7 Things You Need To Know Before You Visit Sweden

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With icy seas, beautiful towns, and the Northern Lights, Sweden is a mysterious, exciting, and stunning adventure. In many ways, their culture is so similar to ours, but there might be a few little surprises. If you’re considering a trip to the land of Abba, flat-pack furniture, and meatballs, here are a few things you’ll want to know before you set off.

  1. Island-hopping is essential
There are 24000 islands surrounding the coast of Sweden, only around 1000 of which are inhabited, but as you can imagine they make up a fair chunk of the country’s culture and economy. To miss them out from your trip is to miss a huge part of what makes Sweden, well, Sweden. Gotland, the largest of the islands, is a fantastic place to explore, relax, and enjoy the scenery. A boat between the major islands isn’t cheap, but the wildlife and scenery make it well worth the cost.

2. You might need a visa waiver
For countries entering Sweden, or the rest of the EU, from outside of the EU, it’s recently got slightly trickier. Now people are required to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver or a Schengen visa before they travel. People travelling within the EU can still move freely without a visa or waiver, as it currently stands.

3. Swedish is hard
However hard you try, the likelihood is that you’re going to struggle with the pronunciation of placenames, food, and people - give it a go, though - it can be really life affirming. Don’t worry, the locals are lovely, they might have a little giggle at your expense, but they’ll happily help you out, and their English is spot on anyway.

4. It isn’t easy to buy alcohol
Just like other countries in Scandinavia, obtaining alcohol isn’t as easy as nipping into the supermarket. You’ll need to visit a Systembolaget, which is basically a government owned off license, to buy any alcohol over 3%. Watch out though; they tend to have some funny opening hours.

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5. You have to try a sauna
The Scandinavians love their saunas, whether floating or on land, and it’s an essential part of the experience. Nudity is completely normal in the saunas, and nobody bats an eyelid, but they’re always happy if you choose to wear a towel or swimsuit instead - just do whatever makes you comfortable.

6. The tap water is pretty great
Don’t bother forking out for bottled water, the tap water is as clean and fresh as it gets, and completely delicious.

7. You have to love seafood
Being a nation by the sea, with so many islands, the majority of their food is sea-based. The best thing is that the huge variety means you’re sure to find something you love. Try their cod, caviar, or herring, their huge array of shellfish, or opt for something a bit crazier and try surstrӧmming, a fermented fish which is a bit of an acquired taste.

Sweden is one of those countries with so much beauty and variety; you’re guaranteed to fall in love. The locals make it feel like a home from home, and the scenery feels so idyllic, you’ll never want to leave.

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