Sweden Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Sweden in 2023
Welcome to Sweden
Sweden is not the most popular destination in Europe, but it is definitely a country worth visiting. The extensive forests, the Northern Lights, and charming cities will win your heart and make this trip a remarkable experience.
In this ultimate Sweden travel guide, we will share some travel tips and tricks and further information for a hassle-free arrival to Sweden. This way you can arrive well-prepared and focus on enjoying your vacation.
Document Checklist for Sweden
Valid passport - At least six months validity.
Essential Sweden Travel Information
Currency - Swedish Krona (SEK). $1 is equivalent to approx. SEK 11.03.
Daily budget for 1 person - A daily budget of around SEK 1,179 ($107).
Languages - Swedish. But more than 80 percent of people in Sweden do speak English.
Socket type - Types C and F, 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Time zone - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +02:00.
Top 3 cities to visit - Stockholm, Malmö, and Helsingborg.
Top 3 landmarks/monuments - The Royal Palace, Ericsson Globe or “the Avicii Arena”,, and the Øresund Bridge.
Visa Information to Visit Sweden
The country is a European Union country and Schengen member, and it’s very open to tourists. According to local laws, nationals from most countries don’t need an entry visa to stay less than 90 days in Sweden; but a travel document will be mandatory from 2023 onwards: the ETIAS, the new travel authorization in Europe.
Besides the visa, Swedish authorities require a digital COVID certificate for passengers entering the country. You can find below additional information about these documents and use the iVisa Visa Checker to see which of them you must apply for.
ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a visa waiver that will reinforce the Schengen members' border security. It's designed to help local authorities monitor travel within the Schengen area, exchanging travelers’ information among the states as part of the agreement. You can travel freely between the 26 Schengen countries while your ETIAS is valid.
Sweden's local authorities will require the ETIAS at the entry from May 2023 onwards. But don’t you worry about emergency consular assistance or an embassy appointment since the application will be available online.
Digital COVID Certificate
The COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge for emergency services, and countries had to create measures to control the disease and make tourism safe again. The Sweden Digital COVID Certificate is one of the Swedish government initiatives.
This medical passport is essential health documentation without which you will not be allowed to enter Sweden. It will contain all the details regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status. You can apply with a few clicks online.
Travel to Sweden: Typical Costs and Budget
A basic guide to what you'll spend daily traveling through Sweden on a decent budget.
Daily spending - Around SEK 1,179 ($107) per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:
Meals - SEK 275 ($25).
Transport - SEK 154 ($14) .
Hotel - SEK 1,146 ($104), for two people.
On average, a trip for two for one week will cost SEK 16,529 ($1,499).
Transport and Best Ways to Travel Around Sweden
Sweden is the fifth-largest country in Europe, but you can count on the public transportation system to explore the country. There is an excellent network that mixes trains, long-distance buses, and ferries. The largest cities are well-connected with the transportation system, and although for the remote areas, the options are fewer, it is still possible to travel between cities and towns without a car.
However, if you prefer a road trip, you will find well-maintained highways and secondary roads crisscrossing the country. Just be aware that the Swedish government will require an international driving permit.
The travel advice for foreigners with short time is to fly long distances. There are domestic flights serving airports in all corners of Sweden.
Safety in Sweden
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland are the Nordic countries of Europe, and all are among the top 25 safest countries on Earth. This region is considered the safest in the world, and you don’t need to worry about terrorist attacks, illegal drug trafficking, or violent incidents. The homicide rate is 0.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, and these countries are in the top 10 happiest countries in the world as well.
So, Sweden is a safe place to visit and you can count on Swedish police efficiency.
Weather in Sweden
Sweden is a country where you can experience the seasons. The winter is extreme in terms of temperature, so it won’t be the best time of the year to visit Sweden. If you are going anyway, be prepared to face temperatures between -22°C (-7.6°F) and -3°C (26.6°F).
The spring and autumn seasons are perfect for travel, with a mild climate and long hours of sunshine. But nothing is perfect, since you will miss the extraordinary spectacle of the Northern Lights or the Sun at Midnight during these months.
So, if you want to see the arctic phenomenon, you must travel to Sweden during the summer. The travel advice is to book in advance since it is the peak season. It’s also the wettest time of the year, so bring a raincoat.
Spring: from March to May; average temperatures between -15°C (5°F) and -3°C (26.6°F).
Summer: from June to August; average temperatures between 11°C (51.8°F) and 23°C (73.4°F).
Autumn: from September to October; average temperatures between 1°C (33.8°F) and 15°C (59°F).
Winter: from November to February; average temperatures between -22°C (-7.6°F) and -3°C (26.6°F).
Popular Cities and Towns in Sweden
Sweden has a lot to explore, from major cities with modern attractions to small towns in the Arctic Circle. Check some cities you should include in your itinerary:
Stockholm - The capital is a lovely city, a mix of modern and traditional architecture. There are plenty of public places, cathedrals, cafes, bars, and restaurants to explore.
Malmö - Among the three largest cities of Sweden, Malmo is a multicultural place with amazing Middle Eastern markets for visitors to explore.
Helsingborg - The city features impressive castle ruins and a lovely waterfront full of cafes and restaurants.
Lund - The Swedish second oldest city offers lovely old lanes around the city, fantastic architecture, and forests surrounding it.
Umeå - The city was named the European Capital of Culture in 2014. It has art galleries, a vintage guitar museum, and some fantastic museums about the Indigenous culture of the Sami people.
Travel Advice: What You Cannot Miss in Sweden
Sweden is a fantastic destination and offers a lot to explore, from the major cities to the small towns. But here are some of the most remarkable experiences you can have around there:
1. Live the unique experience of seeing the Northern Lights.
2. Visit the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The museum keeps the 64-gun warship that made its first voyage in 1628.
3. Visit the ABBA Museum in Stockholm. It is an incredible experience to dive into the history of the group.
4. Explore the Kungsparken (The King's Park), Malmö's oldest park.
5. Visit Guitars - The Museum, in Umea. The place has more than 500 electric guitars, mainly from the 1950s and 1960s, including very rare instruments.
Typical Swedish Food to Try
Köttbullar (Meatballs) - This classic dish became worldwide famous since the IKEA restaurants started to offer it. The recipe includes minced pork or beef, onion, egg, milk, and breadcrumbs.
Räkmacka (Shrimp Sandwich) - It is an open-faced sandwich, usually served on rye bread. The traditional Räkmacka has lettuce, mayonnaise, egg, dill, caviar, and a generous lot of shrimp.
Ostkaka (Swedish Cheesecake) - Very different from American cheesecake, this recipe is sweet and very plain. The recipe has milk, wheat flour, and rennet, but in Southern Sweden, people also include almonds, eggs, cream, and sugar, leading to a slightly different texture.
Vaccine Information for Sweden
It's important to know what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Sweden and any other EU country before traveling. We recommend you check out the CDC website to find the latest information about all vaccine requirements and health protocols visiting European cities.
Regarding health measures, note that travel insurance is not mandatory for Sweden entry, but it can be very useful if you need medical emergency assistance during the trip.
Midnight Sun and Northern Lights
Sweden is one of the fewer destinations where you can see the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights, the arctic phenomenons that beautifully color the skies.
The Midnight Sun amazes tourists enabling them to see the sun even in the middle of the night. The further north you go, the longer the Midnight Sun will last. Some of the best places to observe these endless days are Abisko, Björkliden, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Kebnekaise, and Riksgränsen.
The Northern Lights are another natural spectacle, created when electrically charged particles from the sun collide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is a magical sight of vibrant colors painting the night sky. The best places to see the lights are Kiruna, Jukkasjärvi, Porjus, and the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park.
Fun Facts about Sweden
You already have helpful information for your trip. Let’s learn some curious facts about Sweden!
1. It’s easy to travel when you’re Swedish! You can enter 190 countries visa-free if you are a Sweden passport holder.
2. Very sustainable: Only 1% of waste ends up in landfills in Sweden. 50% is recycled or composted, and 49% is incinerated for energy.
3. Approximately 57% of Sweden are forested lands. The area is equivalent to the United Kingdom’s territory.
4. Swedish are inventive people! The country has the highest number of patents in Europe. Some of them are Tetra Pak (Erik Wallenberg), the Pacemaker (Rune Elmqvist), the Dynamite (Alfred Nobel), and the Spherical ball bearing or “ball joints”.
5. Sweden is one of the most progressive countries regarding LGBT+ rights. In 1944, authorities approved same-sex relationships; in 1972, the country became the first to allow transgender people to change their sex legally, and in 2009, they legalized gay marriage.
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