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Sweden strikes the perfect balance between urban culture and outdoor fun. Major cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg are progressive and modern, yet retain their history in the form of well-preserved medieval architecture. Yet there are also an impressive 29 national parks in Sweden, stretching from the southern coast to above the Arctic Circle.
When is the best time to visit?
To beat the crowds and enjoy some pleasant hiking weather, visit Sweden during spring (March-May). If you travel during the summer, you’ll have to contend with the high-season crowds—but you’ll also be able to take advantage of Sweden’s famous summer music festivals. These include Way out West, Summerburst, and various genre festivals ranging from metal to reggae. Winter (Nov-Feb) brings great winter-sports conditions, but know that in the coldest months, temps can dip all the way down to -22°F/-30°C in the country's northern reaches.
Where should you go?
Stockholm will be your first stop—it's as rich in medieval history and culture as it is abounding with nightlife and excitement. For spring and summer hiking, go north and test yourself on the Kungsleden Trail (King’s Trail), which runs more than 200 miles through Abisko National Park. If you’d like to pamper yourself, head to the day spas in the city of Ystad. For world-class skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling during winter, head to the mountains of central Sweden and the Åre Resort. If you want to view the Northern Lights, travel above the Arctic Circle to the village of Abisko. Also during this time, you can find ice skating and festive holiday activities in Stockholm.
How many days do you need?
In seven days, you can see Stockholm and travel to the south, which is filled with beautiful beaches like those near the medieval port city of Malmö. You could then head north to the coastal city of Gothenburg (a rival to Stockholm for architecture and sheer beauty), and still have time left over to visit a national park, such as Tyresta or Royal Djurgården. But you could easily spend two weeks or more exploring Sweden’s many national parks and cities.
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