Sweden remains one of Europe's best kept secrets. It offers the contrasts between a vast, glorious countryside and bustling, developed cities. The beauty is that both are within your reach from the moment you arrive.
Cities are contemporary and vibrant, and offer a wealth of unusual sights and activities to suit all interests. The countryside is vast, and offers great diversity with open meadows, deep forests, glittering lakes and extensive archipelagos. There is no lack of culture and tradition either, with charming, intact villages, imposing castles and fabulous festivals to celebrate all seasons.
There is an immense love of the nature amongst Swedes - with all societies from city folk to farmers showing their appreciation. Swedish nature is prized for its beauty and means of escape.
Light is a phenomen that touches the hearts of every Swede. In the summer months, daylight is endless and life moves outdoors. Winter is a dark and mysterious, yet cosy time of the year. Life moves indoors as families gather around wood burners. With such different seasons, you would hardly recognise you were in the same country!
Stockholm is a city bustling with life and emotion but its unique location on countless islands allows a distinct feeling of space so rarely found in a city.
Often referred to as the 'Venice of the North', Stockholm is unquestionably a unique and beautiful city all year round, not only due to its location on 14 islands with its infinite presence of water, but also because of its combination of nature, colourful architecture and ancient history. And you need never walk far to appreciate the impressive views stretching across the Baltic water as it winds past the city walls. Furthermore, stroll through 13th century Gamla Stan, Stockholm's charming old town, where you cannot help but feel its medieval atmosphere as you wander through the cobblestone streets past narrow, colourful houses of yesteryear.
Take a stroll and enjoy the views of the colourful architecture from one of its many shorelines, or take a boat out to one of the 24,000 glorious islands in Stockholm's endless archipelago.
The Stockholm archipelago is a seemingly endless archipelago of 30,000 glorious islands, islets and skerries lying right on Stockholm's doorstep. Stretching some 80 km east of Stockholm deep into the Baltic waters, it formed during the last Ice Age and is today considered to be one of the world's natural wonders.
Experience true archipelago life as you wonder the small, charming villages that bustle with life in the summer months. Alternatively chose an island that is only home to a few hidden cottages, and enjoy the simplicity and calm that so many holidaymakers seek on their archipelago trip.
Rugged nature, forests and farmland, smooth rocks and sandy beaches are all part of your archipelago experience. All seemlessly connected thanks to the archipelago boat system crisscrossing the Baltic waters from harbour to harbour.
Whichever island you chose, you'll be sure to enjoy breathing the fresh, pure archipelago air.
Sörmland county is located only a stone's throw from Stockholm and offers a wealth of opportunities for the nature lover. Often described as Sweden's southernmost wilderness, it is renowned for its sprawling forests, countless lakes, tranquil beaches and endless daylight. It is a county where the air is pure, the water crystal clear and the wildlife plentiful. Peace, tranquillity and calm abound.
Sörmland, in fact, provides the perfect setting for a trip to the great outdoors.
Sörmland's coastline has an impressive 3,000 islands and skerries making it a paradise for swimmers, kayakers and sailors. Nature reserves are scattered throughout the region to ensure that the delicate and unspoilt nature remains as it has for centuries. Boat trips allow everyone to enjoy the Baltic Sea's many islands, birdlife and unique environment.
Not to be missed are the multitude of elegant manor houses, palaces and castles surrounded by meadows and forests. They are today's reminder of history, art and architecture of past times.
Sörmland's many small towns are also a living reminder of times gone by. Many are idyllic small towns dating back to the 17th centuries, with colourful wooden houses and narrow winding streets. Almost without exception, these small towns are located by the water, with calming and impressive views. Such villages as Trosa and Mariefred are a delight to wander through after a day of activity.
Swedish weather is commonly misconceived as being cold and dark. Although this may be true of the winter months, summer is a very special time in Sweden. The summer season lasts from May to September, with the height of summer in July. In the south, days are long with just a few hours of semi-darkness, and high up in the extreme north the sun does not set for up to six weeks. This endless light allows you plenty of time to enjoy the lakes and forests well into the evening.
Temperatures are also surprisingly warm for a country of its latitude. This is due to the warming waters of the Gulf Stream flowing from the Caribbean to make Swedish summers sunnier and warmer than ever imagined.