The Regions of Sweden

Aerial view of Nordic Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

Johner Images / Getty Images

As you plan your trip, you might wonder, what are the most distinctive regions of Sweden that attract visitors?

Northern Sweden or Lapland

Probably the most magical of all the regions of Sweden. Here is where the Sami people still live, the original Swedes, whose roots can be traced back to the Ice Age. During the winter, temperatures here can reach as low as -50C, but don’t let that put you off. The abundance of snow is perfect for a ride on a dog sled across the Swedish mountains. Or, if you like more speed, you can take a snowmobile safari. If you visit the Lapland region between the months of September and March, you are very likely to witness an unforgettable phenomenon across the Artic skies: the Northern Lights, which will turn the sky into shades of green and pink, making it a surrealistic experience. If you are on your honeymoon, you can’t miss the ice hotels, where everything is made out of ice, including many art sculptures. One of the suites even has a sauna. But remember to make your reservations up to one year in advance.

Shot of alley ways in Gamla STan
TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Central Sweden

Here is where you will get the cosmopolitan feel of Sweden, especially in the 700 year old capital city, Stockholm. The city offers many cultural options, such as museums, palaces and great public buildings worth visiting. Take a walking tour on the streets of the Old Town, or Gamla Stan, and enjoy its bubbling life, with lots of restaurants, bars and cafes, where you will find people from everywhere in the world. If you are on a shopping frenzy, don’t miss out on the designer labels and vintage shops in the area. Another city worth visiting in this region is the university city of Uppsala, built during medieval times. The Domkyrka, or Uppsala Cathedral, was founded in 1435 and re-styled during the 19th century and it’s certainly worth a visit to check its impressive gothic style.

Southern Sweden

Of all the regions of Sweden, the south is the one that offers the most peculiar beauty, with unexpected sandy beaches and amazing plains, perfect for farming. This natural gift has turned the area into one of Europe’s richest farming regions. You can try the local artisan foods at the many restaurants and bars in the cities of Malmö and Gothenburg. Malmö is a friendly multi-cultural city with a lot of attractions. If you Iike contemporary art, go and check out the Moderna Museet Malmö, which is located in an old power station and holds exhibits from international artists. You can also do some interesting shopping while in Malmö. The city is famous for launching new Swedish fashion labels. Located on the West Coast, the city of Gothenburg has a lot to offer besides amazing food. The western archipelago is one of the best places in the world for kayaking and the views are amazing. You can also go canoeing in one of the thousands of lakes in the region, with water so clear that you can actually drink from it.

It doesn't matter which one of the regions of Sweden you are visiting, if you go during the summer you are bound to experience the most important of all Swedish traditions, the Midsummer, or Midsommar. The celebrations take place in all cities, especially in the countryside, welcoming summertime and the start of the season of fertility, according to pagan traditions. Midsummer Eve always takes place on the Friday between the dates of June 19 and 25. This is the night of the year with most light from the sun; in fact it may not get dark at all. This magical celebration is shared with family and friends, so try to get invited by a local to experience the real Midsummer, with all its songs and good traditional Swedish food and drinks.