What is Sweden Known for? ⏩11 Things That Make Sweden the Country it is

What is Sweden Known for?

Sweden is known for its epic landscapes, bold cuisine, amazing architecture, and for having some of the happiest people on the planet. Other things Sweden is famous for are; ABBA, lingonberries, the Northern Lights, music festivals, saunas, IKEA, Volvo cars, Spotify, and pickled herring,

Sweden really does offer a whole host of factors that make it a bucket-list-worthy destination.
Read on to find out the things that Sweden is most famous for and why you should add it to your ever-growing list of travel destinations…

1. Happy People

fun in the snow


Along with their fellow Scandinavian citizens, Swedes are regularly ranked as some of the happiest people in the world, most recently being named 7th happiest for 2019. Of course, happiness means different things to different people, but the World Happiness Report rankings look at dopamine levels, personal satisfaction evaluations, opinions on voting policies, tightness of community and much more to determine which countries top the list.

High life expectancy, a great social support system and a 6-hour working week all seem to be factors that play into Sweden being one of the happiest places in the world. Add to this the following things that make Sweden famous, and you have the perfect recipe for happiness!

2. The Swedish Wilderness

Lapland, Sweden


Making the most of the great outdoors is another thing that Sweden is famous for, with many people spending their weekends and summers exploring, hiking, camping and staying in rural cabins to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and in touch with nature instead.

It’s not surprising to learn that Swedes are some of the happiest people in the world when you consider that 9% of Sweden’s total area is covered by lakes, there are 29 National Parks and the coastline stretches for around 2,000 miles! This wilderness, in addition to quaint, rural summer houses not too far from the city, means that there really is no excuse not to get out there and enjoy the natural world.

With mountains, lakes, parks, forests, rivers and sprawling lowlands, there really is something for everyone. If you just take a quick look at #SwedenNature on Instagram, you’ll soon see why it’s such a beautiful bucket list destination.

3. Great Environmental Ethos

wind turbines in the water


Sweden has an excellent reputation when it comes to green credentials most notably down to the fact that they only send around 1% of their waste to landfill, the rest being reused, recycled or burnt for energy. This is a huge achievement and is something the country is understandably very proud of.

As such, Sweden is a beacon of light for other countries wishing to lessen their impact on the environment and their teen export Greta Thunberg is helping to shine a light on these issues worldwide, showing that if Sweden can do it, so can everyone else!
Not only is Sweden’s waste production low but their renewable energy sources, carbon dioxide emissions and sustainability education system are some of the best in the world too!

4. The Northern Lights

beautiful northern lights


The Northern Lights are a regular favourite on people’s bucket lists, and Sweden is one of the best countries in the world in which to witness this natural phenomenon. The Aurora Borealis is a natural light show that is created when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with the Earth’s atmosphere in a dance across the sky.

The Aurora can usually be seen from the months of September to March in Sweden when the country’s long winter nights perpetuate. Whether you choose to visit Kiruna, the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park, Jukkasjärvi or Swedish Lapland, you’re sure to see some wonderful landscapes and hopefully some incredible Northern Lights displays.

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5. Bold Swedish Cuisine

Many of us know Swedish cuisine as IKEA meatballs and Diam bars, but the country is also regarded for its fine dining, café culture and interesting delicacies that tend to provoke a love/hate reaction! From controversial filmjölk (fermented milk) and Surströmming (salted and fermented herring) to delicious treats like Kanelbulle (cinnamon buns), lingonberries and the exquisite Prinsesstårta Sweden really does have a whole host of cuisine for foodie fanatics to get their teeth into.

Of course, with such a long coastline and over 90,000 lakes, Sweden is known for its fish-based plates, but even if you’re vegetarian, there are plenty of dishes still to enjoy.

In addition, if you’re seeking fine dining look no further than Stockholm which is home to Frantzén (Three Michelin Star), Oaxen Krog (Two Star) and Gastrologik (Two Star) among others, which serve up beautifully-plated versions of traditional Swedish cuisine.

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6. The Midnight Sun

midnight sun over water


Another natural phenomenon that Sweden is known for it the Midnight Sun, a period of time in which the sun never dips below the horizon. This natural wonder occurs during the summer in the region above the Arctic Circle in Sweden, between the months of May and July. The length of time that the endless daylight lasts depends on where exactly you are in the country, with the northernmost reaches having the longest days.

While having 24-hours of daylight can mess with your circadian rhythms (pack an eye mask if you want to sleep!), it also means that you have extra time during which to make the most of your trip!

With lake swimming, late-night parties, seemingly endless festivals and even an Arctic Golf Course where you can play a Midnight Sun round of golf, there are loads to keep you entertained during these long summer months!

Of course, at the other end of the spectrum is the fact that the sun never rises above the horizon in these destinations in the winter months, but you have the Northern Lights to make up for that!

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7. A Vibrant Music Scene

inside the abba museum


After the US and the UK, Sweden is the third biggest exporter of musicians worldwide with some household names hailing from this Scandinavian country. The most famous band from Sweden is, of course, ABBA with their armfuls of albums and chart-topping singles but what you might not know is that Europe (The Final Countdown), Rednex (Cotton Eye Joe), The Cardigans, Basshunter, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Zara Larsson, Eric Prydz and Avicii all come from Sweden too!

Sweden is also one of the world’s top destinations if you want to go to a music festival too, with epic gatherings such as Lollapalooza, Summerburst, Peace and Love Festival and Sweden Rock Festival being some of the highlights.

8. Technology (some very famous companies here)

While IKEA and Volvo have long been famous Swedish brands there is a new breed of Swede taking over in the form of tech-based companies that are changing the world. The likelihood is, you will have used at least one of these technologies without even realising it! Swedish companies and entrepreneurs have given us brands like Skype, Spotify and Klarna and games such as Candy Crush and Minecraft which have been game-changing (literally) worldwide.

With liberal ideologies, great green credentials, wide-spread internet availability and forward-thinking ideas, it’s no wonder that start-ups are popping up here all the time. Watch this space to see what will be next!

9. Unique Hotels

In order to help tourists make the most of the stunning Swedish landscapes, architects and hoteliers have worked to create a selection of breath-taking accommodation options, from tree-houses and ice hotels to Northern Lights cabins and a Jumbo Jet hostel! Many of these hotels are totally unique to Sweden and offer unforgettable adventures in the wilderness.

If you want something even more quirky then you could opt to stay at the Sala Silvergruva ‘mine suite’, a hotel room located 155m below ground in one of Sweden’s old silver mines! This is thought to be the world’s deepest hotel room, and while it’s not exactly bright and airy, it will certainly be a trip to remember!

10. Saunas are a Way of Life in Sweden

Sauna hut in winter forest


Unlike us Brits and Americans where going in a sauna is a rare treat during a spa day, in Sweden enjoying a sauna is a way of life. Swedes tend to gather with friends and family on the regular to sweat and talk out their problems all while sitting together naked in a wooden hut!

However, it is important that you are aware of sauna etiquette as depending on where you are, the rules may be somewhat different. In international hotels and mixed-gender saunas, swimwear is usually appropriate while in more local leisure centres, ski resorts and private cabins nudity (on occasion with a small cover-up towel) is the go-to.
Once you’ve got past the embarrassment of being naked in front of your friends or new acquaintances, you can start to soak up the heat and reap the health benefits of sweating out your toxins!

11. Fika - a Swedish Food Culture

swedish fika


Last but by no means least is the Swedish art of Fika, a Scandinavian practice which – similarly to Hygge and Lykke – doesn’t exactly translate into English. Fika is the art of catching up over coffee and cake, a mindful practice which helps people to connect and relax.

This is an almost sacrosanct practice which is enjoyed by people of all ages throughout the country and is even taken as part of your working day. Fika is a time for coffee, cake and connecting, not a time for working or practicalities.

Whether you enjoy Fika at someone’s house or in a quiet, cosy café, you’re sure to feel more serene after an oat milk latte and a cinnamon bun than you did before!

So, there you have it, ABBA, lingonberries, Northern Lights, music festivals and saunas – what more could you want?! If this selection of things that Sweden is famous for doesn’t persuade you that Sweden should be on your bucket list then I don’t know what will!
Let us know if you’ve been to Sweden in the comments below and tell us your favourite facts!

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