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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

First of all, there’s more to this Scandinavian country than IKEA and ABBA, but you know that. That’s why you’re planning a holiday in Sweden, isn’t it? Queen of pop, modern design and so much more, here’s what you need to know about Sweden before your first visit.

Food and Drink

Buying alcohol in Sweden is a funny thing. You can only buy wine and hard alcohol from one store, Systembolaget. In an effort to control consumption, the country set up this chain of stores to sell all wine, hard liquors, spirits and all beers with alcohol contents over 3.5%. The other catch, they’re open Monday – Friday 10am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-1pm so if you’re planning a party, stock up early or visit the duty free at the airport.

As for food, it would be a sin not to try pickled herring while on holidays in Sweden. Eat it with crusty bread, sour cream and chives. Yum!

Getting around


Sweden is easy to explore, especially if you’re travelling by car. The roads and motorways in Sweden are meticulously maintained and traffic jams are rare outside of Stockholm. When driving in the countryside, it’s best to keep your eyes out for crossing moose and elk! For inner city travel, why not hire a bike for your trip? Most all cities are well set up with cycle lanes and drivers are generally very courteous to cyclists.

Europe by bicycle

Fika all the way


If you learn one Swedish word before you go, make it fika. Verb and noun, it loosely means “coffee break” and the Swedes love it. Take a break with friends, family and colleagues to enjoy a big cup of joe with some delicious and decadent sweets and pastries. A good fika cafe is never too far in Sweden, even in the countryside!

Bringing the kids

A lot of families struggle to find destinations that will suit both parents and kids but you don’t have to worry about Sweden. It’s extremely family-friendly. First stop? Skansen, the world’ first open-air museum with zoo, historical houses, aquarium and play areas. Best enjoyed in summer. Kolmården is Sweden’s largest wildlife park and is just 1.5 hours by car from Stockholm. For fun and interactive museums to visit in Stockholm try the Wasa Museum and the Museum of Technology.

Have you already been to Sweden? What advice would you give first-time travellers?

Imgs: claudio_arehnmarkPatrick Strandberg / Flickr cc.

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