For a country with such a tiny population — 10 million to be exact — Sweden has had an outsized influence on popular culture. In the 70s, the white jumpsuits and platform shoes of Abba made the international jet-set curious about the cool Nordic chic of Stockholm. Today, über hip brands like Acne, Nudie, and even mega-chain H&M have helped turn this Scandinavian country into a mecca for fashion, cutting edge design and minimalist architecture.
From Stockholm to Malmö and Gothenburg, Sweden has remade the idea of what a perfect city should be, with its green building initiatives and sleek city planning, thriving artist communities and music scenes. If, however, you like snow and adventure and don’t mind a little Nordic chill, we recommend hiking up to the north to witness the aurora borealis or one of the country’s many “ice hotels”.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo might have portrayed this country as one of menace and intrigue, but in reality it’s a laidback nation with a passion for nature. After visiting the world-class galleries and music festivals the country has become famous for, take a winding trip through the countryside. (There’s a reason why the wildflowers and red-painted-farmhouses of rural Sweden have become iconic). Just a warning: at one of the highest altitudes in Europe, the air is so clear and crisp you might just have to bottle it and take some home.
The nation of three golden crowns, sandwiched between Norway, Finland and Denmark, Sweden is proud of its heritage, history, royals and general position in the world, and is, simply put, a great country.
ABBA, Volvo and Greta Garbo have all helped secure Sweden in our hearts - recent notoriety, however, of the Nordic Noir tales and films including Girl with the Dragon Tattoo have attracted a new lover of everything Swedish. Sweden is the quiet inventor giving the world the first handheld phone from Ericson, Spotify, Skype and leading fashion brands such as of H&M, Acne and Nudie to name but a few. Sweden brings its particular DNA to the global table. The land of harmony and thousands of flickering candles, long summer days, red painted farm houses, a pureness in design and natural beauty - Sweden is a wonderful hub for creative aficionados, foodies, antique hunters, lovers of the individualist, fashionistas and those seeking culture delightfully chilled.
We’ve ports of call in the Swedish capital Stockholm and second city Gothenburg, also known as the 'Little London'.