I just went to Sweden with my family. We traveled as a total of 11 people, 6 adults, and 5 kids.
Before traveling to a country, I always do extensive research about locations and facts. Even though I have been to Sweden several times before, it is always nice to brush up on information, and maybe even learn something new.
What is Sweden Famous For? Sweden is known for many things. For example Sweden is home to IKEA, Volvo and H&M which are brands known globally. Sweden is also iconic for its big amount of red wood houses which is exactly like you see in movies. Other examples of famous Swedish traits is – Skiing, Viking Origins, Music, Astrid Lundgren and many other things.
The following blog post will cover a list of items which I think Sweden is most famous for, and also some must-visit locations in Sweden. Enjoy!
Red Wooden Houses! Why many houses in Sweden are painted Dark Red!
Almost all the houses you see while driving through Sweden are the same color of red. My research tells me, that the color is called “Falu Rödfärg” or Falu Red.
It is a by-product from Swedish mining operations and is an ingenious way of using what would have been wasted.
The red consists of water, rye flour, linseed oil and a by-product from the copper mines of Falun.
This red color is supposed to be, really great in all-weathers and was designed to emulate red brick buildings.
NOTE: Driving through the countryside, you will find many yellow houses as well.
Sweden is the 5th largest country in all of Europe. Almost 1.000 miles long country, which is almost the same as driving from the top northern part of the United States to the south in a straight line.
Keep in mind that there are only about 10 million people in Sweden, which is about 1 / 30’th of USA. So, as you might imagine, there is a lot of room for everyone, a gigantic, Nordic, mountain, lake & forest country.
I have not been to Canada, but my girlfriend has, and she confirms my theory that Sweden is very much like Canada in many ways.
Environment & Equality
All over the news right now, you will find Swedish, Greta Thunberg, who has somehow become the voice of the younger environmental-conscious generation.
For quite some time, Sweden has boasted its clean technologies and environmental policies.
Sweden is also very proactive in gender-equality and might be one of the most equal countries in the world.
Sweden prides itself of being an innovative nation, the inventors of Spotify, The Pacemaker, The Celsius temperature scale, Ultrasound, Dynamite, and the computer mouse.
I do not know if this is something that is hugely popular in America or where you might reside. But in my home country, Pippi Longstocking, Karlsson On The Roof, and much more of the stories from Astrid Lindgren has been very popular.
It’s getting old, the books are still popular, but the movies are almost too old to watch. Just showed them to my son who is 3 years old, he absolutely loved Pippi Longstocking.
It might be because she is beating up pirates, can lift her horse and anything she puts her mind to.
There is a great mindset called the “Pippi-mindset” which I, as an entrepreneur has adopted.
It translates to: “I have never tried this before, So I am sure I will be good at it”.
Hiking-destination, Beautiful countryside!
Sweden is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Its rolling countryside and rocky mountains have wonderful hiking destinations for hikers of every skill level. In fact, the country has over 400 trails in total!
If you’re looking for a challenge, try hiking along the Kebnekaise hiking trail.
This trail goes through the highest mountain in Sweden.
At its highest peak, it reaches 2,106 meters. The entire round trip is about 18 km.
If you want something more relaxing, it’s best to hike through the countryside instead. No matter which trails you choose, always remember to wear the proper footwear, bring a jacket if necessary, and bring a water bottle.
IKEA, Volvo, and H&M
Most people know that IKEA and Volvo are famous Swedish brands, but did you know that H&M also has its roots in Sweden?
IKEA was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad. At first, the company was a mail-order furniture business.
In fact, IKEA didn’t even have a physical store until 1958. Now, IKEA has stores all over the world!
Volvo is one of Sweden’s oldest car brands. It was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson. However, the Volvo company first only sold car parts.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the company began working on a car of their own. The first Volvo was sold in 1927. Since then, the car and the Volvo brand has been a status of luxury around the world.
Lastly, H&M was founded in 1947 by Erling Persson. However, when it first opened it was called Hennes and sold only women’s clothing.
Slowly, the company started to sell clothing for men and children. Today, they have stores all over the world.
When it comes to music, Sweden is most popular for its pop bands. Some of the most famous bands include ABBA, Roxette, Swedish House Mofia, Meshuggah, and First Aid Kit.
ABBA is actually the best-selling Swedish band of all time. It has sold over 375 million units. Their music was even used in the the Mamma Mia! movies.
Following ABBA, the next best-selling bands and music artists, in order, are Roxette, Ace of Base, Avicii, Europe, and Spotnicks.
Have you been following the HBO Series called Vikings with Ragnar Lothbrok? It is a legend in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, about an old Danish king from around 800’s, but it is unclear since some say it is more likely to be around the 1300’s.
Some of the stories in Vikings takes place in Sweden, and some in Denmark and Norway. At that time the Nordics were one big place (I think so)
Birka or (Birch Island) is an outdoor museum where everybody acts like Vikings. A place where you can go learn about Viking history and is also included on the UNESCO World Heritage list
Learn more here: https://www.birkavikingastaden.se/en/
Ice Hotel, Jukkasjärvi
The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi is one of the prime tourist spots in Sweden.
As the name implies, the hotel is actually made of ice! At night, the rooms are below freezing, but warm thermals and sleeping bags can help to keep visitors cozy.
The hotel suggests that people only stay for one night of their vacation and spend the rest of their time in warmer accommodations. That’s not to say that everything about this hotel is chilly. In fact, they have a heated lobby that is open to hotel guests 24/7.
More than anything else, Sweden is probably most famous for its prime skiing destinations.
The country is covered with snowy mountains. Just like the many hiking trails, there is a skiing hill and areas for cross-country skiing for skiers of every skill level.
For those who want a luxurious ski trip, try staying at one of Sweden’s famous ski resorts.
Some of the best resorts are in the Swedish Alps. Even if you don’t stay at a resort, you can still find great skiing spots. As mentioned before, anywhere on the Alps is a great place to ski.
If you want something a little less mountainous, try cross-country skiing.
NOTE: It snows in Sweden from about November until May, so you are sure to find a nice snowy place to ski.
Not all of Sweden is a part of Lapland. According to the dictionary definition, Lapland is the area between the Norwegian Sea and the White Sea.
This area is mostly in the Artic Circle, making it very cold nearly all year long.
Sweden isn’t the only country in Lapland. The other Scandinavian countries of Norway and Finland also lie within Lapland.
For this reason, the terms Lapland and Scandinavia are sometimes used interchangeably. Parts of Russia are also included in Lapland.
Once of the most famous places in Swedish Lapland is Jokkmokk. Jokkmokk is a famous Sami meeting place. Starting in February, Jokkmokk has a colourful marketplace. It’s both a great cultural meeting place and a colourful tourist destination.
Sweden is well-known for its snowy mountains and long winters, but that doesn’t mean the country is covered in snow all year long.
As mentioned earlier, it usually begins snowing in November and stops in May. At its coldest point, temperatures can get as low as -20?C.
During the summer months, the temperature is still relatively cool. In the summers, temperatures average around 15?C. Because of this, you might even need a jacket in July!
Surstrømning & Knäckebröd
Sweden isn’t exactly known for their food. However, there are a couple of popular Swedish dishes—surstonmning and knackebrod.
Surstonmning, known by the English words fermented herring, isn’t something that most people would every expect to see on a menu.
On average, the herring is fermented for about a month before it is bottled or served.
Even though fermentation usually begins in the spring, August is the most popular time of year to enjoy this strange food.
Every August, the city of Alfta hosts a surtromning festival. Here, people enjoy surtromning with bread, potatoes, beer, or just eat it on its own.
Tourists are more likely to want to try knackebrod than surstromning. Knackebrod is nothing like surstomning, as it is a type of hard bread, usually made out of rye. It more closely resembles a cracker than packaged white bread.
Knackebrod has been made in Sweden for hundreds of years. Traditionally, the bread was made twice a year and stored. Nowadays, you can buy it just about anywhere in Sweden, at any time!
Godis Factory Outlets
While driving in Sweden, you will come across places called “Godis” or “Godis Factory Outlet” or something similar.
Godis means candy, and these places are gigantic warehouses, maybe 1000 m2 (+10.000 sqft) in size. Just with candy.
It sounds too good to be true, and it also is. It is truly the worst candy I have tasted in my life. I don’t know, you might like it, but it is very cheap and it tastes cheap, artificial and horrible.
I remember getting into this place as a kid, thinking I was in heaven. Leaving there with a gigantic bag of candy, but it was uneatable, even as an 8-10-year-old (don’t remember exactly) I could not stomach it.
Try it. It might have become better over time, but I did not like it. Have you tried this? Leave a comment!
The Dala Horse
The Dala Horse is a traditional Swedish symbol. Its origins lie in Viking times. They began as toys. Over the centuries, the Dala Horse became known as a popular gift and tourist souvenir.
Traditionally, Dala Horses were carved from wood. Today, the horses may also be made of ceramic.
Most of the time, they are painted with one base color. Next painters add beautiful ribboned designs and/or flowers and other patterns. All in all, they make a beautiful gift.
Today, the city of Lindsborg claims the Dala Horse as its symbol. Large statues of these horses can be found spread out throughout the city.
They are also a popular item in gift shops. At some stores, customers can even get their own customized Dala Horse!
Directly translated into English, Sala Silvergruva means “Sala Silvermine.” This mine is no longer in operation, but it is open for tours!
The Sala Silvergruva opened around 500 years ago. As the name implies, silver was mined here. The silver was often used for Sweden’s silver coins.
What is the mine used for today? Mostly tourism. Today, tourists can explore both the inside and outside of the mine. Tour guides lead the way to ensure that everyone has fun and no one gets hurt.
Outside of the mine shaft, visitors can spend time at the mine’s museum. There, visitors can learn everything there is there to know about the mine’s centuries-long history. There is even a gift shop where tourists can buy silver trinkets and other souvenirs.
Other interesting things to do near the mine include zip-lining. The mine also hosts several events every year. There is sure to be something here for everyone!
Minimalism isn’t just something that can be done in Sweden, it’s all around the world! Of course, this being a Swedish list, it can be noted that minimalism is very popular in Sweden.
So, what exactly is minimalism? It is not a thing but a way of life. With minimalism, the general idea is to own as little as possible.
Minimalists don’t often own knick-knacks, much furniture, or many clothes. Instead of focusing on owning items, the focus is on investing in experiences.
Tiny houses, which are becoming increasingly popular all over the world, are also in part inspired by minimalism. Tiny houses are exactly what they sound like.
They are the perfect living environment for a minimalist. With a tiny house, you can’t fit much it in!
Some common things people who claim to be minimalist do (but aren’t necessarily required to be considered a minimalist) include biking or taking public transportation, using reusable food containers, and recycling.
Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden. Several million people make their home here. Believe it or not, people have lived in the area now called Stockholm since the stone age.
However, it was not considered a city until the 1200’s, when it was officially “founded” by Birger Jarl.
Why should tourists visit Stockholm? It is the biggest tourist destination in all of Sweden. It is full of cultural sites and has a large range of businesses that provide items, service, and entertainment.
PERSONAL TIP: While you’re in Stockholm, try to check out the Soder Torn, one of the tallest buildings in Stockholm. It is also astonishingly beautiful.
There are a number of museums in Stockholm as well. The Vasa Museum specializes in all things sea-worthy. Go here if you’re interested in learning all about boats. The National Museum, on the other hand, focused on art instead.
Aurora Borealis (the green glowing lights in the sky), also called the Northern Lights, is a rare sight that only a few people get to experience in their life.
But, if this is something that you want to go see for yourself, it is possible in Sweden.
In a place called Abisko, you can experience this phenomenon. Learn much more at this website.
What are some other notable places to visit? Along with the places listed in this article, Sweden has many other areas of interest. If you’re a big fan of alcohol, try visiting the Absolut Distillery. If you’re more of an outdoorsy person, try kayaking in one of Sweden’s many lakes.
Where should I stay when I visit? If you’re not one for staying the Ice Hotel, there are loads of other places to stay. If you’re traveling cheaply, try staying in hostels. If you have a little more cash to burn, staying in cabins can be cozy.