sweden Malmø
Travel

Virtual Travel to Sweden

I wrote a guest post some years ago, for a travel blogger, about a favourite place that I had visited. As we cannot travel irl, virtual travel will have to do today. there is some formatting errors as it is written with the old editor. (Who uses that now?)

Choosing a topic for my favourite holiday destination, was both easy and difficult. Easy because I knew it would be somewhere in Scandinavia, (for those who know me, I hear you mumbling an audible, “of course,”) but difficult because I could only pick one Scandinavian country.

Each region of Scandinavia has its own beauty, personality and appeal and it is hard to choose one over them all. In today’s case, Sweden won out. Tomorrow I am sure it will be Denmark, and the next: Norway……

Sweden, or ‘Sverige’ (pronounced in Swedish svair-ri-ah), is one of my all-time favourites to visit because it is full of Nordic vitality, culture and unique sights.

Don’t let the threat of a harsh winter put you off a winter vacation in Sweden, because the warmer jet stream ensures that the winters in Scandinavia are no worse, and even sometimes better, than the American or Canadian version.

 

IMG_8896

I enjoyed “fika” ( Swedish coffee and cake ) in a traditional Swedish cafe

In southern Sweden, you’ll find a fast-paced modernity in the large, cosmopolitan cities, like Stockholm and Malmø, but you will delight in finding they are also peppered with ‘old world’ charm.

The central area of the country is where rural Sweden and the philosophy of  ‘Ikea’ at its best, with rolling green hills, a dusting of snow in Winter and a countryside dotted with ‘Falun’ red cottages, barns, medieval farms and quaint churches, some with amazing, intricately-painted ceilings dating back to medieval times.

You’ll also see age-old Swedish traditions alive and kicking, from one end of the country all the way to the other.

From painted horses in Dalarna to summers with wild ‘surstromming,’ (fermented fish), or Crayfish parties, or relaxing lazily on the west coast resorts, where a tourist-driven, laid back lifestyle predominates. A local beach on the Bohuslan coast might be a lump of bare sun-soaked rock, striking, attractive, yet it is appealing and extremely popular to visitors and Swedes alike.

And don’t forget the far north, where a Swedish winter adventure might include viewing the northern lights, going dog sledding, snowmobiling or experiencing a mix of arctic and Sami culture that transforms a cold, dark winter into a snowy, white wonderland one might associate more with Santa Claus and his elves.

Dalahest - Traditional horses
Traditional painted horses from Dalarna in Sweden

You might ask:What made this place so memorable?’

The Swedish people themselves have a proud and varied history, are gregarious, hard-working and cannot go for more than a few hours without ‘Fika’: coffee and cake.

Just my kind of people!

You will find cafes and bakery everywhere serving Fika, and this experience coupled with a kanelbolle, or cinnamon bun, made my Swedish experience memorable.

So what are the top ten sights/activities for this destination?

1. Vasa MuseumStockholm:

See the ill-fated, triple-decked centuries old galleon that sank on its maiden voyage in the Stockholm harbour, replete with cannons, crew and gold-encrusted decorations.   Nearby is the Nordic Museum that is also worth a look.    

                                                            

Vasa Museum
Vasa Museum
Nordic Museum
Nordic Museum

IMG_02392. Skansen/Liseberg – Stockholm: an open-air museum with vintage Swedish houses, barns, dancing demonstrations and delicious traditional food. Stockholm’s Zoo is also located there, so if you yearn to see moose, reindeer, or a bear, you can do that when you visit Skansen.  Then, burn off the extra calories on the rides at neighbouring Liseberg, Stockholm’s oldest amusement park.

Skansen
Skansen – open air museum – Stockholm

         

 3. Gamla StanStockholm’s Old Town: a mecca for foodies. Commencing at the Royal palace, the “Old Town” consists of narrow alleyways, cute cafes, oh- so photogenic painted terrace houses, and shops full of traditional souvenirs to take home. Money exchanges/plenty of ATM’s are conveniently located here to help you on your mission!

Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan

 

 

  1. Radhuset Stockholm’s Town Hall: like a ‘mentos sweet’: plain and dull on the outside, magnificent on the inside. The Town Hall, built in the 1930s, is not only the venue for the Nobel Prize ceremonies; it has a Council chamber with a unique roof. The roof’s design was inspired by an upturned and decorated hull of a Viking longboat and the Town Hall also has a third reception room that is equivalent to an ancient Egyptian Pharoah’s temple. Surprising, and a definite ‘must-see’. Guided tours usually operate daily.town hall stockholmcity hall stockholm

 

  1. Stockholm archipelago – A leisurely boat trip past idyllic islands, the occasional fortress and stunningly beautiful nature. A photographer’s dream on a good day. Departs from Stockholm or Stromstad. Alternatively, if you are not a water baby:  the sites mentioned in the Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millenium’ trilogy are a great way to see more of Stockholm. There is an easy D.I.Y. walking tour of Stockholm. Maps available at the tourist office.

 

Stockholm
Stockholm

 

  1. Malmø – Skane, Southern Sweden: see the impressive “Turning torso” building, a feat of modern engineering; and Malmohus, a renaissance castle; as well as historic buildings in the Malmø Town Square including the Town Hall from 1547, Hotel Kramer and the old pharmacy: Apoteket. If you still have breath or run out of things to do, take a thirty-minute train ride and you are in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 

Malmø
Malmøhus

 

  1. Ystad –Skane, Southern Sweden: trace Detective Kurt Wallander’s footsteps, (from Henning Mankell’s famous novels and TV series). There’s loads of half-timbered cottages with thatch roofs too.

 

  1. Stromstad –Bohuslan, a beachside town on the west coast – see the Town Hall with its quirky history, take in drop-dead gorgeous views out to the archipelago,  and try the must-have Buffet lunch at Lalaholmen hotel.  You SO don’t want to miss the dessert. But you may want to skip the ‘surstromming’, (a fermented very smelly fish)and just party in the lively atmosphere and long hours of daylight hours in summer, or use Stromstad as a launchpad, for a high-speed boat trip to spend a day in Norway. 

    Stromstad
    Stromstad
  1. Lappland: Skellefteaa – track and hunt wild reindeer in their native habitat, go sledding, skiing or snowmobiling, or see Sweden’s oldest wooden bridge, and an utterly impressive Domkirke Cathedral, (a place of pilgrimage for centuries) and the pilgrim’s traditional cottages nearby.

 reindeer tracking

Skellefteå

Skellefteå Domkirke
Skellefteaa Domkirke

 10. Catch a glimpse of the mysterious Northern lights, or ski from February to June at Riksgransen, where, if you are lucky you may see the testing of pre-production European model cars that occurs in spring on the, still frozen, Arctic lakes.

frozen lake sweden

 If I could go again I would…

Spend more time relaxing on the Bohuslan coast, on a long summer night, visit Gotland to see the Viking relics and feast on Swedish delicacies such as reindeer, cloudberries, salmon, ‘Vasterbotten’ cheese and ‘Filmjolk.’

IMG_0175 unter - swedish supermarket

Is a Swedish holiday for you? Something for you to ponder about?

50 thoughts on “Virtual Travel to Sweden”

  1. But you would have to go at a very specific time of year, would you not?, to be able to eat cloudberries ? 🙂 I loved this post, Amanda – thanks so much !

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        1. I wonder if they have tours? That could be quite interesting to see the husq. Factory. I saw a museum at Aatvidaberg Sweden, about the early typewriter which was developed there. Fascinating.

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          1. Lucern and up Pilatus Kulm. Then just driving through from the Netherlands on the way to Rome. Florance is also a city I could spend some weeks not not to live in

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    1. The fermented fish isn’t for anyone much who isn’t Swedish. It stinks, really stinks! My Swedish friend showed me a tin from the other side of their kitchen, and told me that was the closest I should get to it. They also said that they can never eat it inside as it stinks out the whole house. I am no fan! Even though I would probably like to taste it one day…

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              1. I will support you with the Goodies – I grew up watching them on the ABC at 6pm, but just can’t take to the Three Stooges at all, yet my brother watched them and seemed to enjoy it. My father was a great fan of the Goon Show – some of the British humour seems so staged and over-acted which spoils the humour. Benny Hill annoyed me… and can you imagine that being on TV now…..?

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  2. I did watch it but was quite young so remember just one or two characters/bananas. Dear Aunty was a show where viewers sent in questions about ABC TV shows and they would be answered.

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  3. I enjoyed your photos and details about Sweden. I used to drive a Saab, made in Sweden, so I admit to having a soft spot for that country. Also, I like coffee and cake. Maybe someday I’ll get there?

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    1. Driving a Saab may be a tenuous connection to Sweden but definitely a great place to start discovering more about the country. And if you enjoy Fika, you can always have a little bit of Sweden in your own house by creating Fika every day. From there, you will begin to eat Sandwich cake, Janssons fretelse, cinnamon buns and where it will end? Hopefully you will explore Sweden irl one day. Have you visited any of the Scandinavian countries?

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        1. Some travel to aspire in the future, P.C. I am often surprised that Americans are not travelling more frequently to Europe, given that from the East Coast, at least, it is not that long a flight. Compared to our long haul flights, it takes us 8 hours plus flying time to get anywhere out of our own country, with the exception of Bali and N.Z., but most Aussies would feel those two places don’t count as overseas! Lol!

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          1. Europe is expensive compared to traveling in the USA or Canada or Mexico. We’re fortunate living in a city with an airport with direct flights to London and Paris, but for many people in the midwest the first obstacle would be getting to an international airport. Not to mention many Americans aren’t curious enough to want to go to Europe! 🤷‍♀️

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              1. I’ve no real explanation about why my fellow countrymen lack curiosity about Europe. The expense? The language obstacles? Lazy? I’ve been across the pond three times, so I might not be the norm. Do you think that Australians want to explore North America as keenly as Europe?

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              2. Yes they do! Many love to visit The Rockies and I am always hearing about people going on hols to America! My own son went there. But therein maybe is a little insight – where my son WAS interested in seeing the US, I am not. Why? Because I like visting historic places where my ancestors came from or spectacular nature such that you would see in Norway. I love to hear all the different languages and accents on offer in Scandinavia and Europe. America is also very urbanized and we see so much of it on TV, it looks very familiar to me. The language obstacle could definitely be a valid reason.

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              3. I’ve been to the Rockies up in Canada but never in the USA. Banff was stunningly beautiful and very European in fact. You might like it.

                I can understand your reasoning for not wanting to visit here. I will say that most of America isn’t as urbanized as it may appear on the news or in the movies. There’s lots of land here that is not filled with much of anything, but that land isn’t all that interesting so it doesn’t get much airplay in the news or in movies.

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              4. I think it would be beautiful to visit Canada and those parts of the USA with loads of snow. I do have some friends in those regions, who are often asking me to come visit. It is a tough choice to go there instead of Scandinavia, so Scandinavia usually wins. Banff reminds me of The Shining, S. King’s novel, a little scary but stunningly beautiful. I don’t know that I would feel comfortable travelling solo, (my usual mode of travelling) to country America either. Of course I would love it if I was anywhere with snow.
                What would you think about a holiday down under?

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              5. I’d love to see Australia. Any place or part of it that worked out. Not fussy, just curious. The photos and TV shows I’ve seen of your country show a beautiful place.

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