Planning a trip to Sweden? Must-see places for every traveler

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Sweden is the quintessence of Nordic charm, and on a trip to Sweden, visitors will find a combination of the country’s medieval heritage and modern attractions.

The country is recognized for its breathtaking views, innovative aspirations and deep-rooted cultural traditions.

The enchantments a visitor can find include the serene archipelagos and the stunning northern lights of the Arctic Circle. In addition to historical explorations, exciting innovation can be felt throughout the cities in Sweden, offering experiences for every traveler. 

Swedish flag flying with a blue-sky background

Sweden’s flag has similarities to that of its Scandinavian neighbors Norway and Denmark. The flag is of a blue and yellow Nordic cross. (Kristof Z. Markovics/NurPhoto)

General New Zealand travel info

  • Predominant language spoken: Swedish
  • Currency: Swedish krona (SEK)
  • Electricity: Type C and Type F, Europlugs

Travel requirements: North American citizens need not apply for a visa to travel to Sweden for 90 days or less. However, a valid passport is required.

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Must-see travel spots in Sweden

Here are some of the must-see places to add to a Sweden travel itinerary:

Aurora borealis in Sweden

Sweden’s northern skies are the perfect canvas for the Aurora Borealis, one of nature’s most spectacular shows. (Narciso Contreras/Anadolu)

Stockholm archipelago

The archipelago in Stockholm, Sweden, is a group of thousands of islands connected by boat and ferry access. Many of the islands are small, but there are larger ones, including Värmdö and Vaxholm. 

The choice of island(s) for each traveler to visit hinges on the duration of their trip, the activities they wish to engage in and the time of year of their visit. The Stockholm archipelago offers numerous activities, including cycling, swimming, hiking and sea kayaking.

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For a more relaxing trip, guests can roam the small charming villages on the islands and shop at the local shops. For an authentic Swedish experience, travelers can forage for berries and try traditional cuisine. 

The archipelago’s exploration options are endless. Many boat trips are available to help travelers explore the islands’ stunning maritime landscape. 

Gamla Stan (Old Town)

Gamla Stan, commonly referred to as Stockholm’s Old Town, is the historic city center. It welcomes visitors with cobblestone streets leading to numerous cultural and architectural attractions. It is also one of the best-preserved Medieval centers in all of Europe

Aerial view of snowfall in Stockholm, Sweden over roads and buildings

Sweden is known for its natural beauty, Viking heritage, ABBA and pop music like ABBA. (Narciso Contreras/Anadolu)

Stortorget is the main square of Old Town and attracts visitors with sites such as the Baroque-style Royal Palace and the Royal Chapel. The Changing of the Guards takes place outside the Royal Palace daily, which is a fascinating royal tradition to observe.

Although Galma Stan is primarily known for its historical significance, visitors also come for the gastronomical offerings, which can even be experienced through a guided food tour such as the Nordic food walk.

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Speaking of guided tours, Gamla Stan offers historic walks, including the Stockholm Ghost Walk’s spooky tours and a self-guided Stockholm 1793 City Walk.

Vasa Museum

Maritime history enthusiasts should visit the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, which is home to the only preserved 17th-century ship in the world, the Vasa. This historic vessel lay submerged for over three centuries until it was recovered and restored.

The Vasa’s ill-fated maiden voyage ended abruptly just after leaving Stockholm harbor. It capsized due to a faulty design that failed to account for its substantial size and heavy armament. Only around 30 passengers and crew members survived.

Vasa at the Vasa Museum

The 226-foot-long Vasa vessel had 64 cannons and a crew of 450 men aboard. (FREDRIK SANDBERG/TT News Agency/AFP )

The Vasa museum is filled with intricate sculptures commemorating the ship’s anticipated journeys and battles. The Vasa depicts the 17th century’s naval ambitions. Significant time and work have been put into restoring the vessel to its near-original 1628 form. 

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Several exhibits within the museum tell the story of the Vasa—from what life was anticipated to be like onboard to the details of the Stockholm shipyard where the Vasa was constructed and the strategic role it was designed to play in battle. 

Skansen Open-Air Museum

Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum. 

Visitors can discover how Swedes once lived based on the different seasons. The open-air museum celebrates the traditions and festivities throughout the year. From concerts during the summer to Christmas markets in the winter, Skansen offers insights into Swedish history and culture. 

Couple walks through a tunnel of Christmas lights in Sweden

Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum. The museum showcases farmsteads and houses from all parts of Sweden. (Narciso Contreras/Anadolu)

Part historical museum and part zoo, Skansen offers activities for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can watch craft demonstrations, visit the Nordic Zoo, attend folk dances throughout the year and experience traditional celebrations like Midsummer, Christmas and Walpurgis Night.

Since the museum is large and has hilly terrain, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and dress according to the weather report.  

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Icehotel

Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, a village in northern Sweden, offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience of living in a room filled with ice sculptures by some of the world’s most talented artists. Since 1989, Icehotel has been re-created each winter entirely from ice and snow. 

Although it is primarily a seasonal attraction, Icehotel 365 is the year-round experience of Icehotel. 

Icehotel rooms lined up in Sweden

There are 55 rooms available at the Icehotel in Sweden. The entire hotel is made out of snow and ice from the Torne River. (Roy Rochlin)

Accommodations range from standard ice rooms to more intricate suites. Although it is not necessary to be an overnight guest to visit Icehotel, it is a unique experience. Each room remains at -5 to -8 degrees Celsius, and guests sleep in a thermal sleeping bag and are encouraged to dress in layers of thermal and to wear wool socks.

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Visitors can enjoy various activities during their stay, including dog sledding, sleigh rides, excursions to see the Northern Lights and ice sculpture workshops. 

Some other spots that might be of interest to travelers to Sweden are:

  • The ABBA Museum—Located in Stockholm, this museum recognizes the iconic Swedish pop group ABBA. It includes interactive showcases and is an entertainment spot for nostalgic music fans that offers a look into Swedish pop culture.
  • Gothenburg archipelago—Although not as well known as the Stockholm archipelago, this spot is excellent for kayaking, dining on fresh seafood, hiking and seal safaris.
  • Ales Stenar—Much like Stonehenge, this early Iron-Age structure consists of massive boulders that span 67 meters (about 73 feet), according to visitskane.com.
  • Sigtuna—History buffs, shoppers and visitors of all kinds will enjoy a trip to Sweden’s oldest town, which was established by Vikings around 970. Rune stones and medieval buildings fill the district near Lake Mälaren.
  • Kosterhavet National Park—Sweden’s first and only marine national park is located in the Strömstad and Tanum municipalities. Activities include boating, swimming and diving.



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