Sweden is one of the richest European countries. It is famous for its developed social system and high quality of life. The country is a member of the European Union. Its form of government is constitutional monarchy. Sweden has not yet adopted the euro and its official currency is still the Swedish krona. Northern and southern parts of Sweden are significantly different in terms of culture and lifestyle. While the cosmopolitan spirit hover over the southern parts of the country and modern civilization is imbued in every element of modern life, the people from the north still rely primarily on traditional industries like farming deer.
Geographic location, boundaries and size. Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia. Occupies an area of 449,964 sq.km and is the fifth largest country in Europe. It stretches between 55 and 69° north latitude and between 11 and 24° east longitude. The Arctic Circle passes through the northern parts of the country. Sweden shares land borders with Norway to the northwest and with Finland to the northeast. Due to the geographical proximity of Denmark between these two countries is built one of the most impressive bridges. Much of Sweden is surrounded by water bodies. To the east Sweden borders to the Gulf of Bothnia, to the south and southeast is located the Baltic Sea and to the west has an outlet on the North Sea.
Relief of Sweden. Unlike the mostly flat Finland and mostly mountainous Norway, Sweden has a varied topography. Plains are located mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country, mountains and plateaus – in the northern and western parts. The highest point of Sweden is Mount Kebnekaise. It rises to 2111 m altitude. The coastline of the country is highly segmented due to the action of glaciers during the last ice age. As a result, have formed many bays and peninsulas. This northern country has a very large number of small islands, located in close proximity to the coast. Some of the larger islands are Gotland and Åland. Both islands are located east of Sweden and Åland is located closer to the coast of the continent.
Climate of Sweden. Sweden falls into the borders of two climate zones – temperate and subpolar. Most of the country is located in the temperate latitudes. Only a small part lies beyond the Arctic Circle and has a subpolar climate. Temperatures and weather conditions in the country vary a lot, given the large area and different latitudes, which it covers. The coldest months of the year are January and February no matter in what part of the country you are. In southern Sweden in Stockholm the average daily temperature in January is about (-1) °C, while in Umea barely reaches (-4) °C. Meanwhile, summer temperatures are around 20 – 23°C in Stockholm and only 15 – 20°C in Umea. Despite the different types of climate in Sweden, we can summarize the climate as follows: winter is very long, cold and snowy and the summer is short, ranging from cool to pleasantly warm and moderately humid. In winter, daylight in the majority of the country is quite scarce with the exception of southern parts of Sweden. In Stockholm for example the weather is sunny and warm in summer and winter days are a little lighter, although most often cloudy. However, clouds are preferable in comparison with the territories beyond the polar circle, where the sun usually does not shine for weeks. From south to north conditions significantly change. The best weather conditions offer June and July – these are the sunniest and most pleasant summer months, as June is often better for hiking than August. Across the country, the weather usually begins to change in the second half of August and you can feel the comming autumn.
Swedish population. The population of Sweden is about 9.5 million people. It is unevenly distributed in the country. The most densely populated are the southern parts of the country, especially the coastal areas. The biggest cities are Stockholm, with a population of urban agglomeration around 2,100,000 and Gothenburg, whose agglomeration is home to about 1 million people. Since Sweden is an attractive place to live and work, here lives a large number of emigrants. They amount to about 15% of the total population. But the high quality of living is not the only thing that attracts foreigners in this northern country. The locals are very friendly and even tempered. They are known for their tolerance and good attitude toward foreigners. Immigrants usually choose to settle in the southern parts of the country. To the north the number of population is small and usually there are not settlements with more than 25 000 people. Several Swedish towns in the north have the glory to be the largest. One of them is Ornskoldsvik (about 28 000 people) and the other is called Skeleftea (30 000). Both are located on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia. But the biggest and most famous town in northern Sweden is Umea, whose population is around 75,000 inhabitants.
Economy of Sweden. Sweden has a highly developed economy and well-functioning social system. The country is known for its extremely high standard of living, excellent opportunities for business and many social benefits for the poorer members of the society. Sweden has the reputation of a country where pensioners and unemployed can afford the highest quality of life. The country is among the twenty most developed economies in the world. Main source of income is the production and export of steel. Often talking about stainless steel Sweden is the first name one mention. Moreover, the country is known for its production of airplanes, ships and one of the most famous car brands. Because of its vast forest resources the country is a world leader in mining and processing of wood, as well as among the world’s leading producers of paper.
Tourism in Sweden
Nature of Sweden. The nature of Sweden is very beautiful. The country is one of the greenest and freshest corners of the continent. Most of its territory is covered with dense forests. In southern Sweden the forests are mainly deciduous and mixed, while the rest territory is dominated by coniferous species. Sweden is very rich in water. Throughout the country there are thousands of crystal clear glacial lakes and numerous rivers. Most of them descend from the mountains to the Gulf of Bothnia. The fauna is extremely diverse. Here you can find brown bears, wolves, foxes, arctic foxes, deer, goats, birds of prey (falcons, eagles, hawks) and others wild species. Because of the large but sparsely populated area of Sweden, it is often described as Europe’s Alaska. Well, neiher Sweden is so big, nor it is as deserted as the biggest American state, but natural resources are with certainly very similar.
Why Sweden? Because of the cool weather of Sweden, this country maybe is not the most attractive place for sunbathing and swimming in the sea during the summer months, but on behalf of that has a bunch of other advantages. The vast coniferous and deciduous forests are excellent places to practice ecotourism and camping, and opportunities for solitude and relaxation among the beauty of the Scandinavian nature, are better than anywhere else in Europe. You could stay at a small hotel or lodge and enjoy such pleasures as fishing off the shore of a crystal clear lake, stroll through unfamiliar eco trails and explore the attractive tourist routes by bike. If you love fishing you have to know that the local waters are rich in salmon and trout.
National Parks of Sweden. Much of this beautiful country is occupied by national parks. There are total 29 national parks. They cover many different types of localities in different parts of the country – some of them are located on the coast, other cover parts of mountains or woodlands, and third occupy some of the numerous coastal islands near the coast. Common between them is that all are amazing. In Sweden you will find some of the oldest national parks in Europe, whose age is more than a century. For one of the oldest national parks not only in Sweden but also throughout the continent is considered Sarek National Park. Its nature is so beautiful that it seems almost unreal. This is a wild land of rivers, lakes, forests and mountains, which is located in the far north of this Nordic country. Although the park is among the most remote in the country, it is also among the most beloved and liked by tourists.
Winter sports. Because of the cold climate of Sweden, it is a great place for winter sports lovers. Whether you’re into snowboarding or just want to ski here you will find excellent conditions. Snow is guaranteed and for the quality of the snowcover take care not only the people, but also and the Mother Nature. In the northern parts of the country, the ski season lasts practically until the summer. Above the Arctic Circle you can skiing in June while enjoying the midnight sun which does not set for several weeks during the northern summer. The country is a very good solution if you just want to escape the summer heat, covering the southern parts of the continent during the summer months. Here it is never too hot and you can enjoy the northern freshness and coolness even in the warmest and sunniest summer days.
Cultural attractions and urban tourism. People say that Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city is built on the territory of many islands and because of its numerous water channels it is often compared to Venice, Sydney and St. Petersburg. The various parts of the city are connected with bridges and the amazing parks are an integral part of the cityscape. Stockholm is considered to be one of the best planted with trees and shrubs cities in the world. It combines an old European architecture with modern office buildings, hotels and facilities. During the short summer the local residents use optimal the opportunity to spend time outdoors. Sweden is the perfect destination for cultural tourism and sightseeing. Here you will find excellent museums and galleries, castles, ancient buildings, beautiful churches and cathedrals, modern architecture. Speaking of museums should be noted that in Stockholm they are so many that practically if you visit two museums a day you will need more than a month to see everything as the museums in the city are about 70! Should not miss also the opportunity to visit the Royal Palace.
But even the largest and most beautiful, Stockholm is not the only city worth a visit. It is advisable to visit the city of Malmo, which is well known for its with huge bridge between Sweden and Denmark. It is among the largest in Europe and provides convenient road connection between the Scandinavian peninsula and the rest of the continent. This impressive facility passes over the Yoresun Strait and has a length of nearly 16 kilometers. Do not miss also the experience to go by car across the bridge. You will not only have the chance to see this miracle of human genius, but you will also be able to compare both cultures – Swedish and Danish. You’ll probably be surprised about how many are the similarities on both sides of the bridge and how insignificant are the differences. Do not miss also the well planted with trees and shrubs southern city of Gothenburg. It is famous for its picturesque bay dotted with countless small islands. In Sweden you will find magnificent castles, most of which are located in densely populated southern parts of the country.
What is the best time for tourism in Sweden? If you plan to spend your vacation in Sweden, but you still have not idea in what time of the year to do it, then it is best to choose the summer months. June, July and August offer the best conditions for tourism and the most pleasant temperatures with no matter of which part of the country you are planning to travel. The sun shine is plentiful and temperatures are high enough to make you feel comfortable without having to hide in the shade, as for example on the Mediterranean during the summer months.
What clothes to wear? If you travel during the period from June to August in southern Sweden it is best to wear light summer clothing plus a warmer coat, because sometimes the temperatures are quite low. In September, it is better for you to be ready for variable, sometimes even cool weather. It is good to wear lighter, but also and warmer clothing since September in Stockholm is a typical autumn month. If you are planning to travel in October is good to prepare winter clothing as temperatures are between 5 and 10°C. For the period from November to March is best to prepare a lot of warm clothes. In April you still need warm winter clothing. In May will be better to prepare clothes for variable weather like in September. It is good to combine warm with light spring clothing, as temperatures sometimes may become quite low. However other times, weather becomes warm, mild and sunny, and light spring clothing will make you feel comfortable.