Sweden Travel Guide
Most visitors to Sweden must decide how to divide their time between its cities—shopping, drinking, and eating—and exploring the country's vast wilderness, from summer days in the sun-kissed Stockholm Archipelago in the south to the land of the Lapps and reindeer in the north. Here are some stops to consider in planning your Sweden itinerary:
Cruise Stockholm's canals. One of many cities that refers to itself as the "Venice of the North," Stockholm is built on 14 islands and is crisscrossed by canals. Many operators offer canals tours, giving you a unique perspective on the capital's monuments.
Visit the Vasamuseet. The centerpiece of this museum is the Vasa, a 17th-century warship that sank near Stockholm and was recovered in the 1950s. Other exhibits cover Sweden's nautical heritage.
Get lost in Stockholm's old town. Known in Swedish as Gamla stan, the historic heart of Stockholm is an evocative maze of medieval streets.
Explore the nightlife of Malmö. Almost one in ten residents of Malmö is a student at the university, and the city's nightlife scene is always buzzing, from happy hour bars to after-hours clubs.
A store that specializes in handmade items by visually impaired artisans.
After 10 p.m., move on to Laroy, a decadent bar-club that pulls in a fashionable set.
A vast selection of 20th-century Scandinavian and Italian housewares. Murano-glass vases by Gio Ponti and Bianconi line the walls, and vintage pieces, like a Swedish birchwood sofa from the 1929 Barcelona furniture World's Fair, fill the floor.
For off-the-map art, take a 15-minute cab ride to the workingclass neighborhood of Liljeholmen.
Three royal palaces—including Haga Palace, where the current monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, was born—can be found in this sprawling 6,700-acre conservation tract (complete with roe deer, owls, and pine martens) right in the center of the city.
The Swedish fashion company Hennes & Mauritz opened in 1947 and has since expanded to 2,300 stores in 41 countries. Of the Stockholm locations, this H&M in Norrmalm is the largest and receives the season's newest styles first.
Open only from mid-December to mid-April, the Absolut Icebar, within the Icehotel in the small village of Jukkasjärvi, in northern Sweden, holds steady at around 23 degrees. Sure, it seems like every few months an ice bar pops up somewhere: even Vegas has one.
After 11 p.m., the black-and-white–“walled pan-Asian restaurant turns into a nightclub with techno beats, sexy lighting, and a creatively named cocktail menu. Don't leave without trying a Polish Waitress: peach liqueur, Campari, lemon, sugar, and orange juice.
Don't leave Stockholm without indulging in a real Swedish massage. At Sturebadet, masseurs knead out knots in treatment rooms surrounding a 1902 Art Nouveau pool.
The market transforms an anonymous corner of the hip Södermalm neighborhood into a bustling weekend fair, filled with vendors selling everything from antique embroidered linens to exquisite wooden dolls by Swedish toymaker Fredrik Hillerborg.
The spare storefront and neon sign on Sveavagen don't hint at the gifts and pieces of art to be found in the Society for Swedish Handicrafts (Svensk Hemslojd).
A meal among the city’s elite in Café Opera a gilded and frescoed salon with a rich, seafood-heavy menu, is a must. Then head through to the Opera House to catch a performance.
Karl Lagerfeld was so smitten with the duo's jewelry that he snatched up 11 designs for one of his recent collections. Their first store opened last December, where standouts include 18-karat-gold chicken-bone necklaces and gold-plated cuffs with circular cutouts.