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Sweden Country Information
Crisp and clean, the tranquil Scandinavian country of Sweden offers a variety of experiences within its elegant and sophisticated cities, its picturesque medieval villages, coastal island archipelagos, peaceful lakes and forests and the icy tundra of northern Lapland.

The capital city, Stockholm, encompasses 14 islands on the shores of the Baltic Sea. It is a high-tech city with a small-town feel, filled with top class restaurants, pulsating nightclubs, cosy pubs and a full array of performing arts. Best of all, nearly everyone you meet is fluent in English. Few visitors to Stockholm can resist an excursion to discover the offshore islands: the Stockholm archipelago offers some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Europe, and can be enjoyed from the city on a day cruise.

The west coast and its fishing villages is the place for gourmets, especially seafood lovers, while those digging for history will be fascinated with Uppsala, the ancient Viking city where the newest buildings date from the 18th century. A really novel excursion is a visit up north to the Ice Hotel, sculpted from ice every winter in Lapland where the Sami people enjoy showing visitors their way of life, centred on their reindeer herds. Meanwhile, way down south Smaland has been christened 'the Crystal Kingdom' in honour of the famous glassworks that exist there in places like Orrefors and Kosta.

Sweden is an enchanting country, not as cold as one might imagine situated as it is in the high latitudes, and is well worth exploring whether along the meticulously maintained roads or on the extensive high-speed train system.

The Basics
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are used.

Money: The Swedish monetary unit is the Kronor/Krona or Crown (SEK), which is divided into 100 öre. Banks exchange money during business hours from Monday to Friday. At other times money can be changed at airports, ferry terminals, post offices and Forex exchange offices, which are open daily. There are numerous ATMs throughout the country, most of which accept MasterCard and Visa. Travellers cheques and most major credit cards are widely accepted for payment throughout Sweden.

Language: Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken by the Sami population in the north. Most Swedes speak and understand English. Many also speak German and French.

Travel Health: There are no health risks associated with travel to Sweden, but visitors should guard against ticks when travelling to forested areas or the southern coast, including the Stockholm archipelago. Medical care in the country is excellent, and reciprocal health agreements exist with other European Union countries, including the United Kingdom. UK citizens in possession of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be entitled to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Swedish nationals. Outbreaks of bird flu have been detected in wild birds around the country, but the risk to travellers is low and no human infections have been reported. As a precaution all egg and poultry dishes should be well cooked and close contact with live birds should be avoided.

Tipping: Service charge is included in restaurant bills, but an additional tip of 7 to 10% is expected for evening meals. Generally customers round off the fare when using a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service in hotels, but are not expected.

Safety Information: Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit. There is some petty crime during the summer months in the cities where tourists congregate, but crime is at much lower levels than elsewhere in Europe. Most visits to Sweden are trouble free.

Business: The Swedish pride themselves on punctuality and it is considered rude to be late for a meeting. It is important to schedule an appointment in advance and have it confirmed shortly before any engagement. A formal dress code is observed for men and women and bright colours are avoided. Handshakes for men and women are common after introduction and often first names are used instead of surnames. A general egalitarian attitude will hide any observable hierarchy and all members at a meeting are generally treated with the same level of respect. Business hours are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Communications: The country code for Sweden is +46, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are in use, e.g. 08 for Stockholm. Public telephones are available and there is good coverage across the country for mobile telephones, which use different GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Internet cafes can be found in all the cities and towns.

Duty Free: Travellers to Sweden over 18 years from non-EU countries and residents who arrive on a commercial flight, from a trip exceeding 20 hours do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cheroots, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco, or a proportional mix of these. 1 litre of spirits with alcohol content higher than 22%, or 2 litres fortified or sparkling wine, and 2 litres of non-sparkling wine and beer are allowed duty free; other goods to the value of 1,700kr are also allowed. Prohibited items include drugs, other than those for medical or scientific purposes; and potatoes that are grown outside the EU.

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Visa and Entry Information

  • Entry requirements for Americans: To enter Sweden, US citizens require a passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to three months in any six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals may enter Sweden with a passport, and no visa is necessary for passport-holders endorsed British Citizen, British National (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen, or British Subject for a stay of up to three months in any six-month period. Other British passports require a visa.
  • Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians require a passport to enter Sweden, but no visa is required for stays of up to three months in any six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for Australians: For entry to Sweden, Australian citizens require a passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to three months in any six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans require a passport as well as a visa for entry to Sweden.
  • Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals require a passport, but no visa is necessary for stays of up to three months in any six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a passport, but no visa is necessary.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors are required to have visible means of support as well as tickets and documentation for return or onward travel. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all.

Weather and Climate in Sweden
Sweden has a continental climate, and is generally temperate due to offshore Gulf Stream waters, though there can be a medium to large variations in temperature between summer and winter. Winters are very cold, and most of the Norrland experiences cold temperatures for about seven months, with a summer of less than three months, while the southern region of Skane has a short, cold winter of only two months with a four-month long summer. Days tend to be shorter and heavy frosts and snowfalls are to be expected. Travel to Sweden can be enjoyed year round, but the warm and pleasant summers are perhaps more bearable for some visitors.

Stockholm has a moderate climate, with mild temperatures in both winter and summer. In winter, temperatures range from about 19°F to 36°F (-7°C to 2°C) and average temperatures in summer range between 68°F and 77°F (20°C-25°C), though sometimes higher. Snowfall usually occurs from January to March. Rainfall can occur throughout the year, though July and August tend to be the wettest months

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Sweden's Attractions

  • Royal Djurgården - Stockholm’s main attractions are conveniently packaged close to the heart of the city on the island of Djurgården, crammed with entertainment options, museums, restaurants and wooded green space.
  • Royal Palace and Gamla Stan - The official Swedish Royal residence is one of the largest and most glorious palaces in Europe, dating from 1754 (although it was built on the remains of an earlier medieval castle).
  • City Hall - Stockholm's main landmark, the distinctive red brick City Hall (Stadshuset) building, has stood on Kungsholmen (King's Island) since 1923 and become world-renowned as the venue for the annual Nobel Prize Banquet.
  • Museum of National Antiquities - Sweden’s history from prehistoric times to the present day is fascinatingly laid out in the Museum of National Antiquities, which contains a hoard of archaeological artefacts and treasures.
  • The Archipelago - The city of Stockholm stretches across 14 islands, but the archipelago, of which they form but a tiny part, consists of more than 24,000 islets, famed for their natural beauty, wildlife, fjords and spectacular channels and straits.
  • Göteborg Botanical Garden - The Botanical Garden in Gothenburg is one of the largest in Europe and the most beautiful in Sweden boasting about 13,000 different species of plant.
  • Liseberg Amusement Park - One of the most popular tourist attractions in Sweden, Liseberg Amusement Park has been welcoming millions of visitors a year for almost 80 years. Besides popular rides like the wooden roller coaster Balder and tamer rides for the children.

Events in Sweden

  • Midsummer's Eve - Sweden's most beloved of festivals, Midsummer's Eve is a national holiday celebrated around the country with great gusto. In Stockholm, thousands enjoy the festivities laid on at the Skansen open-air museum, which centre around the raising of a garlanded maypole.
  • Skansen Christmas Market - The ideal place to do your Christmas shopping and imbibe some true traditional Scandinavian Christmas spirit is the huge Skansen Christmas market, which draws about 25,000 visitors every weekend in the run-up to the festive season.
  • Stockholm Jazz Festival - After more than 20 years the Stockholm Jazz Festival has earned a reputation for becoming one of the biggest and best events of its kind in Europe. Top international and local jazz, blues, soul, funk and Latin stars perform over the five-day festival.
  • Stockholm Pride - The largest Pride celebration in Scandinavia is the week-long rainbow carnival that turns Stockholm into a free zone for the gay and lesbian community.
  • Nobel Prize Day - Although it is not open to the general public, Nobel Prize Day in Stockholm has the eyes of the world on this northern city when the highly prestigious awards for medicine, literature, physics, chemistry and economics (the coveted Peace Prize is presented in Oslo, Norway) are presented each year by the King at the Stockholm Concert Hall, followed by the lavish Nobel Prize Banquet at the City Hall.

Sweden's Airport

Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport (ARN)

  • Location: The airport is situated 28 miles (45km) north of Stockholm.
  • Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
  • Contacts: Tel: +46 (0)8 797 6000 or 797 6100.
  • Getting to the city: For those travelling to and from the airport there are many alternative modes of transport including high-speed trains (Arlanda Express) and airport coaches/buses (Flygbussarna), as well as commuter and long-distance trains. Long-distance SJ trains leave from Arlanda Central Station, where the SJ railway company offers long-distance train tickets and schedule information. The Arlanda Express train to Stockholm Central station runs every 15 minutes between 5.35am and 11.35pm daily (200kr). Buses go to the city every 10 minutes between 6.40am and 11.05pm each day, taking 40 minutes to make the journey (90kr). Taxis and rental cars are also available.
  • Car rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include Avis, Europcar and Hertz.
  • Airport Taxis: Taxis are available directly outside all terminals at the airport. Most taxi companies offer a fixed rate of 435kr for the trip to the city centre, which should take about half an hour.
  • Facilities: The airport is well supplied with banks, bureaux de change, ATMs, restaurants, bars and shops. The SkyCity centre inside the airport complex provides every conceivable amenity for travellers, including a luxury hotel and health club. All the terminals have lounge areas with power points for recharging mobile phones and laptop computers.
  • Parking: There are several parking areas adjoining each terminal with different price categories, whether it be short term, long term, indoor in multi-storey parkades, or outdoors.
  • Departure tax: None.

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Driving Information

Drinking and driving:
If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.02 per cent or more severe penalties include fines, withdrawal of licence and / or prison.

Driving licence:
Minimum age at which a UK licence holder may drive a temporarily imported car 18.
NOTE: UK driving licences, which do not incorporate a photograph, will not be recognised unless accompanied by photographic proof of
identity e.g. passport.

Fines:
Police can impose but not collect fines on the spot for minor traffic offences. Fines must be paid at a bank within 2-3 weeks. Illegally parked vehicles may be towed away and the release charge is up to 1,400 SEK.

Fuel:
Unleaded - Blyfri (95, 96 & 98 octane) and Diesel is available, very limited LPG availability. Petrol in a can permitted. Credit cards are accepted at filling stations, check with your card issuer for usage in Sweden before travel.

Driving Distances:

From
To
Time
KMS
Stockholm Oslo
6hrs 45mins
530km
Stockholm Frankfurt
14hrs 44mins
1449km
Stockholm Amsterdam
14hrs 40mins
1427km
Stockholm Goteborg
5hrs 8mins
469km
Stockholm Malmo 6hrs 25mins 615km

Please click here http://www.viamichelin.com/ for more driving distances

Lights:
Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory. Fines will be imposed for inadequate lighting.

Motorcycles:
Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory. Wearing of crash helmets is compulsory.

Motor Insurance:
Third-party compulsory. Green Card recognised.

Passengers / Children in cars:
Children under 3 must use a child restraint appropriate for their weight, in any vehicle. There is only one exception in that they are permitted to travel unrestrained in the rear of a taxi if the right child restraint is not available. A rear facing baby seat may only be used if the air-bag has been deactivated. Children aged under 15 or under 135cms must use an appropriate child restraint. A child aged 15 and over or 135cms in height may use an adult seat belt.

Seat belts:
Compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Speed limits:
Speed limits are no longer based on the type of road, but on the quality and safety of the actual road itself. Speed limits may subsequently vary along the same road. It is therefore recommended to pay particular attention to
road signs. The lowest speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers. In built-up areas: 18 mph (30 km/h), outside built-up areas 43 mph (70 km/h) and motorways 68 mph (110 km/h).

Compulsory equipment:

  • From the 1st Dec to 31st March, it is compulsory to use Winter tyres (marked M&S) with a minimum tread depth of 3mm.

Other rules / requirements:

Warning triangle and first aid kit recommended.

Beware game – moose, deer, etc. – As this constitutes a very real danger on many roads (a yellow warning triangle with a red border depicts animal most common on a particular stretch of road).

Spiked tyres (which must be fitted on all wheels) may be used 1 October to the 15 April, however, local authorities have the power to ban spiked/studded tyres on their roads. Snow chains may also be used if the weather or road conditions require.

Congestion charges in Stockholm do not apply to foreign registered vehicles. The use of radar detectors is strictly forbidden .

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