Wild, sparsely populated and absolutely massive, Sweden is one of Europe's most fascinating and versatile destinations. The cities of Gothenburg and Stockholm are the staging post for many Sweden holidays and come alive once night falls, but leave the towns behind and you'll find a vast unspoiled wilderness of pristine lakes, forests and mountains.
There's an almost overwhelming amount on offer in Sweden, but we've done the research and come up with a solid top 5. Read on for our Sweden travel picks.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Summerburst, Stockholm/Gothenburg – Sweden's largest electronic music festival takes place over two weekends - one in Gothenburg, one in Stockholm. Beats come courtesy of the biggest names in Scandinavian dance music, along with a smattering of international acts.
For more information on Summerburst, click here.
2. Sweden Rock Festival – Held near the small city Sölvesborg in southern Sweden, this Swedish rock festival is one of the country's most eagerly anticipated. Expect a hard and heavy lineup of the biggest names in rock and metal from around the globe.
For more information on Sweden Rock Festival, click here.
3. Midsummer Festival – Midsummer is a big day on the calendar here, and the Swedes like to go hard. Festivities centre around the maypole, with pickled herring consumed like it's going out of fashion and the schnapps flowing like water.
For more information on Midsummer Festival, click here.
4. Way Out West, Gothenburg – Expect a veritable smorgasbord of international rock, pop, and electronica music at Gothenburg's premier summer music festival. Various after-hours shows held around the city ensure that the party continues well into the wee small hours.
For more information on Way Out West, click here.
5. Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival – Founded by renowned Swedish jazz pianist and composer Jan Lundgren, this festival sees the small town of Ystad play host to some of the biggest names in jazz, with concerts held at a number of intimate venues throughout the city.
For more information on Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival, click here.
1. Fotografiska, Stockholm – Housed in a former customs building dating from 1906, this centre for contemporary photography opened in 2010 and is now one of the most popular Stockholm attractions. It exhibits work from the best photographers from around the world, and its cafe has some of the best views in the city.
For more information on the Fotografiska, click here.
2. ABBA Museum, Stockholm – OK – so we almost got through this without mentioning ABBA, and Sweden’s most famous pop music export get the royal treatment at this interactive experience inspired but the Beatles Museum in Liverpool. Interactive audio and video stations allow you to take a virtual step in the shoes of Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha.
For more information on the ABBA Museum, click here.
3. Vasa Museum, Stockholm – 1628 wasn't a good year for the Vasa, a 64-gun warship who sank on her maiden voyage right in the middle of Stockholm. Happily she was salvaged in 1961 and now stands, restored and almost fully intact, in this excellent museum. A Sweden travel 2016 essential.
For more information on the Vasa Museum, click here.
4. Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Gothenburg – If you're looking for 19th century Nordic art, you've come to the right place - this Gothenburg museum has the finest collection in the world. It's supplemented by a healthy collection from masters such as Picasso, Rembrandt and Monet.
For more information on the Göteborgs Konstmuseum, click here.
5. Skansen Museum, Stockholm – The planners of Sweden's oldest open-air museum knew their business. Here you can wander through a full-scale replica of a 19th century town replete with craftsmen in period dress. They even threw in a zoo for good measure, home to classic Scandinavian critters like moose, reindeer and wolverine.
For more information on the Skansen Museum, click here.
Sweden gave the world the smörgåsbord and - thanks to IKEA - its national dish is now a household name. But dig a little deeper and you'll find there's a lot more to Swedish cuisine than buffets and meatballs.
The extreme variation here between summers and winters mean Swedish food is very seasonal. Many dishes reflect whatever is available from the farm or the forest, and if it can be caught, trapped or hunted then it's fair game. Husmanskost, Swedish home cooking, is a big part of the country's cuisine, with hearty stews, soups and other such comfort foods making up a large part of the traditional culinary repertoire. Preservation is also big news in Sweden, and there are a vast range of pickled, cured or canned goods waiting to be sampled, including the notorious surströmming, a fermented herring whose strong taste and even stronger odour will challenge the stomachs of even the most adventurous.
Read on for our selection of the best Swedish dishes.
Köttbullar – Swedish meatballs are undoubtedly the country's most famous culinary export. Typically served with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, pressed cucumber and plenty of brown cream gravy, they're a Sweden travel 2015 must-try.
Best eaten at – Restaurang Operakällaren, Operahuset, Karl XII’s torg, Stockholm
Matjessill – Pickled herring is a big deal in Sweden, particularly during midsummer festivities. Boiled potatoes, sour cream, onion and boiled egg are the usual accompaniments.
Best eaten at – Östermalms Saluhall, Nybrogatan 31, Stockholm
Jansson's temptation – One taste and you’ll see why Jansson was so tempted. Traditionally served at Christmas, this dish is now popular and readily available throughout the year. A creamy casserole of potatoes and sprats, it's a classic Swedish winter warmer.
Best eaten at – Kometen, Vasagatan 58, Göteborg
Reindeer Suovas – A favourite of the nomadic Sami people in Sweden's far north, this salted and smoked reindeer meat is as free range as free range gets. Eat it cooked or raw, but don't forget the lingonberries.
Best eaten at – Camp Ripan Kitchen, Campingvägen 5, Kiruna
Prinsesstårta – Swedish people love this traditional cake so much that there's even an official week to celebrate it! We’re talking delectable layers of sponge, jam and whipped cream concealed within its inscrutable shell of thick green marzipan. A beauty.
Best eaten at – Vete-Katten, Kungsgatan 55, Stockholm
Medicine - Cold medicines and decongestants aren't sold over the counter here, so you'd be wise to bring your own supply.
Booze - Alcohol is very expensive in Sweden, so stock up at the duty-free!
A waterproof jacket - There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes, or so say the Swedes.
Sun hat - Most sightseeing in Barcelona, Seville and Madrid is outdoors. With up to 14 hours of sunlight in the summer months, and temperatures reaching the high thirties in some areas, you’ll want to be protected.
An adapter plug - Sweden uses the European standard 2-pin plug. You'll need a step-down transformer for appliances that run on USA voltage
Sunglasses - The summer sun never sets on northern Sweden. So don’t forget to protect those peepers.