Sweden tourist information
Sweden is mostly visited by tourists from its neighbouring countries Denmark, Norway and Finland. Thereafter follow tourists from Germany and the United Kingdom. A popular route for German tourists is to go by train from southern Sweden, through the European routes, up to Sweden's northern parts. Attractions along the way are historical, natural and cultural. According to the CIA World Factbook, Sweden is the 21st most visited country in the world, with 7,627,000 arrivals in 2006.
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In the summer, the sun hardly ever sets in Sweden, especially in the far north where it does not set at all. This allows activity until late in the evening, or even through the night.
Sweden has a large number of lakes and forests, and it is very good for fishing and canoeing. There are several large lakes, including lakes VĂ€ttern and VĂ€nern. Walking is quite a popular activity in the summer. There are no very high mountains in Sweden, so climbing is somewhat limited. The highest mountain is Kebnekaise near Kiruna. Kebnekaise is 6926 ft, 2111 metres high.
The GĂ¶ta Canal from Stockholm to Gothenburg provides some good trips in the summer. Swedish horse racing is a little unusual, in that many races are actually trotting races. The horses are not allowed to gallop, and they pull a small trap with the racer on.
Northern Sweden and Winter Sports
In the winter, the ICEHOTEL is built every year near the northern town of Kiruna. Kiruna is also a good place from which to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights. Tourists in the north of the country in winter often enjoy trips in reindeer sleighs with Sami drivers, or in dog sleighs.
It is also possible to ski, with downhill resorts at Ă
re and Vemdalen, and many cross country ski tracks throughout the northern part of the country. Vasaloppet in the beginning of March is the oldest, longest and largest cross-country ski race in the world. Ice hockey is a popular sport in winter. Many of the bays in the northern part of the country are frozen in winter, and it is possible to go ice yachting, or ice skating on the ice. Many lakes are also frozen, so ice fishing (pimpelfiske) is quite popular.
Most Swedish cities are small compared to other European cities such as those in the United Kingdom and Germany. The largest city is Stockholm, with approx. 802,000 inhabitants, followed by Gothenburg with 493,000 and MalmĂ¶ with 270,000.
Stockholm has been Sweden's capital since at least the 14th century. It is Sweden's metropolis, the centre of the parliament, government and media. Not only is its waterfront and adjacent Stockholm Archipelago one of a kind, but the old parts of Stockholm with its history and culture are spectacular in their own kind.
Gothenburg is a relatively recently built city dating from the 17th century, and is visited for its beauty, attractions, friendliness and shopping opportunities. According to a recent survey of Swedish media, Gothenburg was voted the most popular major city in Sweden. More than 60% of all Swedes would like to live in Gothenburg, which has a reputation of being even friendlier and more welcoming than the Swedish capital.
MalmĂ¶ has recently emerged as the eastern part of the Oresund region, tied together with Copenhagen, Denmark, through the impressive Oresund Bridge. During the last 15 years, MalmĂ¶ has been focusing more on culture, as it previously had a solid reputation as a working class city. The twisted skyscraper Turning Torso has become the new landmark, replacing the ship-crane at Kockums. Both Malmo and Gothenburg are hosting the Uefa U21 European Championships this summer.
Sweden has 162,707 km (101,101 mi) of paved road and 1,428 km (887 mi) of expressways. Motorways run through Sweden, Denmark and over the Ăresund Bridge to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Uddevalla. The system of motorways is still under construction and a new motorway from Uppsala to GĂ€vle was finished on 17 October 2007. Sweden had left-hand traffic (VĂ€nstertrafik in Swedish) from approximately 1736 and continued to do so well into the 20th century. Voters rejected right-hand traffic in 1955, but after the Riksdag passed legislation in 1963 changeover took place in 1967, known in Swedish as Dagen H.
The Stockholm metro is the only subway system in Sweden and serves the city of Stockholm, 100 metro stations are in use.
The rail transport market is privatized, but while there are many privately owned enterprises, many operators are still owned by state. The counties have financing, ticket and marketing responsibility for local trains. For other trains the operators handle tickets and marketing themselves. Operators include SJ, Veolia Transport, DSB (railway company), Green Cargo, TĂ„gkompaniet and Inlandsbanan. Most of the railways are owned and operated by Trafikverket.
The largest airports include Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (16.1 million passengers in 2009) 40 km (25 mi) north of Stockholm, Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport (4.3 million passengers in 2008), and Stockholm-Skavsta Airport (2.0 million passengers). Sweden hosts the two largest port companies in Scandinavia, Port of GĂ¶teborg AB (Gothenburg) and the transnational company Copenhagen MalmĂ¶ Port AB.
Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, with four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The country can be divided into three types of climate; the southernmost part has an oceanic climate, the central part has a humid continental climate and the northernmost part has a subarctic climate. However, Sweden is much warmer and drier than other places at a similar latitude, and even somewhat farther south, mainly because of the Gulf Stream. For example, central and southern Sweden has much warmer winters than many parts of Russia, Canada, and the northern United States. Because of its high latitude, the length of daylight varies greatly. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer, and it never rises for part of each winter. In the capital, Stockholm, daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December. Sweden receives between 1,100 to 1,900 hours of sunshine annually.
Temperatures vary greatly from north to south. Southern and central parts of the country have warm summers and cold winters, with average high temperatures of 20 to 25 Â°C (68 to 77 Â°F) and lows of 12 to 15 Â°C (54 to 59 Â°F) in the summer, and average temperatures of -4 to 2 Â°C (25 to 36 Â°F) in the winter, while the northern part of the country has shorter, cooler summers and longer, colder and snowier winters, with temperatures that often drop below freezing from September through May. The highest temperature ever recorded in Sweden was 38 Â°C (100 Â°F) in MĂ„lilla in 1947, while the coldest temperature ever recorded was â52.6 Â°C (â62.7 Â°F) in VuoggatjĂ„lme in 1966.
On average, most of Sweden receives between 500 and 800 mm (20 and 31 in) of precipitation each year, making it considerably drier than the global average. The southwestern part of the country receives more precipitation, between 1000 and 1200 mm (39 and 47 in), and some mountain areas in the north are estimated to receive up to 2000 mm (79 in). Despite northerly locations, southern and central Sweden tend to be virtually free of snow in some winters.
Sweden has many authors of worldwide recognition including August Strindberg, Astrid Lindgren, and Nobel Prize winners Selma LagerlĂ¶f and Harry Martinson. In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. The nation's most well-known artists are painters such as Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, and the sculptors Tobias Sergel and Carl Milles.
Swedish 20th-century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of cinema, with Mauritz Stiller and Victor SjĂ¶strĂ¶m. In the 1920sâ1980s, the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and actors Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman became internationally noted people within cinema. More recently, the films of Lukas Moodysson and Lasse HallstrĂ¶m have received international recognition.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the "sexual revolution", with gender equality having particularly been promoted. At the present time, the number of single people is one of the highest in the world. The early Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) reflected a liberal view of sexuality, including scenes of love making that caught international attention, and introduced the concept of the "Swedish sin".
Sweden has also become very liberal towards homosexuality, as is reflected in the popular acceptance of films such as Show Me Love, which is about two young lesbians in the small Swedish town of Ă
mĂ„l. Since 1 May 2009, Sweden repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with gender-neutral marriage, Sweden also offers domestic partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Cohabitation (sammanboende) by couples of all ages, including teenagers as well as elderly couples, is widespread. Recently, Sweden is experiencing a baby boom.
Before the 13th century most buildings were made of brick if they weren't made of wood. But a shift began towards stone. Early Swedish stone buildings are the Romanesque churches on the country side. As so happens, many of them were built in Scania and are in effect Danish churches. This would include the magnificent Lund Cathedral from the 11th century and the somewhat older church in Dalby, but also many early Gothic churches built through influendes of the Hanseatic League, such as in Ystad, MalmĂ¶ and Helsingborg.
Cathedrals in other parts of Sweden were also built as seats of Sweden's bishops. The Skara Cathedral is of bricks from the 14th century, and the Uppsala Cathedral in the 15th. In 1230 the foundations of the LinkĂ¶ping Cathedral were made, the material was there limestone, although the building took some 250 years to finish.Among older structures are also some significant fortresses and other historical buildings such as Borgholm Castle, Halltorps Manor and Eketorp fortress on the island Ăland, the NykĂ¶ping fortress and the Visby ring wall.
Around 1520 Sweden was out of the Middle Ages and united under King Gustav Vasa, who immediately initiated grand mansions, castles and fortresses to be built. Some of the more magnificent include the Kalmar fortress, the Gripsholm Castle and the one at Vadstena.
In the next two centuries, Sweden was designated by Baroque architecture and later the rococo. Notable projects from that time include the city Karlskrona, which has now also been declared a World Heritage Site and the Drottningholm Palace.
1930 was the year of the great Stockholm exhibition, which marked the breakthrough of Functionalism, or "funkis" as it became known. The style came to dominate in the following decades. Some notables projects of this kind were the Million Programme, offering affordable but anti-human living in large apartment complexes.
Sweden does not have many tall skyscrapers, like the rest of the Nordic countries. MalmĂ¶ and Stockholm have a few skyscrapers, but are not closely spaced as in a so-called "downtown" / business district. The lack of skyscrapers is likely due to the fact that the regulating body for major construction projects, "SkĂ¶nhetsrĂ„det", only allows a very limited amount of skyscraper projects to go forward. MalmĂ¶ has the tallest skyscraper in the Nordic countries and the second tallest residential skyscraper in Europe. The city is also experiencing a skyscraper boom after the completion of the Turning Torso skyscraper and several new tall buildings are proposed
Apart from traditional Protestant Christian holidays, Sweden also celebrates some unique holidays, some of a pre-Christian tradition. They include Midsummer celebrating the summer solstice; Walpurgis Night (ValborgsmĂ€ssoafton) on 30 April lighting bonfires; and Labour Day or Mayday on 1 May is dedicated to socialist demonstrations. The day of giver-of-light Saint Lucia, 13 December, is widely acknowledged in elaborate celebrations which betoken its Italian origin and commence the month-long Christmas season.
6 June is the National Day of Sweden and, as of 2005, a public holiday. Furthermore, there are official flag day observances and a Namesdays in Sweden calendar. Martin of Tours Eve is celebrated in Scania in November with MĂ„rten GĂ„s parties, where roast goose and svartsoppa ('black soup', made of goose stock, fruit, spices, spirits and goose blood) are served. The Sami, one of Sweden's indigenous minorities, have their holiday on 6 February and Scania celebrate their Scanian Flag day on the third Sunday in July.
Swedish cuisine, like that of the other Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Finland), was traditionally simple. Fish (particularly herring), meat, potatoes and dairy products played prominent roles. Spices were sparse. Famous dishes include Swedish meatballs, traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam; pancakes, lutfisk, and SmĂ¶rgĂ„sbord, or lavish buffet. Akvavit is a popular alcoholic distilled beverage, and the drinking of snaps is of cultural importance. The traditional flat and dry crisp bread has developed into several contemporary variants. Regionally important foods are the surstrĂ¶mming (a fermented fish) in Northern Sweden and eel in Scania in Southern Sweden.
Swedish traditional dishes, some of which are many hundreds of years old, others perhaps a century or less, are still a very important part of Swedish everyday meals.
In August, at the traditional feast known as crayfish party, krĂ€ftskiva, Swedes eat large amounts of boiled crayfish with boiled potato and dill.