July 14, 2024
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The 8 Most Beautiful Places in Sweden

When you think of Sweden, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably Ikea, or perhaps Abba. Or even Greta Thunberg if you’re a millennial. Sweden may be famous for cheap furniture with quirky names, meatballs, and pop songs but it has a lot more going for it than those things. It is also home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

From emerald green forests and snowy mountains to tranquil islands and colourful buildings in Stockholm, Sweden is amazing all year round. If you’re searching for a destination to amp up your Instagram feed, start making plans to visit Sweden this year.

Read on for a guide to some of the most beautiful places in Sweden.

Gamla Stan in Stockholm

Gamla Stan is the Old Town in Stockholm. It is the original city centre dating back to the 13th century, although most of the surviving buildings were constructed in the 1700s. Hundreds of years ago, Gamla Stan was a slum, but today it’s a thriving mecca of art galleries, restaurants, bars, museums, and shops. Gamla Stan is utterly charming and photogenic. The buildings are reminiscent of a different age, all warm shades of yellow ochre and burnt sienna, with hanging baskets and greenery everywhere. The winding, cobbled streets open up into small squares, where you can take a seat at a pavement café and watch the world go by.

Any visit to Sweden should start here, in Gamla Stan. Enjoy some traditional Swedish cuisine at Den Gyldene Freden, the oldest restaurant in the city. Watch the changing of the guards outside the magnificent baroque Royal Palace, and visit the Nobel Prize Museum. If you look closely, you’ll spot frescoes and cellar vaults dating back to the Middle Ages.

The Stockholm Archipelago

There are around 3,000 islands in the Stockholm Archipelago. It’s a huge area to explore and if you want a chance to see every facet of Swedish life, a trip to the archipelago is a must-do.

Fjäderholmarna, Gustavsberg, Vaxholm, and Värmdö are not far from Stockholm, so suitable for a day’s excursion. If you have more time and would like a taste of rural life, schedule a longer trip to Sandön, Möja, Utö, Nåttarö, Grinda, or Finnhamn.

Each island has its own unique personality. Gålö is a famous nature reserve, which is perfect for hiking and camping. Värmdö has lot of history and Gustavsberg is known for the porcelain factory, glassworks, cafes, and art gallery. If you’d like to see what life on a traditional Swedish island looks like, visit Möja. And for a wonderful day at the beach, Nåttarö is unmissable. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Sweden.

The High Coast

If awe-inspiring views are what you’re after, pencil in a trip to the High Coast. This beautiful province is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sitting at 286 metres above sea level, it is the tallest coastline in the world, and thanks to a natural phenomenon called post-glacial land uplift, it continues to use each year.

As well as glorious scenery, where you can hike, climb, ski, and try new watersports, the High Coast is also full of heritage, including Bronze Age carvings and old fishing villages. The High Coast cultural trail is dotted with sculptures and art installations. Nordingrå is where many artists and artisans live and work, and there are art galleries, exhibitions, and craft fairs all year round.

The 130 km High coast Trail is a delight for hikers; the route passes through thick forest, along the cliffs, and over deserted beaches. You can hike the route in sections or tackle it all in one go, although allow around a week.

The King’s Trail

Known locally as the Kungsleden trail, the King’s Trail is 440km long. It passes through some of the most unpopulated areas of the country, ending in Swedish Lapland; by far one of the most beautiful places in Sweden. The trail can be hiked in sections and there are Swedish Tourist Association refuges every 10-20km, with shops, toilets, etc. You can still camp but it’s useful knowing the huts are there if the weather turns nasty or you run out of supplies.

Route maps are available online as GPX files or you can buy a paper map. The route is easy to follow and not at all tricky. The weather can be changeable, depending on when you go, and mosquitoes are rampant in July and August. But the amazing scenery more than makes up for any discomfort and if you’re lucky, you can camp under the Northern Lights.

Sea Stacks, Gotland

The Sea Stacks in Gotland are an impressive sight. These iconic natural sculptures can be found on the Langhammars Nature Reserve on Fårö Island, and are all that remains of ancient Silurian coral reefs. From a distance, and the right angle, the rocks look like a dog, and are known as such locally.

The area is moody, and often austere, but still one of the most beautiful places in Sweden. Even when the cold wind is blowing and the sky is dark, the Sea Stacks are magical. If you visit the area, you can learn more about Sweden’s geology, stay in a traditional hostel, and sample a traditional breakfast of dark bread and oatmeal. Ingmar Bergman fans will spot familiar scenes in the local area.

Lake Vänern

Lake Vänern is the largest freshwater lake in Sweden, and the fourth largest in Europe. There are more than 22,000 islands to explore and it’s a paradise for water sports lovers. Come to Lake Vänern to fish, canoe, sail, and swim. It’s also a great place to hike, cycle, and play golf.

beautiful places in Sweden Lake Vänern

Kosterhavet

The Kosterhavet National Park, which includes the Koster Islands, is a famous Swedish tourist attraction. In spring, the marine park blooms with colourful flowers, and in the summer, the locals hold lobster parties and shellfish safaris. Since the park is so big, it is worth scheduling at least two days so you have plenty of time to explore.

Here in the park, you’ll see the largest seal colony in Sweden, plus many rare marine creatures, some of which live deep in the Koster trench.

Hiking is a popular activity on the Koster Islands, as this is a car-free area and there are a lot of marked trails to explore. Hiking in Saltö is also fun, although the terrain is more undulating thanks to the area’s steep valleys and rocks.

Other local attractions include the Hvaler Church, which dates back to 1100AD, Tjärnö church, which dates back to the 1300s, the Stone Art Hvaler, a sculpture park, and Daftöland, a fun outdoor amusement park.

Smögen

Smögen is famous for its very picturesque pier and shrimp sandwiches. There has been a harbour here since the 1500s, but today, fishing is secondary to tourism. Many of the old boathouses have been converted into shops, cafes, and restaurants along the 600m pier. In summer, it can get quite crowded but the locally caught seafood is delicious and the atmosphere in the bars is lively.

The local shrimp sandwich is the best-known dish in Smögen, but the rest of the local cuisine is also very tasty and restaurants in Smögen do a roaring trade at the height of the tourist season.

Smögen is a great place to come if you like the idea of a relaxing break by the sea, where you can eat delicious seafood and enjoy spa treatments. You can also try a traditional bathing ritual that involves a hard scrubbing brush if you’re feeling brave!

The local coastal walks are delightful and the scenery is glorious. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Sweden to visit.

When is a Good Time to Visit Sweden?

There is no bad time to visit Sweden but if you want warm temperatures, book a trip between May and September. However, note that Sweden’s weather can change in an instant, and even during the summer months, there can be heavy rain and even snow.

In winter, the days are much shorter and Sweden is quieter. Winter is the time to visit if you want to try winter sports and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. For outdoor activities such as hiking, Spring is a great time to plan a visit.

Sweden is an amazing country and whatever activities you have planned, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t forget to take your camera, so you can upload amazing shots of the beautiful places in Sweden you have discovered to Instagram.

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