Travel Guides ? Sweden

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Sweden

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. 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 and its 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 situated as it is in the high latitudes, and is well worth exploring whether along the meticulously maintained roads or on the extensive high-speed train system.

Climate

Sweden's climate varies from north to south, but in general it is temperate due to the offshore Gulf Stream waters. Winters are very cold, particularly in the north where days are shorter and heavy frosts and bountiful snowfalls can be expected. Summers are warm and pleasant.

Money

The Swedish monetary unit is the Kronor/Krona or Crown (SEK), which is divided into 100 ?re. Banks exchange money during business hours from Monday to Friday. At other times money can be changed at airports, ferry terminals, post offices and Forex exchange offices, which are open daily. There are numerous ATMs throughout the country, most of which accept MasterCard and Visa. Travellers cheques and most major credit cards are widely accepted for payment throughout Sweden.

Passport Visa

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.

Entry Requirements

  • To enter Sweden, US citizens require a passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to three months. Visitors must hold visible means of support and need to hold required documents (i.e., passport and where required, a visa) for return or onward journey.
  • British nationals may enter Sweden with a passport, and no visa is necessary for passport-holders endorsed British Citizen, British National (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen, or British Subject for a stay of up to three months. Other British passports require a visa.
  • Canadians require a passport to enter Sweden, but no visa is required for stays of up to three months. Visitors must hold visible means of support and need to hold required documents (i.e., passport and where required, a visa) for return or onward journey.
  • For entry to Sweden, Australian citizens require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to three months. Visitors must hold visible means of support and need to hold required documents (i.e., passport and where required, a visa) for return or onward journey.
  • South Africans require a passport as well as a visa for entry to Sweden. Visitors must hold visible means of support and need to hold required documents (i.e., passport and where required, a visa) for return or onward journey. The Swedish Immigration Authorities do not recognise temporary South African passports.
  • Irish nationals require a passport, but no visa is necessary. Visitors must hold visible means of support and need to hold required documents (i.e., passport and where required, a visa) for return or onward journey.
  • New Zealand nationals require a passport, but no visa is necessary for stays of up to three months in any six-month period. Visitors must hold visible means of support and need to hold required documents (i.e., passport and where required, a visa) for return or onward journey.

Health

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. Outbreaks of bird flu have been detected in wild birds around the country, but the risk to travellers is low and no human infections have been reported. As a precaution all egg and poultry dishes should be well cooked and close contact with live birds should be avoided.

Embassy Consulates

  • Swedish Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 467 2600.
  • Swedish Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7917 6413.
  • Swedish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 244 8200.
  • Swedish Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6270 2700 (Chancery).
  • Swedish Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 426 6400.
  • Swedish Consulate General, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 265 0888.
  • Consulate-General of Sweden, Wellington New Zealand: +64 (0)4 499 9895.

Foreign Embassies

  • United States Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 783 5300.
  • British Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 671 3000.
  • Canadian Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 453 3000.
  • Australian Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 613 2900.
  • South African Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 824 3950.
  • Irish Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 661 8005.
  • New Zealand Embassy, Stockholm: +46 (0)8 459 6940.