If you’re suffering an acute case of wanderlust, indulge yourself in our Sweden travel guide. In today’s virtual tour, we’re going to cover things to do in Sweden’s most picturesque locations. Kom så går vi!
So what is Sweden known for, and why should you visit? Try innumerable coastline islands, vast archipelagos, pristine lakes, snow-capped mountains. Your mind might also conjure images of the scenery Sweden is perhaps most famous for: the magically dancing Northern Lights. But even beyond this, there’s more: historic castles and palaces, megalithic monuments, medieval buildings, and other cultural artifacts from a bygone era of Vikings, berserkers, and explorers.
But Sweden isn’t just a great place to visit–it’s one of the best countries in the world to live in. Swedes rank among the happiest people in the world, in fact. Well-developed infrastructure not only boosts the quality of life, but makes it easy for tourists to really soak in this amazing country.
So pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we embark upon a virtual trip to Sweden!
Visit Sweden – 10 of the Most Beautiful Places in Sweden
Our Sweden travel guide is chock-full of historical sites, immense natural beauty, magical views, and unforgettable experiences. Actually, it can be overwhelming to scratch beneath the surface with so many choices of where to go, and what to do in Sweden.
But don’t worry! We’ve pulled together this list of our favorite Sweden tourist attractions optimize your itinerary.
Malmo is the third-largest city in Sweden, and is a lively multicultural metropolis famed for its city parks.
Take a stroll in Kungsparken (The King’s Park), the oldest park in Malmo, situated at the heart of the city. The 8-acre park was opened in 1872 and is adjacent to Malmohus Castle. Absorb its tranquil surroundings sprawled with meticulously manicured lawns, scattered ponds, and a variety of exotic trees. You can lay down in reflective contemplation, feed the ducks, or if you’re adventurous explore the caves.
Cross into Slottsträdgården Park from Kungsparken across a small bridge. The castle windmill and an amalgamation of kaleidoscopic tulips headline its attractions. Keep an eye out for the statue Pegasus, an iconic sculpture by the renowned Swedish artist Carl Milles.
Pildammsparken completes the city’s main park assembly. Tour the park in autumn, and marvel at the more than 10,000 flowers which bloom into a magnificent yellow-orange carpeting the alley.
As for the city’s architecture, it contrasts impressively between medieval and ultra-modern. For history buffs, be sure to check out the 15th-century Malmo Castle, which is popular with tourists. It’s home to several attractions including the City Museum, Malmo Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, and the Science and Maritime House. The contemporary architecture of the city is exemplified by the imposing Turning Torso, a unique 620 feet high “twisted skyscraper” that defines the city’s skyline. Opened in 2005, it’s Scandinavia’s tallest building.
Malmo is a melting pot that reflects its ethnic and cultural diversity in its myriad restaurants–particularly around the public square. Eat and drink to your heart’s content in one of the best cities in Sweden!
2. Visby, Gotland
Visby is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Gotland. A place that’s faithfully preserved the architecture and history of the medieval age, Visby is an incredible Sweden travel destination for history buffs.
The meshwork of cobblestone streets that traverse the antiquated town take you back in time. Complete with amazing medieval merchant houses as well as 18th century timbre buildings, it’s easy to see why they call Visby “the pearl of the Baltic”.
Make sure to take a tour of the Visby’s 700-year old walls, which served as the city’s defenses once upon a time but are now a major tourist draw.
You may easily reach Visby by flight from Stockholm, or take it slow by ferry. What’s the best time to visit? Sweden is generally most mild in the summer months, and Visby is no exception.
Lying about 40 miles to the northwest of Stockholm, is the charming city of Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth-largest. That said, it has a more town-like, laid-back feel thanks in part to the youthful and diverse population attending the stately University of Uppsala.
There are plenty of things to see in Uppsala. Meandering through the city are numerous canals, punctuated by lush city parks. The sites are both vibrant and serene, whether you take a boat cruise or just explore by bike. The Fyris River almost perfectly bisects Uppsala, with the bulk of historic buildings on the western side and the commercial metropolis taking the east.
Make plenty of time to wander Old Uppsala and its many historical attractions. The most striking of these is Uppsala Cathedral, strategically set so it can be seen from all over the city. Numerous Swedish kings called this city home throughout history, with some of them interred in this very cathedral. Marvel at the gothic architecture going back as far as 1270, but keep a sharp eye out for more modern touches bestowed throughout centuries of intermittent renovation and alterations. These include many of its defining features like the lofty twin spires, the amazing murals, and the stained-glass windows.
Don’t miss Gustavianum–Uppsala University Museum oldest standing building. It’s built facing the city’s cathedral and previously served as the university’s main block. In the museum, you’ll find cultural collections of the university’s history, an extraordinary Anatomical Theatre on the roof, Egyptian mummies, and plenty of Nordic antiquities.
Your visit to the city will be incomplete if you don’t visit the historic Uppsala Castle (Uppsala Slott). Rich in history and astounding in architecture, it houses the Uppsala Art Museum and is set facing picturesque Botanical Gardens.
Gothenburg is situated on the west coast of Sweden and is the second-largest city in Sweden after the capital Stockholm. Famed for its magnificent coastline, award-winning seafood, lovely waterways and canals, plus myriad historical museums, Gothenburg is a jewel awaiting exploration.
If you love to shop, walk the streets of Aveny where plenty of world-class boutiques and entertainment joints generously dot the boulevard.
Boating the canals gets you up close to enchanting villages, picturesque surroundings, and white sandy beaches. There are multiple recreational activities in the Gothenburg Archipelago that you can indulge in from lobster fishing to sailing. Moreover, there are connections by ferries to virtually every attraction you’d fancy in the area.
For nature lovers, Gothenburg is the place for you, as it has a verdant green park known as “Castle Park” right in the city. Spot reindeer, moose, elk, and seals, right within the city’s mini-zoo, the perfect destination for the whole family. On your way out of Castle Park, be sure to stop into the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History.
Other sites on your must-visit Sweden travel tour include the Botanical Garden (Botaniska) and the Garden Society for lovers of greenery. For history buffs, there’s the Gothenburg Museum of Art (Goteborgs Konstmuseum), the age-old historic Haga District to the west of the city, as well as the historic fish market housed in a “fish-church” to explore. And science aficionados need to see the Universeum that covers all matters of science.
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and boasts over 10 centuries of history.
Glam Stan, Stockholm’s old town, is perhaps the city’s most iconic historical sight with a stunningly colorful array of gabled buildings. It is one of the main tourist draws (especially in the Summer), and numbers among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites for its preservation of 13th century Stockholm.
The epicenter is undoubtedly Stortorget. This central public square is lined by vivid chromatic buildings, cobblestone streets, and the Royal Palace for good measure. Numerous merchants make available their wares and nicknacks; but if you can hold out visiting until winter, you’ll be treated to Glam Stan’s cozy Christmas Market.
Stockholm is home to a number of museums, galleries, eye-filling botanical gardens, and elegant parklands. Indeed, it’s easy to see why it consistently ranks as one of the most popular cities in Sweden for tourist attractions. And there’s plenty of things to do in Stockholm for young adults as well, including a vibrant night life pulsing with the music of dance clubs and pubs.
The city’s transport system is highly efficient, making it possible to move from one attraction to the next with ease. The underground rail system is impeccable and reaches just about every major destination in town. For everything else, take the bus or hop on a bike. Just be sure to mind the rules of the bike lane as locals have limited tolerance for tourists gumming up traffic. If the weather permits though, this is the way to go; visiting Stockholm in July is your best bet.
Stockholm isn’t just a city, but an area encompassing an incredible archipelago of some 24,000 islands. Only around 200 of these are actually inhabited, thus it is surprisingly rich in biodiversity and natural beauty for a metropolitan area.
The city itself spans a number of islands where Lake Malar empties its waters into the Baltic Sea. This results in a beautiful confluence of lake and sea, land and water with a network of delightful waterways traversing the city on every side.
There are numerous tours to explore the waters and get unique views of the city from the sea. These water cruises are available throughout the year, though boat traffic really ramps up in the Summer which is a sight to behold unto itself.
In north Sweden lies Kiruna, a former mining town that appears to be in perpetual winter. Indeed, the area is under snow for more than 7 months a year!
A vast wilderness of frozen trees, herds of reindeer, innumerable lakes, and the inimitable Northern Lights are peak attractions here. Here, you’ll also get to see the midnight sun from mid-May to mid-July.
Most famous of all, though, is the Aurora Borealis–truly the best of Sweden travel bucket-list items. It appears above Kiruna in delicately undulating ribbons of iridescent green and violet. Your best chances to see it are from April to September as clear skies allow.
Wonders of the natural world aside, Kiruna is the spot for skiing, ice tours, ice climbing, reindeer sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and practically any other ice sport.
Need more? In nearby Jukkasjärvi, you’ll find the world’s first and most famous Ice Hotel. It’s not just a gimmick, so much of the hotel is pure ice, from the building itself to the furniture and even the glasses behind the bar! And yes, you can book a stay–though only from December to April.
What’s particularly fascinating is that the Ice Hotel is made anew each year as the nearby Torne river freezes over. Moreover, they take the opportunity to alter the appearance and design of the hotel, making it an incomparable Sweden travel destination year after year.
But don’t think that the Kiruna area is just for winter fun; in the summer there’s rive rafting, canoeing, and fishing galore.
From Kiruna, you can travel 55 miles to the west to tour Sweden’s highest mountain peak, Kebnekaise. Alternatively, you can visit the next destination on our list of the most beautiful places in Sweden…
7. Abisko National Park
Abisko National Park is located 60 miles to the west of Kiruna and sits amidst the Swedish Lapland. With over 19,000 acres of pristine hinterland, it’s an ideal destination for outdoor aficionados.
Situated within the Arctic Circle, Abisko features an amazing diversity of Nordic wildlife such as lynxes, golden eagles, moose, and bears. And owing to its remoteness, the Northern Lights are particularly stunning–we recommend the Aurora Sky Station as your viewing site.
To access the park fly into Kiruna from Stockholm or the main cities and take a train, bus, or taxi to the park. It’s certainly out of the way, but what is Sweden famous for if not mystical arctic beauty?
8. Lake Vänern
Sweden has over 100,000 lakes. It’s little surprise that the biggest of these, Lake Vänern, has become one of the most famous landmarks in Sweden for tourists.
Indeed, Vänern is the largest lake in the EU. It is so huge, in fact, you might be forgiven for mistaking it as an ocean! And yes, it is an absolute hotbed for water sports, kayaking, swimming, and of course, fishing.
Exploring the waters on an 18th-century steamboat, meandering past unspoiled shorelines is an unforgettable experience.
9. Kungsleden (The King’s Trail)
No Sweden travel tour is complete without an excursion into the country’s abundant natural beauty. And the best way to venture into far north Sweden is to follow the Kungsleden. It allows you to traverse four national parks by foot or ski!
The Laponia area to the extreme north is a UNESCO-designated zone for its bewitching wilderness, glorious crystal-clear lakes, snow-clad mountains, alpine-scented forests, extensive marshes, and its unspoiled river basins. The beautiful snowy mountains of Sarek, the river system in the Rapa Valley, and Lake Padjelanta make this one of the most beautiful places in Sweden.
Take advantage of the rare opportunity to hike above the Arctic Circle on the King’s Trail. You can sample the rail in bits or tackle it all at once, but that will take you close to a month if you’re ready for the challenge.
10. Drottningholm Palace, Lovö
With it elegant and well-maintained gardens and impressive facades, the Drottningholm Palace is the most extravagant entry our list of must-see Sweden travel destinations. This UNESCO-designated site sits on the island of Lovö, 7 miles to the west of the capital, Stockholm. A ferry covers the distance in 45 minutes, making travel a breeze.
Step into the surreal 17th-century palace that also serves as the residence of the Swedish Royal Family. The architecture, lush garden terraces, historic bronze structures (all trophies of war seized from Denmark and Bohemia), adds to its captivating allure.
Also take some time to explore the Chinese Pavilion, the Palace Theatre, and the Theatre Museum.
Sweden Travel Guide: Conclusion
Sweden boasts a rich history, from the expeditionary Vikings to the progressive modern nation it has become. Its natural beauty, from vast hinterlands, lakes, and mountains to a sky filled with the Aurora Borealis or midnight sun, make Sweden a unique and often surreal travel destination. Our list of the top 10 most beautiful Swedish places merely scratches the surface, so feel very free to plan a diverse itinerary.
We’ll be happy to know whether you’ve traveled to Sweden and how your adventure turned out. Do you know of any other attraction worth adding to our list? Hit our comments section with your suggestions below!