A trip to Sweden is not a complicated one to plan, but you need to be aware of some details so you can make the most of your trip!
Here, I will talk about curiosities, customs, language, and also several tips for a trip to Sweden, such as temperature, transport, and visa.
Things you should know before going to Sweden.
1 – Swedish people speak very good English
Almost everyone in Sweden speaks very good English. So, don’t worry if you can’t read anything written in Swedish.
Swedes love to help; they are kind and have an easy understanding of English.
To thank someone, just say Tack!
2 – Visas to get into Sweden
Sweden is part of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement, the agreement between several countries in Europe that allows the movement of people without border control.
You will not get another stamp in your passport if you fly from Germany to Sweden, for example.
Now, if you take a trip through London and decide to go to Stockholm, you will have to go through immigration there since the United Kingdom is not part of Schengen….and just left the EU.
So, if you can visit the European Union visa-free, you can visit Sweden without any issues.
Just remember that most travellers can only stay 90 days inside the Schengen area.
Oh, and remember that travel insurance is mandatory to visit Europe. It should have a minimum coverage of EUR 30,000.
It helps you to solve problems such as flight cancellation and lost bag, and if you need medical assistance such as consultation, exam, and even surgery.
3 – International Airports in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö
The capital of Sweden has three different airports Arlanda, Skavstad and Bromma Airport.
Usually, the largest airlines arrive at Arlanda, budget airlines from Skavstad and shorter flights from Bromma.
Arlanda Flygplats is the main airport in Sweden and is well connected to Stockholm by train or bus.
The train is sold by Arlanda Express for 299 SEK, and you can reach the city centre in 20 minutes.
Skavsta Flygplats is the third airport and is used by RyanAir and WizzAir. It is in Nyköping, 107km from the centre of Stockholm….and it is very small.
From there you need to take a bus to the centre, which takes around 1h30min. The ticket is sold by Flygbussarna for 159 SEK.
Bromma Airport is the smallest one, but also the closest airport to Stockholm city centre.
Gothenburg Landvetter (Sweden´s second-largest city) airport, and Malmö (Sweden´s third-largest city) airport, also have bus connections with Flygbussarna and Flix bus from the city centre….but train connections.
Although, if you want to fly into Malmö, Copenhagen airport across the bridge has a lot more options.
4 – Public transportation in Sweden is expensive if you buy it individually
The single metro ticket in Stockholm costs 45 SEK (almost 5 USD) valid for 75 minutes and can be purchased by credit card. I recommend buying cards valid for more days, so you get the most out of it!
• 24 hours Travelcard 130 SEK
• 72 hours Travelcard 260 SEK
• 7 days Travelcard 335 SEK
Attention: you need to buy a separate card that costs 10 SEK and add the credits.
There is no way to return the card and recover this money, but you can use it on other future trips.
The metro stations in Stockholm are beautiful, and several are worth visiting. Gothenburg basically doesn’t have a metro, and Malmö has a very small one.
5 – You can rent a car or use trains and buses to explore Sweden
I believe that the best way to explore Sweden is to rent a car.
The national roads are excellent, and the scenery is incredible, and there are no toll fees in Sweden and ferries are free.
Trains are also a great option to explore Sweden with, especially the overnight trains and it´s not as expensive as it looks.
You can also travel by bus if you are on a tight budget, but the bus trips are much longer than the train ones. And you often will have to change buses if travelling over long distances in Sweden.
The main bus company now in Sweden is Flixbus, as it is also the main bus company around Europe.
6 – The best time to visit Sweden
It depends a lot on the experiences you want to have on your trip: enjoy the “heat” during the summer or splash around in the snow during the winter!
Remember that the further north, the colder it will be! Northern Sweden is also famous for mosquitos during the warmer months.
Here is a little bit about the weather by seasons to plan your trip to Sweden:
Summer (July to September): the time of the year I most recommend for a trip to Sweden.
The days are very long, and the temperatures are between 20 and 25ºC in Stockholm, but the nights are very cold, so take a sweater.
During this time, there are several festivals of art, music (such as the Putte I Parken in Kungsträdgården), Pride Stockholm, and gastronomic events to taste crabs and herring.
The summer season is a great time to do one of the best hikes in Europe, the Kungsleden trail.
Autumn (October to December): The days are already cold, between 4 to 13 degrees, with a sensation of -3ºC sometimes.
I got rainy days and the days were not so short. During this season, the wind is stronger, and it rains quite often. The landscape was stunning since the leaves of the trees varied from yellow to orange.
Winter (from December to March): the days are very short, icy, windy with the possibility of a lot of snow! In this case, you can visit many indoor attractions like museums, as the temperature can be from -15 to 5ºC in Stockholm.
In cities in the north of the country, such as Abisko and Kiruna, it can reach -30ºC.
At that time, there are many Christmas markets in the cities, and you can taste the glögg mulled wine and the Julmust, a Swedish Christmas speciality.
Spring (April to June): temperatures range from 0 to 15ºC, and the days are longer. There are some celebrations to commemorate the Holy Week and Easter, and they spread around the cities.
The cherry blossom is not in late April and can be seen in the King’s gardens in Stockholm (Kungsträdgården).
7 – You can take only credit cards on your trip to Sweden
The currency used in Sweden is the Swedish krona (SEK). The price varies slightly, but 1 USD is about 9 SEK. Since Sweden wants to be the first cashless society in the world, you really don’t need to get any Swedish Krona before your visit.
Just use your credit card since it is accepted everywhere. Actually, some places don’t even accept cash!
8 – You shouldn’t miss a Fika when visiting Sweden!
Swedes like to take a break for about 15 minutes to have tea or coffee with a sweetie, especially Kanelbulle (like a WONDERFUL sweet spiral cupcake!).
Fika is the break-in itself and is already part of Swedish culture! There’s even a holiday for each cookie
9 – Northern Lights in Sweden
If you are planning to travel to Sweden in the winter, you will have a great chance to see the northern lights! This phenomenon happens between the months of October and March when the nights are longer.
It will be useful to keep an eye on some apps, such as Aurora Forecast, which predict the visibility index of the northern lights called the Kp Index that goes from 0 to 9. The higher it is, the more chances you have of seeing it.
It is much easier to see the Northern Lights in the northern region of Sweden, as it will be closer to the Arctic Circle.
Kiruna and Abisko are two of the best places in Sweden to see the northern light. , and there are also expert guides on “hunting the Aurora Borealis in Sweden”.
Unfortunately, when I visited Kiruna, I couldn’t see the lights. However, I was able to visit their Ice Hotel, which was awesome!!
Aurora Borealis is an incredible phenomenon!
10 – Don’t miss out Stockholm’s intact historic centre
Stockholm’s historic centre is virtually intact, as Sweden has not participated in wars for more than two centuries.
The country had a neutral position during the two World Wars, so it didn’t suffer any attacks or bombardments.
The capital of neighbouring Norway, Oslo, was not so lucky and was occupied by the Nazis for some time.
11 – You can’t drink on the streets in Sweden
It is forbidden to consume alcoholic beverages on the streets in Sweden. You need to drink beer sold inside bars and restaurants or at home.
However, if you are with your friend sitting nicely in a park and not causing any trouble, the police will usually just ignore you.
To buy your alcohol, you have to go to specific government-controlled stores called SytemBolaget.
In the supermarket, you can even find some drinks, but there are few and have low alcohol content.
And remember in Sweden you will have to be 20 years old or older to buy wine, Vodka, and beer stronger than 3,5% at Systembolaget, but beer between 2,4% to 3,5% is sold everywhere in Sweden, also in gas stations.
12 – Sweden home to the most atheists in the world
The country is known as the origin of the Vikings and the beliefs in their Norse gods. Currently, 85% of the population has no religion or does not believe in God. The total population is 10.2 million, with 7.6 million atheists or agnostics.
Of course, there are churches around, but there are few. I usually like to visit churches because of their architecture, but I didn’t go to any during my trip to Sweden.
Oh, and one more thing! Moose is a symbol of Sweden! There are so many that there are around 6,000 moose accidents every year!!
What do you think? Have you been to Sweden before? Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments area below!
The article was written by Rodrigo de Souza from the blog Out of Your Comfort Zone.
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