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Do

Where are the Vikings?

Many tourists from English-speaking countries wonder where they can see real Vikings. Unfortunately, they have not been around for a thousand years. "Viking" is not the name of a separate tribe or nation - it is simply a word meaning "sailor" or "navigator of the fjords". Some Swedish, Norwegian and Danish men (and in a few cases women) gave up farming or fishing to join expeditions of trade, exploration and piracy, reaching as far as present-day Canada, Morocco and the Caspian Sea. As the pagan Scandinavians were christened around AD 1000, the Viking raids declined. There are still traces from the Viking age, such as runestones and burial mounds, everywhere in Sweden. Some good places to see Viking artifacts are The Museum of National Antiquities ("Historiska museet") in Stockholm, Gamla Uppsala in Uppsala and Birka and Adelsö just west of Stockholm.

The Viking heritage has been contorted through history - romanticized during the 19th century, abused by neo-Nazis, but more truthfully re-enacted by neo-pagans and live-action roleplayers. Most Swedes are proud of their Viking roots, though they don't take it very seriously.

Sweden is great for outdoor life - skiing, skating, hiking, canoeing, cycling and berry-picking depending of season. Stockholm and Gothenburg have great nightlife and shopping opportunities. Most cities have well-preserved pre-industrial architecture.

The year in Sweden

Swedish weather is best during the summer (late May to early September). If you like snow, go to Norrland or Dalarna in November to April.

Be aware that daylight varies greatly during the year. In Stockholm, the sun sets at 3 PM in December. North of the Arctic Circle one can experience the midnight sun and Arctic night. However, even at Stockholm's latitude, summer nights exist only in the form of prolonged twilight during June and July.

The major holidays are Easter, Midsummer (celebrated from the eve of the Friday between June 19 - 25), Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are all considered holidays), and the "industrial vacation" throughout July. Expect closed establishments, heavy traffic (for the holidays) and crowded tourist resorts (for July).

Note that most Swedish holidays are celebrated on the day before (Midsummer's Eve, Christmas Eve etc), while Swedish people do hardly anything on the holiday proper.

Buy

  • Tärnaby, Lapland, Blå Vägen 18, Tärnaby., . By winter Tärnaby is transformed into one of Sweden's best ski resorts and is the home town of many of Sweden's top international skiers such as Ingemar Stenmark, Anja Pärson, Bengt Fjällberg, Stig Strand and Jens Byggmark. By summer the beautiful Laponian lakes and mountains provide opportunities for many activities including excellent fishing, canoeing, hiking and mountain biking. The village has a population of just under 600 and the hotels can be a bit pricey for the average traveller, but Tärnaby Bed & Breakfast & Apartments is a family business which caters for all price ranges offering anything from single beds in dorm rooms to luxurious apartments with amazing views of the lake - one of which even has the sauna in the living room! In the winter it is possible to ski in and out of some of the apartments.

The national currency is the Swedish krona (SEK, plural kronor). 1 USD is about 6.90 SEK, 1 EUR is about 9.90 SEK and 1 GBP is about 12.53 SEK as of September 2008. Current exchange rates can be found at XE.com. Automatic teller machines take major credit cards. Most stores, restaurants and bars accept all major credit cards, although in some cases there is a SEK 5 fee or a lowest purchase limit (between 50 - 100 SEK). You usually need an ID card or a passport when shopping with a credit card, regardless of the amount involved, though ususally not in supermarkets and such where PIN code is king.

It is not common to bargain in shops but it might work in some instances, especially when buying more expensive products. Bargaining is also okay at flea markets and in antique shops. When dining out, a service charge is often included in the bill, and there is generally no reason to tip, unless you're very satisfied with the service.

Most shops, at least downtown, are open all week, even on Sundays. Closing times are rigid, most often on the minute.

Costs

Sweden is considered by some to be a relatively expensive country to live in, though you can find cheap alternatives if you look around. House prices are probably amongst the cheapest in Western Europe and recently opened discount stores such as "Lidl", "Netto" and "Willy's" offer a wide range of items, why not buy a sewing machine while doing the weekend grocery shopping? Accommodation and dining out is cheaper in Stockholm than in most other West European capitals.

Shopping

  • 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 SEK 100 for a very small one or several hundred crowns 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[59]. 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.

  • Exclusive wines from Systembolaget.

Eat

The world's stinkiest fish dish

Adventurous diners might want to try surströmming, which is (coastal) central and northern Sweden's entry in the revolting-foods-of-the-world contest. It's herring which is fermented in a tin can until the can starts to bulge and almost bursts. It all gets so foul-smelling that the fish is only eaten outdoors to keep it from stinking up the house, although it has been known for unsuspecting visitors from other countries to be "treated" to an indoor surströmming experience for more intensity.

It is considered bad manners not to notify (or invite) the neighbors before having a surströmmingsskiva, a party where the delicacy is consumed. It is claimed that the best way to get over the smell is to take a deep breath of it just when you open the can, to as quickly as possible knock out your smelling sense. Surströmming season peaks in August.

Swedish cuisine is mostly hearty meat or fish with potatoes, derived from the days when men needed to chop wood all day long. Besides the ubiquitous potatoes, modern Swedish cuisine is to a great extent based on bread. Traditional everyday dishes are called husmanskost (pronounced whos-mans-cost). They include:

  • 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 egg are mandatory accessories.
  • Pea soup (ärtsoppa) with diced pork, followed by thin pancakes afterwards. Traditionally eaten on Thursdays since medieval times when the servants had half the day off as it is an easy meal to prepare.
  • Pickled herring (sill), available in various types of sauces. Commonly eaten with bread or potatoes for summer lunch or as a starter.
  • Blodpudding, a black sausage made by pig's blood and flour. Slice it, fry it and eat it with lingonberry jam.
  • Gravlax, a widely known and appreciated cold appetizer made by thin slices of salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill.
  • Falukorv, a big baloney from Falun. Sliced, fried and eaten with ketchup and mashed potatoes.
  • Sweden has more varieties of bread than most other countries. 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 not be an interesting experience, but is nearly always available), and different kinds of seasoned loaves. Bread is mostly eatened as simple sandwiches, with thin slices of cheese or cold cut. Some more exotic spreads are messmör (whey cheese) and leverpastej (liver paté).
  • 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.

Other Swedish favorites:

  • 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 that every year annoys The Coca-Cola Company in Sweden by lowering Coke's sales figures by 50%.
  • Crayfish (kräftor), hugely popular around August, when Swedes feast on them at big crayfish parties (kräftskivor). Silly paper hats and lots of alcohol included.
  • Semla, a cream-filled pastry eaten around Fat Tuesday.
  • Rabarberkräm/Rabarberpaj rhubarbcream or rhubarbpie 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 Skåne in south Sweden, made of eggs, sugar, and potatoflour.
  • 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.

Typical Swedish "gourmet" restaurants serve steaks or other grilled dishes garnished with fragrant herbs such as dill, and vegetables such as pumpkin and bell peppers.

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. 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 type of fast food establishment is the gatukök ("street kitchen"), serving hamburgers, hot dogs 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 offer decent packed salads and sandwiches.

You can get a "cheap" lunch if you look for the signs with "Dagens rätt" (meal of the day). This normally costs about 50-70 SEK and almost everywhere includes a bottle of water; soft drink; or light beer, bread & butter, some salad and coffee afterwards. Dagens rätt is served Monday to Friday.

The world famous furniture retailer IKEA has stores at the outskirts of most Swedish cities. These have great diners, which offer well-cooked Swedish meals for as little as 40 SEK, and the store exit usually has a café selling hot dogs for as little as 5 SEK. (They hope that you spend some money on shopping too.) Great if you happen to pass by. Expect crowds at rainy weather.

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.

Drink

Coffee

Swedish people drink plenty of coffee, kaffe. Drinking coffee at home or in a café, an act called fika (meaning "kaffe" in fikonspråket, an archaic language game), is a common Swedish social ritual, used for planning activities, dating, exchanging gossip or simply spending time and money. Swedish coffee is slightly stronger than American one. Italian varieties (espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte) are available at most city cafés.

Alcoholic beverages

The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is Absolut Vodka, which is considered one of the world's best vodkas. There are several brands of distilled, and usually seasoned, liquor, called brännvin or akvavit. When served in a shot glass with a meal it is called snaps (not to confuse with the German "Schnapps").

Sweden does produce some outstanding beers, öl, like the dark Carnegie Porter, but most beers are rather nondescript lagers. The beer you get in normal food shops is called folköl and has 2.8 or 3.5% alcohol. Wine is popular, but the Swedish production is very modest.

Systembolaget

Access to alcoholic beverages is, as in Norway, Finland and Iceland, quite restricted and expensive. The only place to buy strong alcohol including starköl (beer which contains more than 3.5% alcohol ABV) over the counter is in one of the state owned shops called Systembolaget . They have limited hours of operation, usually 10-6 Mon-Wed, 10-7 Thurs-Fri, and 10-3 on Saturdays, with long queues on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed on Sundays. Most shops are of supermarket style. The assortment is very good, and the staff usually has great knowledge. Please note that Systembolaget does not serve customers under the age of 20. You will most likely be asked for identification. This also applies to your companion, regardless of them buying anything.

Liquor is very expensive at Systembolaget (vodka is 300 SEK a liter), 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 the consumers. Mid-to-high-quality wines are quite often cheaper in Sweden than even in the country of origin; sometimes even cheaper than if you were to buy the wine directly from the vineyard. This does NOT apply to low-quality wines, however, due to the volume-based tax on alcohol.

All brands are treated equally and there is no large-pack discount. If you want beer, choose a variety of microbrews.

 

Sweden

Sweden is the largest of the Nordic countries in Northern Europe, with a population of about 9 million. It borders Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark via the bridge of Öresund (Öresundsbron).

Although having been a military power and spanning about three times its current size during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. Having long remained outside military alliances (including both World Wars), 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. The country has a long tradition of Lutheran-Protestant Christianity, but today's Sweden is a secular state with few church-goers.

Sweden has a capitalist system and 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 EMU 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, but today pursues a mix of socialism and social-liberalism. Since the most recent election, a coalition of center-right liberal/conservative parties has come into power.

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 just over 100 years ago.

Cities

Major cities
  • Stockholm - The capital, spread out over a number of islands.
  • Gothenburg - On the west coast.
  • Malmö - Down south, not far from the Danish capital Copenhagen.
Other cities
  • Uppsala - lively pretty old university city. Fourth largest city in Sweden.
  • Västerås - Located 100 km west of Stockholm - Sweden's sixth largest city.
  • Borås - Old textile center, east of Gothenburg.
  • Helsingborg - North of Malmö and close to Denmark.
  • Halmstad - Just between Malmö and Gothenburg and a popular city to visit during the summer.
  • Karlstad - University city, a good halfway between Stockholm and Oslo.
  • Karlskrona - Once the naval capital of Sweden it is located in Blekinge.
  • Linköping - A county capital with a large university.
  • Luleå - Industrial city in northern Norrland, with a technical university.
  • Lund - Old university city, just north of Malmö
  • Örebro - Old shoe manufacturing center, halfway between Stockholm and Oslo.
  • Umeå - University city in Norrland.
  • Kiruna - a mining town in Lappland, and the northernmost city in Sweden.
  • Falun - city with a millennia-old World Heritage copper mine.

Regions

Regions of Sweden
Norrland
the sparsely populated, northern part of the country (about two-thirds of the total area), with nine provinces. Lots of wilderness, with forests, lakes, big rivers, enormous marshes and high mountains along the border to Norway. Great for hiking. Largest cities are Gävle, Sundsvall, Umeå and Luleå.
Svealand
the central part of the country, includes Stockholm, Uppsala and the provinces of Dalarna, Närke, Värmland, Södermanland, Uppland and Västmanland.
Götaland
comprised of the ten provinces in the southern part of the country, including the islands (and provinces) of Öland and Gotland. The largest cities in Götaland are Gothenburg in Västergötland and Malmö in Skåne.

Other destinations

  • Åre - One of Sweden's largest ski resorts, with 44 lifts.
  • Esrange - A rocket launching facility near Kiruna.
  • Gotland - Sweden's largest island, as well as the largest island of the Baltic Sea, situated in the Baltic Sea. Its capital Visby is on UNESCO's World's heritage list. It's a common vacation spot for Swedes from the mainland.
  • Kebnekaise - Sweden's highest mountain surrounded by vast wilderness areas and a popular trail to Abisko National Park.

Get in

Sweden is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement.

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[3]

Major airports:

  • Stockholm Arlanda (IATA: ARN) (ICAO: ESSA)[4] - serves most major airlines. Check the Stockholm page for information on transfer between the airport and Stockholm City.

  • Göteborg Landvetter (IATA: GOT) (ICAO: ESGG) [5] - serves several international airlines and provides convenient bus transfer (~20 min) to central Gothenburg.

  • Copenhagen Kastrup (Denmark) (IATA: CPH) (ICAO: EKCH) [6] - serves most major airlines. Located on an island between Copenhagen and Malmö and is ideal for travelling in southern Sweden. Train connections leave from the airport to both cities.

Smaller airports:

  • Stockholm Skavsta (IATA: NYO) (ICAO: ESKN) [7] - airport for low fares airlines like Ryanair [8] and Wizzair [9]. Located quite a distance (about 100 km) from Stockholm, near the town of Nyköping.

  • Stockholm Västerås (IATA: VST) (ICAO: ESOW) [10] - international flights to/from Copenhagen and London. Also about 100 km from Stockholm.

  • Göteborg City Airport (IATA: GSE) (ICAO: ESGP) [11] - situated just 14 kilometers from central Gothenburg, this airport is used by Ryanair, Wizzair and Germanwings [12].

  • Malmö-Sturup (IATA: MMX) (ICAO: ESMS) [13] - 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 three countries at present:

  • Denmark: Trains depart Copenhagen and Copenhagen's airport for Malmö every 20 minutes, and cost only about SEK 85 ("Öresundståg / Øresundstog" regional trains). The train goes over the magnificent Öresund Bridge to get to Sweden in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore direct trains (X2000) leave from Copenhagen to Stockholm. The Elsinore-Helsingborg connection, known as one of the busiest ferry routes in Europe, might also be used (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".

  • Finland: Travel via Kemi-Tornio-Haparanda-Luleå / Boden by bus. There's no train connection as Finland and Sweden use different gauge.

By bus

Get into Sweden by "Eurolines" or "Säfflebussen". All connections here go via Copenhagen.

By boat

Baltic Sea cruises

"noframeOur level of drunkenness was normal for a cruise of this kind." The managing director of shipping company Tallink gave an interesting quote after his and the entire board's drunken rampage on one of Tallink's cruise ships in 2006. (The accusations against the VIP's included sexual harassment against female staff, beating up a bartender and causing a fire by putting a fish in a toaster.) The director's explanation clearly shows the main PR problem about the cruise ships on the Baltic Sea: they have a reputation as trashy booze boats, far from the glamor of other international cruises. This is largely due to the fact that the tickets can be dirt cheap - sometimes less than 50 SEK - and that tax-free alcohol shopping is among the main attractions. Still, some of the new ships are really pretty, and it is an easy and cheap way to get a glimpse of a country on the other side of the Baltic Sea. Also, not all cruises include obnoxious drunks trying to toast fish. Stockholm is the main port in Sweden for the cruises, and the main destinations are Helsinki, Åland and Turku in Finland, Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. Ships are operated by Silja Line [18], Viking Line [19], Birka Cruises [20] and, of course, Tallink [21]. To get the cheapest tickets, try to go on a weekday in low season, share a four-bed cabin with some friends and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for last minute offers.

Belgium

  • From Ghent to Gothenburg by DFDS Torline [22] (cargo line with limited passenger capacity)

Denmark

  • From Grenaa to Varberg by Stena Line .
  • From Frederikshavn to Gothenburg by Stena Line.
  • From Elsinore to Helsingborg by Scandlines and HH-ferries .

Estonia

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

Finland

  • From Helsinki to Stockholm (via Åland) by Silja Line [28] and Viking Line.

  • From Naantali to Kapellskär by Finnlink [29].

  • From Turku to Stockholm (via Åland) by Silja Line and Viking Line.

  • From Vaasa to Umeå by RG Line [30].

Latvia

  • From Riga to Stockholm by Tallink .

Germany

  • From Travemuende to Trelleborg by TT-Line [32].

    From Travemuende to Malmö by Nordö Link [33].

    From Kiel to Gothenburg by Stena Line.

    From Sassnitz to Trelleborg by Scandlines [34].

    From Rostock to Trelleborg by Scandlines] and TT-Line.

Norway

  • From Kristiansand to Gothenburg by DFDS Seaways

Poland

  • From Gdansk to Nynäshamn by Polferries [36].

  • From Gdansk to Visby by Polferries.

  • From Gdynia to Karlskrona by Stena Line.

  • From Świnoujście to Ystad by Polferries.

Russia

  • From Saint Petersburg to Stockholm by Silja Line. Only during spring and summer. Closed since 2005.
  • From Baltijsk, Kaliningrad to Karlshamn by DFDS Tor Line.

UK

  • From Immingham and Tilbury to Gothenburg by DFDS Torline [38] (cargo line with limited passenger capacity).

Get around

By plane

Although Sweden is a fairly large country, most of the action takes place in the southern parts where the distances are not huge. Domestic flights are mainly for travellers with little time or much money, however if you are heading for the far north you may want to consider it.

The most important domestic airlines:

  • Skyways [39] - the largest number of domestic routes, several from Copenhagen.

  • SAS [40] - the international airline has many domestic routes as well.

  • Direktflyg [41] - several domestic routes and also flights to Norway.

  • FlyNordic [42] - several domestic and a few international destinations.

  • Malmö Aviation [43] - serves domestic destinations, Brussels and Nice.

  • Sterling [44] - The low cost airline connects Stockholm with Malmö and Gothenburg. Sterling has recently filed for bankruptcy.

  • Gotlandsflyg [45] - connects Stockholm and the island of Gotland.

By train

Sweden has an extensive railway network. Most major lines are controlled 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. Tickets are cheaper the earlier you buy them, so if your itinerary is set, buy your tickets ASAP! SJ recently started auctioning last minute tickets on the swedish eBay site Tradera (site only in Swedish), available from 48 until 6 hours before departure. Swedish Rail passes are also available for International guests to Sweden.

The national public transport authority is called Rikstrafiken, and it has online timetables in English, which include schedules for trains, buses and ferries. The service is called Resplus.

Regional public transport is usually operated by companies contracted by the counties. For instance, when travelling regionally in the province of Scania (Skåne in Swedish), one should refer to Skånetrafiken. Connex provides affordable railroad transportation up north. If you're on a tight schedule, be aware that trains, especially those operated by Connex, sometimes have quite significant delays (up to 1-2 hours).

By bus

Swebus Express runs a number of bus lines in the southern third of the country, Götaland and Svealand. They tend to be a little cheaper than going by train if you can't take advantage of SJ's youth discounts. Y-buss and Härjedalingen operate between Stockholm and Norrland. Swebus Express also operates from Stockholm and Göteborg to Oslo. At the county or län level, buses are a good method for traveling 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.

By car

In Svealand and Götaland driving takes you quickly from one place to the other. In Norrland the distances tend to be bigger between the different sites so the time spent driving may be long. Unless you really like driving, it is often more convenient to take the train or fly to the sites, particularly in Northern Norrland. Traveling by night can be dangerous due to unexpected animals on the roads and the cold nights during the winter. Collisions with moose, roe deer, or other animals are a not uncommon cause of car accidents. See also Driving in Sweden and Winter driving.

By thumb

Sweden has a reputation for being a pretty difficult country to hitch in, though it's still quite possible to hitchhike (but not assured to be risk-free). Ordinary people are often reluctant to pick up strangers... Truck drivers are probably most likely to pick up hitchhikers, 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

Most Swedish cities have excellent bike paths, and renting a bike can be a quick and healthy method of getting around locally.

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. By keep in mind that you are required make eyecontact with the driver so he knows that you are about to cross the street.

Bars and nightclubs

The age limit is 18 to bars and beers in shops (to prevent teenage drunkenness, some shops have decided to have a 20 age limit for 3.5% beer as well), but 20 in Systembolaget. Many bars have an age limit of 20, but some (especially downtown in weekends) have age limits as high as 23 or 25. Bring passport or ID.

Some clubs mandate dress code, vårdad klädsel. For male guests, proper shoes (not sneakers or sandals), long-legged trousers (not blue jeans) and a dress shirt is usually good enough.

Age or dress rules are not rigid, and doormen have the right to accept or reject any patron for any reason other than gender, sexual orientation, creed, disability or race. Nightclubs are infamous to reject "immigrants", which usually means anyone with hair and skin darker than the average Swede; men with Middle Eastern or African origin are most troubled. You might avoid this problem by dressing properly and going out with white friends.

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/bars are often expensive compared to other countries, a large beer (half a liter) costs usually as much as 45-55 SEK (~US$7), but many low-profile bars advertise stor stark (0.4 L of draft lager) for as little as 25 SEK. A long drink costs around 60-110 SEK. For that reason many Swedes have a small pre-party ("förfest") before they go out, to get started on their buzz before they hit the town and go to nightclubs.

Large clubs can require an entrance fee of about 100 SEK (or more at special performances). They usually offer a rubber stamp on your hand so you can re-enter as you like.

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 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).

In the cold season it is often mandatory to hand in your jacket at the club's wardrobe for a fee, usually around 20 SEK.

Authorized security guards carry a badge saying Ordningsvakt, 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 and some even lethally dangerous, so you should stick to the real thing.

 
             
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