Sweden - Abbey Travel, Ireland


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Welcome to 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 smalllands) 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.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Dotted with picturesque medieval villages, tranquil lakes, lush forests, coastal island archipelagos and cosmopolitan cities, sightseeing in Sweden is anything but dull. With some of the cleanest air in the world, take a deep breath, hop on board a ferry and take a day out in one of Sweden's countless parks and enjoy a picnic.

Head north to explore the icy tundra and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Laponian area in Lappland and sample some reindeer steaks, marvel at the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and explore the Ice Hotel which is sculpted each year by the Sami people in the winter months.

Head south to the capital of Stockholm, boasting 14 islands to explore by day cruise, a wonderful arts and nightlife scene and ocean fishing from the heart of the city. Visit the quaint Gamla Stan (old town), a maze of narrow cobbled-stone streets shaded by historic houses circling Royal Castle where Swedish royalty has resided since the 13th century, or explore the canals of Gothenburg. The west coast and its fishing villages is the place for seafood lovers while culture vultures will be smitten with Uppsala, the ancient Viking city where the newest buildings date from the 18th century and boasts more than 150 museums.

The summer months are the most popular time to visit Sweden, but this truly is a year-round destination, short on sunlight as the winter months may be. With a wealth of attractions and breathtakingly beautiful historical sites, it will take visitors a few weeks if not months to touch the tip of the iceberg of what this magical country has to offer.


The Swedish pride themselves on punctuality and it is considered rude to be late for a meeting. It is important to schedule an appointment in advance and have it confirmed shortly before any engagement. A formal dress code is observed for men and women and bright colours are avoided. Handshakes for men and women are common after introduction and often first names are used instead of surnames. A general egalitarian attitude will hide any observable hierarchy and all members at a meeting are generally treated with the same level of respect. Business hours are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.


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.


The country code for Sweden is +46, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are in use, e.g. 08 for Stockholm. Public telephones are available and there is good coverage across the country for mobile telephones, which use different GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Internet cafes can be found in all the cities and towns.


Swedish culture is very liberal and secular. Despite a reputation for excess and a love 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, however many Swedes partake in snus (snuff). It is polite to remove your shoes when entering a Swedish home. Equality is an important part of Swedish culture, and boastfulness and open conflict is usually avoided. '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.

Duty Free

Travellers to Sweden over 18 years from non-EU countries and residents who arrive on a commercial flight, from a trip exceeding 20 hours do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cheroots, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco, or a proportional mix of these. 1 litre of spirits with alcohol content higher than 22%, or 2 litres fortified or sparkling wine, and 2 litres of non-sparkling wine and beer are allowed duty free; other goods to the value of 1,700kr are also allowed. Prohibited items include drugs, other than those for medical or scientific purposes; and potatoes that are grown outside the EU.

230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are used.

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.

Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken by the Sami population in the north. Most Swedes speak and understand English. Many also speak German and French.

The Swedish monetary unit is the Kronor/Krona or Crown (SEK), which is divided into 100 öre. 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.


Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit. There is some petty crime during the summer months in the cities where tourists congregate, but crime is at much lower levels than elsewhere in Europe. Most visits to Sweden are trouble free.

GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

A service charge is included in restaurant bills, but an additional tip of 7 to 10% is expected for evening meals in Sweden. Generally customers round off the fare when using a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service in hotels, but are not expected.

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