Situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering both Finland and Norway, Sweden is the largest Scandinavian country. With fjords, castles and endless lakes, it isn’t surprising that it is one of the most popular Scandinavian countries to visit.
The country is divided into the two regions – the north (Norrland) consisting of approximately two thirds of the country and the south (Svealand and Gotland). Stockholm, the country’s biggest city and capital, entices most visitors to the southern region, while the country’s mountainous region draw tourists to the northern half.
While some of the Swede’s ancestors were Vikings and Normans, contrary to belief they weren’t natives of the country. Instead these were known as Varangians. They got this name from Slavs and Byzantine Greeks who used to be under attack from them on Eastern Europe’s shores. While the Vikings and Normans travelled to, and sometimes invaded countries such as France and even America, the Varangians ventured to more eastern lands, establishing one of Eastern Europe’s best known trade routes between Kiev and Byzantium.
The modern Swedish state was founded by Gustavus Vasa in the mid 16th Century and went on to become Gustavus I, leader of the country. Today, the king is still the head of state and rules under a constitution which was drawn up in 1975.
Sweden has one of the highest standards of living in Europe. So, depending on where you are staying and what you are doing, it can be expensive.