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Sweden

Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund.

At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.5 million.

Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometre (54 /sq mi) with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas. Sweden's capital city is Stockholm, which is also the largest city.

Regions.

Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap (landscapes), based on culture, geography and history. While these provinces serve no political or administrative purpose, they play an important role in people's self-identity. The provinces are usually grouped together in three large lands, parts, the northern Norrland, the central Svealand and southern Götaland. The sparsely populated Norrland encompasses almost 60% of the country.

About 15% of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Around 65% of Sweden's total land area is covered with forests. The highest population density is in the Öresund Region in southern Sweden, along the western coast up to central Bohuslän, and in the valley of lake Mälaren and Stockholm. Gotland and Öland are Sweden's largest islands; Vänern and Vättern are its largest lakes. Vänern is the third largest in Europe

Cities

Sweden has very few "big" cities compared to the rest of Europe. The capital city Stockholm is the biggest with a population about 1,5 million inhabitants. Other bigger cities are Gothenburg, Malmo, Norrkoping, Linkoping, Uppsala.

Cities with university:

Stockholm, Uppsala, Lund, Gothenburg, Umea, Lulea

Cities with smaller university called högskola: Skövde, Östersund, Karlstad, Halmstad, Jönköping, Kristianstad, Malmö, Helsingborg, Kalmar/Växjö

Other Destinations

Sweden has a great countryside and many rural areas with great nature. The west coast from Gothenburg to the Norwegian border has a beautiful archipelago with thousands of little islands. Also on the east cost you can find many islands. Stockholm archipelago is famous for its beauty. Sweden has two bigger Islands, Gotland and Öland worth wisiting during summer.

Getting there

You can reach Sweden by all means of traveling. South Sweden is connected with Denmark via a bridge, but also ferries. There are ferries to Germany, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. Flying to Sweden is easy and the bigger cities has airports. Ryanair and EasyJet have many connections daily to Sweden from central Europe and GB.

Visas and regulations.

Sweden is part of the Schengen agreement so same rules as for most of Europe.

Currency.

Sweden has Swedish crowns. The exchange rate to Euro was £1 = 8,53 sek. on 12130108.

Getting around

There is a national railway system called SJ.Tickets can be bought online at http://www.sj.se/start/startpage/index.form?l=en Tickets can be bought 3 months in advance (when they are cheapest). There is often also last minute tickets sold much cheaper. If you carry a student ID you can also have a discount. There is normally one night train to north of Sweden every evening, leaving from Malmo and Gothenburg via Stockholm.

All the regions connect their cities, towns and villages with buses and sometimes trains.

Sweden has good roads in most areas and bigger cities are connected via highways. Speed limit is 120 on highways and 90 on local roads. Drinking and driving is not a good idea ( limit is 0,2 per mill) Hitchhiking is possible, but seen as difficult when many people are afraid to pick up hitchhikers.

What to do

It has become very popular to go up in the very north to see the "Northern Light" during winters. (But you need longjohns and very warm clothes) Hiking in Lapland during summers is also very popular. There are several National parks with walking tracks connected with little huts to sleep in. Walks usually takes 5-7 days. Be aware of the fact that you are leaving civilization during that time. You will have no access to your mobile or computer.

The right of Public access.

The swedish word for this is "allemansrätten" and means you have the right to freely use the nature. Certainly that comes with regulations and responsibilities. Please follow this link and read about what you can and cannot do. http://www.naturvardsverket.se/en/In-English/Start/Enjoying-nature/The-right-of-public-access/

People

Swedes are known in the world for being somewhat reserved and silent. Swedes are by their culture rather direct and speak their mind. This should not be taken as an insult however. Nearly all Swedes speak more than one language. English language is known by everybody but many also understand German, French and Spanish.

Climate.

Since Sweden is situated in the northern part or Europe, it is considered as a cold country. Winters are long ( 6 months) and there will be snow in most parts. Summers can be quite rainy. Temperatures are extreme in the northern part during winter. Normal summer temps. are 18-25 degrees Celsius. When traveling to Sweden, it is a good idea to bring warm clothes and shoes that can stand damp. Note. Camping is not a very good idea between mid October to end of April. It is too cold and to wet.

Eat and Drink

If you visit Sweden during Christmas, have some "glögg" (molded wine). You can buy this at "Systembolaget" (only place where you can buy beverage with alcohol content of more than 3%) or the low alcohol version in any food store. Glögg is best served hot.

Being a Guest in Sweden (taken from the CS wiki)

In Swedish homes everybody takes off their shoes at the door.
Swedes tend to be practical and to the point, do not mistake that for rudeness.
But it happens also that Swedes disapprove behaviour and will not tell. Be attentive to non-verbal notations.
The custom in Sweden is that everyone pays for exactly what they have ordered in a restaurant or a bar.
However it is never bad to pay for someone if one cares to do a nice gesture.
Because of the high price of alcohol, when invited to a party everybody brings their own alcohol, some share it :: but most don't. If you are not offered a drink, assume the bottle is off limits.
Smoking inside homes is very uncommon, even smokers go outside from their own apartment to smoke.
You can drink the tap water.
In the Summer people swim in most lakes and bodies of water. This can seem strange to those who come from areas there the water is too polluted to swim in. If the Swedes are not in doubt, you should probably not be either.

Accomodation............


Note: a snippet of text and the flag picture was taken from Wikipedia / en.

Sweden