When you think of booking a weekend away somewhere, the usual suspects are either Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona; all beautiful cities with lots to discover and heaped with culture, but very much on the European tourist circuit which can often make them very busy and expensive to visit! Don’t get me wrong, I love the hustle and bustle of city life and being consumed by all the excitement these cosmopolitan capitals have to offer; but this weekend I fancied something different and as I have family there, I booked a flight for a weekend away in Sweden.
Sweden is situated in Northern Europe in between Norway and Finland, with northern parts of Sweden actually forming part of the arctic circle. Its reputation therefore is of a cold, Scandinavian tundra with its capital city, Stockholm being the only notable landmark that springs to mind. You might be surprised to hear therefore, that I wasn’t in Stockholm this weekend and that temperatures reached a sweltering 20C!
My cousins have a beautiful home near the town of Brevens Bruk, which is around a 2 hour drive west of Stockholm through Sweden’s undulating countryside. What struck me the most about driving in Sweden was how calm and serene an experience it is. With only 9 million people populating a country that is 3 times the size of the UK, traffic does not seem to be part of the vocabulary here and you can literally go for miles without seeing another car.
The landscape here is breathtaking. If you’re not driving through towering forests, you are immersed in acres of green fields peppered with pine trees and lakes which shimmer under the sunlight.
I honestly felt like I had stepped off the plane into a Disney film and whether you’re into hiking, fishing, swimming, spa breaks, shopping or sight-seeing, there’s so much to do in Sweden especially if you’re an outdoorsy or adventurous type. Click here for more information on things to do in Sweden.
We spent the weekend hiking and exploring the local towns and villages where I discovered these surprising facts about Sweden:
H&M Is Swedish!
It stands for Hennes & Mauritz and the first store was opened in 1947 on the Västerås high street in Sweden. ‘Hennes’ translates as ‘For Her’ and H&M is one of Sweden’s biggest retail exports apart from Ikea.
In Sweden the sport of Disc Golf has been growing in popularity with 140 nine and eighteen hole courses all over the country. The aim of the game is to throw a frisbee towards a protruding chain ‘hole’ in as few throws as possible – just as you would pitch and put in golf. We found a course whilst out on a hike and although anyone can play, there is definitely a technique to master!
Sweden Has The Best Crayfish!
They even host traditional Crayfish parties in August called Kräftskiva where Swedes drink lots of Schnapps and beer while eating Crayfish served with dill and bread. They apparently get pretty wild and i’ve been invited to one in the summer, which I will DEFINITELY be going to and reporting back here!
Sweden Has A Temperate Climate
Due to its geographical position, southern parts of Sweden are actually mostly quite warm and dry despite Sweden’s northern latitude. This is mainly due to its position in relation to the gulf stream, which pushes warmer eurasian air towards Sweden, giving it hotter summers than the British Isles! In Summer, average temperatures are around 20-25 C and in winter fall between -4 and 2 C – although in the northern parts of Sweden, temperatures are much colder.
Midsummer Is A HUGE Party!
When you think of summer solstice, do druids and stonehenge spring to mind? Well in Sweden, the longest day of the year actually brings in around 20 hours of sunshine and is celebrated by everyone with a huge party called MidSommer. It’s a celebration of food, drink and dancing round maypoles which all gets very crazy as more Snaps is consumed!
I’ll be back in Sweden soon when i’ll be running 26.2 miles in the Stockholm Marathon.
Ready to add Sweden to your bucket list? If you’re planning a trip, you can fly for around £40 with Ryanair from London Stansted Airport to Stockholm Skavsta, which has shuttle buses to take you directly to Stockholm or where you can easily hire a car and head off into the countryside!
Have any questions? Please leave me a comment below!