Most European citizens don’t need a visa to enter Sweden. Those planning on staying longer than for 90 days are required to obtain a temporary holiday visa. American, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand citizens have the same entry requirements. Natives of South Africa, China, and some Africa and Asian countries are required to get a holiday visa before entrance. These tourist visas are valid for 90 days.
To ensure you are aware of the full entry requirements for entering Sweden, contact your country’s Swedish embassy before travelling.
The official currency is the Swedish Krona (Kr) which is divided up into 100 öre. Notes come in denominations of Kr20, Kr50, Kr100, Kr200, Kr500 and Kr1000. Coins used are 50 öre, Kr1, Kr2, Kr5 and Kr10.
Swedish is Sweden’s first language and the most widely spoken in Stockholm. English is generally the second language and you will find most people in the service industry speak it.
Stockholm has a temperate climate and the best months to visit are May to September inclusive. Summers can be wet sometimes so you are better off carrying an umbrella with your in case of rain. Winters are quite cold and snow is commonly seen.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect an E111 form from your local social security office. This form may also be obtained in post offices.
For minor health problems the national pharmacy is referred to as ‘Apotek’. It is advised that you take out travel insurance before going.
Stockholm is one hour ahead of GMT and 6 ahead of EST. Daylight saving hours is in operation between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October.
General opening hours for shops are between 9.30am-4pm Monday-Friday and until either 2pm or 4pm on Saturdays.
Banks are open from Monday-Friday between 9am and 3pm. Bureau de Changes are open every day until 6pm, and later in some cases.
Stockholm’s main tourist, Stockholm Information Service, is situated at Sweden House, Kungsträgården. It is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at the weekends. There is also a tourist office in the train station which is another good source of information.
There are three rates of tax in Sweden. The first is 25% which is the most widely used rate and is added on most goods and services. A reduced rate of 12% applies to food and hotel charges while a third rate of 6% is added to newspapers, books, magazines and entrance fees to sporting and cultural events.
Money can be changed in banks, post offices and at ‘Forex’ offices which are found nationwide and specialise in changing foreign currency/travellers cheques. Regardless of the amount you are changing, there is a service charge for changing money.
When calling overseas from Stockholm dial the international access number (00) followed by the country number, the area code (dropping the 0) and the local number. Public phones take pre-paid callcards which can be bought at kiosks, hotels, telephone stores and shops.
When calling Stockholm from abroad dial the country’s international access code, then Sweden’s country code (46) the area code which is 08 (dropping the 0), followed by the local number.
Post offices open between 9am and 6pm Monday-Friday and from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays. Posting letters to the rest of Europe should take 3-4 days approximately and 1 week to North America. Letters/parcels to Australia take longer.
The city’s main post office can be found at Drottninggatan 53, 10110 Stockholm.
An extra service charge is usually added to most bills. Whether you give anything more on top of that (ie round it off the nearest 5/10) is totally at your own discretion.
Sweden’s public’s holidays are New Years Day (January 1st), Eve of the Epiphany and Epiphany (January 5th/6th), Easter (March/April), Labour Day (May 1st), Ascension Day (late May), Whit Monday (late May/early June), Midsummer’s Day (July 21st)), All Saints Day (late October/early November), Christmas Day (December 25th) and Boxing Day (December 26th).
It is worth noting what Sweden’s public holidays are before travelling, as the majority of businesses, banks and shops shut for the day.