Sweden: a huge country with few inhabitants. On an area 100,000 km² larger than Germany, about 10 million people live here. And they have developed quite a few peculiarities and characteristics. Maybe because they have so much time in the long winter months to acquire strange eating habits. We tell you what you should taste in Sweden and what else you can experience there.
On October 4, Swedes celebrate one of their favorite treats: the cinnamon bun! Other specialties include meat from the tube, licorice and Baltic herring. The latter preferably in form of Surströmming, the stinky fermented herring from the can. In Sweden, the most popular way to eat the rotten fish is with potatoes and almond butter.
Swedes love their cinnamon buns. Photo: Freepik.
Land of burgers
On the other hand, burgers and fries are also in high demand in the country. Nowhere else in Europe can you find a higher density of McDonald’s restaurants. The American fast-food giant operates around 220 restaurants here, and around 435,000 guests are served each day, according to the group. The Lindvalen ski resort even has the world’s only drive-thru for skiers. McDonald’s is capitalizing on its popularity and now sells raincoats, swimming shorts, bedding, tents and sleeping bags with the popular Big Mac motif. Die-hard fans can even get a burger wallpaper.
Even denser than the burger roaster’s network are Sweden’s forests, which cover nearly half the country. In between are some 100,000 lakes, some of them gorgeous, and 24,000 islands. Almost 400,000 moose roam through the forests. But even on the roads you are not safe from the up to 800 kg heavy forest dwellers. So be careful, they are responsible for about 20 percent of all car accidents in the Scandinavian country.
You’ve probably noticed it too: The sea of little red Swedish houses. They are red for a reason. The color comes from a copper additive in the paint that makes the wood more weather-resistant during the long winters.
Copper as weather protection provides the typical red color of Swedish houses. Photo: Lina Roos/imagebank.sweden.se.
In Stockholm, it’s worth leaving your truck behind and exploring the capital by subway, the tunnelbana. It’s a work of art in itself and one of the largest art galleries in the world. At almost every station you can admire paintings, sculptures and mosaics. No matter who you meet there: You can call them almost all by their first name. The only exception are the members of the royal family.
What else should you look out for on your tour of Sweden? Don’t forget your credit card! You won’t get far with cash here; it is to be completely abolished by 2030. In many restaurants and stores, however, you will have a bad time in July and August even with plastic money. They are closed during the summer vacations.
How the Swedes celebrate
Midsommar is the second biggest festivity in Sweden after Christmas. It is celebrated on the Saturday between June 20 and 26. Swedish Easter, on the other hand, is reminiscent of Halloween customs in other countries: children dress up as witches and the like, go door to door and ask for candy.
Want to cool off? In the northern Swedish town of Jukkasjärvi, north of the Arctic Circle, you can spend a night in a frozen suite at the Ice Hotel at a temperature of -5 degrees.
By the way, the locals aren’t just inventive when it comes to food. In fact, Sweden is the country with the most patents per inhabitant in Europe. In addition to dynamite, the pacemaker, the tetra-pak carton and the zipper were invented here, for example.
Would you like to sleep in bedclothes with a Big Mac on them? Or have you ever tried rotten fish? Leave a comment below. We are curious about your experiences!