Sweden at a Glance
Mysterious, traditional, awe-inspiring, historic, contemporary, easy-going, powerful; we could go on and on. Sweden is each of these, and so much more. You can see the Northern Lights, the Midnight Sun and meet Santa Claus in the north. In central Sweden you will fall in love with the beautiful metropolis of Stockholm and the tradition of Dalanar. While to the south, relaxing country cottages with lakeside and seaside settings beckon.
This is a brief overview of three of Sweden’s most visited regions:
- Northern Sweden is to home the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights. Its landscape is vast and varied. Alpine peaks, pine forests, meadows and glaciers are home to bear, elk, the wolverine and most importantly the Sami; the indigenous people of the region.
- Central Sweden is where the country’s capital city can be found. Stockholm is spread amongst 14 unique islands, and flourishes with culture, shopping and gastronomy. Also here is the Great Copper Mine in Falun. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mine is how Sweden became a major power in Europe.
- Southern Sweden: This temperate region is where the majority of the country resides, approximately 80%. The landscape is serene, with rolling fields, seaside towns, lakes and wide-spread forests. Malmo, Lund and Helsingborg are all found here.
Sweden Essential Facts
- Capital: Stockholm.
- Driver’s License: A driver’s license from your home country is required. An International drivers license is not required, but recommended.
- Entry Requirements: A valid passport.
- GMT Time: +1hr. Daylight savings time is applied.
- Languages: Swedish officially, English is widely spoken though. The recognized minority languages include: Sami (Lapp), Finnish, Meankieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish and Romani Chib (a Gypsy language).
- National Airlines: SAS Scandinavian Airlines.
- Population: Approximately 9,379,116.
- Electricity: 220-240V, 50HZ.
- Departure Tax: No departure tax to be paid locally at the airport.
- Taxes: The Value Added Tax on most goods and services is 25%. Refunds can be requested when you spend SEK 200, in the same store on the same day and if you are not a resident of the European Union. You must get a Retail Export Form from the store, have customs stamp your form upon your departure and then mail it in for your refund once you are home.
- Tipping: Service charges are routinely included in most hotel bills. Hotel doormen and porters should be tipped modestly. A small gratuity for evening meals is expected in restaurants, even though a service charge is included in the bill. Taxi drivers typically receive a couple of kronors.
- Climate: Sweden’s climate is generally temperate, but can vary depending on the region you are visiting. The further north you travel, the cooler the weather.
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