Close to nature
“Sverige”, as it is called here, is the largest of the Nordic countries. Its large area and low population density (only 10 million inhabitants) make the country a paradise of vast, wild and protected natural expanses. Sweden has 100,000 lakes, 7,000 kilometers of coastline and 60,000 islands.
Its history is based on the fascinating Viking civilization with its mythology, its raids against the rest of Europe and its exploration of the Atlantic, all the way to the American continent. Then on the Swedish Empire, which under the reign of the Vasa dynasty, controlled most of the Baltic area in the 17th century. After this colonial episode, Sweden became a pacifist kingdom, which has not participated in any war for 200 years. The many Viking burial sites, Unesco sites, castles, cathedrals and palaces bear witness to this rich history.
In recent history, the country has brought personalities like Carl von Linné, Alfred Nobel, Greta Garbo, Björn Borg, Avicii, ABBA, Europe, Ingmar Bergman, Stieg Larsson and Greta Thurnberg to the world.
Beyond the discovery of Sweden and its natural and historical treasures, it is a fascinating cultural discovery that takes place: to understand this country which, like the other Scandinavian countries, is ahead of the rest of the world in terms of societal values, respect for the environment, gender equality and sustainable development. Where a dynamic and innovative economy is not incompatible with an altruistic society that takes care of the most vulnerable. The country where “Lagom” (= neither too much nor not enough) and the “Law of Jante” (= do not show off) are an integral part of the culture.
Stockholm is the largest city in Scandinavia, with 2 million inhabitants. It has progressively grown on 14 islands of Lake Mälaren, at the entrance to the Baltic Sea, which gave it its nickname of "Venice of the North". Stockholm's archipelago has more than 24,000 islands. It is one of the cleanest and greenest capitals in the world.
Founded in 1252, the city became one of the most prosperous capitals in Europe under the Swedish Empire. Today it is the most important economic, cultural and political center of Sweden. The seat of the Nobel Prize ceremonies, its old town is full of historic monuments, magnificent palaces and churches, that stand along charming cobbled streets.
Stockholm is also renowned for being at the forefront of design and modern art. Its unique metro, nicknamed "the longest art gallery in the world" bears witness to this.
Come discover its chic and design hotels, its fine-dining restaurants, its boat cruises, its many parks where deer and hares roam freely, its art galleries, its royal opera, its rooftop bars and its eccentric "cat bars” and “fish spa”.
Lapland (Sápmi in Sami language) is one of the last wild immensities still pristine in Europe : 110,000 square kilometers of forests, lakes, mountains and national parks that are the ancestral lands of the indigenous Sami people.
They share the land in harmony with an astonishing fauna composed among others of reindeer, elk, wolves, bears, arctic foxes, beavers and lynxes. Known for its spectacular northern lights and midnight sun in summer, Lapland welcomes you a stone's throw from the Arctic Circle, to another world where you will lose all your bearings...
Pamper yourself in the comfort of charming arctic eco-lodges, visit world famous Ice Hotel and reindeer farms, wander through snow-covered forests and frozen lakes, and enjoy unforgettable activities like ice fishing, husky sledding, a cruise on an ice-breaker, snowmobiles, hovercrafts and car drifting on ice.
In the evening, look up to the stars and if the sky is clear, you might spot one of Mother Nature's greatest shows : the out-of-this-world Northern lights.
Göteborg is the second largest city in Sweden. Its historical center is a lovely walkable shopping district with cobblestone streets delimited by 17th century canals. Located on the North Sea, the city is the gateway to its beautiful archipelago, made of 16 large islands, and the gorgeous Bohuslän coast.
Gothenburg, as it is called in English, has been a major trade port and shipbuilding center since its foundation in 1621. It also became very prosperous with the establishment of merchant companies like the Swedish East India company in the 18th century.
The city then became the cradle of Swedish industry : the largest sites of Volvo, Skania, SKF and the like are located here. But it is also a "post industrial" urban center that gears its economy towards science, research, new technologies and sustainability. It has been awarded the title of the most sustainable destination in the world, ahead of Copenhagen, in the Global Destination Sustainability Index.
Come discover the old town and its canals, the trendy districts Linné and Haga, the perfect hipster hang-out with second-hand markets, outdoor terraces, microbreweries and vegan restaurants. Get thrilled at Liseberg, the largest fun park in Scandinavia. Enjoy Göteborg's abundance of museums, huge parks, art galleries, summer festivals, boat cruises, street art, culinary experiences and nightlife.
The south of Sweden is the country's agricultural heartland. Its large meadows and forests, that turn yellow and orange in the autumn, make for gorgeous photographs.
Skåne's rich history shows through its abundance of half-timbered houses, medieval buildings and villages, the beautiful city of Lund (the oldest university city in Sweden), Danish-style architecture and towns (the region was part of Denmark until 1658), viking burial sites and fortresses, and the famous monolithic site of Ales Stenar.
Some of the best sandy beaches in the country are also found in Skåne. Thanks to its natural and historical jewels, the region is a paradise for architecture enthusiasts, hikers, bikers and kayakers. It will also delight food lovers and wine and beer amateurs with its many wineries and microbreweries.
If you feel like delving more into the Swedish culture, here you can also visit the Absolute Vodka distillery, the Ikea museum (founder Ingvar Kamprad was born in the region) and a village where the locals actually still live according to ancient viking traditions.
The third largest city of Sweden is located a bird's flight away from Copenhagen, across the Öresund bridge, the marvel of modern engineering that runs almost 8 kilometers between the two Scandinavian countries.
In Malmö, avant-garde architecture (including the famous "Turning torso", Sweden's highest building) neighbors the old city's 16th century buildings on the waterfront. Due to its strategic location and proximity to Germany, Malmö's harbour has always been at the crossroads of trade in the region.
Its dynamic economy has attracted more than 150 nationalities, making Malmö the most cosmopolitan urban center in Sweden, which translates into a big array of restaurants, markets and festivals.
Come wander through the streets of its charming old town, marvel at its trendy modern districts and art galleries, and enjoy a boat ride on the canals.
Gotland, located south of Stockholm, is the largest island in the Baltic sea. Its biggest town, Unesco World Heritage Visby, is a superb 12th century fortress city with an impressive cathedral, 27 towers and charming cobblestone streets. Every summer, Visby is the stage for a fun medieval festival, gathering people dressed as knights, monks, peasants and damsels who parade in the streets, joust and feast.
Outside Visby's walls, the island has numerous historical sites and buildings on offer, such as gothic churches, old windmills, lighthouses, painted cottages and bronze age burial sites.
Gotland also provides for nature and landscapes lovers, with its sandy beaches, lush meadows, seaside cliffs, islands, limestone formations, caves and flower-lined walks.
The famous film director Ingmar Bergman fell in love with the island of Fårö, located at the Northern tip of Gotland, and ended up living 40 years there. He is buried on the island. A very popular destination during the holidays (especially with Stockholmers), Gotland can be quite busy during the summer, so it is best to visit on alternative dates, or book your stay well in advance.