Sweden

Sweden

Sweden is a Nordic country located, together with Norway, on the Scandinavian Peninsula. It is known to be a cold area with short, cool summers and long, frosty, dark winters. Upper part of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Generally, large cities, harbours and cultural centres are in the southern part of the country while there are very few people living in the north, mainly due to severe weather conditions, darkness and lack of employment opportunities. This area, however, is a real attraction for hikers who like to wander through dense woods.

The landscape

Sweden is a beautiful country and its landscape consists of forests, lakes and rocks. The largest lakes are Vänern and Vättern and, what is interesting, the former is also the largest lake in Northern Europe. In the western part of the country there is a monumental range of the Scandinavian Mountains while the coast on the east is rather flat, sometimes hilly. Nature lovers appreciate great areas covered with woods, stony beaches and small islands on the coast. These islands are sometimes inhabited and the dwellers may reach the mainland only by boat. Often, especially in the north, you may find large areas of land covered by stones, like in Kuggören. In the countryside there are beautiful, small, red houses with white window frames.

Cities

The most popular Swedish cities are Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö and Uppsala.

Stockholm is the capital with about 3 million inhabitants within its borders. This beautiful city is located on the central coast of the country, on 14 islands joined by a great number of bridges. It is an important cultural, political and economic centre. Tourist willingly visit narrow streets of the Old Town (Gamla Stan), the palaces, the Royal Castle, many museums and galleries as well as Skansen with examples of old country buildings and a small zoo with species of animals typical of the region including bears and reindeer.

The second largest Swedish city is Göteborg which was founded on west-south coast. Visitors want to see a boulevard (Kungsportsavenyn) with numerous pubs and cafes, the opera house, wooden Haga district and a botanical garden.

Malmö is also located in the south and there is a bridge (Oresund Bridge) connecting the city with Denmark. Thanks to many historical buildings the city is visited by large number of visitors, especially in summer.

Uppsala is not a big city but it is an important educational and cultural centre located 70 kilometres north of Stockholm. The most well-known attraction is Gamla Stan, the place where the city was located in the past. Now you can see here huge burial mounds of pre-Christian monarchs. In Uppsala there is a magnificent cathedral from the 13th century built in neo-gothic style.

Holidays

Swedes celebrate some holidays that are typical of their traditions and history. Among these there are: Midsummer during the summer solstice, Walpurgis Night on 30th April when people light bonfires and Saint Lucia on 13th December.