Being the largest of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden offers you many opportunities for cultural and outdoor activities. Visit the cities and explore the country's glorious past or the life in a cosmopolitan and modern society. If you need rest from the hectic city life, just leave for the countryside, and vast forests, 90000 lakes, mountains and the beautiful sea await you.
Though on the outskirts of Europe, Sweden was never a cultural outpost. The reigning royalty often invited foreign artists to their courts and also stimulated the development of local artists. Furthermore the Swedish developed their own traditions in design, painting and architecture. Gothenburg City hall was a widely followed example of traditionalistic architecture.
The three largest cities - Stockholm , Gothenburg and Malmo display three vastly different characters. The capital Stockholm is beautiful, hi-tech oriented and full of history. This presentday capital is surrounded by its predeccesors Uppsala , Birka , Nyköping and Sigtuna . Famous is the trip by steaming-boat across the Göta Kanal (the Blue Ribbon of Sweden) that connects Gothenburg with Stockholm.
In the south the more industrial Gothenburg at the western "front side" of Sweden is the industrial heart of the country. The city is dominated by the large international port. Malmö in the south is cosier and has a more common touch. This city is an easy daytrip from Copenhagen in Denmark.
Sweden's great and vastly unspoiled nature is very diverse and offers you new and unexpected beautiful views each time you visit it. The south has warm and sandy beaches and an open rural landscape with beautiful manors and patches of woods. In the central part, the coast is dominated by thousands of small islands, the skerries, consisting of more or less bare rocks carved and polished by the latest glaciation. The landscape becomes more and more dominated by the woods, spotted with many lakes and smaller agricultural areas. The further to the north you move, the more the woods take over. Skerries give you the impression of travelling through a chain of lakes all the way to the Finnish border, as you move along the coast. The rivers become more wild, the forests darker, and the people fewer in number as you move northwards. Close to the Norwegian border, the mountains get higher and rougher. Lapland in the northwest, north of the polar circle, lets you experience the emptiness of polar tundra in alpine environment.
Sweden became rich and powerful thanks to its great natural resources, the iron ore mines in the far north and in the central part, the forestry-based industry and cheap electricity from water power. Today, the country is in the frontline of IT development and infrastructure.
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