Sweden: Holidays

More than just flatpack furniture!

Backpacking

Backpacking in Sweden

For budget travelers who like being on the move, backpacking is the ideal way to see Sweden. Sweden offers backpackers a decent choice of accommodation, amenities and facilities in a variety of locations, from hostels and campsites to cabins and lodges, whether you are in the more sparsely populated northern and southern extremes of the country, the big cities like Stockholm and Gothenberg. Travel is not a problem for anyone wishing to backpack around Sweden: trains offered by Sweden’s national rail service, SJ, are fast and efficient, but expensive, while the buses operating in Sweden are usually fast, efficient and cheaper than travelling by train. Backpackers heading for Sweden will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation, too: Camping in the Swedish countryside is free, so if you are going to stay at a private campsite, the standards are usually quite high. Hostels, or Vandrarhem, also offer backpackers another comfortable option as they are usually equipped with kitchens, showers, are clean, and warm during the colder months. Other accommodation for backpackers in Sweden come in the form of bed and breakfasts, farm stays, and couch surfing participants. There are over 3,000 couch surfers in Sweden who will offer you their couch for a couple of nights, in return for your couch when they come to stay with you.

Beach

Beach in Sweden

Although Sweden is not synonymous with beach holidays, it does boast a coastline attractive enough and warm enough, at some points of the year, to warrant popularity as a beach holiday destination. Skane, in the southernmost part of the country, has been described as the St Tropez of Sweden (largely because it attracts the likes of the Swedish royal family, various other celebrities and the rich and the famous, in general). Ala, the 40 kilometre-long stretch of coast between Kristianstad and Osterlen offers beach lovers fine white sand and beautiful views, while Malarhusen-Sandhammaren, the second largest continuous beach, stretches from Skllinge in the north to Loderup in the south. There are many opportunities for beach holidays in Sweden, all you have to do is take your pick.

Camping

Camping in Sweden

There are over 1000 campsites in Sweden, so if you are looking for a camping holiday anywhere in Europe, Sweden is one of the best places to go. Camping in Sweden is fairly straightforward, although you do have to bear in mind that you may sometimes require a membership card. Camping Card Scandinavia is a membership card which allows access to all SCR-affiliated campsites around Sweden and is valid in Denmark, Finland, Norway and 16 other European countries. It costs €13 and includes accident insurance and privileged booking status. The Camping Card International (CCI) is another such membership card which is a respected proof of identity for campsites across Europe.

City Breaks

City Breaks in Sweden

There are many things to see and do if you choose to take a flying visit to Sweden for long weekend, or a short break. City breaks to the Swedish capital, Stockholm, have become a very popular short break destination in recent years due to its medieval historic beauty and cosmopolitan culture, while word of mouth has led to increased tourist interest in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenberg, which is situated on the west coast of the country. As a city on the west coast, Gothenberg’s abundance of shops, museums and breathtaking coastline means that it too is becoming a fast-growing destination for the ultimate city break. Sweden also has another great destination for enjoyable city break escapes in Malmo; the southern city which now offers travelers easy access to and from Denmark via the Oresund Bridge.

Culture and Arts in Sweden

Combine its cutting edge design and impressive cultural heritage and Sweden becomes a must for anyone looking for culture and arts-based holiday. Culture and arts manifest themselves in a variety of places in Sweden, particularly Stockholm. Art and culture is all around Stockholm, so it is not difficult to incorporate it into your trip to Sweden. In Stockholm, you can learn more about the history of the Nobel Prize and its somewhat complicated structure, at the Nobel Museum, feast upon the art, theatre and culture housed under the roof of the city’s Kulturehuset, or Culture House, or steep yourself in the history of the Swedish royal family by taking a trip to the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan. As well as a number of galleries and museums providing a better insight into Sweden’s architectural and design past, present and future, Drottningholm Theatre, 12 Km west of Stockholm, will be a bonus for any opera lover.

Disabled Needs

Disabled Needs in Sweden

In comparison to many countries around the world, Sweden is great destination for disabled travelers, in terms of hotels and public transport systems. Many hotels provide rooms which have been specially adapted for disabled travelers, specifically for people with mobility problems, or suffering from allergies, and some also enable those with limited mobility to take part in activities like swimming and riding. In terms of public transport, staff are usually on hand to help disabled travelers to board and disembark – if notified in advance, and Swedish Railways’ trains have special lifts and seats for passengers using wheelchairs.

Family Holiday

Family Holiday in Sweden

Whether it’s adventure, beach-lounging or snow-filled, there’s something to appeal to any family heading to Sweden, and Sweden’s family-oriented culture means that children will be made welcome wherever they go. Sweden is a land steeped in a culture of fairytales and mysticism, which is a great way of entertaining all the family. If you head for somewhere like Skane, in southern Sweden, the endless stretch of beach combined with the magical mysteries of surrounding forests provide no end of escapism and fun for families. Sweden is also perfect for family holidays because of the numerous opportunities to swim (there are many lakes in Sweden), or play in the snow. One the best family holidays you can have involves a trip to Sweden’s northernmost area, Lapland. From 14 November onwards, children can visit Father Christmas in his natural habitat, meet the elves and the reindeer. For those of you looking for something more central, Stockholm is very family-friendly: most museums in Stockholm offer children’s tours, many of the shops and hotels have allotted areas for children and there are many zoos and places of interest which consider children’s interests too.

Gay and Lesbian

Gay and Lesbian in Sweden

While Sweden has its conservative, and more reserved sides (see Sweden’s take on drinking, etc), it’s attitudes towards homosexuality are liberal; in fact, it is considered to be one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. Stockholm has a large gay scene and has a lot to offer. From the bar/restaurant/party of Patricia, every Sunday night on a boat docked in central Stockholm, to Chockladkoppen; the popular gay coffee house situated in Stortorget, Stockholm’s oldest square, the city’s gay scene is a vibrant one, as is Gothenberg’s, albeit on a smaller scale. Sometimes dubbed the San Francisco of Sweden (which is something of an exaggeration), bars like Greta’s and GaysStraight2Hell party events, ensure that Gothenberg makes for great getaway. It is also worth mentioning that most gay bars in Sweden are sex-integrated, so expect both men and women. Accomodation-wise, Sweden’s larger cities do offer gay-friendly hotels, the Berns Hotel in Stockholm, which emphasizes its gay-welcome approach, and the Rival Hotel, a boutique hotel which will impress anyone interested in architecture and design. Cheaper options include accommodation at guest houses and bed and breakfasts like the Odean, or the Hostel B&B, which gets very crowded during the Pride weekend.

Hen Destination

Hen Destination in Sweden

In recent times, both Stockholm and Gothenberg have been promoted as hen and stag destinations for parties looking for something, well, something a little different. Swedish stag and hen combinations which can include anything from handgun shooting, paintballing and bellydancing, followed by bar crawls, clubbing and casinos have proven to be increasingly popular. Although Stockholm has a reputation as being expensive, in this current economic climate, it is probably no more expensive than any other European capital.

Honeymoon in Sweden

You may not get tropical climbs (although that does depend on luck and time of year), but a honeymoon in Sweden still has plenty to offer. If it’s romance, adventure and natural beauty you’re after, a honeymoon in Sweden rarely disappoints. From the gastronomical and cultural delights of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, to the breathtaking beauty of the wilderness areas o Norrland, famed for its mountains, Northern Lights and ‘Midnight Sun’, a honeymoon in Sweden can incorporate anything you want it to. Prices range from €128 for a two week stay in a discount hotel in Stockholm, to €743 for a fornight’s stay in a luxury hotel in Malmo.

Naturism

Naturism in Sweden

The Swedish Naturist Association operates many of the naturist resorts in Sweden, and even the three privately owned areas are affliated to the Swedish Naturist Association. This established approach to naturism in Sweden means at resorts like Gustavsberg at Nora and Vikbolandet, east of Norrkoping, that you can expect a certain standard: Sweden’s naturist resorts guarantee that their ethics and administration allows safety, and that any behaviour which goes against the naturistic ideals will be dealt with. Accredited Naturist Resorts also give great discounts to members of the Swedish Naturist Associations who can show an INF membership card.

Keep in mind that the winter months Sweden will get extremely chilly, and so November - February may not be an ideal time to go starkers!

Party Holiday - Singles Life in Sweden

Singletons and party animals in search of non-stop holidaying in Sweden will probably find that Stockholm is the place to be; although other cities, like Gothenburg and Malmo, have social scenes good enough to boast about, Sweden’s capital pips them to the post. With bars like the Absolut Ice Bar (made entirely of ice), the Terence Conran designed Berns nightclub, or Fashing: described as the best jazz club in Scandanavia, Stockholm has it all on its doorstep. But be warned. Sweden operates a safe drinking policy which means that it is fairly expensive to buy in bars, and difficult to get hold of elsewhere. Systembolaget are the government-owned stores which are the only retailers allowed to sell alcohol containing more than 3.5% alcohol; and, in order to do so, you have to be over 20 years of age.

Skiing - Snow Boarding

Skiing - Snow Boarding in Sweden

Skiing and snowboarding, as you might expect, are big business in Sweden. Depending on your abilities and how much you have to spend, Sweden offers the perfect ski and snowboarding experience for everyone. For the highest pistes, the Are, Hemavan and Funasdalen ski resorts are the place to go, while less experienced skiers should go to Bjorklidens Fjallanlaggningar, and Riksgransen, and Vallasen for the novice skier. Resorts, like Are, also offer good boarding facilities and a Snow Park.

Well-being and Spa in Sweden

Spas and well being getaways are have become increasingly popular in Sweden, which means that you will always find somewhere to indulge your every pampering whims. Rikgransen offers a unique take on pampering: located in the extreme north of Sweden, it is 300 km above the arctic circle, so the views from your window can be magnificent. Everything is on offer here, from traditional massage to skin care and sports medicine. In the opposite direction of Gotland, in the most extreme southern part of Sweden, Suderhalsan offers an ecological health spa experience which includes outdoor heated treatment pools, and skin treatments with natural products.

Touring - Driving holiday

Touring - Driving holiday in Sweden

Sweden prides itself on being eco-friendly, so driving holidays are not necessarily promoted. but if you do want to take your car around Sweden, it is useful to bear in mind the rules of the road, ie. driving on the right, being 18-years-old, and always carrying your licence and other relevant documents. Swedish roads are not as busy as British ones and in some places you can drive for whole days without seeing another vehicle. Other things to consider are drink driving (Sweden’s laws against this are very strict), and reminding yourself that Sweden’ weather conditions can be very adverse – if you have never driven in extreme snowy conditions, you may need to make alternative arrangements if you can.

Golf Activity Holiday

Golf Activity Holiday in Sweden

Sweden is an excellent destination for golfers. With at least three dozen golf courses within a three-hour drive from the continent, it's not only Swedes who play golf in Sweden. Home to some beautiful golf courses, Sweden has hosted the Scandinavian Enterprise Open several times. You also don't have to worry about travelling too far to play a challenging round as the majority of courses located less than a hour from Stockholm. With scenics green landscapes, lots of water and rock hard greens, Sweden could be home to some of the best golf courses in Europe. What's more, green fees are a bargain. There are numerous popular golf courses located all over Sweden, but the following golf clubs are consistently among the most popular:

  • Södertälje Golf Club at Södertälje in Stockholm.
  • Visby Golfklubb at Västergarn Kronholmen 415 in Gotlands Tofta.
  • Malmö Golf Club at Segesvängen in Malmö.
  • Åre Golf Club in Åre (Jämtland region).
  • Umeå Golf Club at Enkan Ramborgs väg 10 in Holmsund (Vasterbotten region).
Cycling Activity Holiday

Cycling Activity Holiday in Sweden

Sweden is a fantastic place to plan a cycling holiday, as it is both beautiful and cycle-friendly with good way marked cycle routes spread throughout the country. There are not many large mountains when compared to other popular cycling holiday destinations like Norway, but it is by no means flat. This makes it ideal for beginners as well as experienced riders. Stockholm is also extremely bicycle-friendly if you are planning to spend of your Swedish holiday some time in the capital city.

Sweden has quite a few National Cycle Routes, which include cycle paths and quiet roads. There are also good local routes in the more suburban areas but these are not as well marked as they are in Holland and Denmark. Keep your wits about you though as cycle rout markers occasionally disappear and then reappear, a good map of the local area is advisable at times. The routes in the town and cities are marked with black signs with the local destinations marked whereas the national signs merely give you the name of the route and no information of the destination.