Explore Sweden

Sweden Travel Guide

Crisp and clean, the tranquil Scandinavian country of Sweden offers a variety of experiences within its elegant and sophisticated cities, its picturesque medieval villages, coastal island archipelagos, peaceful lakes and forests and the icy tundra of northern Lapland.

The capital city, Stockholm, encompasses 14 islands on the shores of the Baltic Sea. It is a high-tech city with a small-town feel, filled with top class restaurants, pulsating nightclubs, cosy pubs and a full array of performing arts venues. Best of all, nearly everyone you meet is fluent in English. Few visitors to Stockholm can resist an excursion to discover the offshore islands: the Stockholm archipelago offers some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Europe, and can be enjoyed from the city on a day cruise.

The west coast of Sweden, with its delightful fishing villages, is the place for gourmets, especially seafood lovers, while those digging for history will be fascinated with Uppsala, the ancient Viking city where the newest buildings date from the 18th century. A really novel excursion is a visit up north to the Ice Hotel, sculpted from ice every winter in Lapland where the Sami people enjoy showing visitors their way of life, centred on their reindeer herds. Meanwhile, way down south, Smaland (literally meaning small lands), has been christened 'the Crystal Kingdom' in honour of the famous glassworks that exist there in places like Orrefors and Kosta.

Sweden is an enchanting country, not as cold as one might imagine despite its situation in the high latitudes, and is well worth exploring whether along the meticulously maintained roads or on the extensive high-speed train system.

All visitors are required to have visible means of support as well as tickets and documentation for return or onward travel. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Gamla Uppsala

Address: Uppsala

Telephone: +46 18 23 93 00

Three miles (5km) north of Uppsala, Gamla Uppsala was once an important town, the seat of Swedish royalty and the site of many historic funerals. It was an important religious and cultural centre as early as the 3rd century AD, and ancient sources identify the site as the power centre of the legendary Yngling dynasty of Swedish royalty. The Uppsala temple oversaw rites and sacrifices to the Norse gods in the pre-Christian era, and it was said that Odin himself resided there.

However, as Christianity overtook Europe, the ancient temple was burned and the stone church of Gamla Uppsala was built in the 12th century. The church still stands today, along with a grave field of about 250 burial mounds. Once, between 2,000 and 3,000 ancient burial mounds could be found at Gamla Uppsala but farmlands have encroached on the archaeological treasures. Gamla Uppsala also has a small museum detailing the rich history of the town, and a few historic old buildings.

Today, Gamla Uppsala has a population of under 20,000 and it is a picturesque little town, well worth a visit for its historical atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Visitors can spend the day on a guided tour (available during the summer months). The main attractions include Gamla Uppsala Museum, Gamla Uppsala Church and the open-air museum behind it, and Odinsborg restauarant. The town is accessible from Uppsala by a quick bus trip.

Royal Djurgården

Address: A 10-minute walk from the city centre across the Djurgarden bridge. Stockholm

Stockholm's main attractions are conveniently packaged close to the heart of the city on the island of Djurgården, crammed with entertainment options, museums, restaurants and wooded green space. Once upon a time the island was a royal hunting ground. Now visitors can hunt for souvenirs at the Handarbetets Vanner (handicraft centre); browse the art galleries; enjoy the exciting Gröna Lund amusement park; explore Sweden's past at the Skansen open-air museum; meet Nordic wildlife at the zoo; and watch folk dancing.

Also on the island, accessed by a pleasant stroll along the waterfront, is the Junibacken fairy-tale fun centre, the National Museum of Cultural History, and the fascinating Vasa Museum featuring a fully rigged, fully restored 17th-century galleon raised from Stockholm harbour. Top off the day with a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants, some of which are situated on boats and provide excellent views over the water. Djurgården is one of Sweden's most loved recreational areas for locals and foreigners and the island attracts more than 10 million touristic visitors a year. Just a stroll around the island, on the many walking paths, nature trails and waterfront promenades, is a joy.

Royal Palace and Gamla Stan

Address: Slottsbacken 1, Gamla Stan. Stockholm

Admission: Combined ticket for the whole palace: SEK 150 (adults), SEK 75 (children aged 7 to 17 and students). Open daily 10am-5pm (14 May to 25 September), Tuesday to Sunday 10-4pm (26 September to 13 May). Royal Apartments may close fully or partly in conjunction with official receptions of His Majesty The King.

Telephone: +46 8 402 6000

The official Swedish royal residence is one of the largest and grandest palaces in Europe, dating back to 1754 (although it was built on the remains of an earlier medieval castle). The Baroque edifice is in the heart of Gamla Stan, the old city, and many of its 608 state rooms are open to the public all year round. Visitors can admire the Hall of State, the Royal Treasury, the Apartment of the Orders of Chivalry, the Gustav III Museum of Antiquities, the Kronor Museum, and the Royal Chapel. In front of the palace the changing of the guard ceremony takes place (Wednesday and Saturday 12:15pm; Sunday 1:15pm) with splendid pomp and ceremony that rivals the similar tradition played out at Britain's Buckingham Palace. Visitors should note that the palace is used for most of the Swedish monarchy's official ceremonies and receptions and closes to the public during these events - check the calendar on the official website to avoid disappointment.

Gamla Stan itself is a treasure trove of Swedish architecture, much of which dates from the 17th century. Today tourists throng the alleyways once notorious for brothels, but now lined with shops and restaurants, peddling up cutting edge designs and traditional swedish fika. Other attractions in Gamla Stan include: The Nobel Museum, which offers a moving account of one of the world's most coveted prize in literature, economics, chemistry, physics, and medicine; the Royal Coin Cabinet, a museum dedicated to the history of money which contains some fascinating ancient artefacts; and Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm, from which the current city grew, where visitors can marvel at street performers and the iconic, multi-coloured building facades for which the square is famous.

Stockholm City Hall

Address: Hantverkargatan 1, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Admission: Guided tours cost between SEK 70 and SEK 100 for adults, depending on the season. Concessions are available. Tours are available every day.

Telephone: +46 8 508 290 58

Stockholm's main landmark, the distinctive red brick City Hall (Stadshuset) building, has stood on Kungsholmen (King's Island) since 1923 and become world-renowned as the venue for the annual Nobel Prize Banquet. A visit to Stockholm's City Hall is a must for architecture lovers: the rather practical and austere façade, dominated by three golden crowns atop a tower, hides an extraordinary interior. The plush council chamber itself has a vaulted ceiling resembling an inverted Viking longboat, echoing the Viking tradition of using overturned vessels as shelter in winter. Most impressive, though, is the magnificent Golden Hall, its walls covered with handmade mosaics, while the view of Stockholm from the tower is unsurpassed.

The Stockholm City Hall can only be visited on a guided tour, which can be done by joining one of the public tours that depart every day, or by arranging a private tour. Accredited guides can also bring groups into the City Hall for tours. The public tours last about 45 minutes; private tours can explore at their own pace.

Museum of National Antiquities

Address: Narvavagen 13–17, Stockholm. Stockholm

Admission: SEK 100 (adults), children under 18 are free. Open daily 10am to 6pm (June to August); open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm, Wednesday 11am to 8pm, and closed Mondays (September to May).

Telephone: +46 8 5195 5600

Sweden's history from prehistoric times to the present day is fascinatingly laid out in the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm (often just called the Swedish History Museum), which contains a hoard of archaeological artefacts and treasures, including an impressive collection of gold objects recovered from the tombs and treasure caches of the Vikings (in the basement Gold Room), going back all the way to the Stone Age. The museum's most prized possession dates from the Middle Ages: the splendid gold reliquary, set with precious stones, which contained the skull of Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia.

The museum has a good gift shop and cafe with plenty of seating. Photography is allowed in the permanent exhibitions but tripods are not permitted. Free audio guides in English, German, French, Spanish and a number of other languages can be downloaded on your phone or borrowed from the front desk. Guided tours are also available. The displays are well laid out and there is sufficient information for English speakers, but the audio guide greatly enriches the experience. This world-class museum can occupy visitors for a few hours at least, and even kids enjoy the experience.

Stockholm Archipelago

Address: Archipelago tour information is available from the Tourist Centre, Sweden House, Hamnagatan 27 Stockholm

The city of Stockholm stretches across 14 islands, but the archipelago, of which they form but a tiny part, consists of more than 24,000 islets, famed for their natural beauty, wildlife, fjords and spectacular channels and straits. A highlight of any visit to Stockholm is exploring this unique natural wonderland, whether independently or on one of the many organised boat tours on offer.

The standard tour is the 'Thousand Island Cruise', lasting about 11 hours, which takes you to the outer islands and allows passengers to spend time on some of the larger islands, like Nämdö, renowned for its handicrafts. Those with less time to spend can opt for a shorter cruise from between two to six hours, or travel on the high speed 'Cinderella' waterjet boats that service many of the islands. Do-it-yourself travellers can make use of the regular Waxholmsbolaget ferries that service the inhabited islands.

Bed and breakfast accommodation is available for those seeking a longer getaway and perhaps wanting to stay a few days to experience island life. Although most visitors opt to cruise the archipelago in the summer, there are winter cruises available that showcase the area's nature in a unique way.

Göteborg Botanical Garden

Address: Carl Skottsbergs Gata 22 A, Göteborg, Sweden. Gothenburg

Admission: Admission to the gardens is free, but a fee of SEK 20 must be paid to enter the greenhouses. The gardens are open year-round from 9am until sunset. The greenhouses are open from 10am to 5pm, May to August, and from 10am to 4pm, September to April.

Telephone: +46 10 473 77 77

The Botanical Garden in Gothenburg is one of the largest in Europe and generally considered the most beautiful in Sweden, boasting about 13,000 different species of plant. The area covers 175 hectares (432 acres), most of which is a nature reserve including an arboretum. Inaugurated in 1923, on the city's 300th anniversary, the garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Gothenburg and indeed in Sweden.

Pride of the garden is the Rock Garden, but other worthwhile areas to visit include the Japanese Glade, the Rhododendron Valley and the greenhouses. The greenhouses display an impressive collection of about 1,500 orchids, among many other remarkable and rare plants, including extensive collections of Australian and South African flora. They host a series of exhibitions throughout the year - check the official website listed below to see what's showing during your visit. Well-maintained and extensive walking trails make the gardens a pleasure for hikers, and there are many beautiful nooks for picnics and relaxation. Kids will enjoy all the space! There is also a lovely cafe for refreshments.

Travellers should note that although the botanical garden is open all year, in the cold months there is not much to see outside of the greenhouses.

Liseberg Amusement Park

Address: Örgrytevägen 5, Göteborg, Sweden. Gothenburg

Admission: All-in-one passes (which include admission and free access to 38 rides/attractions) are SEK 455. Opening times vary widely depending on the season and day of the week. For a detailed schedule go to http://liseberg.com/en/home/Amusement-Park/Opening-Hours/.

Telephone: +46 31-400 100

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Sweden, Liseberg Amusement Park has been welcoming millions of visitors a year for almost 80 years. Besides popular rides like the wooden roller coaster Balder and tamer rides for the children, there are more than 30 different attractions, restaurants and entertainment venues where concerts and shows attract huge crowds. Apart from all the fun rides, Liseberg Amusement Park offers many diversions in the form of games, shops and scenic or themed areas. Adults may enjoy strolling through the attractive garden area, with waterfalls and sculptures. There is a good range of restaurants and eateries in the park, with some fine dining options and plentiful fast food.

Besides the ever-popular summer season, Liseberg is also open over the festive season for the biggest Christmas market in Scandinavia, as well as food specialities of the season, an ice bar and Christmas entertainment. This is a must for travellers in Gothenburg during the festive season; in fact, many locals feel that Liseberg is at its most special over Christmas. As opening times, dates and prices all fluctuate according to season visitors are advised to check the official website in advance to plan their trip.

Älvsborg Fortress

Address: Byggnad 29. Gothenburg

The well preserved, 17th-century Älvsborg Fortress is located on a small island at the entrance of the harbour, at the mouth of the Göta River near Gothenburg. With a fascinating history of battles against the Danes, the fortress was once the mightiest citadel in Sweden for coastal defence and is said to be the best preserved of its kind in the country.

A boat trip to the fortress is one of the most popular activities for tourists in Gothenburg. Boat tours of the archipelago offer passage to the fort, along with views of the pretty waterways. There is also a good view of the harbour from the island and some walking trails around the fortress to explore independently. A dramatized tour explaining the history of the castle is included in the admission fee; the tour is in English and Swedish and takes visitors through the history of the region from the 1600s to the present, introducing them to kings and other colourful characters.

There is a cafe and a small craft shop on the island for refreshments and souvenirs (it is also possible to bring your own picnic basket). The boat trip to the island takes about 30 minutes each way, and travellers should note that the boats only run seasonally.

Göta Canal

Address: Gothenburg

One of the most famous attractions in Sweden, the Göta Canal was an important transport route for passengers and goods between Gothenburg and Stockholm throughout the 19th century, until the building of railways and roads. The construction of the canal was also one of the biggest civil engineering projects to ever take place in the country. The canal stretches 118 miles (190km) from Sjötorp on Lake Vänern to the Baltic Sea at Mem and has 58 locks. Gothenburg is linked to the canal at Lake Vänern by the Göta River.

The picturesque, tree-lined channels are popular for cruises, which pass through the beautiful lakes of Vättern and Vänern, usually lasting about five to six days. Many boat trips are available on the canal, but they are almost always seasonal and often only operate in the summer months. A good option for travellers visiting in spring or autumn is a cycling trip along the banks of the canal. Canal trips are wildly popular with visitors and locals and provide a glorious way to traverse the pretty countryside, but couples should be warned that locals refer to the canal as the 'divorce ditch' due to the difficulty of traversing all the locks alone.

The official website listed below gives details on the different cruises, activities and accommodation options along the Göta Canal.

Gothenburg Archipelago

Address: Gothenburg

Boat trips to the southern and northern archipelago of Gothenburg are popular with both visitors and residents. The southern archipelago includes eight car-free, sparsely inhabited islands that boast sandy beaches, good swimming, beautiful nature, walking paths, and a charm of their own. The southern islands frequently feature in Viking mythology, adding to their wild mystique.

The island of Brännö is thought to be the location for the famous Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. Vargö is a nature reserve and a great spot for bird watchers. Köpstadsö is a small island with picturesque, narrow walking trails. Styrsö is more developed and boasts some accommodation for holidaymakers, having been a kind of bathers' resort since the 1830s. The northern archipelago is more heavily populated and offers numerous hotels, restaurants, and sea-based activities.

Although the islands can be explored independently by those who hire boats, and some travellers choose to spend some time staying in the archipelago, most tourists simply join the general boat tours of the archipelago, which take roughly four hours and show passengers the beauty of the River Göta, River Nordre, Björkö Fjord and Göteborg's harbour as well as some of the islands.

Skansen

Address: Djurgarden. Stockholm

Admission: Admission fees for adults vary according to season and occasion, between SEK 100 and SEK 170. Daily 10am-10pm (20 June to August), 10am-8pm (May to 19 June and September), 10am-4pm (March, April and October); the rest of the year 10am-3pm (until 4pm on weekends). Market days 11am-5pm on weekends. Opening times are likely to vary frequently - check website for details.

Telephone: +46 8 442 8000

Visitors can explore Sweden's past at the Skansen open-air museum, the oldest in the world, where historical buildings dating mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries have been relocated from around the country. Strolling from north to south visitors move through five centuries of Swedish history, gaining a real sense of the nation's character and past. The exhibits include a full replica of a 19th-century town complete with craftsmen in period dress who demonstrate the arts of tanning, shoemaking, baking and glass-blowing. Many shops are available to visitors, selling everything from blown glass to cinnamon buns, making Skansen a good place to shop for souvenirs. On summer evenings there is often folk dancing and other cultural displays to enjoy. Skansen is also home to an aquarium and the World of Monkeys within the Skansen Zoo, which focuses on Scandinavian animals such as reindeer, wolverines, elk, lynx and brown bears. Every December the central square hosts a Christmas market that attracts thousands of visitors every weekend. The various restaurants and shops have their own opening hours, which can be confirmed on the website; the many special events held at Skansen also make it worthwhile to check the website before planning your visit.

Gröna Lund

Address: Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Admission: Open between June and August and for part of May and September. Opening times vary according to season, but in peak summer the park is often open from 10am to 10pm. Confirm opening dates and times on the official website to avoid disappointment.

Telephone: +46 10 708 91 00

Gröna Lund is Sweden's oldest amusement park and an amazing attraction for families. Built in 1883, the park features a number of rides including classics like bumper cars, carousels and ferris wheels of varying thrill levels for adults and children of all ages. There are also several fast-paced roller coasters, including the Jetline and the Twister, and many other high-adrenaline rides to keep adults entertained. Height charts for the rides are available on the park's website so parents can see what is available to their children before going. There is an on-site baby care centre for parents to use. A great selection of restaurants and eateries, ranging from fine dining to buffet and fast food options, ensures nobody will go hungry in the park. Gröna Lund hosts plenty of live music concerts during summer evenings, with some serious performers attracting big crowds. The amusement park only opens seasonally; a calendar detailing opening days and times can be found on the official website listed below. Those likely to be enjoying lots of the rides should buy the ride pass which allows access to all rides all day, because buying the coupon booklets as required usually works out to be much more expensive.

Uppsala Cathedral, Uppsala, Sweden.

Address: Domkyrkoplan 2, Uppsala. Uppsala

Telephone: +46 18 430 3500

The tallest church in Scandinavia at 390 feet (119m), the Uppsala Cathedral, also called the Uppsala Domkyrka, dominates the city's skyline. The church was built in the 14th century for royal coronations, and is now the seat for the Archbishop for the Lutheran Church of Sweden. A number of Swedish kings and other prominent citizens are interred inside. The exterior of the cathedral is made of red brick, with a French Gothic interior featuring murals of St Erik, the patron saint of Sweden. In the summer months there are often lunch-time concerts on the tower balcony.

Brochures in numerous languages are available for a small fee, but those really interested in the cathedral's history should consider hiring a guide as there is a wealth of history on display in the church for those who know what they're looking for (if you don't bring your own guide, somebody at the church will usually be available to show you around free of charge). There is also a small museum housing ecclesiastical relics, and a graveyard with elaborately-carved tombstones. The cathedral has a small gift shop and cafe. Considered by many to be the top attraction in Uppsala, and much-loved by the locals, the cathedral is a hub of activity in the community, frequently hosting events and plenty of live music.

Linnaeus Garden and Museum

Address: Svartbäcksgatan 27. Uppsala

Admission: Adults pay SEK 80, while children (below 17 years of age) are admitted for free. May: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm. June–August: Monday–Sunday 11am–5pm. Closed Midsummer Eve. September: Friday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Telephone: +46 18 471 28 38

The Linnaeus Garden was founded in 1655 as the first botanical garden in Sweden. It wasn't until the 18th century that Carl Linnaeus (also known as Carolus Linnaeus or Carl von Linne), a prominent Swedish botanist zoologist, physician, and father of modern taxonomy and ecology, redesigned the garden and began cultivating plants under his own system. It now contains roughly 1,300 plant species, and is maintained by Uppsala University. Within the garden is the Linnaeus museum, which was the scientist's home for 35 years. The garden is a living complement to Linnaeus' work; he designed the plot to demonstrate his theories to his students, choosing each plant for a purpose. Although the garden fell into a state of disrepair for more than a century, it was faithfully restored in 1917 using the detailed plant lists and garden maps of Linnaeus himself. Although in many ways the garden is an academic exercise, fascinating for people interested in subjects like phenology, it is also a beautiful botanical space in its own right and can be enjoyed for its aesthetic quality alone. Guided tours of the garden are available but must be arranged in advance by phone or email. There is a restaurant in the garden for refreshments.

Gotland

Address: Stockholm

Sweden's largest island, Gotland was once an independent kingdom taken over by Denmark in the 14th century and ceded to Sweden in the 17th century. Located in the middle of the Baltic Sea, Gotland is a popular holiday destination for Swedish tourists. The medieval atmosphere of farmlands and churches and the old walled city of Visby (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) draw foreign tourists, while locals holiday at the beaches along the coast.

Boat tours around the island are available to interesting locations like the karst limestone formations of Lummelunda Grottan and the dwarf forests and moors of northern Gotland and Fårö. For visitors to Visby interested in the ancient history of the island the Gotlands Museum is a must; it is a fairly small museum but boasts some fascinating picture stones and Viking relics as well as some interactive sections geared towards children. The beautiful national park island of Stora Karlsö, a 30-minute ferry ride from Klintehamn, just south of Visby, is definitely worth a visit for nature lovers; a night or two can even be spent in the lighthouse on this unspoilt gem of an island.

Daytrips are easy to arrange between early May and the end of August.

Sala Silver Mine

Address: Drottning Christinas väg, Sala, Sweden. Stockholm

Telephone: +46 224 677 260

Formerly a working silver mine in Västmanland County, Sala stopped major production in 1908, and has since been transformed into something of a tourist attraction. Guided tours are conducted down the mine, which also hosts concerts and other events. There is even an unusual hotel room located several hundred metres below ground, said to be the world's deepest hotel room! There are a number of different mine tours to choose from, descending to different depths and ranging between one and three hours. Tours should be booked in advance via phone or email. It gets very cold down in the mine, with ice formations in some areas, so visitors should come prepared with warm clothes and good shoes. Some of the tours are suitable for people with limited mobility and are accessible to wheelchairs.

Above ground, many buildings in Sala have been converted into shops, art galleries, and museums. The town hosts Christmas markets on weekends in December, while in July the Mine's Days are celebrated. As if mine tours weren't exciting enough, there are sometimes high wires, ropeways, hanging bridges and other adventure activities set up at the mine, allowing visitors to play high in the air, as well as explore deep underground.

Vasa Museum

Address: Galärvarvsvägen 14, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Admission: SEK 130 for adults, SEK 110 for students, and free for children under 18. Open daily 10am to 5pm, and Wednesdays 10am to 8pm (September to May); open daily 8:30am to 6pm (June to August).

Telephone: +46 8 519 548 00

One of the most popular attractions in Sweden, the 17th-century warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961, with thousands of artefacts, including coins, tools, clothing and other historical items. The ship has been carefully restored, and half the upper gun deck, along with the admiral's cabin and the steering compartment, have been recreated.

Exhibitions detail the hardships of life at sea, and showcase the primitive supplies and medical equipment sailors had to contend with. There is even a museum garden where the vegetables, herbs and flowers once used by the crew for food and medicine are grown in season. Guided tours are included in the entrance fee. They are conducted in English and Swedish several times a day and take about 25 minutes, but the schedule varies according to season and day so travellers should check the website before visiting. Groups of more than nine people will need to book guided tours in advance for a fee.

There is a restaurant and a shop at the museum for refreshments and souvenirs. The Vasa Museum is consistently one of the top rated tourist attractions in Stockholm and is an intriguing place to visit for people of all ages.

Sture Hof

Address: Stureplan 2, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Food Type: Local

Sturehof is the perfect mix of elegance and relaxation, decked out with multiple bars, a streetside cafe, and stylish interior dining rooms. The contemporary, brasserie-style restauarant is famous for its seafood, serving only the freshest marine delights like Grebbestad oysters, succulent Norwegian salmon, and Swedish classics such as skagen (Prawns, mayonnaise, and dill, served on toast).

There's also more to Sturehof than just good food. Sturehof was established on Stureplan in 1897, and played host to first meeting to establish the Volvo automotive company. Fit for foodies and history buffs alike, Sturehof is open daily for lunch and dinner. Visitors can find the restaurant on Stureplan, the entertainment and nightlife centre of Stockholm, just near the well-helled district of Östermalm.

Operakällaren

Address: Operahuset, Karl XII’s Torg, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Food Type: International

Operakällaren is the epitome of high-society, old-world grandeur. Occupying a magnificent, high-ceilinged room within the old opera house, many of the original finishings are still in place with frescoes and elaborate gilt-panelling. A dinner jacket and evening dress are recommended at Operakällaren, which has high prices to match its excellent reputation for food and service - a reputation responsible for its Michelin star.

In the main dining room guests can choose from a seven-course degustation menu, a five-course chef's menu, or three courses à la carte (all with or without wine tasting). The food itself is a delightful combination of classic french cooking and seasonal Scandinavian ingredients, which means the food is meticulously prepared using only the freshest flavours. As an epicurean partner to the food, the huge wine list at Operakallaren is consiodered to be extyensive and particularly interesting. The main dining room is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm and offers beautiful views of Gamla Stan.

Also in the same complex diners can find The Opera Bar, which mixes Art Nouveau with a 'smokey', gentlemen's club atmosphere, as well as Bakficken, which caters to a younger, edgier crowd with countertop dining at reasonable prices.

Lilla Ego

Address: Västmannagatan 69, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Food Type: Local

For the two owners of Lilla Ego, a relative newcomer to Stockholm's culinary scene, fine-dining is a thing of the past. Instead this popular, no-frill bistro focuses on plying patrons with delicious, quality food that is both seasonal and carefully prepared. Think smoked veal with celeriac and chorizo, or fresh cod with cabbage and grape. Lilla Ego asks diners to forego the niceties and instead tuck into some seriously nice food.

Lilla Ego can be found in Vasastan, a previously-residential neighbourhood to the north of central Stockholm which is firmly establishing itself as place where food dreams come true.

Erik’s Gondolen

Address: Stadsgården 6, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Food Type: French

This well-known waterfront restaurant is an institution in Stockholm, with celebrity chef Erik Lallerstedt serving up neo-Swedish cuisine and French specialities in a dining room that hangs beneath a 100-foot (30m) high walkway, much like the gondola of an airship. The unusual setting allows for dining with a spectacular view over Gamla Stan, Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea.

Erik's opens for lunch on Saturdays and lunch and dinner during the week. Examples from the menu are shellfish soup, fillet of venison, and Kaluha cheesecake.

Meatballs for the People

Address: Nytorgsgatan 30, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm

Food Type: Local

In a country where every traditional dish is "the most Swedish", there is one that has special kind of prominence: the Swedish meatball. There is really only one place to go, and that place is Meatballs for the People, where chunck of carnivorous beauty is made from hand selected game and poultry which is ethically sourced and full of Scandinavian flavour.

Meatballs for the people can be found in Södermalm, a trendy neighbourhood with a focus on grungy-chic and student-friendly prices. They are open every day from 11am to 10pm.

There are no health risks associated with travel to Sweden, but visitors should guard against ticks when travelling to forested areas or the southern coast, including the Stockholm archipelago. Medical care in the country is excellent, and reciprocal health agreements exist with other European Union countries, including the United Kingdom. UK citizens in possession of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be entitled to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Swedish nationals. All non-EU travellers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance.

Swedish culture is very liberal and secular. Equality is an important part of Swedish culture, and boastfulness and open conflict is usually avoided, as is discussing work as an entry into a conversation. 'Chivalry' is often considered an outdated concept in Sweden, which is one of the most gender equal countries in the world, and gestures like opening doors for women are not considered necessary.

Despite a reputation for partying, drunk driving is a serious crime and public nudity is considered inappropriate anywhere other than designated nude beaches. Smoking is not allowed in indoor establishments like restaurants and bars. Swedes have a reputation for being meticulously tidy, so it is polite to remove your shoes when entering a Swedish home.

A service charge is included in restaurant bills, but an additional tip of seven to 10 percent is expected for evening meals in Sweden. Generally customers round up the fare when using a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service in hotels, but are not expected.

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