9 amazingly beautiful places in Sweden
Travel to Sweden? Is that for you, read and find out. The largest of the Scandinavian countries and the third-largest country in Europe, is packed with amazing places to explore. From spectacular sceneries and hiking trails in the north to postcard-perfect islands, historic cities and fjords in the south, the country is incredibly diverse and offers everything you can expect from a quintessential Scandinavian holiday.
Ready to see the most beautiful places in Sweden? Here are our top picks.
Stockholm, the lovely capital of Sweden and the largest city in the country, is a place full of surprises. Located on Sweden’s southeastern coast, Stockholm lies on an archipelago of 14 islands that are connected by 57 bridges. Because of its many waterways, the city is sometimes called the Venice of the North.
One of the most famous areas of Stockholm is its Old Town, known as Gamla Stan. This well-preserved historic quarter oozes medieval charm and looks like an open-air museum. Here you’ll find an abundance of cobblestone alleyways, adorable brightly-colored buildings from the 16th and 17th century, elegant restaurants and cocktail bars. The most notable attractions in Gamla Stan are the Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm Cathedral and the grandiose Royal Palace with more than 600 rooms.
Another scenic place that you shouldn’t miss in Stockholm is Djurgården Island. Located within walking distance from the Old Town, this idyllic island boasts several famous museums, the extravagant Rosendal Palace and a large park home to deer, foxes and hares.
Make sure to also take a boat tour of Stockholm’s Archipelago, which many consider one of the most beautiful places in Sweden. Known for its mesmerizing scenery, the archipelago consists of thousands of islands, some of which are uninhabited while others are popular holiday destinations. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures or prefer visiting historic sights and cute villages, there are dozens of different boat tours to choose from.
Lying in the Baltic Sea, 90 kilometers off the coast of Sweden, Gotland is the largest island in the country. It’s a tourism hotspot both for Swedes and foreigners who flock to the island in the summer months to enjoy its pristine nature, sandy beaches and remarkable history.
Perhaps the most outstanding attraction on Gotland is its medieval capital Visby. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Visby is famous for its large number of ruins from the 12th century and its impressive medieval city walls with original towers and gates still intact. The town’s cobbled streets are lined with idyllic cottages, cafes and restaurants. Besides its historical significance, Visby is also known for its roses that are blooming all over the town’s gardens and flower boxes during the warm summer months.
Another major attraction in Gotland is its sea stacks, which the locals call ‘raukar’. These monolithic limestone columns have been formed by wind and water over thousands of years and can be found in various places along the island’s coast. The most impressive sea stacks are located at Langhammars Nature Reserve at Fårö.
Lapland is a vast arctic region in the northernmost part of Sweden and it also spans across Norway and Finland. With its untouched forests, snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes and roaring rivers, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Sweden.
Covering about a quarter of the country, this fascinating territory is home to the indigenous Sami people, who offer visitors various authentic cultural experiences. You can learn about their thousands of years old traditions, indulge in traditional Sami food or sleep in a Sami log cabin.
Due to its large variety of terrains and exceptional natural beauty, Lapland attracts many outdoor enthusiasts who go there for hiking, skiing, fishing or dog sledding. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Lapland’s nature is to hike the King’s Trail (Kungsleden), the most famous hiking trail in Sweden. Starting in the stunning Abisko National Park and continuing 400km south, the trail takes you past incredible alpine sceneries, villages, lakes and herds of reindeer.
Lapland, where summer lasts day and night
Lapland is also the best destination in Sweden for seeing the Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights. This natural light show is only visible in the darker months of the year and you’ll have the best chances of seeing them from December to March. If you visit the region in early summer, however, you’ll be able to witness the Midnight Sun – a natural phenomenon, where there are consecutive 24 hours of sunlight.
For a truly unique experience, visit Lapland’s famous IceHotel. Operating only in the winter, this place is both an art exhibition and a hotel where everything is built of snow and ice.
Next up on our list of the most beautiful places in Sweden is the lovely Skåne or Scania County. Located on the southern tip of Sweden, Skåne has it all – long sandy beaches, lively towns, fantastic nature, world-class museums, excellent culinary scene and so much more.
One of the most charming areas of Scania is Österlen, where you’ll find coastal hiking trails along rolling green hills, beaches with pristine white sand and idyllic farmlands. Those interested in history should visit the Ales’ Stones, a megalithic monument dating back to the Iron Age. For a relaxing wellness experience that will rejuvenate your body and soul, head to Ystad Saltsjöbad, an elegant spa hotel overlooking the Baltic Sea.
A bit further to the west, lies the vibrant city of Malmö, which is the capital of Skåne and a true melting pot of cultures. Malmö charms its visitors with its architectural marvels, art museums and numerous great restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Vollmers. Some of the must-see attractions here include the 16th-century Malmö Castle, the futuristic Turning Torso skyscraper and the bustling Lilla Torg square.
5) Gothenburg, Travel to Sweden
Lying on the country’s west coast, Gothenburg (Göteborg) is the second-largest city in Sweden. With its award-winning restaurants, cultural attractions, many shopping opportunities and the quaint historic quarter Haga, Gothenburg is a city full of character. Being relatively compact in size, it can easily be explored on foot and makes for an ideal destination for a weekend getaway.
Arguably the most iconic sight in Gothenburg is the Liseberg Amusement Park which opened in 1923. From thrilling roller coasters and carousels to lush flower-filled gardens, Christmas markets and concerts, Liseberg offers something for everyone. Other notable attractions include the Gothenburg Museum of Art, the 175-hectare Botanical Garden and Slottskogen Park with a free zoo at its center.
Another exciting feature about Gothenburg is its archipelago that’s made up of more than 20 little granite islands. These islands can easily be reached by boats or ferries departing near Gothenburg and offer a perfect opportunity to spend a beautiful day by the sea. Here, you can admire the traditional fishing villages, go on a kayaking tour, hike along the rocky terrains and even go on a seal safari. The northern archipelago islands are more inhabited and better connected whereas the southern islands are car-free and some belong to a nature reserve.
6) Lake Vänern, Travel to Sweden
Lake Vänern is a popular holiday destination and the largest of Sweden’s 100,000 lakes. Due to its immense size, it looks more like an ocean than a lake and offers endless views of its vast waters.
From sandy beaches and nature reserves to golf courses, historic manors and picturesque towns, Lake Vänern’s 4800-km coastline is full of nice places to explore. The lake provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities, such as kayaking, cycling, bird-watching, hiking, and in the wintertime, skiing. Lake Vänern is also known as an excellent fishing spot as its waters are teeming with various fish species including trout and salmon.
The largest town on the shores of Lake Vänern is Karlstad. It is an ideal spot to base yourself when visiting the area and has numerous museums and art galleries, great restaurants and beautiful parks. One of the most remarkable attractions in Karlstad is the Värmlands Museum, which showcases the history of the region as well as internationally renowned artwork and photography.
Make sure to also visit the majestic Läckö Castle on the southern shore of Lake Vänern. This baroque castle was built in 1298 and is considered one of the most beautiful mansions in Sweden.
7) Åre, Travel to Sweden
Located in central Sweden, Åre is one of the largest ski resorts in all of Scandinavia and a wonderful place to visit in all seasons.
Every winter, the tiny town transforms into an alpine sports mecca and attracts thousands of skiers and snowboarders with its fantastic slopes and snow parks. From thrilling off-piste slopes for adrenaline-seekers to easier routes for kids and beginners, there are suitable options for all levels of experience in Åre Ski Resort. Those interested in cross-country skiing will find plenty of well-maintained trails in the area as well.
Besides skiing and snowboarding, some of the best things to do in Åre are dog sledding, ice climbing, ice skating and snowmobile safaris. There are also several spas in the town where you can pamper yourself with relaxing treatments after a long day in the mountains. Despite its small size, Åre has a lively nightlife scene with several pubs and live music venues buzzing with people in the high season.
In the warmer months of the year, Åre offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, rafting or fishing. Thanks to its spectacular mountainous landscape, Åre is also considered one of the best places for downhill mountain biking in Sweden and is home to Scandinavia’s largest bike park.
8) High Coast, natural beauty, Travel to Sweden
The High Coast – or Höga Kusten in Swedish – is a region of fascinating natural beauty on the Gulf of Bothnia, about 400km north of Stockholm. The coastline and its archipelago, which were shaped by glaciers thousands of years ago, experience an unusual geological process where the land is rising about 8 millimeters per year. Due to its unique geology and the beauty of its landscapes, the High Coast was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Although it is often considered one of the most beautiful places in Sweden, it receives fewer tourists than other popular archipelagos in the country.
The rocky hills, dramatic cliffs and awe-inspiring views of the Baltic Sea make the High Coast an ideal destination for hiking. Arguably the best trail in the region is the 130-kilometer-long High Coast Trail. Starting at Hornöberget mountain and ending in Örnsköldsvik, the trail crosses several nature reserves and takes you past pine forest, pebble beaches, rock crevices and scenic lakes. Those looking for an adrenaline rush can get a taste of mountain climbing at Via Ferrata Skuleberget.
The High Coast offers a variety of cultural and historical attractions as well. Admire the 6000-year-old rock carvings at Nämforsen, explore the quirky open-air museum Mannaminne, visit the High Coast’s very own whiskey distillery or learn about the region’s history at Murberget County Museum. The picturesque Ulvön islands, with their adorable wooden cottages and colorful boathouses, are certainly also worth a visit.
The charming seaside town Smögen is one of the most iconic holiday destinations on the west coast of Sweden. Just a 2-hour drive north of Gothenburg, the town is set on a small island that’s connected to the mainland by a bridge.
Surrounded by scenic fjords and rocky islets, this well-preserved old fishing village draws thousands of visitors every summer. Many Swedes and Norwegians arrive here on their luxurious sailing boats or motorboats to enjoy the town’s lively atmosphere, vibrant party scene, pebbly beaches and beautiful nature. Due to its popularity during the summer months, Smögen can get a little busy, especially on weekends. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit during weekdays or outside of the peak tourism season.
While here, don’t forget to visit Smögenbryggan aka the deck of Smögen. Lined with brightly-colored fishermen huts, this picturesque waterfront boardwalk has become one of the most photographed spots in this part of Sweden. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find various small shops selling souvenirs, clothing, ice cream or coffee. Nearby, there are many traditional restaurants, where you can taste freshly caught shrimp and other mouthwatering local seafood dishes.
Find more travel inspiration about Sweden
There’s no doubt that Sweden is a truly amazing country to visit and offers something for every kind of traveler. With its large number of natural marvels, cultural treasures and interesting history, there’s an abundance of beautiful places to explore so you definitely won’t get bored!