TRAVEL: 5 Places we love in Sweden

With it being Sweden’s National Day today (6th June) we thought we would reminisce on some of the amazing places we have visited in Sweden, one of our favourite countries. It is easy to get to from the UK, and has so many diverse experiences on offer in any season. From luxury hotels and spas, to nature camps, a variety of activities, delicious food, scenery, the list goes on… !

People often write it off as being too expensive, and yes while it may be a bit extra for a beer or meal compared to London prices, overall with the Swedish exchange rate it actually isn’t that bad – especially when the food and drink is so excellent!

We have really been missing Sweden loads since travel restrictions have stopped us going, and can’t wait to get back when the time is right. For now, here are some of our favourite spots:

Gothenburg
We have visited Gothenburg (or Goteburg in Swedish) in almost every season (we just have winter left to tick off) and keep wanting to go back. There is something about this city that makes us feel so relaxed. One moment you could be walking through the parks, the next you are by the harbours with the smell of the sea. We love strolling around the Haga district, which is full of antique shops and giant cinnamon buns, before wandering around Liseberg theme park for a bit of fun. We went here for Halloween and it was brilliant fun with much shorter wait times than you would have at any similar park in the UK!

The city has a lot to offer – there are some fantastic restaurants to eat at and bars to drink in (we are big fans of award-winning Stranger bar). If you are into your sport then there are plenty of stadiums with football and ice hockey to watch.

The city also has one of our our favourite hotels – the excellent Clarion Post Hotel particularly, is modern, cool, and central, in fact it’s the perfect location. A huge hotel lobby that stretches into dark corners for privacy as you have a drink or cocktail, or you can head to the rooftop for a swim and views of the city.

 Gothenburg City Skyline (Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se)

Koster Islands
If you catch the train north out of Gothenburg (or even do the pleasant drive) you can head up to a place called Stromstrad. Once here you can hop on a boat across to the stunning Koster Islands. Situated in a beautiful archipelago, these islands are car-free, so with no motor vehicles around there is plenty of walking, kayaking, or cycling to enjoy. It is such a peaceful, beautiful spot. You can overnight here, but there are only two small hotels!

It is particularly stunning in the summer, when it might be a little busier but you experience the Midnight Sun – so going for a cycle ride around the island at midnight is a very cool and unique experience. Go later in the autumn time and there is lobster fishing plus the unique silence as the islands begins to empty for the winter months.

Strolling around the Koster Islands (Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se)

Lulea
Lulea is a stunning year-round location that has a lot to offer. Back when I visited, it was in the dead of winter and I managed to spend some time visiting the incredible Tree Hotel and (one of my favourite locations) Brandon Lodge. What makes Lulea so unique in the winter that it sits by the sea which is frozen over, that makes it a prime spot to try and view the aurora (if luck is on your side) and also the ability to do some awesome snowmobiling along the archipelago. Brandon Lodge sits right on the sea so it is also a great location to experience – they can even take you out for a spin on a hovercraft!

Below is an image that was taken when we had headed out on an aurora hunt – we saw a tiny glimpse of them that evening but with the temperature dropping to minus forty we felt more than happy to get as close to this fire as possible!

Huddled together round a roaring fire as the Aurora dance behind us and we try to keep warm in the super cold temperatures.

Icehotel, Jukkasarvi
Alex’s whole love affair with Sweden started here at the Icehotel. After being with his travel company for six months, back in 2010, he was sent out to experience the hotel which is based in Northern Sweden. Claire also got to experience it many years later.

The hotel itself has been going for over 30 years now, and still fascinates many. For us it isn’t just the concept of the hotel being made of ice that we loves, but it is also the location – backing onto the frozen Torne river where the hotel collects its resources during the ‘ice harvest’ in March, it is a perfect spot for trying to catch the aurora.

It was here that Alex saw what he reckons was probably the best showing of Northern Lights, ever (and he is one of those lucky guys who has seen it a lot!). One night in March the sky was clear and a white band stretched across it – it then proceeded to almost pop as colours poured into the sky. “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – it was truly incredible.”

Malmo
Malmo is a tiny city over the bridge from Copenhagen. You might well recognise it from the famous Swedish/Danish TV Series ‘The Bridge’ – this is what connects the two countries so makes for an awesome twin city break as you will need to fly in/out of Copenhagen as it is. The city is easy to navigate and has some interesting history. It is also has one of the weirdest museums we have visited, the ‘Disgusting Food Museum’, which is both a laugh and as the name of the museum suggests – disgusting.

The Øresund Bridge lingers in the background, and the architectural design of the ‘Turning Torso’ building is almost always visible, helping you navigate around the city by foot or bike. We were big fans of the Kitchen and Table bar which is based at the top of the Clarion Live hotel. The views at sunset are absolutely incredible as you can stare out across the city and beyond to Copenhagen. The food is also excellent there!

One of the beautiful views from the excellent Kitchen & Table Bar in Malmo – in the distance you can see the ‘Turning Torso’ building (©Minnis2Society)

This is merely a scratch on the surface with Sweden – there are so many more places to explore and we are well aware that a certain capital city is missing – yes Stockholm – it’s been on our agenda for a while but we are still to make it there!

Alex has been designing Nordic holidays for clients over the past 10 years. It’s where his passion and love affair with the Nordic region began and has flourished. You can learn about all of these places and more on the excellent Visit Sweden website, or you are also always welcome to get in touch with us – Alex loves passing on his knowledge!

Have you visited Sweden, or do you live there? Where do you love?

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