One of the largest countries in Europe is also the largest country in the northern part of the continent. Sweden is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and there’s a good reason why.
This Scandinavia country features an amazing mix of fascinating architecture and natural beauty. It offers loads of amazing places to visit, ranging from grandiose palaces and castles to magnificent nature parks.
The country is bordered by Norway to the west, Finland to the east, and connected to Denmark in the south. Even though it’s the third-largest country in the European Union, it’s sparsely populated with just 10.4 million inhabitants
Over 20% of Sweden’s population lives in the metropolitan area of its capital city as well, Stockholm, a fascinating city built on 14 islands.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Sweden, and hopefully, our list can help you to create your bucket list when visiting the country.
1. The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is the main residence of the monarch of Sweden and is also referred to as the “Stockholm Palace,” a reference to its location in the heart of Sweden’s capital.
The current version of the palace was built between 1697 and 1760 and is one of the largest and most fascinating palaces in Europe. It features a whopping 1,430 rooms but only 660 of these have windows.
These rooms are divided into 3 floors and the entire structure has a length of 230 meters (750 feet) and a width of 125 meters (410 feet), a huge palace complex.
Apart from serving as the main residence and office of the Swedish monarchy, it also houses 4 museums named the Livrustkammaren, Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, The Treasury, and The Tre Kronor Museum.
A popular attraction outside of the palace is the changing of the guards, a ceremony that takes place at the Outer Courtyard of the palace. This is definitely a must-see event while you’re in Sweden.
Official website: Royal Palace Stockholm
2. Abisko National Park
One of the most fascinating natural landscapes on the planet can be found in the utmost northern part of Sweden, a protected area called the Abisko National Park.
The park was established way back in 1909 and is situated within the Swedish province of Lapland, just near the border with Norway.
This pristine piece of nature covers a total area of 77 square kilometers (30 square miles) and the most popular way to explore the region is by hiking.
The most popular hiking trail in northern Sweden, the Kungsleden hiking trail, runs right through the national park as part of its total distance of 440 kilometers (270 miles). Skiing and snowshoeing are also possible within this astounding natural landscape.
There’s a tourist station in the park as well known as the “Abisko Turiststation” which provides lodging and an opportunity to eat.
Official website: Abisko National Park
3. Turning Torso
One of the ultimate architectural highlights in Sweden can be found in the city of Malmö, the third-largest city in the country after Stockholm and Gothenburg.
This city in the utmost southern tip of the country isn’t particularly known for its towering skyscrapers, but still features one of the most enthralling structures you’ll ever come across.
The so-called “Turning Torso” is a neo-futurist skyscraper that was completed between 2001 and 2005 and the first one to have a twisting shape.
It was a revolutionary design and multiple fantastic skyscrapers all around the world have since been constructed with a similar design.
Visiting the tower (the top 2 floors) is possible if you pre-book with HSB, the company that owns the tower.
Official website: HSB
4. Øresund Bridge
If you want to travel from Denmark to Sweden then you can do so by crossing one of the most amazing bridges in the world, the Øresund Bridge.
This bridge is often referred to as simply the “Öresund” and combines rail and road traffic. It’s the longest bridge of its kind in Europe with a total length of 7,845 meters (25,738 feet).
It crosses the Øresund Strait and connects the metropolitan area of Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark with the Swedish city of Malmö.
Yes, this means that you can see the Turning Torso from a distance when you drive across this astounding bridge, a pretty amazing experience, that’s for sure, and an amazing way to enter Sweden.
Official website: Oresunds Bron
5. Gripsholm Castle
Gripsholm Castle, locally known as “Gripsholms Slott,” is one of the most fascinating castles in Sweden. It has been owned by the Royal Family of Sweden since the 16th century and was used as one of their main residences until the 18th century.
The castle was completed between 1537 and 1709 and is situated on an outcrop of lake Mälaren, just west of the country’s capital city, Stockholm.
Even though it’s referred to as a castle, it’s considered to be a palace as well and is one of the so-called “the Crown palaces in Sweden.”
Today, its main purpose is to serve as a tourist attraction. Part of the castle was transformed into a museum that houses the National Portrait Gallery of Sweden way back in 1822.
The complex was heavily renovated between 1889 and 1894, a project that saw many of the original parts of the castle being destroyed.
One of the most peculiar attractions is a bad case of taxidermy in the form of a badly stuffed lion. This 18th-century lion now has a pretty comical face and is on public display inside the museum.
Official website: Gripsholm Castle
6. Ice Hotel
When we look to book a hotel, comfort is pretty high on the list of things we look for. We’re not pretty sure if an Ice Hotel can fulfill this mandatory requirement, though.
Regardless, the permanent Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, a town in northern Sweden, is a popular tourist attraction in itself. As the name implies, you literally step into a world of ice, including the rooms you sleep in.
This remarkable hotel was established in 1990 as well, which means it’s not just a fad. The temperature inside the hotel remains at −5 °C (23 °F) at all times, which means it’s always freezing.
The walls of the hotel, the beds, the closets, and just about everything else are all made out of ice, quite astonishing!
Official website: Ice Hotel