a local guide’s to sweden

Sweden is famous for ABBA, IKEA and Volvo, but the country certainly has more to offer. You might think that Sweden is a snowy, dark Scandinavian country, perhaps in the winter, but the opposite is true in the summer months. Brimming with history, culture, natural beauty, food and more, Sweden is definitely a place to add to your bucket list.

Read our handy guide to find out about some of the best destinations and what to do across the country. What sights and attractions to visit during your stay and what foods to try. This guide will help you make the most of your stay in Sweden.

Sweden Profile

Capital: Stockholm

Currency: Swedish Krona (Kr)

Language: Swedish

Time Zone: Central European Time (UTC+1) / Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)

Major International Airport: Stockholm Arlanda (ARN)

Sweden Facts

Sweden loves to recycle

Sweden strongly advocates sustainable development and does everything possible to be environmentally friendly. Only about 1% of the country’s waste actually goes to landfill. Sweden is so good at recycling and waste management that they even import waste from neighboring countries like Norway and the UK, who pay them for this pleasure! Make sure to never litter, you could be fined up to 800 Kr

Fika is a way of life

Swedes love coffee, drinking about 79,700 tons of coffee every year, making them the 6th biggest drinker in the world. Fika is a common sentiment in Sweden, that you should have at least 2 hours off during the day to relax with a cup of coffee, a cake and a chat. Not participating in Fika is even considered rude, so avoid this misbehavior!

Sweets on a SaturdayTraditionally, Swedes only buy and consume sweets on Saturdays. The country even uses a word for it, “lördagsgodis” which means “Saturday candy”. It has become a cultural norm in Sweden since the 1950s, when Swedish health authorities began recommending it for health reasons.

Swedish Travel Tips

Here are our top travel tips for Sweden that you need to know before you go.

Have a credit or debit card to hand

Unlike the trend in some other European countries, Sweden is generally a cashless society. Of course, you should still bring some Swedish krona with you before arriving, it’s always helpful to bring local currency. But Swedes tend to pay for many things with plastic, meaning some cafes, shops, bars and restaurants only accept cards. This situation has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be careful of fake taxis

In some of the country’s largest cities, including Stockholm, many fake taxis operate in the hope of being hailed by an unsuspecting tourist. Fake taxis will charge much more than real taxis, remember to check the yellow license plate on the window to find a real taxi. There are also ride-sharing app alternatives you can choose from, including Bolt and Uber.

Prebook train travel 

If you plan to take domestic or intercity trains during your stay in Sweden, you should book your tickets in advance to get the cheapest price. Similar to airline tickets, the closer the departure date is, the more expensive the ticket price is. Some cheaper tickets are released 90 days before travel and can be booked online.

Dining etiquette

If you’re dining out in Sweden, avoid some of these misbehaviors. You should never attract a waiter’s attention by calling, waving, whistling or clicking at them, this is considered extremely rude. Just attract their attention with your eyes and they will come help you as soon as possible. At most restaurants, a service fee or tip is automatically added to your bill, around 12-15%. It is generally considered the norm that if one invites someone to dinner it is their responsibility to pay, so keep this in mind if you invite a Swede to dinner.

It is ‘Stranger Danger’ not rudeness 

Swedes simply do not make small talk, so starting a conversation with someone on the street is uncomfortable for Swedes. If you accidentally bump into someone, don’t expect an apology, because it’s simply not the cultural norm, so don’t consider it rude.

Weather in Sweden

Depending on where you are in Sweden, the weather can change. However, across the country, typically in winter it is very cold, often snowy, and in summer the temperatures are climatically similar to the south of England. In the far north of the country, snow can be found year-round at higher elevations, with shorter summers and long winters.

Summer in Sweden

The average summer temperature in Sweden is about 23 °C (72 °F) with an average rainfall of about 6.6 cm (2.5 inches). In the far north of Sweden, the sun does not set due to its proximity to the North Pole. However, as you move further into the countryside, this time starts to shorten as you wake up around 3:40 am and go to bed around 10:00 pm, meaning the average sunshine time is around 283 hours. Sweden usually holds its Summer Festival in June, making it the perfect time to visit Sweden!

Winter in Sweden

Winter in Sweden is the opposite of summer. If you visit in winter, remember to bring warm clothes as average temperatures are around -2/-1°C (27-30°F). During the winter months, Sweden can receive an average of up to 4.5 cm (1.8 inches) of rain, but can also have an average snowfall of up to 8 cm.1 cm (3.2 inches). Unlike summer, in winter the northern regions of the country receive no sunlight and are in complete darkness by January. In Stockholm, you can expect the sun to rise around 8:45 a.m. before setting around 3:00 p.m., meaning the average monthly sunshine

Swedish Cuisine

France and Italy may be Europe’s culinary powerhouses, but Sweden also has plenty of ethnic dishes that you’ll have to try during your visit. The most iconic is of course the humble Swedish meatball (Köttbullar) covered in sauce and accompanied by lingonberry jam. The Swedes love their herring, whether marinated, fermented or fried you should definitely try it, as long as you like fish! When you enjoy your daily Fika, be sure to order a Kanelbulle (cinnamon roll) to go with your coffee. For foodies, try the Daim bar, a thin chocolate-coated caramel bar, or try the Saltlakrits, a salted black licorice!

Visa information for Sweden

Residents of the European Union or the Schengen area do not need a visa to enter Sweden and can spend unlimited time in the country. As Sweden is a member of the Schengen area, an additional 60 countries benefit from the visa-free scheme, meaning they can visit Sweden for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. If your country or territory is not visa-free, you may need a visa. To learn more, please visit the official Swedish government page on “List of foreign nationals who need a visa to enter Sweden”.

Top Tip: If you are travelling to Malmö it may be quicker and easier to fly to Copenhagen Kastrup Airport and then cross the Öresund bridge into southern Sweden and the Skåne County.

Swedish Price Guide

The local currency in Sweden is the Swedish Krona.

Exchange Rate: £1 = 12.4kr, $1 = 10.12kr, €1 = 10.53kr (May 2022)

Meal: 101.50 kr

Meal for 2 (mid-range): 800.00 kr

Beer: 70.00 kr

Water: 17.60 kr

Hotel 5*: 1,968 Kr

Hotel 4*: 1,192 Kr

Hostel: 362 Kr

Metro Ticket (one way): 34.00 kr

Taxi (per 1km): 20.00 kr

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