Holiday making in Sweden

Most overseas tourists visiting Sweden chose Stockholm as their destination, and there are certainly many things to see and do in the capital. For instance, you can take a stroll in the Old Town; visit the open-air museum/zoo Skansen; or go on a steamboat-trip in the Stockholm archipelago. However, if you want to see more of this rather large (by European standards), elongated country, here are just a few appetizers:

The island of Gotland, a three-hour ferry trip from the mainland's east coast, offers sandy beaches and unique natural scenery with stack rock formations on the coast. Here you will also find the picturesque, Hanseatic city of Visby (as a curiosity, the Pippi Longstocking-films from the sixties were set in Visby).

In the province of Dalarna, just a few hours' drive from Stockholm, you can sample Sweden in its most traditional form. Here the idyllic, hilly countryside is dotted with farms and charming villages on the sloping shores of Lake Siljan. Plenty of traditional handicrafts are on offer if you are in a shopping-mode, and nowhere else in Sweden midsummer is celebrated with such tradition as here.

East of Dalarna is the province of Hälsingland. With its forests, lakes and rivers this part of Sweden is every bit as beautiful as Dalarna, but not as well-known as a tourist destination. Along the Ljusnan River valley the scenery is particularly appealing, and here you can see many traditional farmhouses known as 'hälsingegårdar'. Seven of these imposing old, timber farmsteads were recently added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, and some are open for tourists.

Further north, plenty of outdoor activities are available summer and winter alike - even if you're not a skier, a visit to a national park in Sweden's mountainous areas is bound to be a most memorable experience. Hiking in this vast, sub-Arctic wilderness really soothes the senses and inspires a feeling of freedom, and there are plenty of trails. You may also come across Sami camps and the Samis' reindeer herds, and in July and August you can pick delicious cloudberries here and there. Here is the best place to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in the wintertime and in summertime there is of course the midnight sun as well ...

One thing to keep in mind when visiting Sweden is that the distance between different destinations can be longer than you might expect, especially when you go up north. It may be a good idea to plan your trip in advance.