On October 5, 2021, we left the Netherlands, which was getting ready for the autumn. 8 months later we returned to Etten-Leur. We then made a trip through Northern Europe, a tour around the Baltic Sea...
Sweden is the largest Scandinavian country in Northern Europe and is located between Norway and Finland. Compared to Norway, Sweden is a lot flatter, with rolling landscapes with lots of forests and lakes instead of dramatic fjords. The country consists of almost 100.000 (!) lakes and coniferous forests. The largest lakes are Lake Vätter and Lake Väner. Much of Sweden still consists of untouched natural beauty. At the northernmost tip of the country, the midnight sun and the northern Lights observable. These unique natural phenomena are reason enough for a trip to this vast country. Sweden is never missing from a tour through Scandinavia.
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In Stockholm you can shop relaxed in nice streets with boutiques and antique shops. In the center you will find the Old Town where churches of hundreds of years old welcome you. Other interesting cities are Malmö and Gothenburg. In Malmö you can enjoy excellent food in the many restaurants and when the weather is nice you can even relax on the beach.
The rough Sweden
But especially the nature in Sweden will blow your mind. Endless hills with castles and ruins, forests, mountains and the wintry Lapland. The many islands along the coast are ideal for water sports enthusiasts for kayaking or sailing. If you prefer the rugged nature, then the nature reserves of Värmland, Dalarna and Smaland are exactly what you want. Northern Sweden is mainly mountainous. You can go mountain climbing, abseiling, rafting and hiking here almost all year round. Sweden is clearly more than just IKEA and ABBA!
Divide Sweden in two and the area north of that imaginary border is Norrland, the land of the North. It is a particularly sparsely populated area; most of the people live in the cities on the coast. The population of Norrland mainly consists of millions of mosquitoes, especially during the summer, that seem to prey on fresh tourists.
However, with the malodorous myggolja you can go a long way – ask the local tradesmen for a recipe for success. Mainly the domain of coniferous forests, tundras, rocks, snowfields and glacial valleys, Norrland is often touted as one of Europe's last wildernesses. Tourists rarely come here, unless it has to be in transit to the North Cape.
Hiking or biking tours demand many of the nature lovers who venture here, but in the national parks in particular, more and more modest amenities are appearing for tourists. No star hotels or tarmac roads, but well-marked trails, wind shelters and simple huts. After all, it must remain in harmony with nature. With a bit of luck you will encounter fauna in Norrland that you only see in zoos in densely populated Western Europe.
Wolves, lynx, wolverines and hundreds of bird species: they all live here and it is not for nothing that this is a favorite workplace for biologists and bird watchers. In the summer you have plenty of time to discover Norrland: the sun does not set for two months north of the Arctic Circle. Those who dare to spend the winter on reindeer skins in the ice beds of the famous ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi may be able to enjoy the northern lights, the aurora borealis, through the bedroom window.