Plotting a Visit to Sweden
While doing some reading recently, I spotted a comment about there being a sizeable body of quality Swedish literature but that no much of it made it into English. The same sentiment rings true when it comes to accessing information via the web for planning a visit to the country. Setting Google Translate to automatically translate Swedish in English is a saviour much of the time. There are times when the English looks strange but you have to remember that it is being created by a machine so that perhaps is unavoidable. Regardless of how you get it into English, the prevalence of Swedish means that I have highlighted the linguistic availability for the sites that I have included here so that you are forewarned.
If I was embarking on a leisure trip to some part of Sweden, I would have been collating the sort of information that you are to find here here beforehand rather than afterwards. That was down to the fact that this was a business trip and a preconception derived from previous experiences that they never allow much time for looking around where you going. Much to my surprise, coming across long hot Swedish summer evenings brought me more than I would have expected.
So, here is a collation of places on the web where you can find out more on the usual mix of places to see, places to stay and how to get there and around the place. Thus far, it is only a start but I hope that it helps. My recent visit to Stockholm and Södertälje has informed my personal insight so this should be more than a bare list. Nevertheless, Sweden is deserving of another visit, this time for the purposes of exploring a little more.
Finding Places to Visit
Every nation state should have a single place from which to start figuring out what there is to see and experience. In this respect, Sweden does not disappoint. Mind you, the country is a large one so you have to pick and choose where you go rather than going all out savouring as much as you can at a single sitting.
Having spent a few hours there one summer's evening, I can attest for Stockholm's visitor appeal. Here's a website in English that may help plan your stay. The prospect certainly tempts me.
It is Sweden's second largest city and remains as one of those place that I haven't seen yet. Apparently, it is supposed to be moving on from its industrial past to pastures new.
This is another of those rare places in Sweden where I have had the opportunity to spend some time. With the nearest international airport being across the Öresund in Denmark, a history of Danish rule followed by Sweden's reassertion of its sovereignty shouldn't sound so surprising. In fact, it was the Danes who established Lund as one of Sweden's oldest cities. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to see as much of the place as I might have liked. Being with others at a time of the year when the days were short was part of the cause of this.
Language: Swedish (English version not available when I last checked).
Sorting a Place to Stay
All of the above will help you organise accommodation but here's the site for the main operator of hostels in the country. As time elapses, this is a list that may get expanded.
This is Sweden's answer to the YHA/SYHA in the U.K. or An Óige in Eire and it goes under an unusual name that may be more in keeping with the wide spread of age groups that usually frequent hostels (I was the youngest in the room one night at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran in Scotland!). Their properties come in all shapes and sizes with one in an old train in Lund and an old sailing ship in Stockholm. These are the unusual ones with more conventional buildings forming the mainstay of the network.
There was a time when this was a flag carrier for Denmark, Norway and Sweden together. Today, those nation states still have a share in the operation along with private investors. So far in its history, it seems to have avoided completely becoming a no frills player in the airline industry with a full service including food available at a higher price. As suggested by its ownership, it gets you to and from destinations in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Up to now, I have used the carrier for business travel from the U.K. to Copenhagen and Stockholm without any cause for complaint.
Here's an idea that I never could see happening in Britain and Ireland: combined booking of air and land travel. It's not an unsound proposition and more would well to follow its example; my imagination is taking me to a world where travel to Ireland would be booked in a single hit rather than at two different websites. Well, we all can dream...
This is a system whereby you can travel on buses and trains on a single ticket, a Swedish answer to the U.K.'s PlusBus system. It also is a good jumping off point for Sweden's main train companies as well as being a good place to find train timetables as well. Anything that stops you getting lost while planning your travel has to be a good thing. As if that weren't enough there's a list of travel service providers too so it's an invaluable port of call. The same people also operate ResRobot, a multi-modal journey planning tool.
Language: Mainly Swedish but parts available in English.
One of Sweden's state railway companies and seemingly the one for long distance journeys with overnight train services going north and south from Stockholm. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they serve other countries in Scandinavia too with my seeing a train bound for Oslo in Stockholm Central station.
Stockholm County's wholly owned bus and commuter train (including the underground Tunnelbana) company is seemingly efficient in my experiences of it. Its being in public ownership is a rare thing these days too so it's interesting to it still surviving. All in all, it looks a very strong system with plenty of public support.
Language: Swedish but with a button using Google Translate to change a loaded page into your choice from a selection of languages including English.
If you want to get about Gothenburg and its hinterland, you need to take a look at this site. It's set up with an eye on the foreign visitor too.
While on a business trip to Lund a few years ago, I got to see a few of the buses operated under the auspices of this local government agency during the limited time that I was found to be around the streets of the university city.