Last summer in July and August, we did a short roundtrip in Sweden. We always wanted to pay a visit to Scandinavia and enjoy the nature and this was out first time to get there. We planned a routing a little beside the main tourist routes with a focus on the nature and countryside. Here’s what came out:
We took an SAS flight from Düsseldorf to Stockholm which was short and comfortable. As we had an evening flight, the first day consisted of taking a taxi to the hotel (if you have the choice, try another option, taxis are really expensive here), checking in to the hotel and going to sleep to be fit the next day. We chose the Welcome Hotel () due to the reason that it was way cheaper than most of the more central hotels but it only took us 15 minutes to get to the city center by train (Bakarby train station is just 5 minutes away by foot). We weren’t let down, hotel and breakfast were good and the next day we took the train to the center of Stockholm to do some sightseeing.
Stockholm is a great and beautiful city. It is located on different islands, but one can easily explore the city by foot or bike, we didn’t use any public transport but the train to get here. We walked through the pedestrian shopping zone and some parks, had some really good kebab at the Jerusalem Kebab Restaurant in the old city and for sure we had hot dogs. The great weather invited us to enjoy the whole day within this city, sitting down at the port and visiting the palace during the change of guards. In the evening we returned to the hotel, but went out again to have something to eat at an Asian restaurant. We can really recommend this city for any kind of visit, as it is really beautiful, the people are friendly and it is just great to walk through the old city on a sunny summer day. The only minus point is that it is really expensive to eat or shop here.
The next day started with breakfast and a train trip to the central station of Stockholm again where we picked up our rental car. We received a Ford Fiesta which was our ride for the next week now. It was time for our first part of the roundtrip, 400 km from Stockholm to Mullsjö at the Lake Vättern. Instead of taking the standard route via the autobahn we took the northern route on smaller roads to enjoy the countryside. The route took us along many small lakes until we reached Askersund at the northern coast of Lake Vättern and drove along the lake until we reached Mullsjö. Along the roads we saw a lot of great landscape and beautiful Swedish villages with the typical red wood houses. We also stopped at one of them as there was a small café inside where we had some tea, coffee and cake. It was a great place, unfortunately we forgot the exact location 😦
Mullsjö was our destination as we rented a small holiday apartment (Marston Hill–> ) here and it is a great location to make some visits to the lake, the city of Jönköping and Gothenburg. The apartment was basic but cozy and had a small kitchen and was located in the forest so that we had a great time here, sitting outside during good weather. Having a small kitchen within your accommodation is actually recommendable in Sweden, as eating at restaurants every day gets quite expensive (around 20-30€/ USD 22-34 per meal and Person) so that one can just go to a supermarket and cook an own meal which saves lots of money and is also fun. We used the arrival day to relax from the six hour drive, cooked some spaghetti and read some books on the grass in front of our room.
The next day was excursion day: after a small breakfast we got back onto the car again to visit Gothenburg. The city is only 140 km away from Mullsjö, what makes it a perfect day trip destination from here. After a 1 ½ hours ride through the great landscape of Sweden, we arrived in Gothenburg on another sunny day. The city also offers a lot to see: a nice old town with a lot of historic buildings, a port area that invites to chill out and modern shopping streets. We had lunch in one of the malls here and walked through the streets afterwards to just get a feeling for the city. When we arrived at the port, we turned around to walk into the old city where we found some cool antiques shop and bought some postcards there. Near the Gustavi Dome we had the world’s largest cinnamon roll and chilled out a little at the Kungsparken. After that we went back to the car again, had something to drink on the way there and went back to Mullsjö. Gothenburg is a nice city, not to compare with Stockholm but it definitely is worth a visit during a roundtrip as well.
After another night in Mullsjö and we took the car to visit Jönköping, the largest city at Lake Vättern. The city is not too big, but has its own charme. A nice promenade at the lake, with some cafés and restaurants, small beaches and meadows to chill out, go swimming or have a picnic, a small shopping street with a lot of different shops and some interesting architecture, both modern and traditional style. We took a walk along the promenade and enjoyed the wind blowing into our faces and did some shopping, as even if it was a Sunday, some stores were opened for a few hours.
After returning to our apartment in the forest of Mullsjö, that has actually been a the teachers room of a school previously, we decided to do some sports. We took a run through the nearby neighborhoods, really good neighborhoods actually, enjoyed the nature, passed another small lake where kids were taking a bath and luckily returned just minutes before a thunderstorm started. The first rain we had on this trip.
The next day we went on the road again to get from Mullsjö to Karlstad. From Mariestad on, the route took us along the beautiful shore of the Lake Vänern, the largest lake of Sweden and the third largest on the continent of Europe with a surface of 5519.1 km² and a volume of 153 km³ (153 Trillion liters of water). We arrived at the Villa Gräsdalen (, not far from the city center near a small lake. We had a great apartment here, with a small kitchen as well where we made some Carbonara before letting this unfortunately rainy evening getting to an end. The next day was a little cloudy in the morning but we decided to take a trip into the city center of Karlstad. The city is small, but we found a market going on and it was really busy. Unfortunately after some time of walking around and having lunch, it started to rain again so that we returned to our room. The Villa where our apartment was located is a really nice typical wood house with friendly owners and good prices. If you get into the area and look for a cheap accommodation, you should really check this one out. After we watched some TV (International TV Series are mostly shown in original language with Swedish subtitle, so that it is easy to watch TV if you speak English) the rain stopped again, so we used the chance to take a walk through the surrounding, which was quite nice and interesting. We also took the car to the nearby bank of the Lake Vänern, and enjoyed the rain break with a walk there.
The next day was a road day again. As our next apartment was in Hallstavik, north of Stockholm, we had a 360 km ride to make. Actually the road trips have never been boring, as the nature is great in Sweden and we always paid attention on seeing moose, but unfortunately we never saw one. Along our route, near Vasteras, we came into an area where there were the worse forest fires of the last decades, we didn’t see any fire, but when we left the car to have some pizza, we obviously smelled the strong smell of burned wood in the air.
In Hallstavik nothing of this was noticeable anymore. We arrived at the Gästgard Häverödal, unfortunately nobody was there, but the key was in a safe box for which we got the code when calling the owner. The apartment itself was huge for two persons, actually a full flat with terrace, but it was a little dirty and there was almost no furniture inside, so that it seemed a little empty. Plus we had to go to the next town to pay as the owner didn’t want to come to the house. Wouldn’t go there again. Nonetheless, the near city of Grisslehamn, where it is possible to take the ferry to Storby is a nice little nest that was crowded with tourists during another sunny day. We decided to relax at a beach on the way back to our accommodation.
As this was our last day, the next day meant going back to Stockholm main station to return the rental car. As we had some time until we had to take the bus to the airport (actually the cheapest option to get there) we had some coffee in the pedestrian zone and enjoyed the nice weather again. About three hours before our flight back home we took the bus which also provided free Wifi (a lot of places do so here in Sweden) and took an SAS flight back home.
Our conclusion for this trip: Sweden is a beautiful country with great landscape that is worth a visit, no matter if during summer or winter time. We will for sure be coming back one day. Unfortunately it is some expensive country, but anyways it is possible to keep your spending low by choosing cheap apartments with kitchenette and get some snack while visiting cities instead of having a full meal there.
How to get to Sweden:
There are a lot of connections to Stockholm or Gothenburg from all over Europe by both, full service and low cost carriers. If you are coming in from outside Europe, SAS Scandinavian Airlines is connecting Stockholm Arlanda Airport non-stop flights to North America (Chicago and Newark) and Asia (Hong Kong and Tel Aviv) and Norwegian Airlines is offering non-stop long haul flights to Las Vegas, New York, San Juan, Dubai, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and Oakland. From Asia you can also take a connection on Emirates (via Dubai), Aeroflot (via Moscow), Air China (via Beijing) just to name a few. The only direct connection to Africa is on Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa. As you see there are lots of possibilities to get to Sweden.
From the European continent, you can also take trains or ferries from the countries bordering the Baltic Sea.
Where to stay:
All cities in Sweden offer a wide range of different hotel types from expensive to cheap ones. As hotels are mostly quite expensive compared to most other countries in the world, it is best to choose a hostel room or an apartment if you want to have a cheap vacation, or another option is to bring a tent and use one of the many campsites throughout the country. For sure for this option it is best to choose the summer season.
Thank you for reading, I hope I was able to give you some interesting insight into our trip 🙂
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Hendrik & Jardena