Sweden's vast landscapes make for a unique and unforgettable trip. A tour of Sweden can include equal parts sightseeing in big cities and equal parts exploring up in the Arctic Circle. With a variety of activities like hiking around frozen lakes or seeing the Northern Lights, your Sweden tour can be as active or relaxing as you want it to be.
The first step of your Scandinavian adventure is to figure out the kind of tour that's right for you. You should consider length, cost, and special packing needs to ensure you're well-equipped for an exciting trip up in one of the coldest areas of the planet. Sweden tours include a dazzling variety of options to help you appreciate the country's natural wonders.
Sweden's cities provide great destinations for an extended tour of the country. You'll get acquainted with Stockholm and its charming Old Town, known as Gamla Stan. These tours often involve the city's most important sights like the Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum, where you can learn about the Nobel Prize and its recipients.
Gothenburg is Stockholm's more laid-back sibling. A tour of this city will take you through the charming district of Haga, where you'll find vegan bistros and pubs tucked away in traditional wood buildings. The Gothenburg Archipelago is one of the city's most popular sights and a popular tourist destination. The group of islands is accessible by ferry from the mainland.
In northern Sweden, a nature tour can take you through the heart of the country's alpine region. Popular destinations like Abisko National Park give you the opportunity to see the country's beautiful meadows and take in the blue waters of the Alpine lake, Torneträsk.
A tour through Sarek National Park includes beautiful hikes with wondrous views of mountains and waterfalls, as well as reindeer sightings. Camping tours, both in summer and winter, are common all over the country and allow you to get in touch with Swedish nature.
Arctic & Northern Lights Tours
Sweden is one of the few countries in the world where you can have a front row seat to the greatest natural show on earth: the Nothern Lights. Tours that focus on this experience will include stops in remote viewing locations, like the Aurora Sky Station at Abisko National Park.
Many of these tours use the small town of Jokkmokk as a base for Arctic excursions around the area. Aside from nightly trips to catch a glimpse of the lights, your days will be full of activities like snowshoeing and dog sledding,
Planning Your Trip
There are some special considerations to take into account when planning a trip to Sweden. There are an incredible variety of tour options, so it's important to consider the pace, level of activity, and sights that are preferable to you.
Best Time to Visit Sweden
If you want to see the Northern Lights on your trip to Sweden, you're best off going in the spring or fall when the weather conditions make sightings more likely. Fall is particularly spectacular in Sweden because the trees come alive with a fiery autumn glow. On a sunny day in Stockholm, the fall colors are unforgettable. On the other hand, summer is a good reason to visit northern Sweden and experience its famous round-the-clock daytime.
What to Look for in a Tour to Sweden
Sweden's special landscapes make it a great place to take an organized tour, as local guides can take you deep into the remote wilderness of the country. To get your money's worth, your tour should offer unique trips into the wild, including moose and beaver safaris or kayaking in the archipelago. Look for unusual accommodation opportunities like the chance to stay in an ice hotel in the Swedish Lapland.
Typical Tour Cost
Depending on the length and especially the itinerary, tours in Sweden can be as cheap as $850 and as expensive as over $2,500 for a canal cruise through the country. You can expect tours that include activities like skiing or kayaking to be more expensive since you have to account for equipment rental.
The daily cost of food can be high in Sweden, so it's important to take into account whether a tour provides all meals, only some, or none when you're budgeting for your trip.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
If you're planning for an active vacation in Sweden, you need to pack accordingly. The most important thing is to have sturdy waterproof snow boots because nothing will dampen your trip faster than freezing water and ice making its way to your feet. Weather can be unpredictable, so an all-weather, wind-proof, waterproof jacket is a must. If photographing the Northern Lights is on your to-do list, make sure you pack a tripod so you can get the perfect shot.
Tours that include some sort of special activity like sledding, snowshoeing, or kayaking will include all necessary equipment, so you don't have to worry in advance. If you're interested in spending a few nights out in nature, you can also rent camping equipment locally so you don't have to transport it when you travel.
Other Tips for Travel in Sweden
Sweden is a nearly cashless society. It's not uncommon to have to worry about taking out cash when you go overseas, but in Sweden, you might have the opposite problem. Even at bars, you'll be expected to pay with a card. Make sure your debit and credit cards have at least a chip to avoid issues at the pay station.
A surprising shock to travelers about Sweden can be its cost. Like all Scandinavian countries, Sweden's cost of living is quite high, making even cheap fast food feel pricey. When planning your trip to Sweden, make sure you take into account the cost of meals, drinks, and souvenirs in your budget. Check to see exactly what is included in your tour package before signing up.
Health & Safety
Visiting Sweden poses no unique health hazards. Water is not only safe to drink, but probably much purer than what you're used to, so it's unlikely you'll face gastrointestinal trouble from any food or drink. However, you should be up-to-date on vaccines and aware of any food allergies, especially if you're enjoying the country's fresh seafood.
Sudden changes in weather can also be difficult for your body, so it can't hurt to take some preventative vitamins to strengthen your immune system during your visit.
Sweden is one of the safest countries in the world, with a very low crime rate. Though there are neighborhoods to avoid, like any country or city in the world, it's unlikely that you'll face many threats in the central parts of Sweden's main cities. Nonetheless, you should watch out for pickpockets in busy tourist areas.
Perhaps your biggest threat to safety will be natural hazards, like wildlife or dangerous weather conditions. If you're driving, ensure that you're well-informed on current driving conditions, especially in remote areas where assistance may be limited. If you're not an experienced trekker, hiking in the snow is best done with a local guide that might be able to recognize dangerous changes in weather patterns.