out in Sweden. Buffets and restaurants have set meals for around 105 SEK. It’s the best deal you can find and one utilized a lot by locals. Don’t miss Hermitage in Stockholm for a cozy, home-cooked meal!
  • Avoid clubs – Most clubs have a 250 SEK (or more) cover. Don’t waste your money.
  • Get a metro card – Each region of Sweden has its own public transportation operator, and transportation cards will include buses, trams, subways, and boats. Prices will vary for each region, so be sure to enquire when you arrive. If you will be in a city for a few days, be sure to grab a tourist pass. At 415 SEK for a week’s worth of train rides in Stockholm or 210 SEK for 3 days of buses in Gothenburg, these cards definitely save you money.
  • Check for deals – When you’re shopping for groceries, check the flyer first and pay attention to what’s on sale. It’s not a “cool” way to save, but by paying attention to what’s on sale you can likely save yourself a few kronor (and a few kronor can make a difference here!).

Where to Stay in Sweden

Hostels are not all that plentiful across Sweden, mostly available in the three main cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo. Outside the big cities, you’ll likely need stay in budget guesthouses or use Airbnb. Here are my recommended places to stay while you’re in Sweden:

  • City Backpackers (Stockholm)
  • Skanstulls Hostel (Stockholm)
  • Slotsskogen Hostel (Gothenburg)
  • Backpackers Goteborg (Gothenburg)
  • HOTEL N Hostel Malmö City (Malmö)

How to Get Around Sweden

Colorful historic buildings lining a plaza in Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm, Sweden

Public Transportation – Public transportation in Sweden is incredible. You can not only use it to explore the cities but also the countryside and less-visited towns and villages as well. Tickets vary in each region and are usually based on how far you travel. A single-fare ticket in Gothenburg costs around 28 SEK, though you can also take a public bus (and then a ferry) from Gothenburg out to many of the nearby islands for around 120 SEK (some of which are 2-3 hours away!)

The public transportation in Stockholm is 38 SEK per ticket, making the day pass (or multi-day pass) your best choice. Most cities have an app you can download to manage and pay for your tickets. No one will inspect your ticket when you board but there are roaming ticket checks and, if you get caught without paying, you’ll be fined hundreds of dollars.

Intercity Buses – Buses booked a month or more in advance can be found for as cheap as 80 SEK. However, those tickets are limited in number, and typically buses cost 225–405 SEK. The 8-hour trip from Stockholm to Malmö generally costs 280-370 SEK while the 6.5-hour trip from Stockholm to Gothenburg is around 250-340 SEK. For the cheapest prices, use Flixbus .

If you are arriving at an airport, Flygbussarna is the main shuttle company, with tickets around 119 SEK from major airports to the nearest downtown (Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö). Flixbus also manages some airport shuttles though they are much less frequent (they are cheaper, however).

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Train – Most intercity trains cost 350–700 SEK, though tickets for as low as 185 SEK can be found for routes between Stockholm and Gothenburg (a journey which takes between 3-4 hours) when booked in advance.

Overnight trains, like the fifteen-hour trip from Stockholm to Luleå, cost between 700–1,215 SEK per person.

The Arlanda Express, the train from Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport to the central station, is 299 SEK for a one-way ticket. The journey takes around 20 minutes, while the bus takes closer to 45 minutes and costs 119 SEK.

To find routes and prices for trains around Sweden (and Europe), use Trainline .

Flying – While distances in the south are short enough for comfortable train and bus rides, if you’re heading up north a plane is more convenient. Flights from Stockholm to Kiruna start at around 700 SEK for the 4-hour flight (the train takes over 15 hours).

If you’re short on time, the flight from Stockholm to Gothenburg takes just under an hour and usually costs around 400 SEK.

Car Rental – You can rent a car in Sweden for around 500 SEK per day. Just keep in mind that the majority of the cars here are manual so you need to be able to drive stick. With efficient public transportation and plenty of intercity bus and train options, I would suggest against renting a car unless you’re planning to do a road trip. Driving in the cities isn’t the most fun and parking is very expensive.

When to Go to Sweden

The ideal time to visit Sweden is between June to August, when the weather is warm and the days are (really) long. The country is at its liveliest during this time, and you will find locals taking advantage of the good weather at every opportunity. The parks are always full, and there are always fun events happening around town. Temperatures are often in the 20s Celsius (60s and 70s Fahrenheit) during the summer months.

The downside to visiting then is that, since Sweden has a very short summer, the cities can get busy so be sure to book your accommodation in advance. This is especially true if you are visiting during Midsommar, the big Swedish holiday at the end of June. It’s a great time to experience Swedish traditions (which involve a lot of drinking).

May typically has great weather with occasional rain, while September offers cooler temperatures and changing leaves. You’ll beat the crowds and still be able to explore the city on foot without the weather getting in your way (too much).

Attractions begin to close around late September, and the days get dark early in October. Temperatures start dropping around this time too. However, prices also decrease, and you’re likely to find cheaper airfares and accommodations during this time. Be sure to pack layers if you plan on visiting during this time of year.

The winter is very cold and sees a lot of snow and darkness. In the depths of the winter, you only get a few hours of light each day and temperatures plummet below 0ºC (32ºF). The plus side of traveling during the off-season, however, is that you’ll get the cheapest accommodations and fees for certain attractions will be lower as well. While Stockholm is particularly beautiful in winter, you won’t want to be walking around as much in the cold. Since it’s a great city to explore on foot, you will potentially be missing out so I’d skip a winter visit unless you’re coming to enjoy winter sports.

How to Stay Safe in Sweden

Sweden is one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, it ranks 15th on the ranking of the world’s safest countries! It’s a great destination for solo travelers — including solo female travelers.

Taxis are quite safe and crime is rare against travelers. But keep your wits up and never travel alone at night if you’ve been drinking, just to be safe.

As in any larger city, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially around the train stations and on public transportation. And as always, never leave your drink unattended when out at the bar.

Scams here are virtually non-existent, but if you’re worried about getting ripped off you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you do experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Sweden Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Stockholm Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Sweden and continue planning your trip:

The 6 Best Hotels in Stockholm

The 6 Best Hotels in Stockholm

Where to Stay in Stockholm: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Stockholm: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The 8 Best Hostels in Stockholm

The 8 Best Hostels in Stockholm

Living Lagom in Sweden: An Interview With Lola Akerstrom

Living Lagom in Sweden: An Interview With Lola Akerstrom

The Swedish Birthday Party

The Swedish Birthday Party

10 Ways to Visit Stockholm on a Budget

10 Ways to Visit Stockholm on a Budget

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  • Booking Resources
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Everything you need to know before your vacation in Sweden

Annika Hipple

Mar 4, 2022 • 8 min read

MOTALA, SWEDEN- 6 JUNE 2021:.Someone who is out driving through the Östergötland landscape and pimped his car with Sweden flags during the Swedish National Day. Photo Jeppe Gustafsson; Shutterstock ID 1986406079; your: Brian Healy; gl: 65050; netsuite: Lonely Planet Editorial; full: Things to know before traveling to Sweden

Driving around Sweden is efficient and scenic (if expensive) - just be aware of frequent speed cameras © Jeppe Gustafsson / Shutterstock

Most travelers encounter few difficulties in  Sweden , finding it a place that welcomes visitors from other countries. 

An easy country to travel in, Sweden has  well-functioning public transportation , a high level of safety and a population that for the most part speaks English very well. Still, there are certain things to be aware of that will help your trip go as smoothly as possible. Read on for things you should know before you travel, so that your Swedish experience will live up to expectations, and be one you’ll remember for all the right reasons.

Planning your trip to Sweden

Figure out where to lay your head.

If you want to get the best deals on accommodations in Sweden , you’ll need to book ahead, especially if you’re visiting at a busy time of year. Reliable hotel chains with hotels throughout Sweden include Scandic, Nordic Choice Hotels, Radisson and Best Western; there are also many independent hotels, some of them simpler properties with shared bathrooms, that may be worth considering if you want to save a bit of money. 

A diverse range of hostels provide some of the most budget-friendly accommodations in Sweden, often in very appealing locations. Be aware that hostel guests are often expected to bring their own bed linens or pay an extra fee to rent them. Sleeping bags are not permitted.

Sorry we’re closed: avoiding disappointment

While many attractions, restaurants and shops in major cities generally keep fairly consistent hours throughout the year, some tourist businesses, including sightseeing cruises and certain attractions, are more seasonal , with opening hours tailored to the traditional Swedish summer holiday period from Midsummer to mid-August.

On the flip side, some restaurants have been known to close for up to six weeks in summer while staff go on vacation. Many museums are open daily during the summer high season but switch to a six-day opening schedule in the off season, typically with Monday as the closed day. If you have your heart set on a particular activity or attraction, do your homework and check opening dates and times before booking your trip. 

Cash is not king

Sweden has been moving steadily away from cash for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this already strong trend. While it’s helpful to carry some cash for emergencies, you can basically expect to rely on your credit or debit card for most transactions. Some places, including public transportation, no longer accept cash at all. If you have a contactless card, you can usually just tap it to pay, but if your card doesn’t have that option, you’ll generally need to be prepared to enter a PIN or show ID to complete your transaction. 

You can ride the rails without spending a fortune

Train tickets in Sweden are available in both first and second class, with prices varying between different departures, so book well in advance for the best selection. The website of the Swedish national railway company , SJ, lists fares for both its own trains and routes operated by regional partners throughout the country.

If you’re planning to do a lot of rail travel, an Interrail or Eurail train pass is a good way to save money. You can purchase a pass online (Interrail if you live in Europe; Eurail if you live elsewhere), but be sure to order with enough time to receive the pass before your departure. For many trains, you’ll need to book a seat or sleeping compartment separately if you are using a rail pass.

Take to the road and avoid speeding tickets

Sweden’s roads are safe, well-maintained and, more often than not, scenic , but renting a car is expensive, as is fuel. As in any destination, booking well in advance and comparing various rental agencies is essential to get the best rate. If you don’t need to pick up your car at an airport, consider local agencies or even Circle K gas stations, which rent out cars and may have lower rates.

As you’re driving around Sweden, keep a watchful eye out for blue signs with a white symbol of a video camera, which warn of speed cameras ahead. If you are caught speeding, the police will eventually track you down and send you a bill.

Two young people talk on a bridge in warm weather in a historic quarter of Stockholm

Etiquette in Sweden

Small talk, what’s that.

A saying goes that Swedes are great friends, but poor strangers. Swedes are generally helpful and welcoming to tourists, but you’ll rarely find them engaging in small talk with people they don’t know. For visitors from more gregarious cultures, it can feel strange or uncomfortable to be waiting at a bus stop with a group of people who are all ignoring each other, or having someone avoid eye contact as they pass you on the street. Don’t take it personally. If you’re in Sweden long term, seeking out clubs and activities around a common interest can help break the ice. Once you do, you’ll find most Swedes to be warm, loyal friends.

Don’t be early, don’t be late

If you’re scheduled to meet with someone or invited to a private home, the time listed is when you’re expected to arrive. What might be considered fashionably late in other cultures is considered rude in Sweden. Likewise, arriving early may be awkward for your host and should be avoided. It’s also considered good form to bring a host gift along the lines of flowers, a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. If you choose to bring wine, you’ll need to pop into the nearest Systembolaget outlet: Sweden’s state-run liquor stores are the only places where you can buy beverages with more than 3.5-percent alcohol content. Note that all Systembolaget stores are closed on Sundays.

Businessman and woman taking while sitting on couch against wall at conference

Dress up to go out, down for work

In many countries, people dress up for work and more casually to go out. In Sweden, it’s often the opposite. You’ll see business people in meetings wearing jeans and a blazer, with people dressed to the nines to go out for drinks or dinner. In general, smart-casual dress without ostentation will do fine in most situations. You must be 18 or older to order alcoholic drinks at bars and restaurants, but at least 20 to shop at Systembolaget.

To tip or not to tip: it’s okay either way

The custom of tipping is much less established in Sweden than in many other countries, so for the most part you can expect to pay pretty much whatever is on the bill. If you’re eating out, it’s common to round up to the nearest big number to show your server some appreciation; if you choose not to tip, you’re unlikely to offend. For taxi fares it’s courteous to add a few kronor to round up; if you’re traveling with luggage a bit extra is appreciated, though not expected. It’s not necessary to tip for housekeeping and other services at hotels.

Take a number: how to queue in Sweden

Whether you’re waiting at the bank, a ticket office or the supermarket deli counter, the first thing you should do is look around for a ticket machine. The majority of queues in Sweden operate on a number system, so take a ticket and find somewhere to wait where you can see the display that indicates when your number is up and which counter you should go to. Sometimes there’s more than one number sequence in play for different types of services, so if you see multiple options on the ticket machine and can’t figure out which one applies to you, it’s best to ask someone for assistance before you waste time waiting in the wrong queue.

Health and safety in Sweden

Stay safe in the urban jungle and the wild outdoors.

Sweden is a very safe country, but as in any destination you should keep a watchful eye on your belongings, as pickpocketing does occur. Make sure to store valuables in your hotel safe, if there is one, or keep them locked in your luggage while you’re out and about. If you’re staying in hostels, bring a padlock so you can store things safely in a locker. Be aware of your surroundings and try to stick to well-lit areas after dark. The chances of something bad happening are small, but it’s always best not to tempt fate.

If you’re heading into nature, make sure you’re adequately prepared – Sweden’s wild landscapes are gorgeous , but if something goes wrong, you may be a long way from help. Unless you’ve got wilderness experience, a guided tour is your best option for outdoor activities in remote areas.

Help, I need a doctor!

If you get sick or injured while in Sweden, never fear. The country’s healthcare system is top-notch, but figuring out how to access it as a visitor can be confusing. If you have a health insurance card from another European Economic Area (EEA) country, you’re eligible to receive care on the same terms as Swedes. If you’re from anywhere else, you’ll typically need to pay the full cost, so it’s important to have a decent travel insurance policy just in case.

If you need health care while in Sweden and are unsure of what to do, dial the national hotline 1177 for assistance. In case of an emergency requiring immediate attention, call 112.

Two bicyclists on a bike path next to a pedestrian pathway by the waterfront in Stockholm, Sweden

Watch out! Two-wheeled hazards are everywhere

Sweden is a pedestrian-friendly country, but you’ll need to keep a sharp eye out for two-wheeled transport. Don’t jaywalk, and never step into a dedicated bike lane without first looking in both directions; if you do, you’re risking life and limb, since cars and cyclists won’t be prepared to stop. Watch your feet as well – in recent years, electric scooters have proliferated in cities and are often left haphazardly in places where they pose an obstacle to pedestrians.

You might also like: The very best things to do in Sweden: castles, canals and culinary delights The most unmissable places to visit in Sweden Sweden's most beautiful beaches: from sunbathing near the Arctic Circle to lakeside lounging

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Sweden’s Prime Minister Says It’s ‘No Secret’ He’s a Swiftie as He Extends ‘Warm Welcome’ to Her Eras Tour

S weden’s prime minister is reminding his country that he’s a fan of Taylor Swift as the megastar’s Eras Tour takes over Stockholm this weekend.

Ulf Kristersson , who stepped into his role as prime minister in 2022, extended a “warm welcome” to Swift on Thursday, May 16 as she prepared to kick off three consecutive nights in Sweden’s capital city. Stockholm even adopted a temporary Swift-inspired nickname in honor of her arrival.

In a post on Instagram that featured a photo taken of the “Cruel Summer” singer during one of her recent performances, Kristersson said his identity as a Swiftie was “no secret,” according to the social media platform’s translation of his caption. Fandom aside, Kristersson noted that her tour was expected to have a positive impact on Sweden’s economy.

The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce’s chief economist, Carl Bergkvist , told Agence France-Presse that an estimated 120,000 of the 150,000 people expected to attend Swift’s three shows in Stockholm would be traveling into the city for the event, with many likely arriving from out of the country. Bergkvist further estimated that those staying in the area would spend “approximately half a billion Swedish kronor,” or $46 million, on hotel costs, food, transportation and more during their trip.

Economic experts in countries that Swift’s Eras Tour has already visited, as well as some of the European nations that her tour will be stopping in soon, have similarly commented on her concerts’ local economic impacts.

Related: Fans Call Out All the Major Changes Happening on Taylor Swift's Eras Tour

Swift’s tour kicked off its first night in Stockholm on Friday, May 17. As one Swift fan account noted on X , formerly Twitter, Kristersson was spotted in the audience at the show.

Swift launched the European leg of her Eras Tour last week in Paris following a two-month break. During that time away from performing, she released her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department , which is now represented in her Eras Tour shows. After her final concert in Stockholm on Sunday, May 19, the “Anti-Hero” songstress will travel to Portugal and Spain for a handful of dates before bringing her tour back to France.

While many Swifties have expressed their love for her new album on social media, the various eras of her career remain well-represented at her shows. Kristersson acknowledged her 1989 era specifically with a reference to “Welcome to New York” while addressing the pop star in a Friday video on Instagram.

“Welcome to Stockholm, it’s been waiting for you,” he said with a smile.

Next: Taylor Swift Celebrates ‘Crazy News’ As Her Eras Tour Sets New Record in Sweden


Ukraine war latest: Last Russian ship armed with cruise missiles in Crimea destroyed, Ukraine says

Ukraine says it hit and destroyed the Russian missile ship Tsiklon in Crimea over the weekend. Meanwhile, analysts say Moscow is seeking to draw out Kyiv's forces - as Putin makes another significant change to his cabinet.

Tuesday 21 May 2024 18:09, UK

Ukrainian servicemen patrol an area heavily damaged by Russian military strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the town of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine May 20, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

  • Kyiv claims it has destroyed last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles in Crimea
  • Putin sacks minister in new sign of shift in war strategy
  • European country now pushing to let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons
  • Russia using 'understaffed and incohesive forces' in bid to draw out Ukrainian troops
  • Ukraine says it shot down 28 of 29 drones in overnight Russian attacks
  • Big picture: What you need to know as war enters new week
  • Live reporting by Bhvishya Patel

Former Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson has launched his own show in Russia.

The controversial US media personality, who this year became the first Western journalist to interview Vladimir Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine, will host his show on the state-owned Russia 24 (Rossiya 24).

In the first episode, Carlson will discuss the dangers of ticks and Lyme disease.

Who is Carlson?

Carlson, who has been a vocal supporter of Mr Putin in the past, was sacked from Fox News in April last year.

He took up the prime-time weekday evenings spot on Fox News in 2016 with his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and quickly established himself as a key player in the network and an influential voice in Republican politics.

The presenter often embraced conspiracy theories and far-right issues. He repeatedly questioned the efficacy of COVID vaccines and compared mandates to "Nazi experiments".

While he found success with viewers, his inflammatory comments caused some advertisers to distance themselves from the programme.

After his departure from Fox News he rebooted his show on Xlast year, calling Elon Musk's site the last big remaining platform to allow free speech.

Ukraine says it has destroyed the last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles that was stationed on the occupied peninsula of Crimea.

It comes after we reported earlier comments by Ukraine's military, which said they had hit the Russian missile ship Tsiklon (see post at 3.09pm).

Ukraine's military reported conducting a long-range attack that destroyed the Russian minesweeping navy vessel on Sunday and said it needed more time to confirm what else had been damaged.

"According to updated information, the Ukrainian defence forces hit a Russian project 22800 Tsiklon missile ship in Sevastopol, on the night of 19 May," the general staff said today.

The Ukrainian navy later said on X that the vessel had been "destroyed".

Ukrainian navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said the Tsiklon was Russia's "last cruise missile carrier" based on the peninsula.

Tsiklon never fired a cruise missile while on active service, Mr Pletenchuk said in televised comments.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 and is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters at Sevastopol.

The Russian defence ministry has not commented.

European Union countries say they have reached an agreement to use the profits from frozen Russian assets to provide military support to Ukraine and help rebuild the war-torn country.

The 27-nation EU is holding around €210bn (£179bn) in Russian central bank assets, most of it frozen in Belgium, in retaliation for Moscow's war against Ukraine.

It estimates that the interest on that money could provide around €3bn (£2.56bn) each year.

Ukraine is desperate for more weapons and ammunition as Russia presses its military advantage.

EU headquarters said 90% of the money would be put into a special fund known as the European Peace Facility that many EU countries already use to get reimbursed for arms and ammunition they send to Ukraine.

The other 10% would be put into the EU budget. The programmes that this money funds would help to bolster Ukraine's defence industry or to help with reconstruction, should some countries object to their share being used for military purposes.

A small group of member states, notably Hungary, refuse to supply weapons to Ukraine.

Moldova has signed a security and defence partnership with the European Union, the first country to agree such a deal with the bloc.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made the announcement today.

It follows Moldova's strong condemnation of Russia's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Led by pro-European President Maia Sandu, Moldova, which lies between Ukraine and NATO and EU member Romania, hopes to join the European Union by 2030. 

"This partnership will enhance the country's resilience. It will allow (us) to jointly address common security challenges, make our engagement more effective and explore new areas of cooperation," Mr Borrell wrote on X.

Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean said on the X social media platform that EU accession would be the best "mechanism to ensure peace & stability for Moldova's citizens".

"Until then, the signing of the EU-Moldova Security and Defence Partnership is a step forward, enhancing our peace, security, and prosperity," he wrote.

Moldova gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and its relations with Moscow have deteriorated during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As reported here earlier, German's foreign minister has been visiting Ukraine today.

Annalena Baerbock held talks with Volodomry Zelenskyy and spoke to Ukrainian energy minister Herman Halushchenko during an official visit to a thermal power plant that was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine.

Russian forces have wrought major damage with strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure since invading in 2022.

Ukraine's military hit the Russian missile ship Tsiklon in Moscow-occupied Crimea on Sunday, the Ukrainian general staff has said.

No further details on the matter but we'll bring you any updates on this as we get them.

Tens of thousands of Russians who fled to Turkey after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine have moved on to other countries in the past year, according to a new report.

Reuters says those who have moved have been squeezed by residency issues and soaring costs, citing data and interviews, including with nine Russian citizens.

Turkey, Russia's Black Sea neighbour - a NATO member - emerged as a magnet for Russians after the invasion in February 2022, with Istanbul and the Mediterranean resort of Antalya both among the preferred options.

Some of them had opposed the invasion, others were trying to shield themselves and their businesses from a wave of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow - including travel bans on Russians to much of Europe.

Some men feared being drafted into the army.

But this month, the number of Russians with Turkish resident permits fell to 96,000, down by more than a third from 154,000 at the end of 2022, official data shows.

Nine Russian citizens who spoke to Reuters said they and others had left partly due to struggles to get residence permits since early 2023. Many have headed to Serbia and Montenegro, among the few European countries where they are welcome.

Russians are also moving on because of soaring costs - Turkish inflation hit 70% last month - along with the difficulty doing basic banking in Turkey as a result of the sanctions.

"You can't predict your future in Turkey," said Dmitri, 46, an IT sector employee who declined to give his surname.

After Vladimir Putin announced a mobilisation in September 2022 to recruit Russian men to fight in Ukraine, Dmitri left Saint Petersburg and reunited with his wife and four-year-old son in Istanbul.

But in January 2023, a text message appeared on his phone saying his residency application was rejected without explanation, he said. Dmitri left Istanbul a month later.

"I had signed a rental contract for one year but had to leave everything behind," he said.

"We moved to Montenegro because it is economically and politically more stable than Turkey."

Turkey's Presidency of Migration Management said all rejected resident-permit applications include a justification in the foreigners' own language under relevant laws, and that applicants are free to pursue legal remedies.

In an email, it said departures of Russians were not only linked to residency permits.

"Several political, economic and sociocultural factors play a role," the government agency said.

One of the various sources of growing tension between the US and Russia has been the subject of the stationing of weapons in space.

Russia vetoed a US-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution last month that called on countries to prevent an arms race in outer space - prompting Washington to suggest Moscow was hiding something.

Then yesterday, a Russian-drafted resolution that called on all countries to prevent "for all time" the placement, threat or use of any weapons in outer space failed.

The draft failed to get the minimum nine votes needed from the 15-member group, with seven voting in favour and seven against, while one abstained.

A veto can only be cast by permanent members the US, Russia, China, Britain or France if a draft gets at least nine votes.

US ambassador Robert Wood told the Security Council before the vote: "We are here today because Russia seeks to distract global attention from its development of a new satellite carrying a nuclear device."

He also accused Russia of launching a satellite last Thursday into low Earth orbit that the US "assesses is likely a counterspace weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit".

Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia responded: "I didn't even fully understand what he was talking about."

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty already bars signatories - including Russia and the US - from placing "in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction".

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova today claimed Washington was to blame for the world missing another opportunity to prevent an arms race in outer space.

"The results of the vote on the draft resolution on preventing an arms race in outer space and on space security that Russia submitted to the UN Security Council for examination and China co-authored causes disappointment," she said.

"The United States and its allies acted against our constructive and comprehensive initiative, despite all steps that we made to take into account their proposals (including formulations of the corresponding American-Japanese draft resolution)," the diplomat said in a commentary.

"Another opportunity to prevent an arms race in outer space has, unfortunately, been missed through the fault of the United States and its allies."

The former commander of Russia's 58th army, Ivan Popov, has been arrested on suspicion of "large scale fraud", state-run TASS agency is reporting.

TASS has not provided any details of the investigation into Popov's activities.

We'll bring you more on this story as we get it.

We reported earlier this morning (see 7.29 post) that Ukrainian officials had said their forces shot down 28 out of 29 drones used by Russian forces in an overnight attack on seven regions.

However, at least seven people were injured in a strike in Kharkiv, which also damaged four private residences and 25 trucks and buses.

Footage from the scene shows firefighters battling flames in the wake of the attack.

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