I'd like to take my parents to Sweden for vacation this year; but everything we've seen has been tours of all of Scandinavia. We're Swedish, and would like to spend a week in Southern Sweden, and then a week in Lappland/Northern Sweden if possible. Does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations/cautions?
See if you can spend some time on Gotland Island esp Visby. Has excellent archeological excavations and buildings from Medieval and Bronze Age and other periods. Beautiful scenery, hiking, friendly people, very calming place, but not boring. I enjoyed this place more than Stockholm.
Were you planning to rent a car or to travel by train/plane/etc.?
Are you including Stockholm in the plans?
Are there any specific towns that you wanted to visit?
Finally, what time of year will you be travelling?
Thank you JC, Ron and Laura! We're hoping to go in the May/June timeframe for 2 weeks, and are open to either renting a car or taking planes/trains. I'd prefer public transport if possible. We want to visit Stockholm, but also Smaland (we think we have relatives there) and Vistervek (sp?)(according to my Grandma, my Grandfather was from there).I've a lead on a relative over there and hoping that I can connect with her via email.
Lappland, because I've just heard it's absolutely beautiful - and I want to say I've been above the Arctic Circle ;).
For Småland, I would suggest that you rent a car for your time there. The train does connect the major places and there are buses, but much of what there is to see in this area are smaller towns, so the car would allow you to see more. It is about a 6 hour drive from Stockholm to this area. This is the area where most of the glass factories are (Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Nybro, Pukeberg). In May or June, you should be able to see some glass blowing. There are excellent prices on seconds (still very nice quality) at the shops if you like Swedish crystal. I’d probably suggest that you stay in Kalmar. Kalmar has a medieval castle. The island of Öland is just across the bridge from Kalmar and also has some interesting places to explore.
I think the town that you are referring to is Västervik. It is a small town on the coast, north of Kalmar. I don’t know much about this town … stopped here for lunch once but that is it. It was a cute town.
You won’t need a car for your time in Stockholm. Public transportation is excellent here. I would spend a minimum of 3 days here and more if time permits. Stockholm is a beautiful city and there is much to do. Don’t miss the Vasa museum (a wonderful museum), the Stadshuset (City hall where the Nobel dinner is held … make sure to take an English tour as the guides are excellent), and Skansen (the open air museum). Gamla Stan (the old town) is also nice. You can also visit Drottningholm either by taking the boat or a combination of subway and bus. The gardens are beautiful and there is an interesting theatre from the 1700s on the grounds. Uppsala is a good day trip (about 45 minutes from Stockholm by train). It is a university town with a large cathedral.
More Stockholm ...
Since you are Swedish, I think that you and your parents would enjoy a visit to Östermalms Saluhallen http://www.ostermalmshallen.se. This is an indoor food market that sells produce, cheeses, baked goods, etc. It is a great place to pick up things for a picnic and there are also a couple of places in the market where you can eat. You will see lots of traditional Swedish foods. There are other food markets at Hötorget and in Södermalm, but I think the one in Östermalm is the most impressive and traditional.
Another place that I love for lunch is Rosendals Trädgårdscafe www.rosendalstradgard.se. This is an apple orchard and garden on Djurgården (the island in Stockholm where Skansen and the Vasa museum are) which has a wonderful café that makes excellent sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. It is very Swedish … sit outside at picnic tables in the orchard.
I'd also agree with JC that the island of Gotland is worth a visit. You can take an overnight ferry from Nynäshamn which is south of Stockholm and can be reached by train. Visby is a beautiful walled medieval city.
I haven't been to the far North. I think you will want to look into flying to Kiruna and travelling from there as the train ride is something like 16 hours from Stockholm.
Finally, the Rick Steves book does not have a lot of info on Sweden. I'd suggest that you look at either the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet which have more extensive info on Sweden.
Enjoy your trip!
Thank you so much!!! :)
Laura, we lived in Hockessin for 16 years and loved DE. You will love Sweden. Our younger daughter married a Swede and lives in Stockholm Don't forget Scansen, an outdoor museum in the middle of Stockholm much like Greenfield Village with old buildings brought from all over Sweden. The daughter was married in the old wooden church dating from 1730 or so. Also there is a small zoo with native animals eveywhere including reindeer thaat you can pet. Amusing is the pacifier rock where parents bring young children to throw away their pacifiers and "going cold turkey".