5 Things to Experience in Sweden
Scandinavia has always been a place I've wanted to visit. Before I spent 6 weeks in Spain, my friends from Hawaii and I planned a trip to Sweden for 10 days. One of our good friends is from Sweden so we were able to stay with her and her parents in her home in Stockholm and in their summer home in Arbrå. Here are some of my recommendations when traveling to Sweden.
1. Travel outside Stockholm and see the countryside of Sweden
My first destination was a little town in the north of Sweden. Arbrå is about 3 hours north of Stockholm by train. My friend and her parents owned their summer home in Arbrå, and apparently many people have their summer homes there as well. I was blown away by how beautiful the area was. In the countryside of Sweden, there really isn't a lot to do other than enjoy the long days in nature, in all of it's forms. But after a long day of travel, it was nice to sit by the lake, drink hot tea, and hang out with friends. It is very lush and green in Sweden because it rains a lot in the summer time. All day, we just ran through fields of tall grass and picked wild flowers; there was never a time I wasn't wearing a flower crown.
Celebrating a traditional Swedish holiday in the countryside of Sweden was definitely a highlight of my trip. Dancing around the maypole, singing Swedish songs, playing games, and eating Swedish meatballs was a great way to kick off my Sweden trip. If you happen to be traveling in Sweden around June 21st, you should definitely participate in this Swedish holiday.
If you want to really experience Swedish culture, I would recommend planning your trip around Midsommer. It's pretty much a party all over the country celebrating the summer solstice. The sun actually never goes all the way down on the day of Midsommer, so you really do party all day. It's also not as cold during Midsommer; but still plan for it to be pretty chilly.
3. Visit Stockholm
The best thing about Stockholm is that everything that you need to see is either a tram ride or a walk away. A casual stroll through the city will keep you entertained and intrigued. We spent our first day in Stockholm walking through Gamla Stan, grabbing a gelato, and eating it by the ocean. The entire city is surrounded by water, which is why I think Stockholm is so beautiful. There is so much to see by foot, so I recommend just taking a day and exploring the city.
4. Visit Nordiska Museet
In every major city, I always hit at least one museum. The Nordiska Museet is five stories of Swedish history and culture. It only takes about an hour to go through it, if you go fast. I would say it was worth visiting to learn a few things about the country.
5. Visit the Fotografiska Museet
The Fotografiska Museet was by far my favorite place we visited in Stockholm. If you love art and photography, I would give yourself at least a few hours here. Not only is the art incredible, but there is also a rooftop cafe that overlooks the ocean. You could spend an entire evening in that area; they have live music and a bar out infront of the museum with an outside view of the city. There are signs all around the city advertising for this museum, so you won't miss it.
6. Take a hop on/hop off cruise around Stockholm
Near Stromma, you can find several boat companies that give daily tours around the city. We went with Stromma Archipelago Excursions, they charge about 150 SEK, which is about 20 USD. They have an upstairs deck and a inside dining area, so no matter what you're trying to do, it'll accommodate. We ended out tour at the Drottningholm Palace, which is also a must see. It's right on the water and it is stunning.
The Drottningholm Palace is a beautiful sight to walk around and explore. There is a beautiful garden behind the castle that you can walk through, as well.
There are so many things to do in Sweden, these were just some of my favorite things I did. There are somethings you should know before you buy your ticket. Here are 5 things to keep in mind before buying a plane ticket.
1. Sweden is expensive, so plan accordingly. The Swedish Krona is higher than the US Dollar so things are a lot more expensive than you think. Keep in mind that each meal will probably cost you at minimum $20.
2. It is cold, even in the Summer. Sweden is very far north so even in the summer time, the temperature is about 50° to 75° Fahrenheit. Packing for cold weather is essential, I learned the hard way.
3. It never gets dark in the Summer and it's always dark in the Winter. I recommend traveling to Sweden in the Summer time. If it was as cold as it was in June, I'm not sure how much walking around you can do if it's any colder than 50°. I live in Hawaii year-round so maybe it's just me, but Summer time is prime time for Sweden.
4. Swedish is the national language, but everyone also speaks English. If you ever get lost, just ask and I guarantee you that they will speak English. I missed my train because I was afraid to ask anyone which train was the right one, I didn't realize that everyone spoke English. Oops.
5. It's worth it to buy a metro card. The Metro will get you anywhere in the city you need to go. I was very impressed with their transportation system. It was about 200 SEK for a week, which really wasn't too bad with all the traveling we did. I probably used the metro eight times a day. Uber is very unnecessary when you have trains that run all day and night.
I hope everyone someday explores this amazing country. I really did love it. I believe that everyone should see this city at least one time in their life.
Travel on my friends.