After more than month in Sweden, we give you all our good tips to organize your roadtrip in this huge Scandinavian country.
Top 9 travelling in Sweden
Scandinavia is a dream. We think forests, lakes as far as the eye can see, hikes, snow, Lapland, aurora borealis … and all these clichés are true … Sweden is a destination you should not miss!
Our roadmap in Sweden
Our top 9 of what you must discover in Sweden
Hang in there, we’re boarding for Sweden, a huge country between Norway and Finland. From beach to snow … discover all the diversity of Sweden!
A rich and multicultural capital
Stockholm is a beautiful capital that offers a lot of things to discover from the top of its 14 islands connected by 57 bridges … Yes in this metropolis, the water represents 30% of the area. Even if it’s far from Paris or London sizes, Stockholm is a capital that deserves at least 3 or 4 days to go around.
Roughly, Stockholm is divided into 5 major districts:
Gamla Stan district
The « old town », the historical center
Stockholm originally built on the island of Gamla Stan, then grew. Nevertheless, Gamla Stan remains the old city of the capital. With its royal castle and its colorful little streets including the narrowest street of the capital. Its traditional stalls and countless souvenir shops … and therefore tourists. Gamla Stan has a lot of charm, but also a little too crowded.
Vasastan and Ostermalm
2 more recent districts, business and big shops
Visiting Vasastan, go to discover the oddities accumulated at the Hallwylska Museum, a real cabinet of curiosity. And do not hesitate to go for a drink at the Ice Bar … you’ll need a special jacket at -5 ° C. If you push a little to the North, dare to enter the impressive circular library of Stockholm and West, climb into the town hall’s tower to have a great view of the capital.
Stroll along Ostermalm waterfront and see the beautiful harbor yachts and old wacky boats at Skeppsholmen Island. To taste the local specialties, enter the Ostermalm covered market, the temple of quality products.
Djurgarden and Sodermalm, our favorites…
Enter inDjurgarden island while crossing its big blue and goldy gate and discover “The animals garden” (in Swedish). Go to the Nordiska Museum to discover Scandinavian art.
The incredible Vasa museum was built around an old Viking boat that remained 300 years underwater after floating only a few kilometers on its inaugural outing. Visit the Skansen museum and its animals especially if you have not had the chance to observe the Swedish wildlife during your trip. The ABBA museum if you are a fan of this mythical group. Feel full of thrills at Tivoli Park, or just wander the island. In short there is many thing to do.
Just walk in Sodermalm big island. A little remote from the rest of central Stockholm, this is where you will find bohemian neighborhoods and cheaper restaurants and bars. But also the museum Fotografiska and its view on the island of Djurgarden. The island is big, do not hesitate to get lost in the streets to discover skate park, gardens, churches and beautiful walks.
2. A temple for Nature lovers
BBQ, summer camping, mushrooms picking in autumn…
Sweden is huge and nature is everywhere. Nothing is easier than to get lost in the nature and to take advantage for walking, hiking, camping, barbecues or picking berries and mushrooms.
From South to North, you will find incredible sites, and will be able to enjoy totally alone this resplendent flora. Pines and oaks … Sweden has 29 national parks (in 2016) covering a total of about 7 400 km2 (excluding lake). The best known are Sarek, Muddus, Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfallet.
If you are in autumn, you will not miss the mushrooms, there are everywhere. Everywher we stoped, we were able to leave with full hands of them. And make meals worthy of 4 stars restaurants. Chanterelles, cepes, boletus … of course, be very careful if you do not know about it … we had a guide book and did not take any risk when we were not sure.
3. Eat like a Swede
Frukost, Fika, from smorgas to Kanelbulle…
Yes, Swedish cooking and the way to eat in Sweden is really different from ours. To put yourself in the shoes of a tall and blond Scandinavian, you will need to eat:
- Slices of bread with liver pâté or pickled fish, cheese and vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes) for Frukost (breakfast).
- Not much at noon … or a smörgås for example. A slice of bread topped with shrimp, salmon, fish, egg, pepper or other ingredients …
- And very early at night (around 6pm).
- Oh yes, the last but not the least, a little throughout the day with the Fika (comparable to French 10am and 4pm snacks). Salty (salads or sandwiches) or sweet (Viennoiserie) … in the end the Swedes do not necessarily eat a lot but often.
- Smörgås: already mentioned above, it looks like the Danish smorrebrod.
- Köttbullar med lingonsylt: meatballs served with mashed potatoes and cranberry jam. No, you are not dreaming, you are in the country of IKEA.
- Bakpotatis: potatoes cooked in aluminum and stuffed deliciously.
- Lax med färskpotatis och dillsås: salmon, potatoes and a dill sauce. You like salmon? In Sweden and Norway, it’s time to eat it.
- Renstek: nothing less than a roast of reindeer, with the famous Swedish cranberry jam.
- Älggryta: a moose fricassee served with chanterelles … very local.
- Strömming: marinated herring, less our stuff, and certainly not very exotic if you are Dutch.
As dessert, you’ll try:
- Kanelbulle: a cinnamon pastry in the shape of a snail. You will find it everywhere.
- Rabarberpaj: a rhubarb pie … very good.
Just for information, the prices of restaurants serving “typical” dishes are the most expensive … and for the drink … no alcohol in store. See you at System Bolaget … before 6pm.
Enjoy your meal !
4. Everybody in the water
From beaches to fishing…
Between the sea and the lakes (almost 97,500 lakes, or 10% of the country’s area) Sweden has no shortage of water. So there are many opportunities to fish or bath.
For example, when coming from Denmark, do not hesitate to take a dip in Malmö in front of the bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden. And on the way to your roadtrip, you can cool off in one of the many Swedish lakes.
Likewise, if you like fishing, you will be served. Given the number of lakes that are here … you could go all over the country fishing from lake to lake. You’ll need a fishing license that can be bought by the day, week or year. Generally, it takes 3 to 6 € for a permit to the day and this can sometimes be done by phone.
5. Learn everything about « glass »,
Kosta Boda glass factory
If you have never visited one, discovering glass making is a magical moment. First, visit the Gallery and then enter the factory. You can see step by step the work of the glassblowers … it’s beautiful.
See them handle the molten glass and model it under your eyes to give them extraordinary shapes. Glasses, bottles, work of art… vase, gear for luxury car… we were like 2 kids of 8 years old with fascinated eyes.
We had a great time and were able to ask all our questions to our great guide. 6 teams work daily and mainly for the glasses that are sold in shops or exported everywhere production. There is a paying workshop that permits you to create your own glass… We didn’t try it… too many chances that these beautiful glass glasses get brocken in the van.
6. Savour 1 great ice cream at Nora
« Such small town, so much flavor », Anna Maria Lenngren, Swedish poet Suédoise.
Sur notre route pour Oslo, nous faisons une halte à Nora car nous avons lu qu’il y faisait de délicieuses tartes à l’élan et aux chanterelles… et de très bonnes glaces. Malheureusement, le restaurant de tartes est fermé hors saison, nous avons donc opté pour une de leur fameuse glace. La queue est immense mais la glace vaut le coup. De plus, ils font des minis glaces pour les animaux de compagnie. Bien sûr Huaca a eu le droit à la sienne.
On our way to Oslo, we stoped at Nora because we read that there were delicious moose and chanterelles pies… and very good ice cream. Unfortunately, the pie restaurant is closed out of season, so we opted for one of their famous ice cream. The line is huge but their ice cream is worth it. Plus, they make mini ice creams for pets. Of course Huaca had one.
Once there, you should visit the beautiful Gothlinska garden and a little further, the Nora train station. It’s now a museum… We’ll learn that the 1st Swedish public train line was connecting Nora and Ervalla.
7. Be like a fish in the water
…in the Vasteras water park
A bit of fun in the middle of a trip is always good. For young and old, this place is quite unusual. The Kokpunkten ActionBad water park is hidden in an old 5-storey brick factory in Vasteras … if you do not know it, you can’t guess it.
The 5 floors contain: swimming pools, slides, relaxation area (sauna, steam room, aroma bath …) and all this in a psychedelic atmosphere. Disco lights, music that moves … Not very traditional you can guess, but when you travel 1 year, you have to vary the pleasures!
8. Spot funny animals
Reindeers, mooses, it’s Christmas
More typical than a water park, discover the Swedish wildlife. With some luck, you will come across herds of reindeer and some elk, and maybe even bears, wolves, beavers, lynx, deer, fox, deer … We did not see any bears or wolves … you may be luckier than us.
Birds lovers will be very happy too, but I won’t tell you which kind of species you can find there.
Summer is a good period for moose because during fall, the national hunt begins. So mooses are hidden and it is harder to see them! But how not to feel disoriented by seeing these animals that reflect for us the great cold and Christmas. A magical moment like crossing elephants in Africa!
9. Spot the Northern Lights
And live a amazing spectacle
Who does not dream to observe at least once in his life this magic show. The aurora borealis… and seeing waves of colors and light dancing in the sky. An ephemeral ballet that unfolds in the sky …
We had the chance to spot them the 1st time in Luleå in Sweden. The best periods are spring and autumn, and the best region, Lapland. More at North you’ll be, more chance you’ll have to see the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland. >> All our advices to hunt the Northern Lights in Lapland.
Be immersed in Scandinavian universe
Discover our Swedish playlist on Youtube.
Enjoy your trip!