100,000 lakes, forests that cover half the country, snow-capped mountains, wide, grassy plains, a 7000-kilometre long coastline, flat woodlands, countless islands and ultra-urban spaces are contrasts that make Sweden one of the loveliest countries in Europe. Well-known for ABBA, Björn Borg, Ericsson, Saab, Volvo and IKEA, Swedes are a friendly and welcoming tribe.
To get under Swedish skin read Charlotte Rosen Svensson's 'Culture Shock! Sweden: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette', watch works by Ingmar Bergman and listen to the Cardigans.
Best time to visit: Late May to July (summer) and December to March for skiing. The coldest month is February at 0°C and the warmest is July at 17°C. Snow is rare, but it rains all year round.
If there's one thing Swedish cuisine has contributed to culinary vocabulary, it's the word 'smörgåsbord', a buffet-style meal that offers up a variety of dishes, a service offered in Swedish restaurants. Fish, game, potatoes and milk make up staple Swedish fare, mostly in the form of open-faced sandwiches and pastries. Snaps (pronounced schnapps) is a traditional shot of strong alcohol, usually vodka or akvavit.
Anything portable from IKEA, a phone from Ericsson, tennis memorabilia and schnapps.
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