Your Sweden bucket list starts here!
Sweden tops the bucket list of many travellers, but what do you do once you get here? This curated list of cool things to do in Scandinavia’s most populous country is the place to grab some inspiration. Let’s start by going underground in the capital…
1. Tour the Stockholm subway art gallery. Of the more than one hundred stations making up the Stockholm Metro network, at least 90 of them double as art destinations. Explore stunning installations, mosaics, and sculptures as you make your way around the Swedish capital.
2. Celebrate the world’s failures. The way to succeed is through failure, so says Silicon Valley. This unique museum chronicles some of the more memorable commercial flops over the years, from Coke II to the Betamax.
3. Take in the Vasa. Speaking of failures, the epic 17th-century Vasa was supposed to be the flagship of an expanded Swedish navy. It never made it out of the harbour. Today it’s the centrepiece of the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
4. Stay in a treehouse hotel. Reconnect with nature in one of the environmentally-friendly rooms suspended above ground at the Treehotel north-west of Luleå. Each one of the unique cabins offers memorable views of the Arctic forest.
5. Stay where the Stockholm Syndrome began. The former bank that was the site of the robbery which led to the infamous psychological condition is now an upscale hotel. The Nobis attracts curious travellers from across the world.
6. Visit a micronation. In the Kullaberg nature reserve in southern Sweden you’ll find Ladonia, home to the Nimis series of wooden sculptures. The controversial area is the result of artist Lars Vilks’s row with the local authorities.
7. Laze on the archipelago. Stockholm is a city on the water – it’s built on 14 islands – but that’s nothing compared to the tens of thousands of islands that make up the city’s archipelago. On a summer’s day, there’s no better place to be.
8. See a traditional church town. The UNESCO World Heritage site Gammelstad is a short drive from Luleå. The 400 wooden houses and 15th-century stone church give a taste of historic Swedish life that is hard to find anywhere else in the country.
9. Check out the Swedish slopes. Skiing in Scandinavia is seen as expensive, and while prices can be higher than in other countries, some of the resorts offer challenging slopes with far less queues than at Europe’s major resorts. The country’s best resort is Åre.
10. Hike the King’s Trail. The 400km long Kungsleden is Sweden’s best known hiking trail through the epic Scandinavian mountains. In the winter, the trail is devoted to cross-country skiers.
11. See Sweden’s oldest town. At more than 1,000 years old, Sigtuna is the country’s oldest town. The medieval town centre is surprisingly well preserved and under an hour’s drive from the capital. Don’t miss the rune stones and old church ruins.
12. Meet the Swedish sami. Deep in the heart of Sweden’s northern region among lakes and forests is Jokkmokk. It’s the site of a 400-year-old traditional market featuring food, handicrafts and reindeer racing held every February.
13. Bike the Göta Canal. You can take a cruise along the 190km waterway past charming villages, restaurants, and picturesque countryside, but the bicycle path is the best way to appreciate its full beauty.
14. Wander with Wallander. Down in Sweden’s sunny south is the bustling ferry port of Ystad. Although known as the home of fictional detective Kurt Wallander, the town’s history is also a big draw. Gråbrödraklostret monastery is a must-see.
15. Experience the Stockholm derby. Claimed to be Scandinavia’s biggest derby, AIK vs Djurgården is a must-see for any football fan. Quite rare among sporting rivalries, this one also extends to ice hockey.