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The land of the ancient Vikings and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden has a split personality according to the seasons. In the summer, idyllic weather allows tourists and locals alike to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming and other sports late into the evening as the Midnight Sun shines until nearly 11pm.

However, a winter holiday in Sweden is full of other kinds of activities as the bitterly cold weather brings icy wind and deep snow: dog sledding, ice fishing, snowshoeing and enjoying the abundant Christmas markets that spring up in December.

Sweden’s obsession with the outdoors is only one aspect if its personality, however; millions of visitors enjoy the sophisticated cultural delights of the cities, especially the capital of Stockholm. With a proud history going back several millennia, the many museums and royal buildings around the city are fascinating to visit. Stockholm’s modern attractions are just as engaging, with a lively nightlife, and a plethora of excellent restaurants and shops.

But Stockholm isn’t the only city in Sweden worth visiting. Smaller towns like Gothenburg, Malmö, Uppsala and the northern Kiruna all offer unique attractions for tourists in Sweden, ranging from amusement parks to historical churches to boat tours of the archipelagos in the Baltic Sea.

Gota Canal, Borensberg, Sweden

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden in Winter

Dotted with picturesque medieval villages, tranquil lakes, lush forests, coastal island archipelagos and cosmopolitan cities, sightseeing in Sweden is anything but dull. With some of the cleanest air in the world, take a deep breath, hop on board a ferry and take a day out in one of Sweden’s countless parks and enjoy a picnic.

Head north to explore the icy tundra and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Laponian area in Lappland and sample some reindeer steaks, marvel at the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and explore the Ice Hotel which is sculpted each year by the Sami people in the winter months.

Head south to the capital of Stockholm, boasting more than a dozen islands to explore by day cruise, a wonderful arts and nightlife scene and ocean fishing from the heart of the city. Visit the quaint Gamla Stan (old town), a maze of narrow cobbled-stone streets shaded by historic houses circling Royal Castle where Swedish royalty has resided since the 13th century, or explore the canals of Gothenburg. The west coast and its fishing villages is the place for seafood lovers while culture vultures will be smitten with Uppsala, the ancient Viking city where the newest buildings date from the 18th century and boasts more than 150 museums.

The summer months are the most popular time to visit Sweden, but this truly is a year-round destination, short on sunlight as the winter months may be.