Small group tours for mature travellers to Sweden.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Bus routes run through the main towns of Sweden and are reliable and inexpensive. Smaller villages are also accessible by bus, though services are more infrequent. Trains link the major towns of Sweden, though are a slower option than buses.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Environment, & Weather
Sweden covers a total area of 450,295 square kilometres, and has a coastline of 3,218 kilometres. Thick forests and mountains cover much of the country’s north and centre, while lakes, hills and plains characterise the southern areas of Sweden.
Much of Sweden has a temperate climate, with mild summers and cold winters. Depending on when you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly.
World heritage sites
There is 15 heritage sites in Sweden listed on the World Heritage List. You can view the listed properties here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/se). Sweden’s listed properties include:
Church Town of Gammelstad, Luleå – a perfectly preserved ‘church village’ once commonly found throughout Scandinavia
Laponian Area – home to the reindeer-herding Sami people and one of the last areas in the world still cultivated by native peoples
Rock Carvings in Tanum – the historic rock art and carvings that date back to the Bronze Age.
Festivals & Events
Numerous festivals and events dot the calendar in Sweden. The country’s medieval past is celebrated in Medeltidsveckan, a medieval-themed festival that lasts for several days in August. Held in the streets of Visby, the festival features archery, axe throwing, live music and medieval-style feasting. The performing arts are celebrated in Sweden with many events held across the year dedicated to musical and artistic performances, such as the Malmö Chamber Music Festival and Helsingborg Piano Festival. One of the more eye-catching events through the year is Snöfestivalen. Held in the last week of January, Snöfestivalen is a festival dedicate to snow sculptures, with artists from across the world joining in to create elaborate and intricate snow sculputures.
A Concise History of Sweden, by Neil Kent
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, by Michael Booth
A History of Sweden: From Ice Age to Our Age, by Herman Lindqvist
Eating & Drinking
Seafood features prominently in Swedish cuisine, with many Swedish dishes featuring the produce of its lakes and coastal waters. Pickled herring is a mainstay of Swedish cuisine, and is often the centre piece of a Swedish smorgasbord, a buffet consisting of meatballs, mini sausages and pickled herring. Gravlax (dill-cured salmon) is another favourite seafood dish, which is often served with cold potatoes and mustard sauce. Lingonberries are used to add sweetness and flavour to many dishes, both sweet and savoury. A versatile food and condiment (in the form of lingonberry jam), lingonberries are served with meatballs, scattered over potato pancakes, and thrown over the top of ice cream. The local variation of sandwiches are open-faced and make for a popular lunchtime meal. Räksmörgås, or shrimp sandwich, is perhaps the most popular variation, with shrimp, egg slices, lettuce, tomato, and crème fraîche all piled on top of a slice of bread.
Given the cold climate, perhaps its no wonder that the Swedish are such big coffee drinkers, with Sweden having the second highest consumption of coffee in the world. Traditional beverages also consumed in Sweden include glögg (mulled wine) and akvavit (an alcoholic spirit, which is sometimes flavoured).
Health & Safety
Generally speaking, Sweden is safe to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. The electricity supply in Sweden runs at 230V and 50Hz. Sweden uses Type C and Type F electric plugs, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
The Vasa Museum
Kosta Boda glass factory
Sweden has a single time zone, Central European Standard Time (UTC+1). Daylight savings commence on the last Sunday of March, and conclude on the last Sunday of October.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is not customary in Sweden, though tips are appreciated.
Wifi is widely available in Sweden and should be freely accessible in most hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Sweden. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Sweden
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although most locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of kronor in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Before departing on your trip, contact your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.