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Sweden

Sweden (Swedish: Sverige) is the largest of the Nordic countries by size and population, with about 10 million inhabitants. It borders Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark via a bridge-tunnel across Öresund. The Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Bothnia, lies east of Sweden, separating it from most of Finland. The northernmost part of Sweden is in the Arctic.

Regions

The three traditional lands of Sweden, Götaland, Svealand and Norrland, are further divided into 25 provinces, landskap, which largely define Swedish people's cultural identity.

The provinces mostly coincide with the 20 counties, län, the mid-level political entities. The municipality, kommun, is the bottom-level political entity, typically consisting of a town or a city, and the surrounding countryside, including small villages. Some municipalities used to hold city (stad) privileges, and still style themselves as such, though there is no legal distinction. Most municipalities have their own visitor centre.

Though Swedish people rarely have strong feelings for their country, most of them are patriotic for their province or hometown, and appreciate anything good that a traveller can say about them.

Cities

  • Stockholm is Sweden's capital and largest city, spread out over several islands.
  • Gothenburg (Göteborg) is Sweden's largest port and industrial centre, second in population.
  • Karlskrona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the base for Sweden's navy since the 17th century.
  • Kiruna is Sweden's northernmost and maybe most unusual city; known for a large mine, a space flight centre, and the Jukkasjärvi ice hotel.
  • Linköping has a large university, and is the birthplace of Sweden's aviation industry.
  • Malmö, with a quarter million inhabitants, is connected to the Danish capital Copenhagen by the Öresund Bridge.
  • Umeå is a university city in Norrland.
  • Uppsala is a lively pretty university city with a Viking Age heritage, the fourth largest city in Sweden.
  • Visby is the only city on the Gotland island, a Medieval centre of commerce with an impressive city wall.

Other destinations

  • Abisko is a national park at Sweden's northernmost edge.
  • Bohuslän is Sweden's most productive fishery, rich in maritime wildlife.
  • Ekerö is a freshwater archipelago with the Royal family's residence Drottningholm, and Viking Age settlement Birka.
  • Laponia is Western Europe's largest wilderness, in the Arctic.
  • Siljansbygden is an archetype of Swedish folk culture in central Dalarna.
  • Stockholm archipelago consists of islands all shapes and sizes.
  • Ystad is a picturesque waterfront town, known from the Wallander series.
  • Åre is one of Sweden's largest ski resorts, with 44 lifts.
  • Öland is Sweden's second largest island, with long beaches.

Understand

The "Nordic model" of economics and social policy was largely developed by Swedish social democrats and liberals during the early 20th century. The foundation is a strong welfare state, combined with market economics. Swedish society, as it has become through this policy, is often described as "folkhemmet", comparing solidarity in the society with that in a family:

The Home's foundation is community and unity. The good Home knows no privileged or expelled ones, no favourites or step-children. There, no one looks down on one another. There, no one tries to get an advantage at another's cost, the strong does not oppress or plunder the weak. – Per Albin Hansson, Social Democratic Prime Minister 1932—1946.

History

See also: Vikings and the Old Norse, Nordic history

In ancient times, Sweden was inhabited by the Suiones (svear) in Svealand and the Geats (götar) in Götaland. Some of these participated in Viking expeditions (see Vikings and the Old Norse), and are said to have founded the first kingdoms in Russia. Written sources from the Viking Age are few and short.

Around AD 1000, Christianity replaced Norse paganism, Suiones and Geats united under one king (probably Olof Skötkonung), and the first cities were founded; among them SigtunaUppsala and Skara. With Christianity came written chronicles and stone architecture, which have provided the afterworld with better historical detail than earlier remnants. Swedish kings christianized and annexed Finland. During the 14th and 15th century, Sweden was a subject of the Kalmar Union together with Norway and Denmark. King Gustav Vasa liberated Sweden from Danish rule, and was elected as king in 1523, and is regarded as the founder of modern Sweden. He also reformed the church to Lutheran-Protestant. Today's Sweden is a secular state with very few church-goers.

During the 17th century Sweden rose as a Great Power, through several successful wars (such as the Thirty Years' War), where kings such as Gustavus Adolphus and Charles X annexed Scania, Halland and Bohuslän from Denmark, as well as temporary possessions in the Baltic countries and northern Germany. In the early 18th century, an alliance of Denmark, Poland and the Russian Empire defeated Swedish king Charles XII, marking the end of the Swedish Empire. In 1809, Sweden was again defeated by Russia, which annexed Finland. The country has been at peace since 1814; the country has a high peace profile, with internationally renowned names such as Raoul Wallenberg, Dag Hammarskjöld, Olof Palme and Hans Blix. Sweden is a monarchy by constitution, but king Carl XVI Gustaf has no executive power.

Sweden is a developed post-industrial society with an advanced welfare state. The standard of living and life expectancy rank among the highest in the world. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but decided by a referendum in 2003 not to commit to the European Monetary Union and the euro currency. Leadership of Sweden has for the larger part of the 20th century been dominated by the Social Democratic Party, which started out at the end of the 19th century as a labor movement (coalitions of centre-right liberal/conservative parties held the power 1976–1982 and 2006–2014).

Sweden has a strong tradition of being an open, yet discreet country. Citizens sometimes appear to be quite reserved at first, but once they get to know who they are dealing with, they'll be as warm and friendly as you'd wish. Privacy is regarded as a key item and many visitors, for example mega-stars in various lines of trade, have many times realized that they mostly can walk the streets of the cities virtually undisturbed.

Sweden houses the Nobel Prize committee for all the prizes except the peace prize, which is hosted in Oslo, a memento of the Swedish-Norwegian union that was dissolved in 1905.

The year in Sweden

Swedish summer is the most beautiful day of the year. – Swedish joke See also: Winter in the Nordic countries

Weather in Sweden is typically cold from October to April, but in the summer (late May to early September) temperature lies around 20 degrees C. If you like snow, go to Norrland or Dalarna in January to April.

Daylight varies greatly during the year. In Stockholm, the sun sets at 15:00 in December. In June and July, however, summer nights exist only in the form of prolonged twilight. North of the Arctic Circle one can experience the midnight sun around Midsummer and the Arctic night in midwinter.

The major holidays are Easter (påsk), Midsummer (midsommar, celebrated from the eve of the Friday between June 19–25), Christmas (jul, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are all considered holidays). Most celebration happens on the day before the holiday proper; Midsummer's Eve, Christmas Eve etc.

Sweden has five weeks of vacation, usually spent throughout July. Expect closed venues, heavy traffic (for the holidays) and crowded tourist resorts (for July).

Get in

Entry requirements

Sweden is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

  • There are normally no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most of the European Union and a few other countries.
  • There are usually identity checks before boarding international flights or boats. Sometimes there are temporary border controls at land borders.
  • Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
  • Please see Travelling around the Schengen Area for more information on how the scheme works, which countries are members and what the requirements are for your nationality.

Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Sweden without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90-day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries.

Beware that you need to register cash in the equivalence of €10,000 and more, pets and firearms when entering Sweden. The Swedish Customs (Tull) is an law enforcement agency, that is entitled to arrest people using due force.

By plane

For arrival and departure times, as well as lots of other information about flights and airports in Sweden, visit Luftfartsverket - Swedish Airports and Air Navigation Services

Major airports:

  • Stockholm Arlanda (IATA: ARN) is by far the country's largest airport, serving most major international and domestic airlines. See Sigtuna for airport amenities, and Stockholm for information on transfer between the airport and central Stockholm.
  • Göteborg Landvetter (IATA: GOT) - serves several international airlines and provides convenient bus transfer (about 20 minutes) to central Gothenburg.
  • Copenhagen Airport (IATA: CPH) - Located in Denmark on an island between Copenhagen and Malmö, this is Scandinavia's largest air hub, served by most major airlines. Direct rail line from the airport to southern Sweden allows it to serve most of the region conveniently.
  • Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (IATA: OSL) in Norway can be considered for destinations in western Sweden.

Smaller airports:

  • Stockholm Skavsta (IATA: NYO) is mainly served by low fares airlines like Ryanair and Wizzair. In Nyköping, quite a distance (about 100 km) from Stockholm.
  • Stockholm Bromma (IATA: STO), 6 kilometres west of central Stockholm, mainly for short-range flights.
  • Stockholm Västerås (IATA: VST) - international flights to/from Copenhagen and London. Also about 100 km from Stockholm.
  • Malmö-Sturup (IATA: MMX)- serves domestic flights and low fares flights. Located about 30 km from Malmö.

Most airports can be reached by Flygbussarna - Airport coaches for tickets around 70 to 100 SEK. Copenhagen Airport is best reached by train. See Skånetrafiken for schedules.

By train

You can reach Sweden by train from neighbor countries:

  • Denmark: Trains depart Copenhagen and Copenhagen's airport for Malmö every 20 minutes, and cost only about 100 Swedish kronor ("Öresundståg / Øresundstog" regional trains). The train goes over the magnificent Öresund Bridge to get to Sweden in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore direct trains (SJ) leave from Copenhagen to Stockholm. Be aware that the two operators do not recognize each others tickets. The Elsinore-Helsingborg connection, known as one of the busiest ferry routes in Europe, might also be used (local trains from Copenhagen, change to ship).
  • Norway: Main connections between Oslo and Stockholm and Gothenburg as well as connections between Trondheim–Åre–Östersund and Narvik–Kiruna–Boden–Stockholm.
  • Germany: Berlin to Malmö with "Berlin Night Express". There are also several trains per day from Hamburg to Copenhagen, and night trains from München, Basel, Köln and Amsterdam to Copenhagen. See the Denmark section about how to get from Copenhagen to Sweden.
  • Finland: Travel via Kemi–Tornio–Haparanda–Luleå / Boden by bus. Interrail tickets are valid on that bus. There is no train connection, as Finland and Sweden use different rail gauges.

By bus

From western and central Europe via Copenhagen by Eurolines or Gobybus.

Buses from and to the Western Balkans are also operated by Toptourist, [1]. Call + 46 (0 ) 42 18 29 84 for more information.

There are buses from Tornio in Finland, and, e.g., from Oslo, Bodø and Mo i Rana in Norway.

By car

From Germany, a car ferry or two is needed. See the By boat section. The exception to that is the Great Belt Bridge together with the Öresund Bridge can be used for a ferry-free drive to Sweden (drive Hamburg-(road 7)-Flensburg-(road E45)-Odense-(road E20)-Copenhagen-Malmö). That is however a 170-km detour, and the bridges have heavy tolls, and it is nice to have a break from driving and eat on board.

By boat

Before the Öresund Bridge was completed in year 2000, the Scandinavian peninsula could only be reached by boat, unless going very far north. Still, boat traffic is very important to Sweden.

Belgium

  • From Ghent to Gothenburg by DFDS Torline (cargo line with limited passenger capacity)

Denmark

  • From Grenå to Varberg by Stena Line.
  • From Frederikshavn to Gothenburg by Stena Line.
  • From Elsinore to Helsingborg by Scandlines and Sundsbusserne.

Estonia

  • From Tallinn to Stockholm (via Helsinki) by Viking Line [2].
  • From Tallinn to Stockholm (direct connection) by Tallink [3].

Finland

  • From Helsinki to Stockholm (via Åland) by Tallink Silja and Viking Line.
  • From Naantali to Kapellskär by Finnlines.
  • From Turku to Stockholm (via Åland) by Tallink Silja and Viking Line.
  • From Vaasa to Umeå by Wasaline.

Latvia

  • From Riga to Stockholm by Tallink.
  • From Ventspils to Nynäshamn by Stena Line.

Lithuania

  • From Klaipeda to Karlshamn by DFDS Seaways.

Germany

  • From Travemünde to Trelleborg by TT-Line.
  • From Travemünde to Malmö by Finnlines.
  • From Kiel to Gothenburg by Stena Line.
  • From Sassnitz to Trelleborg by Scandlines .
  • From Rostock to Trelleborg by Scandlines and TT-Line.
  • From Puttgarden to Rødby (Denmark) by Scandlines. Continue by the Elsinore to Helsingborg ferry, or the bridge to Malmö.

Norway

  • From Sandefjord to Strömstad by Color Line

Poland

  • From Gda?sk to Nynäshamn by Polferries.
  • From Gda?sk to Visby by Polferries.
  • From Gdynia to Karlskrona by Stena Line.
  • From ?winouj?cie to Ystad by Polferries.

Russia

  • From Saint Petersburg to Stockholm by St. Peter Line.

UK

  • From Immingham and Tilbury to Gothenburg by DFDS Torline (cargo line with limited passenger capacity).

Get around

The ancient right to access (allemansrätten) grants everybody a right to move freely in nature on foot, swimming, by horse, by ski, by bicycle or by boat, even on others' private property – but not through private yards. With the right comes an obligation to respect the privacy of people the integrity of nature. It is important to understand the limitations.

By plane

Domestic flights are mainly for travellers with more money than time, and for the vast distances of Norrland. There are low-price tickets, but they must be bought well in advance.

The most important domestic airlines:

  • SAS - the international airline, and flag carrier, has many domestic routes as well.
  • Blekinge Flyg - the most south east airport in Sweden and the only one in Blekinge.
  • Nextjet - has many domestic routes to smaller places, has taken over some of Skyways routes.
  • Direktflyg - several domestic routes and also flights to Norway.
  • Norwegian - several domestic and a few international destinations.
  • Malmö Aviation - serves domestic destinations, Brussels and Nice.
  • Gotlandsflyg - connects Stockholm and the island of Gotland.

By train

See also: Rail and bus travel in Sweden

Sweden has an extensive railway network. Most long-range lines are operated by the government-owned company SJ. To buy a railway ticket, or to obtain information, phone +46 771 75 75 75 or check their website. Because point-to-point tickets are quite expensive, for more train journeys in Sweden InterRail (for European citizens) or Eurail (for non-European citizens) pass might be useful. Purchasing single journey tickets online in advance can also help save money, although the cheapest tickets often come with more restrictions.

The national public transport carriers operate an alliance service called Resplus for multiple-leg travel. See Resrobot for an interactive journey planner.

Regional public transport typically has a carrier per county. For instance, when travelling regionally in the province of Scania (Skåne in Swedish), one should refer to Skånetrafiken. For travelling in the region of [Mälardalen] (the "Lake Mälaren Valley"), you can check all train and bus operators on a mutual website, Trafik i Mälardalen. This regional traffic cooperation includes many of Sweden's major cities, such as StockholmUppsala, Västerås, Linköping, Norrköping, Örebro and Eskilstuna, and reaches more than three million people.

By bus

Swebus and gobybus runs a number of bus lines in the southern third of the country, Götaland and Svealand. They tend to cost less than going by train, if you can't take advantage of SJ's youth discounts. Y-buss, tapanis, and Härjedalingen operate between Stockholm and Norrland.

Swebus also operates from Stockholm and Göteborg to Oslo. At the county or län level, buses are a good method for travelling short distances from town to town, as they are more frequent and cheaper than trains. It is best to check with the local transportation authority for routes and schedules.

  • Bus4You [4] is a high-comfort carrier.

City buses

City buses are operated by the counties' public-transport companies.

If you plan to use city buses, check out the local arrangements for how to obtain tickets. In many Swedish cities it is not possible to buy tickets for the city buses at the bus. In this case neither cash nor bank or credit cards are accepted. Instead you need an electronic bus card, a special card for each region, that sometimes also has to be filled with a minimum amount of money, typically 100 kr. This bus card can sometimes be obtained only at dedicated ticket offices, not at the bus, but can often be filled with money for travel at local shops or refill machines that are found at public places.

On long distance buses, passengers can normally buy tickets from the driver.

By car

See also: Driving in Sweden and Winter driving

Svealand and Götaland can be crossed by car within a day, but distances in Norrland tend to be larger, and settlements can be tens of kilometres apart. When available, air or rail travel are often faster. Travelling by night can be dangerous due to wild animals on the roads, and the cold nights during the winter. See E4 through Sweden and E6 through Sweden and Norway for two of the main highways. While traffic is less aggressive than in Denmark or Central Europe, traffic jams are common around Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Car crash rates in Sweden are among the lowest in Europe. Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory for everyone in the car. Driving tired is illegal and is treated the same way as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Animal collisions with moose, deer and boar are a major danger; these animals are commonly on the road, especially around dawn and dusk. The moose is a big and heavy animal (up to 700 kg and 2,1 m shoulder height) so a collision can be lethal.

Drunk driving is a serious crime, the laws are strictly enforced, and the punishments are harsh by international standards. The legal limit of 0.02% is lower than in most other western countries and as little as one beer may put you over the limit. Violations carry a hefty fine and/or a prison sentence of up to 6 months, while serious violations of 0.1% and higher carry a guaranteed prison sentence of up to 2 years. Be sure to either bring a designated driver, take a taxi or make use of public transport if you plan on drinking.

By thumb

Sweden has a reputation for being a pretty difficult country to hitch in, though it's still quite possible to hitch-hike. Ordinary people are often reluctant to pick up strangers. Truck drivers are probably most likely to pick up hitch-hikers, so target them. Asking at gas stations works pretty well. Bus stops are common places to attract attention, position yourself before the actual bus stop so the vehicle can stop at the stop. This works best if the road is widened at the bus stop, allowing cars to pull off easily.

By bike

See also: Cycling in Europe#Sweden

Most Swedish cities have excellent bicycle paths, and renting a bike can be a quick and healthy method of getting around locally. Some cities have bikes for borrowing. Inter-city cycling is a good option for the experienced cyclist.

Unlike most European countries, bicycles are not allowed on any trains, except for foldable bicycles, which count as regular luggage.

By foot

Cars are by law required to stop at any unattended crosswalks (zebra stripes in the road without red-lights) to let pedestrians cross the road. But keep in mind that you are required to make eye contact with the driver so that they know that you are about to cross the street.

Talk

See also: Swedish phrasebook

Swedish (Svenska) is the national language of Sweden, but you will find that people, especially those born since 1945, also speak English very well – an estimated 89% of Swedes can speak English. While Finnish (the largest minority language) as well as the less spoken Sami, Meänkeäli, Yiddish and Romani languages are officially recognized, practically everyone born in Sweden speaks Swedish. Regardless of what your native tongue is, Swedes greatly appreciate any attempt to speak Swedish and beginning conversations in Swedish, no matter how quickly your understanding peters out, will do much to ingratiate yourself to the locals.

Hej (hey) is the massively dominant greeting in Sweden, useful on kings and bums alike. You can even say it when you leave. The Swedes most often do not say "please" (snälla say SNELL-la), instead they are generous with the word tack (tack), meaning "thanks". If you need to get someone's attention, whether it's a waiter or you need to pass someone one in a crowded situation, a simple "ursäkta" (say "OR-sek-ta") ("excuse me") will do the trick. You will find yourself pressed to overuse it, and you sometimes see people almost chanting it as a mantra when trying to exit a crowded place like a bus or train.

Some things get English names that do not correspond to the original English word. Some examples are light which is used for diet products, and freestyle which means "walkman". Sweden uses the metric system and in the context of distance, the common expression mil, "mile", is 10 kilometers, not an English statute mile. Because of the distances involved, mil is used in spoken language even though roadsigns all use kilometers.

Foreign television programmes and films are almost always shown in their original language with Swedish subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Swedish.

See

As modern as its society is, Sweden is a country full of seemingly untouched nature and ever-present history. First stop for many visitors is historic and compact Stockholm, full of heritage, home to the Vasa Museum and gateway to the Stockholm Archipelago. There's the canals and cobblestoned streets of Gothenburg, with its famous botanical garden, or the modern architecture of Malmö. For more history, head to the port town of Visby, a recognized Unesco World Heritage Site, or the medieval town of Ystad, famous through the Kurt Wallander novels that are set here and for Ales stenar, one of the ancient iron-age burial monuments in the country.

Nature

Yet, you haven't seen Sweden until you've admired its natural side. Its wide natural landscapes offer a multitude of splendid vistas and sights, from dense forests to crystal clear lakes, waterfalls and rolling mountains. The stunning but rugged wilderness of Sarek National Park, called "Europe's last wilderness" by some, is a challenging but highly rewarding area to explore. It was the first of a list of 29 established national parks and is part of the vast and Unesco protected terrains of Laponia, together with the national parks Padjelanta, Stora Sjöfallet (with its snowy peaks) and the taiga and ravines of Muddus National Park. Set out to spot elk, wolverines and more Swedish wildlife or visit in winter for a chance to see the magical Northern Lights. Kosterhavet maritime park is the place to go for lobster or seal safaris.

Palaces

Sweden has more palaces (slott), castles, and manors than other Nordic countries. Eleven of them belong to the Royal Family, and are to some extent open to the public. Stockholm Palace (Stockholm/Gamla Stan), Rosendal (Stockholm/Djurgården), Haga, Gustav III:s pavilion and Ulriksdal (Solna), Drottningholm and Kina (Ekerö), Tullgarn (Södertälje) and Rosersberg (Sigtuna) are within greater Stockholm. Gripsholm (Mariefred) and Strömsholm (Hallstahammar) are further away. The farmland areas are full of noble and bourgeois manors from the 17th century and onwards; many of them are used as hotels today.

Industrial heritage

While the Bergslagen district, Roslagen and other parts of Sweden became world-leading in mining and metalworking during the 17th century, the full industrialization of Sweden lagged behind the rest of Europe until the 20th century, when Swedish product brands such as Volvo, Ericsson, SAAB, SKF, AGA, IKEA, Tetra Pak and Atlas Copco conquered the world. During the last decades, most of the Swedish workforce has moved on to high technology and the service sector, converting many of the mines, factories and waterways to museums. Among industrial heritage sites are Göta Kanal from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic, the copper mine in Falun, and the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

Do

Outdoors

There's plenty of nature in Sweden, during the summer Kungsleden in northern Sweden attracts lots of visitors who enjoy a solitary hike between cabins or camp sites in the beautiful mountains. The Swedish Right to access gives anyone the right to walk over other's land, as long as you do not destroy nor disturb. This means that you can go sailing or canoeing and make camp on island in the Stockholm Archipelago, you can go hiking and make camp almost wherever you want, however it is illegal to make a campfire on a rock surface. Sceneries of nature, less populated than most of Europe. Ice and snow during winter. The west coast has plenty of small towns like Marstrand, Skärhamn, Mollösund and Lysekil that are worth exploring with their distinct architecture and cuisine, best experienced during summer.

Sweden is great for outdoor life – winter sport, hiking, canoeing, sailing, horse riding and berry- or mushroom-picking depending of season. The ultimate test of aerobic fitness is the Swedish Classic Circuit; four annual races of cross-country skiing (Vasaloppet, from Sälen to Mora), running (Lidingöloppet), cycling (Vätternrundan starting from Motala) and swimming (Vansbrosimningen).

Boating in Sweden can be done on a sailing boat, a motor boat, or a canoe.

City-life

Stockholm and Gothenburg have great nightlife and shopping opportunities, while far from the cheapest places in Europe.

Music

See also: Nordic music

Swedish popular music is world famous, with names such as ABBA, Roxette, Swedish House Mafia and others. Sweden hosts dozens of music festivals with international acts, as well as stars-to-be, most of them during summer. Sweden Rock Festival (Sölvesborg) and Way Out West (Gothenburg) to mention only two. There are also several festivals for folk, classical and jazz music.

Live concerts, music galas, DJs and music shows organized during Christmas events.

Choir (kör) music is big in Sweden, with regular performances even in smaller towns, not least the weeks before Christmas.

Gambling

Gambling in Sweden is offered by the state (Svenska Spel), and a few privileged organizations.

Casino Cosmopol is a state-owned company with venues in Stockholm (Norrmalm), Gothenburg, Malmö and Sundsvall. Horse racing is a pastime in many Swedish cities, with tracks around the country. The most widespread class is harness racing, trav. Bookmaking is operated through ATG with on-line agents at the tracks, and in most towns. Several bars and restaurants have legally sanctioned slot machines, Jack Vegas.

Buy

Money

The national currency is the Swedish krona (plural,: kronor), denoted by the abbreviation "kr" (ISO code: SEK). Swedes may call the currency "crowns" when speaking English. Don't confuse it with the Norwegian or Danish krone.

Automatic teller machines take major credit cards. Most stores, restaurants and bars accept all major credit cards. You might need an ID card or a passport when shopping with a credit card, though not in supermarkets and such where the PIN code is king.

One krona equals 100 öre, but 1 krona is today the smallest coin denomination. Ören remain in use only in electronic transactions; when payment is done in cash, prices are rounded to the nearest full krona.

Counterfeit Swedish money is very rare. Newer 50, 100, 500 and 1000 kr notes have holograms. Older banknotes without a hologram are invalid, but are still accepted at banks.

From October 2015, coins and banknotes are being replaced. The old 20, 50, and 1,000 kr notes expired on June 30, 2016. The old 100 and 500 kr notes, and the old 1, 2 and 5 kr coins, expire on June 30, 2017. The 10 kr coin remains valid.

Cash currency exchange is best done at companies that have specialized in this, since many commercial banks are cashless on foreign currency. Forex has branches all over most of Sweden. X-change has branches in StockholmGothenburg and Malmö. Tavex has branches in and around Stockholm.

Tipping

Tipping, known as dricks in Swedish, is not customary in Sweden, but sometimes a tip is left as a sign of appreciation for good service, usually by rounding up the bill but truly exceptional service may be rewarded with a tip of 5-10%. Tipping is strictly voluntary and should be given only as a token of real appreciation for the service. Be aware that the tips will most often be split between the waiters and the kitchen. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any extra service (such as carrying bags) will be listed on the receipt according to rate.

Cash machines

The most used Swedish word for automated teller machine is Bankomat, although this is technically a trademark of the Trade Bank Consortium, much like the term cash point in the United Kingdom, and therefore not used by several banks. A more generic word would be Uttagsautomat; Uttag, Minuten and Kontanten may also occur. Nearly all machines regardless of operator will accept the MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron and American Express. You can withdraw up to 10 000 kr per use. During a seven-day period you can withdraw a maximum of 20 000 kr.

You have three attempts to enter the correct PIN code. If you fail a third time, the machine retains the card and closing it. In order to facilitate the visually impaired have the keys on the machines equipped with Braille. You may have spoken guidance, press the TALK button. In some ATMs you can withdraw euros if you have a card issued by a Swedish bank. You may take up the maximum per use. You can make multiple withdrawals after the other but a maximum 20 000 kr per week.

Costs

Sweden is a rather expensive country to inhabit. Sundries like a 33 cl bottle of Coca Cola costs 10 kr, a beer in a bar will cost you around 45 kr, the average price of hotel accommodation is around 1300 kr, a room in a hostel varies between 150 and 350 kr, a bus/subway ticket in StockholmGothenburg and Malmö will set you back around 25 kr, one meal will cost you around 100 kr, 1 litre of petrol fuel costs about 13 kr, and a pack of 19 cigarettes will cost you 50 kr. If you are a bit careful about your expenses, a daily budget of around 1000 kr will be enough (2015 prices). House prices outside metropolitan areas are probably among the lowest in Western Europe, and discount stores such as Lidl, Netto and Willys offer a wide range of items to a low cost. Accommodation and dining out are cheaper in Stockholm than in most other West European capitals.

Taxes

Paying tax is awesome. – Coined by Social Democratic politician Mona Sahlin. Repeated years later, by her opponent Finance Minister Anders Borg of the Moderate Party, as a comment to Sweden's persistently high taxes, regardless of government.

Sweden has three levels of value-added tax (moms or mervärdesskatt). Financial transactions, gambling, healthcare, dentistry and prescripted medication are exempt from VAT. The 6 per cent level applies to passenger transport, books, newspapers, sport, cinema tickets, performances, zoos and museums. The 12 per cent level applies to travel accommodation and food (including restaurant meals and soft drinks, but not alcoholic beverages). Everything else has 25 percent VAT; that includes clothing, alcohol, tobacco, non-prescripted medication, cosmetics, hair and beauty services, appliances, souvenirs, amusement parks, nightclubs, office supplies, electronic services, vehicles (including rental), fuel, etc.

Price tags always include tax, except in business-to-business context (wholesale stores, etc).

Shopping

Bargaining is not commonly used, but it might work in some instances, especially when buying more expensive products, at flea markets and in antique shops.

Most shops, at least major chains in central areas, are open all week, even on Sundays, although they do close on Christmas Day, Midsummer's Eve afternoon and all of Midsummer's Day. Closing times are rigid, most often on the minute.

At grocery stores and supermarkets it is considered good practice to place each product on the conveyor belt so that the barcode faces either towards you or upwards so they can be scanned more quickly by the cashier. Do not stack items on top of each other; place them one by one on a line, and remember to place the divider on the conveyor belt when you are done. Also be aware that stores charge for plastic and paper bags (usually 1-3 kronor for plastic and double for paper) and that you have to bag your goods yourself.

  • An unofficial national symbol, the Dala Horse (Swedish: dalahäst) is the souvenir of souvenirs to bring from Sweden. Named after their origin, the province of Dalarna, these small wooden horses have been around since the 17th century. They are normally painted orange or blue with symmetrical decorations. They are fairly expensive: expect to pay around 100 kr for a very small one or several hundred SEK for bigger versions. The horses can be bought in souvenir shops all over Sweden. If you want to know more about how the horses are made, visit Dalarna and the municipality of Mora where the horses are carved and painted in workshops open for tourists. And if driving towards Mora from Stockholm, keep your eyes open when you pass the town of Avesta where the world's largest (13 meters high) Dala Horse overlooks the highway.
  • Swedish glass is world famous for its beauty. Several skilled glass artists have contributed to this reputation through innovative, complex (and expensive) art creations, but mass-produced Swedish table glass has also been an international success. Part of the province of Småland, between the towns of Växjö and Kalmar, is known as the Kingdom of Crystal. 15 glassworks are packed into this small area, the most famous being Orrefors, Kosta and Boda. Tourists are welcome to watch the glass blowers turn the glowing melt into glittering glass, and you can even give it a try yourself.
  • High-end wines from Systembolaget.
  • Swedish design, spanning from furniture to jewelry, is known for function, efficiency and minimalism. Designtorget [5] is a chain of stores with a wide range of everyday products; Lagerhaus is another. Svenskt Tenn is another store with beautiful items by designers such as Josef Frank.
  • There are some items for the home that are invented by Swedes that might be fun to bring home such as the cheese slicer, adjustable spanners or adjustable wrenches, safety matches, paraffin cooking stove (Primuskök) or a good old Celsius thermometer.
  • Flea markets are literally translated as loppmarknad or loppis, and one of few places where haggling is accepted.

Eat

See Nordic cuisine for an in-depth description of Swedish food.

Swedish food is typical to the Nordic cuisine, based on meat (notably pork and game), fish, dairy products, potatoes and bread, together with berries and wild mushrooms. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rather recent additions to the menu.

Traditional everyday dishes are called husmanskost (pronounced whos-mans-cost). Some of them are:

  • Pickled herring (sill) is eaten with bread or potatoes for summer lunch or as a starter on the smörgåsbord, at traditional holidays.
  • Many forms of salmon (lax), especially cured salmon (gravlax).
  • Meatballs (köttbullar), the internationally most famous Swedish dish. Served with potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberry jam.
  • Hash (pytt i panna) consisting of meat, onions and potatoes, all diced and fried. Sliced beetroots and a fried or boiled whole eggs are mandatory accessories.
  • Pea soup (ärtsoppa) with diced pork, followed by thin pancakes, is traditionally eaten on Thursdays.
  • Blodpudding, a black sausage made by pig's blood and flour, eaten with lingonberry jam.
  • Falukorv, a big baloney from Falun.
  • Sweden has many varieties of bread (bröd). Many of them are whole-grain or mixed grain, containing wheat, barley, oats, compact and rich in fiber. Some notable examples are tunnbröd (thin wrap bread), knäckebröd (hard bread - might has a bland taste, but is nearly always available), and different kinds of seasoned loaves. Bread is mostly eaten as simple sandwiches, with thin slices of cheese or cold cuts. Some spreads typical to Sweden are messmör (whey butter) and leverpastej (liver pâté).
  • Reindeer, ren, traditionally herded by the Sami people. Renskav is sliced, sautéed reindeer meat, preferably eaten with wild mushrooms, lingonberries and potatoes.
  • Tunnbrödrulle, a fast food dish, consisting of a bread wrap with mashed potatoes, a hot dog and some vegetables.
  • Kroppkakor Potato dumpling stuffed with diced pork, reminiscent of the German Klöße. Originally from Småland, there is also a variant from Piteå up north, known as pitepalt.
  • Hard cheese (ost): In an ordinary food market you can often find 10 to 20 different types of cheese. The most famous Swedish hard cheese would be Västerbotten, named after a region in Sweden.
  • Milk (mjölk) is commonly drunk during meals. Filmjölk is a Nordic yoghurt, eaten with breakfast cereal.
  • Rose hip soup (nyponsoppa) and bilberry soup (blåbärssoppa), for recovery of heat and energy during winter sports.

Other Swedish favorites:

  • Raggmunk, wheat flour, milk, egg, and shredded potatoes fried like thin pancakes served with fried pork (bacon) and lingonberries.
  • Soft whey butter (messmör), breadspread with a sweetish, hard-to-describe taste.
  • Caviar, not the expensive Russian or Iranian kind but a cheaper version made from cod roe, sold in tubes and used on sandwiches. The most famous brand is Kalles Kaviar.
  • Julmust, stout-like Christmas soft drink. Available during Easter as well, by then known as Påskmust.
  • Crayfish (kräftor), hugely popular around August, when Swedes feast on them at big crayfish parties (kräftskivor). Silly paper hats and lots of alcohol included.
  • Surströmming; the world's stinkiest dish. See Nordic cuisine for more information.
  • Semla, a cream-filled pastry traditionally eaten on Tuesdays in February and March, with start on Fat Tuesday.
  • Rabarberkräm/Rabarberpaj rhubarb cream or rhubarb pie with vanilla sauce (other cakes or pies on fresh blueberries, apples, or just strawberries with cream or ice cream are also very popular in the summer)
  • Spettekaka A local cake from Scania in south Sweden, made of eggs, sugar, and potato starch.
  • Smörgåstårta A cold Sandwich layer cake, often with salmon, eggs, and shrimps. (Also often with tuna or roast beef) Swedish people often eat it at New Year's Eve, or birthdays and parties.
  • Lösgodis candy from boxes that you mix on your own, sold by weight, is one of the most popular candy among this candy-loving nation. A choice of chocolate, sours, sweet and salt liqorice are always offered.
  • Swedish cookies and pastries like bondkakor, hallongrottor, bullar or cakes like prinsesstårta are widely popular. It used to be tradition to offer guest 7 different cookies when invited over for coffee. If you have a sweet tooth you should try chokladbollar, mazariner, biskvier, rulltårta or lussebullar.

As Sweden is stretched out between central Europe and the Arctic, there are many regional specialties. Among the more exotic are

  • Surströmming, a stinky canned fish popular along the Norrland coast.
  • Spettekaka, a meringue-like cake from Scania.

As in most of Europe, inexpensive pizza and kebab restaurants are ubiquitous in Swedish cities, and are also to be found in almost every small village. Swedish pizza is significantly different from Italian or American pizzas. Sushi and Thai food are also quite popular. The local hamburger chain Max is recommended before McDonald's and Burger King, for tasteful Scandinavian furnishing, clean restrooms, no trans fats and free coffee with meals. In parts of Norrland it is customary to eat hamburgers with fork and knife - available at Max. Another Swedish chain Frasses offers apart from all kinds of meaty burgers a tasty vegetarian alternative - a quornburger. Another type of fast food establishment is the gatukök ("street kitchen"), serving hamburgers, hot dogs, kebab and tunnbrödrulle (se above).

Highway diners, vägkrogar, have generous meals, but might be of poor quality, greasy and overpriced. If you have time, a downtown restaurant is preferable. Gas stations sell decent packed salads and sandwiches.

You can get a relatively inexpensive lunch if you look for the signs with "Dagens rätt" or just "Dagens" (Today's special or literally meal of the day). This normally costs about 50-120 kr (-) and almost everywhere includes a bottle of water; soft drink; or light beer, bread & butter, salad bar and coffee afterwards. Dagens rätt is served Monday to Friday.

If you're on a tight budget, self-catering is the safest way to save your money.

Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are accepted in cities, less common in the countryside, where fishing and hunting are a national pastime. You should be able to find a falafel in any medium-sized town; or you may negotiate a price to only access the salad bar, as all well assorted eateries have one.

Drink

Coffee

Swedish consumption of coffee (kaffe) is among the highest in the world. Drinking coffee at home or in a café, an act called fika, is a common Swedish social ritual, used for planning activities, dating, exchanging gossip or simply spending time and money. Swedish coffee is filtered and usually stronger than American coffee - but still not the espresso of France or Italy. Italian varieties (espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte) are available at larger city cafés. One cup is around 25 kr, usually including a refill, påtår.

The traditional Swedish café is called konditori, and every city and town has at least one. They offer warm beverages as coffee, tea and cocoa, and an assortment of cookies, pastry and perhaps also smörgås, the Swedish open sandwich, and fralla, the Swedish closed sandwich. The sandwiches offered can vary a lot depending on where you are in Sweden.

Alcoholic beverages

The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is Absolut Vodka, one of the world's most famous vodkas. There are several brands of distilled, and usually seasoned, liquor, called brännvin. Brännvin does not have as high requirements on distilling as for Vodka and it is distilled from potatoes or grain. Liquor seasoned with dill and caraway is called akvavit. When brännvin is served in a shot glass with a meal it is called snaps (not to confuse with the German "Schnapps"). It is part of custom to drink snaps at occasions such as midsummers eve, Crayfish party, Christmas, student parties, etc. Often it is done together with a snapsvisa to every drink (a typical snapsvisa is a short, vigorous song; its lyrics usually tell of the delicacy and glory of the drink, or of the singer’s craving for snaps, or about anything in a cheeky way).

If visiting Sweden in December or January a typical hot drink is glögg (similar to mulled wine or Glühwein). It is often served together with ginger bread and lussebullar or at the julbord (Christmas buffet). The main classic ingredients (of alcoholic glögg) are red wine, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit, or brandy. There is also non alcoholic versions of glögg.

Sweden does produce some outstanding beers, and have in the recent years seen a rise in the numbers of microbreweries. If you are looking for great local beer keep an eye out for breweries like Slottskällans, Nils Oscar, Närke kulturbryggeri, Jämtlands ångbryggeri and Dugges Ale- & Porterbryggeri. You may have some trouble finding them, unless you go to a bar specialized in providing uncommon beer, or one of the well stocked Systembolaget, but you will find a few of them in every major city. Despite this the most common beer is the rather plain "international lager". The beer you get in normal food shops is called folköl and has 2.8 or 3.5% alcohol. You are able to find a variety of different brands of beers in food stores, Swedish, English and even Czech beer. Sweden has a seasonal beer for Christmas, julöl. It is sweeter than normal beer and usually seasoned with Christmas spices, mostly it is of the beer type ale. All Swedish breweries make at least one type of julöl. Wine is popular, but the Swedish production is very modest.

Drinking alcohol in parks and public areas is generally allowed, with some obvious exceptions (playgrounds, schoolyards etc) or if notifications don't state the opposite. Drinking at public transport stations is prohibited, with the exception of in restaurants or on trains or boats, and then only alcohol bought on location.

Systembolaget

Beer and lager up to 3.5% ABV is readily available in supermarkets at 10-15 SEK a piece, but strong alcoholic beverages are, as in Norway, Finland and Iceland available over the counter only from the state-owned retailer, Systembolaget (also sometimes referred to as Systemet or Bolaget). They are usually open 10:00-18:00 Mon-Wed, 10:00-19:00 Thurs-Fri, and 10:00-15:00 on Saturdays, with long queues on Fridays and Saturdays, closing at the minute no matter how long the queue outside the store is, something the Swedes themselves joke about. They are always closed on Sundays. Most shops are of supermarket style. The assortment is very good, and the staff usually has great knowledge. Systembolaget does not serve customers under the age of 20 and will most likely ask for identification from younger looking customers. This also applies to any companions, regardless of who is making the actual purchase.

Beverages are heavily taxed by content of alcohol, some liquor is very expensive (vodka is around 300 SEK a litre at Systembolaget), but the monopoly has brought some perks - Systembolaget is one of the world's largest bulk-buyers of wine, and as such gets some fantastic deals which it passes on to consumers. Mid-to-high-quality wines often cost less in Sweden than in the country of origin; sometimes even less than if you were to buy the wine directly from the vineyard. This does not apply to low-quality wines or hard liquor, due to the volume-based tax on alcohol.

All brands are treated equally and there is no large-pack discount. Therefore, microbrews cost largely the same as major brands, and might be a more interesting choice. Beverages are not refrigerated. Drinking alcohol in public is usually allowed, with a few restrictions, such as shopping centres, playgrounds and public transport areas.

Bars and nightclubs

The minimum age requirement is 18 to get into bars and to buy regular (3.5% ABV or less) beer in shops (to prevent teenage drunkenness, some shops have decided to enforce a minimum age of 20 for 3.5% beer as well), and 20 in Systembolaget. Many bars have an age limit of 20, but some (especially downtown on weekends) have age limits as high as 23 or 25, but this rule is arbitrarily enforced. Bring passport or ID.

Some high-end nightclubs mandate dress code, vårdad klädsel is casual dress; this is also arbitrarily enforced. For male guests, proper shoes (not sneakers or sandals), long-legged trousers (not blue jeans) and a dress shirt is almost always good enough.

Age and dress requirements are not rigid, and doormen have the right to reject any patron for any reason; except gender, sexual orientation, creed, disability or race, which is illegal discrimination. Still, some nightclubs are infamous for rejecting "immigrants", especially men of African or Middle Eastern origin, on pretexts such as "members only", "too drunk", or "dress code". Getting into a club is easier for patrons who dress and behave well, and arrive fairly early.

Sweden has enforced non-smoking in all bars, pubs and restaurants, save outdoor areas such as terraces, and designated smoking rooms (where drinks are not allowed).

The prices at clubs and bars are often expensive compared to other countries: a (0.4 L) glass of draft lager, stor stark, usually costs 45-60 kr, but some dive bars advertise it for as little as 25 kr early evenings. A long drink costs around 60-130 kr. For that reason many Swedes have a small pre-party ("förfest") before they go out to get buzzed before they hit the town and go to nightclubs.

Large clubs can require a cover charge, usually about 100 kr, or more at special performances. They usually offer a rubber stamp on your hand so you can re-enter as you like without having to pay again.

Be aware that you often have to stand in line to get into a bar or a club. Many places deliberately make their customers wait in line for a while, since a long queue indicates a popular club. At the very fanciest places in the major cities, the queue is often replaced by a disorganized crowd, and the doorman simply points to indicate who gets in and who does not (to be sure to get in either be famous, very good-looking or a friend of the doorman. Or simply a regular).

Most bars that close at 01:00 or earlier, will have a free entry policy. Most bars and clubs that remain open until 03:00 will charge an entrance fee. There are some clubs in the largest cities that remain open until 05:00. Their entrance fee will usually be around 200 kr and their entry policy will generally weigh less favourably for the non-rich, non-well-moisturised, non-Swedes, non-friends and non-regulars.

The club's wardrobe (or coat-checking) fee is often mandatory, usually around 20 kr.

Authorized security guards carry a badge saying Ordningsvakt. The club's own doormen carry a badge saying Entrévärd. These should be taken seriously, see #Stay safe.

Moonshine (hembränt) is popular in the countryside, though illegal. Though some shipments can be as good as legal vodka, most are disgusting, so you should stick to the real thing.

Sleep

Car camping is convenient and cost-efficient, as you can stay overnight nearly anywhere.

Camping

The Right to access (Allemansrätten) allows anyone to camp in uncultivated areas (including private property, but not near houses) without asking. There are certain limitations, for instance you are only allowed to stay at a certain spot for one night, before you have to move on. If you are travelling to Sweden in the summer, check out the local conditions when it comes to camp fires. Forests in Sweden can get very dry and temporary bans on lighting fires are not unusual.

If you prefer camping a bit more organized, most towns have campsites with showers and electricity. Expect to pay around 100–150 kr for a tentsite. More info on the official site for Swedish campsites: camping.se. The leading chain is called First Camp.

Hostels

Svenska Turistföreningen, STF, is by far the most important operator of hostels, vandrarhem, in Sweden, with a network of more than 300 hostels around the country. Membership for foreigners is 175 kr, and if you plan to stay four nights or more at hostels in Sweden you should join, since non-members pay an additional 45 kr per night. STF is affiliated with Hostelling International or HI, and if you are a member of any HI organisation you are considered a member of STF.

STF offers beds for the night in dorms or single and double rooms. The concept is standardized throughout Sweden, and only includes the price of the bed or room, with access to common kitchen facilities, common bath rooms and showers. Some hostels have double rooms with bath room and shower en suite.

Sveriges vandrarhem i förening , SVIF is another nation-wide hostel confederation.

The price per night per person in a hostel is 80-280 kr depending on where the hostel is located and how classy or tacky it is. Sheets are required (just a sleeping bag is not enough) and if you don't bring any you have to purchase at the hostel for around 50 kr. You are expected to clean out your room when leaving. Cooking equipment is normally available at all hostels for those who want to self-cater.

Some hostels are more spectacular than others; for instance Jumbostay at Arlanda Airport, located inside a decommissioned Boeing 747, [6] and Långholmen Hostel in Stockholm, that used to be a prison. [7]

Apartments and B&B:s are not the same thing, but Swedish online booking agencies tend to think so. Renting an apartment may be an interesting option if you plan to stay for a few nights in one of the major cities and want more privacy than a hostel offers.

Road signs with the word Rum don't show the way to the nearest drinking den for pirates - rum in Swedish means "room", and that sign points to a B&B.

Hotels

Normal Swedish hotels tend to be clean, not-so-interesting and fairly expensive. A single room can easily set you back 1000 kr. Most towns, even smaller ones, still have a traditional stadshotell, Statt, (town hotel) somewhere in the city center, which usually contains the town's largest restaurant and/or nightclub. On a more positive note, breakfast buffets at Swedish hotels are often impressive with plenty to choose from - try not to be in too much of a hurry in the morning! Major hotel chains include Scandic and First.

It doesn't matter how many circumflexes Stockholm's Grand Hôtel uses, or how many celebrities stay there, the coolest hotel in Sweden is the Icehotel. Located in the village of Jukkasjärvi in the far north, it is a hotel built from snow and ice. It melts in spring and is rebuilt every winter. Ice hotels are built in several other countries, but the one in Jukkasjärvi is the original. One night in a single room is 2850 kr, book in advance.

Learn

All education in Sweden is free for residents. Although the government has subsidized schools and classes, there also exist a few private alternatives where a tuition fee is required. Students' Union membership is optional, but the union fee of around 500 kr/year can give several perks, such as mediation of dorm rooms or entrance to union parties and events.

As non-EU/EES citizen wishing to study at a Swedish university or other school of higher education, you will need to pay tuition fees. Even if you don't need it, you need to pay for housing, food, literature, etc.

Some important university cities:

  • Uppsala
  • Lund
  • Gothenburg
  • Stockholm
  • Linköping
  • Umeå

Most universities follow the custom known as an "academic quarter" where classes and most academic events will 15 minutes past the hour. At some schools after 18:00 this becomes a "double quarter" where events commence 30 minutes past the hour. Students are expected to be punctual and show up at the appropriate time.

You can find more useful information about studying in Sweden on the Study in Sweden website. [8]

Work

EU and EEA citizens are allowed to work in Sweden without a permit.

Citizens of some non-EU countries are permitted to work in Sweden without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90-day visa-free stay – see the 'Get in' section above for more information.

Working Holiday visas are available for Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and South Korean citizens aged between 18–30, permitting the holder to work for one year.

Citizens of other countries need a work permit, and getting one can be quite a hassle. Swedes, foreign citizens already living in Sweden, and EU/EEA citizens have preference over others in obtaining work in Sweden. Also, if the offer of work is for more than three months, you will also require a Swedish residency permit. More information about the paperwork required is found on the government website swedenabroad.com [9].

The government runs a job agency named Arbetsförmedlingen, but most jobs are provided through other channels.

Salaries range from 15,000 and up (for full time) per month minus 30% tax, but the average salary is around 30 000 kr, April 2011, and are typically paid once per month.

Stay safe

Sweden is generally a safe place to travel, despite some recent high profile claims (based on misinterpreting statistics or worse). Mind that it is likely that your home country is less safe than Sweden, so heed whatever warnings you would do in your own country and you will have no worries. A notable risk factor is drunk brawls at weekend nights. Swedes generally tend to avoid eye contact, especially so in dangerous situations. Looking directly at someone behaving aggressively might provoke them. Do not argue with security guards or bouncers; they are legally allowed to use some force when needed.

Although there is a significant police presence in the city centres, especially on weekend nights, the countryside is quite weakly policed; especially Norrland, where the nearest patrol car – and the nearest ambulance – might be a hundred kilometres away.

Knife carrying in public areas is criminalised in Sweden, regardless of size or shape, unless needed for work or other activities. Packing down a knife with camping equipment is legitimate.

Pickpockets usually work in tourist-frequented areas, such as airports, rail stations, urban rail, shopping areas and festivals. Most Swedes carry their wallets in their pockets or purses and feel quite safe while doing it. Still, almost all stores and restaurants accept most major credit cards, so there is no need to carry a lot of cash around. If you have a bike, do lock it or you may lose it. While organized crime exists in some Swedish neighbourhoods, it causes no trouble to lawful visitors.

Be sure to watch for cars in the road junctions. There is a law in Sweden called "The Zebra law" which means that cars must stop at zebra crossings. Many Swedes believe that all the drivers do that. By watching for cars you may save not only your life but also a friend's, since reported injuries have increased because of the law. If you do drive then follow the law, police cars may not be seen everywhere but you never know when they appear.

In the Stockholm port Frihamnen the Swedish police has installed so called alcogates for drivers. It is an automated breathalyzer process and takes approximately 1½ seconds to complete. If a driver blows above the limit, the gates remain closed and police nearby will carry out more thorough investigations.

In case of emergency

112 is the emergency phone number to dial in case of fire, medical or criminal emergency. It does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you're using. The number works on any mobile phone, with or without a SIM card, even if it's keylocked (without SIM, you will be asked to press "5" before the call will be answered).

Swedish police are stretched thin across the country. Officers are rarely on patrol, and might be too busy to head out for minor crimes. To report a theft or getting in contact with the police in general, there is a national non-emergency phone number 114 14 that will bring you in contact with an operator at a police station (usually nearby, but not always).

Predators

Brown bear (brunbjörn), wolf (varg), lynx (lo) and wolverine (järv) roam the Swedish wilderness, though they are unusual to sight. Contrary to popular belief abroad, there are no wild polar bears in Sweden. Bears are most likely to attack if they are injured, provoked by a dog, going to hibernate or protecting their cubs. Bears in Sweden have killed no more than a handful of people since 1900. Though wild wolves might attack pets and livestock, they avoid people.

Stay healthy

Certified pharmacies carry a green cross sign and the text Apotek. For small medical problems the pharmacy is sufficient. Major cities carry one pharmacy open at night. Many supermarkets carry non-prescription supplies such as band aid and antiseptics. Strong painkillers are sold only at pharmacies.

Swedish health care is usually of a very high quality, but can be quite challenging for foreigners to receive. Most medical clinics are run by the public sector, and their accessibility varies. Therefore, getting a time within a week at some medical centres could prove difficult. In case of a medical emergency, most provinces (and of course, the major cities) have a regional hospital with an around-the-clock emergency ward. However, if you are unlucky you can expect a long wait before getting medical attention. Call 112 for emergencies, and 1177 for non-emergency medical consulting, as well as directions for open medical clinics.

Tap water in Sweden is of great quality, and contains close to zero bacteria. Water in mountain resorts might contain rust, and water on islands off the coast might be brackish, but it is still safe to drink. There is no real reason for buying bottled water in Sweden. Also, there is bottled water that doesn't meet the requirements to be used as tap water in Sweden.

There are few serious health risks in Sweden. Your primary concern in winter will be cold weather, particularly if hiking or skiing in the northern parts. Northern Sweden is sparsely populated and, if heading out into the wilderness, it is imperative that you register your travel plans with a friend or the authorities so they can come looking for you if you fail to show up. Dress warmly in layers and bring along a good pair of sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, especially in the spring. In snowy mountains, avalanches might be a problem.

Pests

A serious nuisance are mosquitoes (myggor,) particularly in the north, during wet summers. While they do not carry malaria or other infections, Swedish mosquitoes make a distinctive (and highly irritating) whining sound, and their bites are very itchy. As usual, they are most active around dawn and sunset — which, in the land of the Midnight Sun, may mean most of the night in summer. Supermarkets have many types of mosquito repellents.

Other summer nuisances are gadflies (bromsar), whose painful but non-venomous bites can leave a mark lasting for days, and wasps (getingar) whose stings can be deadly for allergics in very rare cases. Use mosquito repellent, ensure your tent has good mosquito netting, and bring proper medication if you know that you're allergic to wasp stings.

Ticks (fästingar) appear in summer, especially in tall grass. They can transmit Lyme's disease (borreliosis) and more serious TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) through a bite. The risk areas for TBE are mainly the eastern parts of Svealand and the Stockholm archipelago. Wear bright clothes, and check your body (and your pets) after outdoor trips. You can buy special tick tweezers (fästingplockare) from the pharmacy.

There's only one type of venomous snake in Sweden: the European adder (huggorm), which has a distinct zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not very common, but lives all over Sweden except for the northern mountains. Its bite is hardly ever life-threatening (except to small children and allergic people), but people bitten should seek medical assistance. All reptiles in Sweden, including adders, are protected by law and must not be harmed.

There are no really dangerous marine animals in Sweden, although when bathing in the sea one should watch out for Greater weevers (Fjärsing); a small fish hiding in sand, with several venomous spikes on its back. The venom is about as dangerous as that of the European adder, and will likely cause more pain (this can be quite severe) than damage. There are also venomous jellyfish, bright blue or red, in the sea. The venom is not lethal, but it hurts.

Stinging nettles grow in wet and nitrogen-rich places (especially where people urinate outdoors), but getting stung is generally not dangerous, only locally hurting for a few hours.

Respect

I never said, "I want to be alone." I only said, "I want to be let alone!" There is all the difference. — Greta Garbo; usually quoted to describe Swedish people's desire for privacy

Most Swedes have liberal, cosmopolitan, secular, egalitarian and environmentalist values by Germanic standards, similar to other Nordic countries. This spares Western tourists from cultural clashes that might be imminent in other countries. However, some strict rules of etiquette are almost unique to Swedish people.

  • Though some people in Sweden use narcotics, most Swedes, old and young, are strongly opposed to them. Possession and intoxication of non-medical drugs (including cannabis) lead to a fine and a note in the criminal record. The police can force a suspected drug user to produce a urine or blood sample.
  • When it comes to alcohol, Swedes are as double-natured as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Before work or driving, one beer is one too many. However, drunkenness can be a regular part of many Swedish traditions (e.g. Midsommar, Valborg, etc.) – keep this in mind if you abstain from alcohol. Some Swedes frown on people being sober at a party and reject excuses other than driving or pregnancy.
  • Swedish people want much privacy and personal space. Salespeople, waiters and other service employees are usually less attentive than their colleagues in other countries, to respect customers' privacy, except a short "hej" to entering customers. Customers are supposed to call for attention. When entering a bus or another form of public transportation it is often considered impolite to sit next to another person if there is another twin seat available.
  • In most homes it is customary to remove your shoes. If you just assume that you are to take them off upon entry, in most cases you will have done the right thing, but you could check whether other guests have left theirs by the front door. If you are dressed up and feel undressed without shoes, bring indoor shoes, like many of the guests will. At more formal parties also wearing outdoors shoes may be acceptable. Indoor shoes may also be brought for warmth (especially to cottages and the like): most Swedish homes have wood flooring; wall-to-wall carpets are uncommon.
  • Despite rumours of the "Swedish sin", Swedish people are generally not accepting of public nudity except at designated nudist beaches. Don't go skinny-dipping in public beaches if you are more than about four years old. Female toplessness is accepted at public baths, but uncommon. Public breastfeeding is a consolidated right at any place, even at business meetings and high-end restaurants. Male toplessness is accepted in the countryside and at the beach, but might be frowned upon in urban areas.
  • Greetings between men and women who know each other (e.g., are good friends, relatives) are often in the form of a hug. Swedes don't cheek-kiss to greet but are aware that other cultures do. If you are a visitor from France and do cheek-kiss a Swede, they will return the favor but probably feel a bit awkward doing so.
  • Show up on the minute for meetings and meals, preferably five minutes before the set time. There is no "fashionably late" in Sweden. However, showing up early at a private invitation is considered rude. If it's acceptable to arrive late, it's usually mentioned specifically (e.g., "...arrive after 1700") or there are established rules (some universities apply an "akademisk kvart", an academic quarter hour, within which it is acceptable to arrive to lectures).
  • Sweden is quite tolerant to homosexuality. Same-sex marriages have legal standing in Sweden. The chance of facing extreme criticism or homophobia is low in Sweden, as the country has anti-discrimination and hate crime laws. Violence against gays and lesbians is very rare.
  • Sweden is a multicultural country. Do not make assumptions based on peoples' appearance. Outward displays of racism, sexism, or homophobia will be met with hostility. Even slight preferences may be noticed and noted.
  • Begging used to be uncommon in modern Sweden. As of 2015, beggars from the Balkans (typically of Roma origin) can be seen in most towns or cities. Begging, as well as handing money to beggars, is legal in Sweden, and most begging transactions take place without nuisance.
  • A sensitive topic in Sweden is hunting and wildlife management, especially when it comes to the population of wolves and other predators. People in the countryside have strong opinions on the subject.

Cope

  • Around payday, on the 25th of each month, stores and bars can get very crowded.
  • Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, bars or any other indoor establishments (except outdoor terraces and designated smoking rooms). Smoking in someone's home is usually out of the question; if you ask kindly you might be allowed to light up on the balcony or the porch. Relatively few Swedes smoke daily, but some men and women use "snus" (snuff), a tobacco pouch inserted into the upper lip. It comes in a wide variety of different styles and flavours and in both loose and portion form. Portions are more popular and generally recommended for public events, as loose snus can be very messy when removed. Unlike American oral tobaccos, it is not usually necessary to spit if the snus is properly placed. Most bars and clubs will have snus receptacles instead of ashtrays on the tables. Be warned, however, that snus can seem very harsh to first time users, with a nicotine level several times that of cigarettes.

Bring

  • Credit card. Payment by credit card is very widespread in Sweden: in some cases (e.g. at some parking meters or when buying tickets from a ticket machine) there might even not be the option to pay cash. Nearly all stores and all ATMs accept VISA and MasterCard, as well as Maestro (Switch). PIN-pads are widely used instead of signatures (even for credit cards), so if your card has a PIN, memorize it before you leave home. Don't expect stores to accept foreign currency, apart from close to the borders, where usually only the neighbour currency is accepted (i.e. Danish krone, Norwegian krone or euro). Larger stores in Stockholm and at larger airports and railway stations often accept payment in Euro, however.
  • Passport or EU national identity card as identification. A driver's license is not a valid ID in Sweden, but it might work nonetheless (more frequently if issued in the standard EU format). You will frequently be asked to prove age or identity – for instance when using your credit card, when buying alcohol, when renting accommodation or when entering bars and clubs. Banks accept only Swedish identity documents. Swedish bureaucracy is efficient but rigid.
  • Warm clothes and extra shoes. Weather in Sweden is unpredictable. It can get cold and/or wet, but almost never too hot.
  • If you plan on staying in Sweden for an extended period of time, pack some rain clothes. If you don't own any, they can be bought in many stores across Sweden – but can be somewhat expensive.
  • Mobile phone. Swedish GSM and 3G coverages are great, at least in populated areas, but don't expect it to work everywhere. In rural areas the state-owned operator Telia might be the only one available. If you have another operator you may only place SOS calls. Official figures say that 60–70% (by total area – most of the populated parts are covered fully) of the country has GSM coverage and about 40% for 3G. The number of public phones are going down a lot because most Swedes have a mobile phone. There's even very close to complete coverage in the subway.
  • Powerplug adapters, if you come from the UK or North America. Sweden follows European standard 230 volt 50 Hz and uses Schuko plugs.
  • European Health Service card, if you are an EU/EES citizen.
  • In forests and mountains, use mosquito repellent, myggmedel, which is available in most food stores.

Do not bring

  • Cash money from your home country – see above. However there are currency exchange offices at airports and in city centres that will exchange most currencies. Some bank branches will not exchange currency, or handle cash at all in some cases.
  • Tear gas or pepper spray for self-defence. These require authorization to be carried in Sweden, and you will probably not have use for them either way.

Toilets

The availability and standard of public toilets varies a lot. Except gas stations, they are available at most rest areas. Public toilets in cities and at rail stations might be scarce, and often require a 5 kr fee. Toilets in city restaurants are usually for guests only. There are approximately 350 public rest areas along the roads in Sweden (rastplats). Most of them have a lavatory, an information board and access for the disabled, some benches and a waste management system.

Urinating behind a tree at a countryside road is acceptable; in a city street it is criminalized and might lead to a fine.

Contact

Sweden's international calling code number is +46. Payphones are available (however extremely rare), with older models only accepting cards (special smartchip phone cards as well as credit cards), and never models that accept coins (Swedish as well as Euros). Collect calls are possible by dialling 2# on a pay phone.

Sweden has excellent wireless GSM and 3G/UMTS coverage, even in rural areas except in the central and northern interior parts of the country. The major networks are Telia, Tele2/Comviq, Telenor and 3 (Tre). Swedish GSM operates on the European 900/1800 MHz frequencies (Americans will need a triband phone), with 3G/UMTS on 2100 MHz (with 7.2–14.4 Mbit HSDPA speeds). Only the Telia network supports EDGE. Some operators may ask for a Swedish personnummer (or samordningsnummer) to get a number, although with most operators you can get prepaid without any "personnummer" or ID, and these are sold and refillable at most supermarkets and tobacco stores. If "prepaid" is not understood ask for a Kontant Kort.

Prepaid USB 3G modems can be bought in many shops. They are a good alternative to WiFi in Sweden. They cost around 100 kr/week and 300 kr/month to use. Data limits are high (typically 20 GB/month). The number of WiFi access points are growing and fast food chains, libraries, hotels, cafés and malls and others may offer free wireless internet access. Fixed terminals where you can pay for internet access exist as well, although many libraries can provide the same service for free.

The prepaid 3G data package of the provider 3 bought in Sweden can be used in Denmark without incurring any roaming charge. It is, however, not possible to buy refill vouchers for this products in Danish stores.

COMVIQ allows tethering, which makes it easy to bring more than one device in the internet if you bring along an old smart phone or dual SIM mobile.

Sweden is the world's second most Internet-connected country (after Iceland). The Swedish postal system (PostNord or just Posten) is considered efficient and reliable, with franchises placed inside of supermarkets and convenience stores (look for the yellow horn logo). Stamps for ordinary letters (to anywhere in the world) are 14 kr and the letter usually needs 2 days within EU. Stamps can be purchased in most supermarkets, ask the cashier.

Hear about hiking the Kings Trail (Kungsleden) in Swedish Lapland as the Amateur Traveler talks to Agata from nullnfull.com about this northern and rugged portion of Sweden. Agata says, “Lapland is all about nature and wilderness”.

We let photographer PJ Boman (aka @absinthemindedswede) take over our Instagram feed for an insight into Sweden’s west coast, with its fjords, fika and oysters

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Boston Fourth of July

When Donald Trump announced he was running for president, we joked that he’d be done within a few months. Comedians had a field day. He couldn’t gain any serious support, could he?

Until he started leading all the polls…and winning primaries.

Holy shit. This could actually happen.

“If Trump gets elected, I’m leaving the country!”

I know. Everyone says it. But there’s no way to actually do that, is there?

OF COURSE THERE IS! You could leave the country in SO many different ways — ways that are 100% legal and ethical.

Kate on the Sydney Bridgeclimb

1) Get a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand.

If you’re 30 or under, you qualify to spend a year living and working in Australia or New Zealand! These are the only traditional working visas currently available to Americans.

In both countries, you can apply for the visa if you’re as old as 30; you can enter the country within one year of receiving your visa, which means you could start your year at age 31. Australia also offers the option of taking a second year if you spend three months working in “regional Australia” (rural areas and outside the most popular tourist destinations). Edit: I’ve since learned the second year is not available to Americans, sadly. Brits and Canadians can take advantage of this option, however.

You could spend your year bartending in Cairns or Queenstown, working on a winery in the Barossa Valley or Marlborough, working at a corporate job in Melbourne or Wellington, or taking on a hospitality job just about anywhere. And those are just a few of the possibilities.

For more, check out the Australia working holiday visa site and the New Zealand working holiday site.

Hongdae

2) Get a job teaching English abroad.

Teaching English abroad is one of the easiest ways U.S. citizens can get a job working abroad. Most countries only require a university degree in any field; others also require a TEFL certificate.

The most opportunity for Americans is in Asia. South Korea tends to offer the best packages: a competitive salary plus free housing and free flights to and from your home country. Many teachers in South Korea are able to comfortably save more than $10,000 per year and pay down debt or go traveling afterward.

Japan, China, and Taiwan also have great environments for teaching English with decent benefits. Entry-level teaching jobs in Southeast Asia and Latin America tend to pay only enough to get by.

While many Americans dream of teaching English in Europe, it’s extremely difficult to work in the EU without EU citizenship and the jobs are thus few. Eastern Europe and Turkey are a better bet.

Options in the Middle East tend to pay the most but have the most stringent requirements, often a teaching certification and experience in your home country and/or an advanced degree.

This is just the most basic of overviews — head to ESL Cafe to learn anything and everything about teaching English abroad.

El Tunco, El Salvador

3) Join the U.S. Foreign Service.

Dreamed of working as a diplomat around the world? The U.S. Foreign Service is your way in. If you’re able to pass the notoriously difficult Foreign Service Exam, you’ll be eligible to work two-year contracts in countries around the world.

The goal of the U.S. Foreign Service is “to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.” Basically, you represent the United States while abroad.

There are several different tracks: Administration, Construction Engineering, Facility Management, Information Technology, International Information and English Language Programs, Medical and Health, Office Management, and Law Enforcement and Security.

You don’t get to choose your destination — you could be headed to any of 270 embassies around the world — but if you work in a hardship destination, you’ll often get preferential treatment regarding your next assignment. Like two of my lovely readers whom I met in Mexico last year — after working as diplomats in Pakistan, they got stationed in Cuba next.

Check out all the details on the U.S. Foreign Service’s website.

Bitola

4) Join the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps is perhaps the most famous volunteer program in America, starting in 1961 under President Kennedy. Volunteers are sent around the world in primarily two-year contracts working in the fields of Education, Health, Community Development, Environment, Youth in Development, Agriculture, and Peace Corps Response.

You don’t get to choose where you go — you’re sent where your skills are needed the most. That means if you speak Spanish, there’s a good chance you’ll be sent to Latin America; if you speak French, there’s a good chance you’ll be sent to Africa.

Most people I’ve known to serve in the Peace Corps describe it as life-changing. It’s a fantastic way to serve your country and make lasting contributions toward building a better planet.

For more, visit the PeaceCorps.gov.

Koolbaai

5) Find a job abroad.

I know it sounds daunting to find a job abroad when you don’t know anything about it, but Americans do it successfully every day!

The U.S. State Department has put together a comprehensive list of resources for finding work abroad, no matter what field you’re in.

Ljubljana

6) Study abroad or get another degree.

Are you still in college? Studying abroad will be one of the most valuable (and fun!) things you do in your college career. Here are the lessons I learned from my semester in Florence in 2004.

Already have a degree? This could be a great opportunity to get your master’s abroad! Several countries offer you the option of getting your master’s in just one year, unlike the standard two years in the United States.

You probably know that several countries offer free university education to their citizens. Well, several countries offer free university education to international students as well, including Americans! Don’t speak the local language? They offer degrees given in English as well.

It was big news when Germany began offering free education to international students in 2014. Other countries include Brazil, Finland, France, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Many of these countries also offer stipends, making getting your degree infinitely more affordable than in the U.S.

London Millennium Bridge

7) If your job has an international office, see if you can transfer.

This isn’t an option if you work for a small, independent, local business. But it could work if you work for a larger company.

I used to work for a company with offices in Boston and London, and plenty of people migrated across the Atlantic in each direction. The company took care of the sponsorship and all the red tape.

Another option: if your company has an international parent company, see if you can find a job abroad in one of your parent company’s other companies.

Playa Samara

8) See if you can start working remotely.

If your job is mostly doable online, you may have the ability to start working remotely and set up shop anywhere in the world.

Note that this is something best done little by little. Start by doing exceptionally outstanding work for awhile, then ask your boss if you can work remotely one day per week. Make that your most productive day of the week. If it goes well and your company is pleased, keep negotiating for more time working remotely.

If you’re able to transition to working 100% remotely, keep in mind that you may need to stay within the same time zone or in a destination where you have excellent internet. Still, that’s a small price to pay for working from, say, a beach town in Costa Rica!

Berlin

9) Look into the German Artist Visa.

Entering the EU long-term is a major challenge for most Americans, but one of the easiest ways in (aside from getting a student visa) is to get the German “artist visa.”

“Artist” is a relative term here. In this case, it means freelancer. If you’re able to prove multiple contracts paying you enough to get by, that may be enough for you to secure this visa and live in Germany.

Most people with this visa choose to live in Berlin due to its art scene, expat scene, and relatively low cost of living (albeit one that continues to rise). Increasingly popular alternatives are hip Hamburg and artsy Leipzig.

Check out Travels of Adam’s guide to getting the German artist visa or, alternatively, a student visa.

Paris Marais

10) Become an au pair in Europe.

If you love kids, don’t mind living with a family, and want to live like a local, becoming an au pair could be an excellent option for you. Many Americans become au pairs by finding a job and family online, then registering for a student visa to give you a year in the country.

The student visa could be for as little as a few hours of language study each week; some countries, like France, are notoriously lax about whether you actually attend class and many au pairs decide to ditch the classes entirely.

Being an au pair could be the time of your life — or a complete disaster. The best thing is to know exactly what kind of experience you want — how many kids and how old? Living with the family or in your own apartment? Urban, suburban, or rural environment? Would you be expected to cook or not? — and finding a family that fits your needs well.

Ashley Abroad has a great resource for getting started as an au pair.

Christmas at JJ's

11) Save up, quit your job, and backpack the world for awhile.

Yes. You can absolutely do this. Plenty of people around the world travel for months at a time — it’s very common for people from other western countries, but far less popular for Americans.

If you want your money to go the furthest, stick to a cheaper region. Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Central America, and Eastern Europe are all great options. You can live in parts of these regions on less than $1000 per month if you want to (but that amount doesn’t include start-up expenses like flights, gear and insurance).

Here’s how I saved $13,000 in just seven months. That was almost enough to sustain me for six months in Southeast Asia from 2010-2011, but keep in mind prices have increased a bit since then.

Santa Cruz Atitlan Guatemala

12) Move somewhere cheap for awhile.

Not in the mood to be traveling all the time? You could just move somewhere. Many countries have visa policies that allow you to live long-term by leaving the country every few months and coming right back. (Be sure to check on your country’s latest visa regulations, as they can change at any time.)

I still think that Chiang Mai, Thailand, offers the maximum value for a great price. As a solo adult, you can comfortably get by in Chiang Mai for less than $800 per month, or even less if you’re part of a couple, and there are plenty of amenities for the many expats who live and work there.

Other popular options for expats? Oaxaca, Mexico. Ubud, Bali. Bangkok, Thailand. Medellin, Colombia. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (particularly Panajachel and San Pedro). If you have the ability to live in the EU, consider Berlin, Germany; Lisbon, Portugal; Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czech Republic; or any town you can imagine in Spain: Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, Barcelona.

Ragusa, Sicily

13) Get a second citizenship based on your ancestry.

Several European countries offer the option of getting a passport based on your ancestry. I’ve known Americans who have gained Irish, British, Italian, and German citizenship due to their parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents being born in those countries.

The best part? Gaining EU citizenship means you can move around freely within the EU, not just the country where you hold the ancestry! I have an American friend with new German citizenship who’s thinking about moving to London. That’s totally fine on a German passport.

Do research this first — every country is different and has its own conditions. Some don’t offer ancestry-based citizenship at all. (While my great-grandfather immigrated from Italy, I don’t qualify for Italian citizenship because he naturalized before my grandmother was born.) Here’s a guide to obtaining citizenship in European countries.

Israel also offers citizenship based on the Law of Return. You must either be Jewish by birth (meaning your mother or grandmother is Jewish) or a convert to Judaism.

Keep in mind that this could potentially take years, depending on the country. It took three years for my friend Mike to get his Italian citizenship. (Then again, as someone who lived in Italy and visits often, they are not the most organized of nations when it comes to this kind of stuff. Or anything else, frankly.)

Skellig Michael

14) Fall in love with someone from a different country, get married, and move to their country.

I know a lot of people, particularly women, dream of this — meeting a handsome fisherman on a Greek island, or a brawny Australian at a beach bar in Thailand, and falling in love and it being destiny and your friends being so jealous.

Well…as someone who has lived in another country for two different boyfriends, let me tell you that the reality can often be quite difficult, even if you have a good relationship. Living in a different country is like fighting through hundreds of cultural differences every day, and there can be a chasm in your relationship if you’re struggling while your partner is surrounded by everything he knows and loves. It’s much harder if you don’t speak the local language or you’re living in a small town.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a strong support system on the ground. Make sure you have interests, activities, and a social circle outside your partner. Most importantly, make sure your partner understands how challenging it is for you to be there, even if you’re happy most of the time. Make sure he makes an effort to travel to America, too.

You’re the one who is sacrificing here. Even if you were excited to move there. Even if he supports you financially. Even if you work online and have the freedom to live anywhere.

quebec-ice-slide-gallery

15) Just move to Canada!

Everyone says they’re moving to Canada if a candidate they hate is elected. Well, this guy actually moved to Canada when George W. Bush was elected. That link gives you an overview of ways for Americans to move to Canada today.

Pink House New Orleans

But in all seriousness…

I know this is a tongue-in-cheek list, but I seriously hope you’re not voting for Donald Trump. (I know I’m preaching to the choir here. The kind of person interested enough in other countries to read a travel blog is not the kind of person who would support a xenophobic presidential candidate.) Please do everything you can to keep him from being elected.

But there’s something else I want to say.

In the past six years, I’ve met many American travel bloggers who have said something along the lines of, “I just don’t like it in America. I don’t want to live where I could be killed in a random shooting or where I could be bankrupted if I’m hospitalized. I don’t like it here anymore, so I’m leaving.”

I get it. I was like that. Parts of me still feel that way. But not anymore.

I recently moved back to the U.S. after more than five years of travel. There were many reasons. One is because I am sick of doing nothing. I want to be here and fight to make my country better. And I’m getting started.

All of us can run away. Believe me — there’s stuff about America that keeps me up at night. Frequent school shootings and a Congress that refuses to pass any kind of reasonable legislation like closing the gun show loophole. Black Americans, including children, being killed by the police for no reason at all. The racism, both overt and subtle, that our president receives on a daily basis. Out-of-control elections and candidates supported by corporations. The possibility of a religious ideologue being appointed to the Supreme Court.

So why do I even bother? Because when you choose to be inactive, you’re giving power to the opposition.

If you choose to travel, or to live abroad, that’s wonderful! But don’t use it as an excuse to check out of America completely. Donate money to causes that will make America better. Donate your time to causes and see if you can help online. Get absentee ballots, familiarize yourself with candidates in every race, and vote in every election. These things really can make a difference.

Would you leave the country if Trump was elected?15 legal, ethical ways to leave the country if Donald Trump gets elected.

Photo by the author

It happened again last night.

Here’s the scene:

On the weekends, I sometimes pick up catering gigs. At this particular catering company, I am the new guy, and on this night there are two of us men out of around 20 total staff members.

It’s the end of the night, four other female staff members and myself are scarfing down leftovers before hustling to finish up. We are all joking and laughing, I’m enjoying being included in the camaraderie, particularly after making a rookie mistake earlier in the night.

Then out of nowhere, and with lively energy one of the women says to me, “I have to tell you, you are so handsome!” The whole group bubbles with laughter. I’m surprised, laugh a little, feeling shy.

The women, one of whom is my boss, talk amongst themselves about me, my body, how I look, how I should be a model, making vague statements about what they would do if I weren’t married. This all happens as I stand there eating oysters. One woman discloses that my handsomeness is a conversation that several other female staff members have joined over the last two days, including my other immediate boss.

The women are feeding off each other’s energy, almost forgetting I am standing there. There is a tone of playfulness, even complementariness. No malevolence or harm intended.

I used to enjoy this kind of attention. But after years of waiting tables, this kind of flattery feels boring and a little cheap. All too frequently I’d serve a table of women who’d flatter me with comments about my physical appearance, long looks and subtle sexual energy. I used to burn with frustration out of the obligation my role required to play nice, to get a tip. My body would feel the grossness of compromise, the twisted use of an incentive, and the confusion and pain of feeling like an object.

This time I just feel curious about answers to familiar questions. Am I too sensitive? Is there anything wrong with what’s happening?

As things continue, there is a slight undertone of discomfort that at least the boss seems clued into. Amidst her participation in the conversation, laughter, and energy she does two things.

At some point one of the women attempts to offer me advice about receiving compliments. Is she sensing discomfort? Is she trying to help?

First, she explains that the woman who brought up my handsomeness is Swedish and that this type of conversation is not a significant thing in Sweden.

“I did not know that about Sweden,” I think forgivingly and also skeptically.

Second, she comments about my wife being 10 times more attractive than I am. It then comes out that they’ve also been having a conversation about how my wife and I should be be in magazines together, modeling how perfect and happy our life looks.

At this point I start to get confused. Were the boss’ moves conscious diversions or a natural next topic? Is it more ok to talk about women’s bodies?

At some point one of the women attempts to offer me advice about receiving compliments. I’m failing to understand her and am feeling kind of stupid. Is she sensing discomfort? Is she trying to help? What is she really saying?

For the most part I stay silent, watch, listen and obligingly smile from time to time.

The whole thing naturally diffuses after no more than five minutes, but my mind stays churning. What just happened? How am I supposed to feel?

I genuinely like these women. Over the two days prior they were welcoming and helpful. But were they nice only because they think I’m attractive? The familiar insecurities of perceived objectification.

You’ve likely done this already, but imagine reversing the genders. Four men, one is the boss, in the presence of a new female co-worker, who’s just happy to be sharing camaraderie with others. The men tell her how attractive she is, talk about her physical appearance, what they would do if she weren’t married, etc. They disclose that her other male colleagues are all having the same discussion about her. Men feeding off each others energy, laughing, complimenting her body, subtle sexual energy flying around. The conversation gets justified because the Swedish man who started it doesn’t know better; it’s a cultural thing.

When I reverse the genders I feel angry at the men for their objectification and lack of respect. I feel righteously judgmental and pissed at them for giving other men a bad name. I feel guilty, I want to apologize, do something to restore trust. Do I assume the woman needs or wants help? Do I assume she needs or wants to speak for herself? Does being supportive in this situation look the same for all women? It’s all so complicated…

As a white male, working through my guilt over patriarchy, racism and other forms of oppression, I am more than slightly afraid of even bringing up allyship for myself.

An important concept in the social justice world is “allyship.” According to the Anti-Oppression Network, allyship “is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people.” Many of us are learning how to be allies in the face of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. Speaking up and naming when oppression is happening, becoming aware of unequal and unearned systems of support. I am a believer in allyship, and am on the never ending path of learning how to be a better ally.

I wonder, could allyship have been called for me in this situation?

As a white male, working through my guilt over patriarchy, racism and other forms of oppression, I am more than slightly afraid of even bringing up allyship for myself. I am the one who should be, and needs to learn how to be, the ally. Whatever I experience is less than a fraction of what others confront daily. I don’t deserve an ally.

And yet, all my training tells me that what I experienced here is at least some form of harassment. I cringe even writing that word. I wonder to myself if intent matters in defining harassment? In this situation I want it to, AND that opens a can of worms I want closed for other situations.

When I think back to the moment, had one of the women spoken up for me it might have made it unnecessarily complicated and uncomfortable. My male ego might have been bruised. Awkwardness might have followed.

No matter how simple, or harmless, it’s not ok for men to behave this way. The same should be true for women right?

I am not angry at the women from the other night. I am willing to let them off the hook. Only one of them chose the topic of conversation, and while the others stayed in to varying degrees, they were caught in a complex situation. Having been at the center of so many interactions like these, I hear myself saying, “that’s just women being women.” The familiar voice of American male conditioning tells me I should be able to handle it, play with it, even escalate it. “Real men enjoy subtle sexual energy from women.”

Or, should I be offended and angry? No matter how simple, or harmless, it’s not ok for men to behave this way. The same should be true for women right?

I can’t even tell what’s right and I begin to not trust my own thinking. I am probably too sensitive. I just want to keep my job. I don’t want to make it weird. This just happened once. I’m not sure anything is wrong.

As I arrive in this place, I begin to notice this story might be a small part of what it’s like to be a woman or any person who confronts overt and/or subtle forms of oppression daily. Many versions of which threaten so much more than what’s at stake in this story.

The consistent accepting, defending or questioning of where one stands, what’s true or real, and our role in it all – it’s a lot of work and it can be uncomfortable. It’s a reality one part of me wants to hide from because I sense that it means walking differently in this world. And I could hide from it, I have actually. And that’s the uncomfortable truth. It’s a choice for some, and not for others. More like this: How travel made me confront white privilege

Photo: Leandro Cesar Santana

On January 21, a series of marches around the world had attendance over 5 million. Protests against US President Donald Trump galvanized people into action; marchers ranged from brand new babes-in-arms to great-grandmothers who had fought the same issues in the 60s. Photos from protests around the world flooded social media: my own Facebook started in the morning with crowd scenes from across Australia, continued into the afternoon with photos from European protests (I live in Sweden), and in the evening, the pictures from the United States started to pour in. To many, these marches were a call to action for people everywhere…including those growing the next generation.

When you’re pregnant, it can seem impossible to do anything at all, let alone contribute to meaningful social action. Here is a list of things you can do that will help you jumpstart the revolution without compromising your physical safety.

1. Read Revolutionary Mothering and Rad Dad.

If you are already an activist and concerned about how your pregnancy might impact your ability to effect social change, these two books are the best place to start. Revolutionary Mothering is a beautiful collection of essays by revolutionary mothers (for multiple meanings of that word) — the collection provides a voice for queer mothers, mothers of colour, mothers living alternative lifestyles, mothers living in poverty, teenaged mothers, and puts forward the strangely surprising idea that the act of mothering outside of social norms is a revolutionary act in and of itself. Rad Dad is edited by the author of the zine by the same name, Tomas Moniz, and features essays about fatherhood and how to engage with activism when there seems to be no space in those communities for parents.

Reading these books can help you frame alternative ways to look at your activist contribution, and give you hope for what can be accomplished after you have a child.

2. Start a babysitting co-op with other parents.

One of the issues impacting parents the most is childcare. In the United States, there is no subsidized childcare, and mothers often return to work when their baby is only a few months old thanks to insubstantial parental leave policies. Daycare alone (for one child) can cost families around $24,000 a year (depending on location), and kids can be in it from as young as several weeks old until they’re old enough to start first grade. To save money and distribute childcare through the community instead of the capitalist system, consider working with other parents or soon-to-be parents to form a babysitting co-op. There are many guidelines available online for systems that might work best for you, including software that assists with scheduling. You can find other interested parents through pregnancy groups, meetups, or even something as simple as posting notices on bulletin boards in health food stores. This can feel complicated to set up but is a tangible action that can make a huge difference to your life and the lives of other parents in your community.

3. Go to protests…carefully.

Une photo publiée par Catherine Stockhausen (@rockhausen) le 21 Janv. 2017 à 11h57 PST

Obviously, your participation in protests depends greatly on where you are, who you might surround yourself with, and the colour of your skin. If you have any reason to believe you will be personally targeted, or that the police in your area are particularly aggressive, it is more important for you to stay home. Seattle police during the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011, famously pepper-sprayed an elderly woman, a pregnant woman, and a blind woman with a cane. Stay to the edges of protests so you can duck out quickly. Bring friends; when I lived in Australia and went to marches, I could have had my visa revoked if I was arrested. I always went with people who would put themselves between me and police if things looked like they were getting nasty, so I could have time to get away. Wear tight shirts and signs that indicate your pregnant status, rather than loose clothing that hides your belly.

4. Write articles and letters.

If you have any skill at writing (even if you don’t), you can put it to use now. Write letters to your representatives and local politicians — most actual change is effected on lower levels than federal government, and protests against the federal government can become dilute and lose focus. Write articles for Medium, for blogs (yours or other people’s), or for magazines and newspapers (if you have that capacity). If you don’t know it, Mutha Magazine is an amazing online space for activist folks. Even conversing with people on social media can make a difference — I know of at least one person who successfully changes people’s minds on inflammatory topics through careful and measured conversation on Facebook. I don’t have the patience for that myself, though, so know your limits and be wary of getting into shouting matches. I have some other friends who do revolutionary comics: they cover the history of various social movements and make commentary on issues like gentrification, all through art.

5. Be present in activist spaces.

Une photo publiée par Paige K. Johnston (@missmuesli) le 21 Janv. 2017 à 23h10 PST

Just being a pregnant body (or a parent) in activist spaces is very confronting, and reminds other revolutionaries that space needs to be made for pregnant and nursing people, and parents with older children. Remind your activist friends of the need for childcare at protests and meetings. Tell them meetings cannot start at 10 PM if they want to include alternative (parent) voices. Remind them that you need frequent breaks and access to bathrooms, that venues must be accessible to people with reduced mobility (this will benefit activists in wheelchairs as well as you in your third trimester), and that you cannot necessarily participate in events that require long walks or lots of standing. After your child is born, bring them to activist events and meetings: breastfeed, encourage community engagement in child rearing (like holding them when they start crying), show options for other potentially pregnant people. Be present, be visible, be heard. This is a revolutionary act.

6. Reinforce important messages.

If you believe in a person’s right to choose, refer to your “fetus” or “proto-human”, or whatever you’d like to call it, rather than your “unborn baby”. Use the term “pregnant people” rather than “pregnant women”, and use other languages to disrupt and challenge cissexist assumptions. If you identify as female and have a male partner, confront anyone making gender-based assumptions about parenting roles: your partner is not “babysitting”, you are not “the boss” by virtue of having a uterus. Consider using gender-neutral pronouns for your child. Be outspoken about the need for parental leave and subsidized daycare options for everyone, as low-income or marginalized people may not have the option to protest or form babysitting co-ops.

7. Turn gender-based parenting on its head.

If you have a male partner, there are many tasks he can perform that traditionally fall to the pregnant partner. He can start by actively involving himself in parenting through joining or starting parenting support, or doing research into things like child development, diaper and feeding options, and gender inequality in parenting…all topics which are usually left for women to do and then explain to men. Expect your partner to take on emotional labour of parenting: setting boundaries, comforting your child at night, and support work during labour and delivery. This is especially important if you are having a hospital birth, as medical professionals are often unwittingly very gendered in how they interact with parents; my male birth partner was treated differently from my female birth partner when I was in labour. Insist that he participate in planning for the baby: organizing a nursery or researching co-sleeping options, remembering/booking prenatal appointments, cooking meals to freeze for the weeks immediately after birth.

8. Learn and talk about different ways and methods of parenting. Be outspoken.

Especially if you are able-bodied, middle class, heterosexual, cis, and/or white — learn about minority birthing experiences. Learn about how women of colour are targeted by anti-choice activists and also have a history of being forcibly sterilized. Read about reproductive rights and consider donating to revolutionary birthing organizations — the Black Women Birthing Justice site has a list of allies and organizations doing good work in that area. Acknowledge and make space for people struggling to conceive or adoptive parents having a difficult time with identifying as “real” parents. Just as getting your own voice to be heard is revolutionary, making space for other voices to be heard is powerful. You matter. So do they. You can do this. More like this: Women's March around the world: Next steps and how you can take action

People who choose to stay in a hotel based on how big the beds are and whether or not it has a mini-bar in the room are doing it all wrong.

Hotels are far more than just places to sleep and relax after a hard day of exploring a new city. They are an experience in themselves, and some are so unusual and entertaining that their exotic location is just a bonus.

So, without further ado, here are 10 of the craziest hotels around the world.

1. Tree Hotel, Harads, Sweden

Une photo publiée par Treehotel (@treehotel) le 4 Févr. 2017 à 0h23 PST

You can do what your parents never let you as a child and live in a treehouse. These treehouses aren’t just regular treehouses either; guests can stay in a bird’s nest treehouse, a dragonfly shaped one, or even a treehouse shaped like a UFO. For people who like things a little more secluded, there’s a cube where the outside is all camouflaged by mirrors which reflect their surroundings.

The hotel is situated in the middle of a forest and not far from the Lule River, so, not only is the hotel unique, it’s also in a peaceful, serene location.

2. The Hideout, Bali, Indonesia

Une photo publiée par Eco Bamboo Home • Offgrid Life (@hideoutbali) le 23 Nov. 2016 à 5h22 PST

This one is technically a house and not a hotel but it deserves a place on this list. The house is set in a secluded part of a forest and offers a cosy retreat for adventurers and creative spirits alike. From the house you can see Campuhan — a sacred place where two rivers meet, which is used for ceremonies and as a source for holy water.

The house comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a scooter for rent. If you want luxury don’t stay at the hideout, but if you want to learn how to play the Ukulele, make art, play board games in the forest, and experience authentic Balinese culture then this is the place for you! Oh, and did we mention the kitten that lives there?

3. Ice Hotel, Sweden

Une photo publiée par ICEHOTEL Sweden (@icehotelsweden) le 27 Déc. 2016 à 15h50 PST

Not everyone is a fan of a summer holiday in a hot location, so for those people there is the Ice Hotel in Sweden, where everything is made out of ice. This hotel has both warm and cold rooms and they recommend that guests book one night in a cold room and a couple in a warm room to make the most of their stay. They even have a packing list which includes thermal, woolly underwear.

As well as being a unique hotel it’s also an art project as it was designed and sculpted by a number of artists. They even have art suites where guests can properly enjoy the handiwork and craftsmanship that went into building it.

In addition to the rooms made of ice the hotel has an ice bar, a restaurant, and a church. And don’t worry, for those of you who don’t want to lose all of their toes to frostbite, the hotel has warm rooms such as a lounge and warm cabins.

4. V8 Hotel, Stuttgart, Germany

Une photo publiée par kojaro – کجارو (@mykojaro) le 16 Août 2016 à 23h03 PDT

Who didn’t want a race car bed when they were younger? Well this hotel in Germany lets you live out that dream, and you can bring your family along for the ride.

The hotel prides itself on being able to offer guests the chance to escape from everyday life by staying in motor car-themed rooms and by offering supercar driving experiences, where people can drive a Mercedes-Benz or a Porsche. Rooms aren’t just specifically cars either; other room themes include a car wash, an American gas station, Route 66 and even a drive in movie theatre.

5. La Balade Des Gnomes, Durbury, Belgium

Une photo publiée par Travel and life (@trevelandlife) le 24 Déc. 2015 à 8h20 PST

The word Gnome here doesn’t mean that guests at the hotel have to sleep with thousands of creepy-looking gnomes and their fishing rods staring at them. It actually refers to the fact that every room in the hotel makes you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.

There are ten rooms and each has its own story theme, from an island-themed room with water acting as the sea (and yes the bed is a boat), to a room called La Route Du Vin which looks like a wine cellar.

6. Attrap’Rêves, France

Une photo publiée par Attrap'reves (@attraprevesattrapreves) le 23 Avril 2016 à 23h31 PDT

This is possibly one of the most magical hotels on the planet and the magic is all created by the stars themselves. This hotel allows guests to sleep in a clear dome in which they can gaze up at the stars whilst enjoying all the comforts of a hotel.

As well as being at one with nature, the hotel offers an open-air jacuzzi, champagne, luxury dinners and massages. They pride themselves on being family-run, unique, romantic, private (each bubble has a private access), and set in a beautiful, relaxing setting.

7. Hong Nga Guesthouse/Crazy House, Dalat, Vietnam

Une photo publiée par Anni Llŷn (@anni_llyn) le 14 Janv. 2017 à 2h49 PST

This hotel in Vietnam, popularly known as The Crazy House or The Fairy Tale House, is often referred to as one of the most unusual places to stay around the world — and rightly so! The hotel was originally built as a personal project by the owner, who is passionate about architecture and nature. The location of Dalat heavily influenced him because of its stunning scenery and tranquillity.

The guesthouse is shaped like a large tree and has natural elements, such as mushrooms and spider webs, carved into the exterior. Each room has an animal theme and has handcrafted furniture inside. The tiger room has a large tiger on the wall (not a real one!), and the Eagle room has a fireplace in the shape of an eagle egg. The best thing about the hotel is it brings guests back to nature by simply surrounding them in it.

8. Museum hotel, Louisville, USA

Une photo publiée par Steve Grider (@stevegrider) le 26 Sept. 2016 à 6h14 PDT

The museum hotel in Louisville, Kentucky is exactly what it says it is — a boutique hotel and a contemporary art museum all rolled into one.

The museum has rotating artist exhibitions, unique events, and installations made especially for the museum for guests to enjoy. The hotel section has large luxury rooms (including a specially sculpted room by a NY artist), an award winning restaurant, and a spa.

9. Liberty Hotel, Boston, USA

Une photo publiée par Belinda Pegg (@bcaporaso) le 12 Févr. 2017 à 8h44 PST

This hotel is a far cry from the place it once was. The Liberty hotel used to be a jail which housed some of Boston’s most notorious criminals but now houses guests who are after a bit of luxury. The hotel has large rooms and suites, a concierge service, 24-hour in room dining, free Wi-Fi, a fitness centre and complimentary yoga. You can even bring your dog!

You know you’re getting a somewhat authentic prison stay (albeit a very luxurious one) because, when the rights to the building were bought in 1991 by the Massachusetts General Hospital, they made it a requirement that significant elements of it be retained. If you look up from the lobby, the corridors, where cells would have once been lined up next to each other, are still intact, so those staying there can never really forget where they are.

10. Propeller Island City Lodge, Berlin, Germany.

Une photo publiée par Gregor (@gregoroth) le 11 Avril 2016 à 13h12 PDT

Imagine staying in a hotel which caters to your every mood and plays with your senses. Well the Propeller Island City Lodge in Berlin does just that. It originally began as an art project where the artist could show off his audio-visual creations but quickly became a huge hit with visitors from across the globe wanting to bag themselves a quirky room here.

No two rooms are the same at this hotel, which means guests can stay in rooms ranging from a standard green padded cell, to a slanted, topsy-turvy room, and even to a Labyrinth where the beds are coffins. Those who want a *ahem* more pleasurable room can choose from a room full of nude photographs to a red room where an extra guest can sleep in a cage. More like this: 36 epic beach hotels to visit before you die

Featured image by Ice Hotel.

Photo by Mats Linander.

Traveling for cheap

The United States is finally getting a $65 European airfare. Norwegian Airlines is establishing at least 10 new routes in the States. For instance, London-Austin, Tokyo-San Jose, Calif., and Edinburgh-Stewart International in Upstate N.Y. (60 miles north of New York City). The fares will begin at $65 a pop and there’s apparently several thousand available at that price. They’ll go up from there, the next tier being $99. [Bloomberg]

There’s a new start-up that will help you work and travel simultaneously. Terminal 3, founded by a millennial former lawyer and current entrepreneur, is a new company that brings a group of freelancers together to visit a new city each month. They handle all the details — housing, office space, wifi — while you cover the destination for your contractor. [Forbes]

Great ideas from around the world

A Swedish lawmaker wants people to get paid for a one hour sex break with their partner. The proposal is specifically happening in the northern town of Overtornea. Per Erik Muskos wants employers to pay their employees to go home and have some sex for one hour each week. Muskos believes this would not only make people happier and healthier, it would encourage some needed population growth. Sweden’s already known for its great ideas, like 480 days of paid paternal leave. [New York Post]

A nonprofit in Philadelphia is training citizens to peacefully disrupt immigration raids. The New Sanctuary Movement is leveraging a policy that immigration raids will not happen in places of worship by using hymns and prayers as nonviolent disruptions. Citizens are being trained to call a hotline if they see ICE. That call triggers a text to all volunteers, who show up to the scene. Thirteen-hundred people have signed up and 500 have been trained, some of these volunteers are willing to risk an arrest for the cause. [NPR]

Protecting the environment

An entire island in American Samoa just switched from 100% diesel fuel to 100% solar power. The population of Ta’U can be anywhere from 200 to 600 people, it varies with the time of year. The recent solar project took $8 million and was funded by the U.S. Department of Interior and the American Samoa Power Authority. It’s saving 110,000 gallons of diesel per year, plus the amount of fuel it took to deliver each shipment. [National Geographic] Read more like this: How to travel the world for free (seriously)

AS HUMANS, we’re too often confined to the ground. Our endless fascination with rivers and lakes, Ferris wheels and roller coasters, seas and oceans, parachutes and bungee cords — anything that gets us off our feet — stems from a sort of primal curiosity. It’s in these instances that we feel most alive. The hands-in-the-air, scream-like-you-mean-it kind of alive.

So why should travel be any different? Why should we be restricted to seeing the world only from the earth it rests upon? Answer: We shouldn’t. Grab your snorkeling gear, your canoe, and your boat shoes — we recommend any pair from the Sperry 7 Seas collection — because it’s time to explore 11 incredible cities from a different vantage point. Sunglasses and high SPF recommended.

1. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm

Photo: Bengt Nyman

Stockholm is actually made up of 14 islands — it’s a city where downtown water play is allowed and encouraged. There are even more islands scattered all around the Swedish capital and, if you wanted, you could venture out into the archipelago and rent one of the thousands of little dots of land all for yourself. Even the boat ride there will be memorable.

But Stockholm is made for water exploration whether you have the budget of royalty or not. Rent a kayak or canoe and float beneath centuries-old bridges, gaze at City Hall from the water, and get the best shots of Old Town your Instagram could ever dream of. Afterward, hit up a steamboat cruise for dinner — or take it up a notch in a speedboat. Remember: This is the city that hosts World Water Week — taking to the water is both a great idea and a way of life.

2. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Chao Phraya

Photo: Ninara

On first impression, Bangkok is a barrage of city lights, temple bells and traffic, wafting scents from food cart vendors. You have to look a bit deeper to see its slower, watery side — but it’s there, busy providing the roots of this vivacious city.

Definitely explore via tuk tuk in the beginning, but then make sure to take a river cruise on the Chao Phraya. It won’t be what you’re picturing — think more along the lines of you and your party hopping in your own private, decked-out fishing boat. River cruises are super common and widely available, meaning you can book your own and still be on budget. You’ll drift past ancient temples, be a part of a floating market, and get a feel for the Siam of the past. Just try to get that feeling on a tuk tuk.

3. Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico

Xochimilco trajineras a href=

Photo: Rulo Luna Ramos

Mexico City is built on water, and in the alcaldía of Xochimilco, that’s a very good thing. Picture Venice, but far less cliche (and far more tamales). The once-independent city (now a part of the capital) is built on the shore of Lake Xochimilco and comprises a network of man-made islands and canals — islands and canals so beautiful they’ve earned Xochimilco UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Find the area less than 20 miles south of Mexico City, where hundreds of colorful trajineras (gondola-like boats) will be awaiting you at one of nine embarcaderos (boat landings). Be sure to bring your camera, light clothing, and your sturdy Sperrys — you’ll want to hop in and out of the boat and onto the “floating gardens” the area is famous for. Look out especially for La Isla de la Muñecas, or “Island of the Dolls.” You’ll know it when you see it.

4. Newport Beach, California, USA

Balboa Island Newport Beach California

Photo: Guwashi999

On the outside, Newport Beach is just another Orange County stop — art galleries, expensive restaurants, and urban modernity — but hop off the PCH and onto Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula, and things change. Here, you can have two very different days: Grab a famous frozen banana, check out the old-school Ferris wheel and arcades, walk along the harbor, and hop on the open-air ferry to the peninsula and the pier. Cap it all off with a milkshake at Ruby’s, overlooking the Pacific and watching the surfers.

Or get right in the water. Surf, stand-up paddleboard, you name it. Balboa Water Sports rents jet skis year round, and Davey’s Locker does everything from deep-sea fishing to yacht rentals to electric boat rentals, where you’ll be zooming around the harbor with the sailboats or almost-floating with a cool drink in hand. Bonus if you can keep up with the dolphins.

5. Tigre, Argentina

Tigre rowing club Argentina

Photo: David

Tigre sits on the delta of the Paraná. There’s over 5,000 square miles of water here, and the city was once the delta’s crown jewel — a getaway for the Buenos Aires elite. There are little clubs everywhere (called “countries,” after US country clubs), and they exist to show Tigre’s world to visitors. Horseback riding, kayaking, blazing through forests, vegging on a lagoon — it’s all doable. The only problem is this makes it hard to pack — the versatile 7 Seas shoe will be the only way to go in Tigre.

If you only have time for a brief visit, grab a canoe or kayak and paddle along the waterfront. You’ll pass markets, shops, museums, and the ancient Tigre forest. Then, put down your paddles and follow your nose to the nearest asado, or barbecue joint. If there are two things Tigre is built on, it’s water and mean, slow-roasted meats.

6. Trogir, Croatia

Trogir Croatia

Photo: Kamil Porembiński

The city of Trogir takes up an entire island on the south side of Croatia, sandwiched between the mainland and a much larger island, Čiovo. It’s been around for 2,300 years, and it’s on UNESCO’s list for its incredible Venetian architecture. Think red-tiled roofs, palaces, clock towers, and fortresses touching the edge of the sea. It’s the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex in all of Central Europe, and the only way to take it all in is by taking to the waters around it.

Start at Okrug Beach, home of some excellent nightlife. Get in a kayak, start SUPing, or even rent a private charter from Providence Charter & Travel. There’s also nothing wrong with booking it straight to the Blue Lagoon and spending the day relaxing or snorkeling with the turtles — the architecture will be there tomorrow.

7. Zhouzhuang, China

Zhouzhuang China

Photo: Yuya Sekiguchi

China has a few “ancient water towns,” but Zhouzhuang, 90 minutes from Shanghai, is the one to target. Walk through the giant gate, and keep an eye out for two of the 14 stone bridges in particular: the double bridge (two bridges form a right angle over the water), and the Fu’an Bridge, built in 1355. This town is truly ancient — the temples, centuries-old houses, towers, and shops largely date back to the Ming Dynasty.

Getting around town is easiest via the canals. From your boat, watch for the classic courtyards, carved-brick archways, and the architecture of the 1400s Zhang House and 1700s Shen House, the most famous residences in town. Be sure to have a bit of spare change on you, too — when you sidle up to the water markets, you’ll want to score a memento to solidify the memory of paddling the waters of ancient China.

8. Hydra, Greece

Hydra Greece

Photo: Sperry

Hydra is one of the most accessible Greek islands, super easy to reach from Athens. Despite this, it still manages to be its own little world — donkeys are responsible for most of the transportation here, and new construction isn’t allowed. It’s ship-captain mansions, narrow streets, taverns, shops, and view after view — all best seen from the water, of course.

After you arrive via hydrofoil or catamaran (sometimes referred to as “dolphins” or “cats”), snag a water taxi. Zip from island to island, shore to shore, and stake out your preferred spot to go snorkeling, scuba diving, or water skiing. Here, there are no world-renowned museums. No famous landmarks. No ancient ruins. Just you and the call of the water. You brought your sunglasses and your Sperrys, right?

9. Ganvie, Benin

Ganvie Benin

Photo: Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)

It’s about time this list included a town built entirely on stilts. Turns out Africa has a Venice, too, and it’s called Ganvie. The town sits on Lake Nokoué and only has one building (out of ~3,000) actually on land. To navigate Ganvie, you’ve got no choice but to put on your sailing cap. The locals — old men, young women, small children — get to and fro by canoe, and when you visit, you will, too.

When you’re there, take a moment just to let it all sink in. This is the largest water town in Africa, maybe the world. Paddle over to one of the many markets, spend time picking out a handcrafted souvenir, and watch the children navigate the waters like they’re paddling through air. And don’t worry about figuring out how to rent a boat — since the village is literally on the water, it’s everyone’s only option.

10. Can Tho, Vietnam

Can Tho Vietnam

Photo: Kevin

Vietnam is changing at lightning speeds, but the kind of vibe most visitors seek still resides in Can Tho. Away from the wealth of Ho Chi Minh City and the hubbub of Hanoi, Can Tho — the largest city in the Mekong Delta — still has that water spirit. And that’s why exploring Can Tho on land doesn’t do it justice.

Following the course of the Mekong, you’ll pass the Cai Rang floating market, you’ll hear stories of how schoolchildren wade the tributaries to school, and the floating houses will make you question whether you’re in another world entirely. And when your guide offers you hot tea on a 90-degree day, don’t be surprised, and don’t turn it down — it’s all part of the magic of the Mekong.

11. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Belgium

Photo: Carlos Andrés Reyes

Put down the chocolate, french fries, and beer — it’s time to see the real Bruges. This city isn’t called “Venice of the North” for nothing. Its canals, the best way to access its medieval past, are lined with stone buildings, brick mansions, winding paths, imposing warehouses, and ornate churches. More than 80 individual bridges span the water. It’s romantic in a way that most cities are not, with that perfect amount of European charm — a city that oozes cozy, slow sophistication.

Get on a canal tour, for sure — many of the houses and buildings are built directly on the water, so you’ll have the best vantage point there is. But try to leave time for a riverboat experience from Bruges to Damme, which will take you out into the Belgian countryside. Hope your feet (and your shoes) are up to the challenge, because there’s a walking path all the way back to Bruges with your name on it — the best of both worlds.

 

Sperry_Logo_NAVY 296 This post is proudly produced in partnership with Sperry shoes.

 

Kristina Paltén, A woman and a runner, took an incredible 1144-mile journey from Turkey to Turkmenistan to fight the prejudice against Muslims currently rampant in Europe and in her home country of Sweden. Although the first kilometer was filled with fear, the kindness of the Iranians she met during her two-month adventure proved her right.

For more about Kristina’s journey, check out Alone Through Iran’s Facebook page. More like this: 33 iconic photos of people standing up to injustice

Lagom

Lagom is a word that means “just the right amount”. Lagom är bäst is a popular Swedish proverb, and translates to “enough is as good as a feast”. This policy of moderation can be oppressive when it encourages the naturally circumspect Swedes to moderate their conversational topics or restrain themselves from laughing too loudly…but taken with a proper degree of lagom itself, a little moderation is a great idea. We can use this concept as a chance to scale back our purchasing, avoid getting in yet another comments fight on Facebook, and maybe sit down and enjoy the pleasant spring weather instead of rushing into Starbucks.

Fika

Everyone starts dragging a little at about 10 am. Fortunately, in Sweden, that’s fika time! Friends, coworkers, and families alike take a little break for a refreshing beverage (let’s be honest, in Sweden, it’s usually coffee) and a little snack. The snack is usually a kanelbulle (a cinnamon roll sprinkled with sugar) or some other simple pastry, and can also be enjoyed in the afternoon. Having seen the regular snack schedule my toddler is on at daycare and noticing how hangry I get, I can’t help thinking that we would all benefit from regulated snack times.

Subsidized daycare

Not so much a habit as a governmental institution, Swedish daycare (or “dagis”, which means kindergarten) is regulated, creative, and subsidized according to your income. Low-income families pay basically nothing, while higher-income families pay a maximum amount per child…which usually works out to be about the same amount as the government “child allowance”. Having accessible, affordable daycare allows parents to work easily, encourages equality between genders (no need for a mother to sacrifice her career because the family can’t afford childcare), and lets kids make friends and have experiences they wouldn’t get at home. The daycare next door to us has a “bus section”, with a special touring school bus that drives the 3-5-year-olds to various locations around the province: They go to beaches, forests, national parks, and museums…all for less than the cost of two nice dinners out.

Nummerlapp

Rather than getting into unruly anxiety-inducing lines to get to a post office clerk or see a doctor’s receptionist, risking the chance that someone will cut ahead of you or not see the end of the line, Swedes use number machines for EVERYTHING. While this is confusing at first, after awhile, you come to appreciate the civility of being able to wander around a store or even leave and come back before your number is called, without losing your place in line. I had to go to the employment office for some forms the other day, and the nummerlapp line was pretty long…so I just went to the store next door for a little while and came back in time to get called to the front. Genius!

Family over work

No matter what you do or where you are, Swedes see your job as secondary to your family life. Have to leave early to go to your daughter’s piano recital? Have fun! Nobody will give you grief about missing a meeting, and it would be unthinkable to interfere with someone’s scheduled parental leave. This can be a bit of a pain when, say, your bank loan officer is gone for a week because their kid is sick and they’re taking VAB (vård av barn, days paid by the government for you to stay home with your sick child), but Swedes are happier and healthier because they don’t spend 80 hours a week at work. This hasn’t interfered with Sweden’s reputation as innovative inventors and producers of pop culture, either: They’ve been responsible for Skype, inflatable bicycle helmets, and pacemakers…as well as zippers, ultrasounds, and thermometers.

Lingonberries

My husband described these as “what cranberries wish they were”. These tart, sweet, perfectly-sized berries make delicious jam and are flavourful additions to every dish, whether sweet or savoury. I just had some vegetarian dumplings scattered with browned butter and lingonberries, and my mouth thought it died and went to heaven. Other than being tasty, lingonberries are full of antioxidants and can reduce spikes in blood sugar, which is particularly helpful for diabetics. They are also anti-inflammatory and help prevent urinary tract infections, much like their previously-mentioned less-yummy cousin, the cranberry.

Doing everything online or by mobile.

You can file your taxes or buy a house by text message. You can book a doctor’s appointment or check your blood test results on specialized websites. Your prescription for that blood test was transmitted to the lab digitally, associated with your ID number, so you don’t have to concern yourself with keeping track of a piece of paper. A basically cashless society, there is a special app (Swish) for transferring funds to people using phone numbers, so you never have to carry bills to pay that fruit stand owner for the pint of raspberries. It’s awesome.

Biking everywhere.

Sweden is one of the top ten countries with the most number of bicycles per capita in the world, and it shows. Everyone bikes everywhere (especially in the summer, or anytime close to the summer, or when it’s even slightly sunny outside). Need to get some groceries? Go by bike! Want to pick up your kid from daycare? Bike with a kid seat! Have to pick up more than one kid? Get a cargo bike! You don’t need padded spandex shorts and a fancy titanium bike frame in Sweden, since everyone just tootles around on beat-up old fixies, texting with one hand and waving at drivers with the others.

Spending lots of time outside.

Tell a Swede there’s a birch forest nearby, and they’ll leave a trail of dust in their hurry to enjoy the fresh air and birdsong. The first time I ever came to Sweden was in May, and the AirBNB we stayed in did not have curtains in the bedroom windows. It gets light around 4 am in May and stays light until around 11 pm. When we asked the hosts why they didn’t have any curtains, they shrugged, and said: “It’s dark here for so long that when it gets light again, we want to get as much sunshine as we can.” Everyone loves to hang around on patios so much that restaurants and pubs provide comfy blankies for outdoor customers to stay warm while they enjoy their drinks.

Free fruit for kids in the supermarkets

This is a great way for stores to use up their heading-towards-overripe fruit and prevents a toddler meltdown from hunger in the middle of the store. A bin full of bananas and spare oranges or apples, right by the door, and parents get to shop in peace while kids work out how to remove a peel and stuff their faces. It’s usually fruit that would get taken off the displays and thrown out, so it also reduces waste. Everybody wins! More like this: The reality of parenting in Sweden will make you rethink how we raise kids

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Sweden

DK

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Sweden will lead you straight to the best attractions this breathtaking country has to offer.

Explore this beautiful Scandinavian country region-by-region, from local festivals and markets to day trips around the countryside. Visit Stockholm Palace, stroll through the medieval Gamla Stan, go island-hopping on the enchanting Bohuslän Coast, and experience the midnight sun of Europe's last wilderness.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Sweden.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps each include a street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Sweden truly shows you what others only tell you.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

Sweden: Sweden Travel Guide: 101 Coolest Things to Do in sweden (Stockholm Travel Guide, Gothenburg, Malmo, Uppsala, Swedish Lapland, Scandinavia Travel)

101 Coolest Things

Congratulations! You've Found the Ultimate Guide to Sweden Travel!This Sweden Guide is now available on paperback. So what are you waiting for?!You are super lucky to be going to Sweden, and this guide will let you know all of the coolest things to do, see, and eat around the country, including popular destinations like StockholmGothenburgMalmoUppsala, Swedish Lapland, and more.Why You Need 101 Coolest Things to Do in SwedenThis Sweden guide will give you the lowdown on:the very best things to shove in your pie hole, whether you need to want to chow down on cardamom cream filled Swedish buns, or you want to have a Michelin star fine dining experienceincredible festivals, from electronic festivals with word famous headliners through to the Stockholm International Film Festivalthe coolest historical and cultural sights that you simply cannot afford to miss like Swedish art fairs, and ancient fortresses and castlesthe most incredible outdoor adventures, whether you want to hike through Swedish Lapland or have a go at ice fishingwhere to shop for authentic souvenirs so that you can remember your trip to Sweden foreverthe places where you can party like a local and make new friendsand tonnes more coolness besides!Get Your Copy NOW!Tags: Sweden, Swedish Travel Guide, Swedish Travel Guide, Stockholm Travel Guide, Travel to Sweden, Travel to StockholmGothenburgMalmo, Swedish Lapland, Swedish History, Sweden Holidays, Travel to Scandinavia, Scandinavia Travel Guide, Sweden Restaurants, Backpacking Sweden, Budget Travel, Sweden on a Shoestring, Sweden Activities, Sweden Accommodation

Lonely Planet Sweden (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Sweden is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Experience the beauty of Stockholm's glittering waterways and cobble-stoned streets, hike through the wild natural landscape of its northern regions, or dine on innovative Swedish cuisine; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Sweden and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Sweden Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - including history, literature, cinema, design, architecture, music, politics, landscapes, wildlife, cuisine, customs. Free, convenient pull-out Stockholm map (included in print version), plus over 50 maps Covers Stockholm, Lappland, the Far North, Ostersund, the Bothnian Coast, Uppsala, Central Sweden, Goteborg, the Southwest, Malmo, the South, the Southeast, GotlandVisbyStockholm Archipelago, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Sweden, our most comprehensive guide to Sweden, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's Scandinavia guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Becky Ohlsen, Anna Kaminski, Josephine Quintero .

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

The Rough Guide to Sweden

Rough Guides

This in-depth coverage of Sweden's local attractions, sights, and restaurants takes you to the most rewarding spots—from the Vasa Museum to national parks—and stunning color photography brings the land to life on the pages.

Discover Sweden's highlights, with expert advice on exploring the best sites, participating in festivals, and exploring local landmarks through extensive coverage of this fascinating location.

Easy-to-use maps; reliable advice on how to get around; and insider reviews of the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops for all budgets ensure that you won't miss a thing.

Make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Sweden.

Series Overview: For more than thirty years, adventurous travelers have turned to Rough Guides for up-to-date and intuitive information from expert authors. With opinionated and lively writing, honest reviews, and a strong cultural background, Rough Guides travel books bring more than 200 destinations to life. Visit RoughGuides.com to learn more.

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

Michael Booth

The Christian Science Monitor's #1 Best Book of the Year

A witty, informative, and popular travelogue about the Scandinavian countries and how they may not be as happy or as perfect as we assume, “The Almost Nearly Perfect People offers up the ideal mixture of intriguing and revealing facts” (Laura Miller, Salon).

Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than ten years, and he has grown increasingly frustrated with the rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. In this timely book he leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success, and, most intriguing of all, what they think of one another.

Why are the Danes so happy, despite having the highest taxes? Do the Finns really have the best education system? Are the Icelanders as feral as they sometimes appear? How are the Norwegians spending their fantastic oil wealth? And why do all of them hate the Swedes? In The Almost Nearly Perfect People Michael Booth explains who the Scandinavians are, how they differ and why, and what their quirks and foibles are, and he explores why these societies have become so successful and models for the world. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterized by suffocating parochialism, and populated by extremists of various shades. They may very well be almost nearly perfect, but it isn’t easy being Scandinavian.

City Maps Malmoe Sweden

James McFee

City Maps Malmoe Sweden is an easy to use small pocket book filled with all you need for your stay in the big city. Attractions, pubs, bars, restaurants, museums, convenience stores, clothing stores, shopping centers, marketplaces, police, emergency facilities are only some of the places you will find in this map. This collection of maps is up to date with the latest developments of the city as of 2017. We hope you let this map be part of yet another fun Malmoe adventure :)

Sweden - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Charlotte J. DeWitt

Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * do's, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken

Modern Knits from Sweden: A Warm Mix of Shawls, Scarves, Cowls, Mittens, Hats and More

Erika Aberg

All your favorite contemporary knits, in one book: shawls, scarves, hats, wrist warmers, mittens, and gloves! With delightful easy-to-wear accessories in all styles and sizes, from classic and elegant to cozy and colorful, garter stitch and stockinette to entrelac and herringbone, Modern Knits from Sweden will keep any experienced knitter warm all winter long.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

The crime rate is lower than in most European countries. Petty crime (pickpocketing, purse snatching) occurs in tourist areas, in restaurants and on public transportation, particularly in urban areas during the summer months. Pickpockets and purse snatchers may work in teams; one distracts the victim and another commits the robbery. Hotel lobbies and breakfast rooms attract professional, well-dressed thieves. Remain vigilant and ensure your valuables are secure at all times.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur periodically and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Road travel

The road network is excellent. Some roads may be closed in winter, particularly in northern areas. Consult local news and weather reports prior to travel.

A toll bridge connects Sweden with Denmark.

Public transportation

Taxis are available but expensive. Public transportation is convenient, reliable and punctual. Modern trains operate throughout the country. Extensive and efficient ferry services operate between Sweden and other countries in the Baltic Sea.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety measures

Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to tick bites (e.g., those spending time outdoors in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Western Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Excellent medical care is widely available.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Canada and Sweden are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Sweden to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Swedish authorities.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.

Some substances, such as khat, that may be legal in other European countries are prohibited in Sweden.

Road travel

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.02 percent.

Headlights must be on at all times. The use of seat belts is mandatory. Approved child or booster seats are required for children under seven. Vehicles must be fitted with winter tires from December 1 to March 31.

A congestion tax is imposed on Swedish-registered vehicles entering and exiting Stockholm on weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 6:29 p.m. For more information, consult the Swedish Transport Agency website.

Same-sex marriages

Swedish authorities recognize same-sex marriages.

Import/export

Firearms, medications and pharmaceuticals may be subject to strict import or export regulations. Contact the Embassy of Sweden for specific information on customs requirements.

Money

The currency of Sweden is the Swedish krona (SEK).

Credit cards are widely accepted in major shops, restaurants and hotels. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available.

When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.

Climate

Rockslides, floods and windstorms present a risk. Take note of the address and telephone number of the Embassy of Canada in Stockholm in the event of an emergency.