Bohuslän – a historical place
Those interested in history are drawn to the province of Bohuslän in the southwest of the country (website: www.bohuslan.com ), one of the most important centers of early Swedish civilisation. There are a number of museums in the region where you can learn more about the archaeological finds from the area. Many relics date from the Bronze Age and the Viking era.
A museum is dedicated to the history of the automotive industry in Gothenburg (Internet: www.volvo.com ). Interesting facts about maritime history can be found at Sjöfartsmuseet (Internet: www.sjofartsmuseum.goteborg.se ). It is worth visiting the Municipal Museum (website: www.stadsmuseum.goteborg.se ), which is located in Kronhuset, the city’s oldest building. The rock garden in the botanical garden (Botaniska Trädgården) is one of the most beautiful in the world, the Alpinum has over 3000 different mountain plants. With the Göteborgskortet (available at the tourist office, hotels, youth hostels and campsites) you have free travel on all public transport in the city and receive all sorts of other discounts.
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Lund – Medieval meets modern
King Sven Tveskägg founded the beautiful city of Lund over 1,000 years ago. Today, the city houses hordes of 21st-century students alongside the three-aisled 12th-century Romanesque cathedral and 14th-century astrological clock. The large cultural-historical open-air museum (Internet: www.kulturen.com ) forms the heart of the city center and consists of several rows of perfectly preserved medieval streets.
The Old Town ( Gamla Stan ), whose beautiful houses and cobblestone streets give a lively impression of old Stockholm, invites you to take a stroll through the city (Internet: www.stockholmtown.com ). On the other side of the harbor is the Royal Castle ( Kungliga Slottet ) with the State Rooms, the Crown Jewels and the Palace Museum. The Stockholmkortet (Stockholm Card) is available at the Stockholm Tourist Center in Sverigehuset (Sweden House) or at the train station and gives visitors free travel on all public transport in the greater Stockholm area, as well as free entry to many of the 150 museums and many other attractions.
Sami – visiting the natives
In Gällivare the Sámi (Lapps) hold their annual markets. In Jokkmokk (website: www.jokkmokk.se ) you can learn about Sámi history and culture at the Ajtte Museum and in a Lapp Staden, an old village of 70 conical Sami huts. Also in Arjeplog there is a museum of Sámi culture, the Silvermuseet (Internet: www.silvermuseet.arjeplog.se ).
Djurgården – seafaring and folk history
The island of Djurgården can be reached from Stockholm by bus or ferry. The best-known attraction is the Vasamuseum (website: www.vasamuseet.se ), which houses the 369-year-old wooden warship, which sank while being launched in 1628 and was found in Stockholm harbor in 1961. Skansen (website: www.skansen.se ), an open-air museum and zoo, is also on Djurgården. More than 150 buildings from all regions of Sweden give an impression of the traditional construction in the different parts of the country.
Cruise on the Göta Canal
If you have a few days to spare, consider cruising the historic Göta Canal. The canal was built in the early 19th century and stretches 614 km from Gothenburg in the west of the country to Söderköping on the Baltic Sea. Tours start in Stockholm and Gothenburg (website: www.gotakanal.se ).
At the southern tip of Sweden lies the fertile region of Skåne (Schonen) (website: www.skane.se ), which belonged to Denmark until 1658. The more than 200 castles, palaces and manor houses are reminiscent of Danish rule. The landscape consists of hilly farmland and pastures, forests, but only a few lakes. East, south and west coast offer good bathing and fishing opportunities. The narrow backcountry roads are ideal for cyclists.
Härjedalen – Wild life
One of Sweden’s best places for wildlife viewing is the municipality of Härjedalen, often referred to as Europe’s last wilderness (website: www.herjedalen.se ). In addition to moose, buzzards, reindeer, beaver and lynx, you can find Sweden’s only wild herd of musk ox here. In winter, the region is popular with skiers.
Only 5% of the Swedish population live in Lapland on 25% of the total area of Sweden. The region is known for its Northern Lights and indigenous Sami culture. The countryside is ideal for hiking, camping, fishing and cycling. In winter you can go on snowmobile or dog sled trips. Located north of the Arctic Circle, Laponia is Europe’s largest largely unaffected natural landscape.
Anyone who has ever wanted to sleep on a bed of ice should spend a night at the igloo-style Ice Hotel (website: www.icehotel.com ) in the small Lapland town of Jukkasjärvi. Warm sleeping bags will be provided. The hotel is only open during the winter months and has to be rebuilt every year as it melts in the summer months.
Gotland and Oland
Sweden’s two largest islands are in the Baltic Sea, southeast of mainland Sweden. There is more sunshine here than anywhere else in Sweden. The islands are of particular interest to bird and flower lovers, and there are many historic towns and sites (including prehistoric refuges and tombs). There are several daily ferry connections from Oskarshamn to Gotland (website: www.gotland.info ), Öland (website: www.olandsturist.se ) can also be reached by bus over a bridge (at Kalmar). Bicycles can be rented everywhere.
Malmö (website: www.malmo.se ) is a friendly city with idyllic canals and squares. The imposing Renaissance town hall and the castle are particularly worth seeing. The Malmökortet offers visitors various discounts, including free travel on regional buses and free entry to museums, and is available through Malmö Tourist Office. The spectacular Oresund Bridge, which connects Sweden to Denmark and is the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge, is located near Malmo.