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7 Swedish Destinations: ‘Must-sees’ or Not?

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Hello to everyone,

My summer is here again and I again want to focus on Scandinavia. I do not want to overload myself with urban destinations (plus Scandinavia isn’t cheap), but if somewhere is a must-see, of course I don’t want to miss out. I’ve been to Stockholm and Gothenburg, both of which I thought were impressive sightseeing destinations. I also visited Uppsala, which I found to be clean and respectable but not particularly special for tourists seeking out impressive towns or cities. What do you think of the 7 destinations below? Which-if any-do you think rank among the likes of Stockholm and Gothenburg in terms of being must-see urban destinations, which are good to make a stopover in ONLY if you are already in the area and which are not really worth it regardless. Of course, I know this is highly opinionated and nothing more. Thank you:

• Sundsvall
• Luleå
• Vadstena
• Lund
• Malmö
• Kalmar
• Karlstad

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    I'm going to Sweden next weekend, so I'll have to rain check this one...

    I've been doing my research though, and Lund looks pretty nice. I also think that Visby in Gotland looks like one of the coolest cities in the country, full of ruined cathedrals and medieval charm:). It's a shame that I don't have enough time to go there. Malmo looks a bit modern for my tastes...

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    Could you be a bit more specific about what "an impressive town or city" is for you? Historical buildings? Great museums? Scenic locations?

    Some of the cities you have listed are quite small towns, Vadstena, Kalmar and Karlstad in particular. They are also scattered all over Sweden.

    Malmö and Lund are very close to each other and Lund can easily be visited as a day trip from Malmö. Why not base yourself in Copenhagen for a few days and do Malmö and Lund as daytrips from there?

    You can then travel from Copenhagen to Karlskrona which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list because of its very well preserved naval base and shipyard, both still in operation.

    From Karlskrona it is a short journey to Kalmar. What most people do in Kalmar is visiting the castle, the island of Öland and the nearby "Kingdom of Crystal" where you can see glass blowing if you are interested in Swedish glass.

    From Kalmar you can continue to Oskarshamn and get on a ferry to Visby on the island of Gotland. Surprised that you didn't have Visby on your list! Irishwhistler is right, it is a very cool city and the rest of Gotland is very cool, too. It is one of the major tourist destinations in Sweden.

    From Visby you can get on a ferry to Stockholm and then continue up north to Sundsvall and Luleå if you want. I have never been to these two cities so I have no idea about what they are like. And I have no plans to visit them either. :-)

    Vadstena is a VERY small and very old town with historical buildings.

    I can't possibly figure out why someone wants to visit Karlstad unless you are interested in the countryside, which is quite pretty, AROUND Karlstad. I find Karlstad itself boring and not impressive at all but that is of course my personal opinion. But if you found Uppsala unimpressive you will probably die from boredom in Karlstad.

    Why do you have Luleå on your list? Is it because you want to experience the real midnight sun? Or do you want to visit the old church town in Gammelstad (also on the UNESCO World heritage list)? Or do you just want to visit a town far up north?

    I would consider adding Karlskrona (maybe swap it with Kalmar as I find Karlskrona more interesting even though Kalmar is a nice town, too) and definitely Visby to the list and cutting out Karlstad. I would also base myself in Copenhagen and do Malmö and Lund as daytrips from there. I have no idea about what Sundsvall and Luleå are like.

    Some of the cities you have listed and Visby/Gotland have quite good visitors guides in English on the internet.

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    Another thing, if you by impressive also mean impressive scenery, the archipelagos outside both Gothenburg and Stockholm are very impressive. But since you have been to these two cities you have probably already explored them.

    Sweden is a very large country (5th largest in Europe) with a very small population. All cities/towns in Sweden are therefor quite small except Stockholm and Gothenburg.

    Some small cities/towns have interesting sights but they can never be compared to Stockholm and Gothenburg when it comes to the variety of sights and things to do. These small towns will keep you busy for one, or perhaps, two days if you prefer a relaxed pace.

    To make the most out of a visit to Gotland you will need your own transport. It is a good idea to hire a car in Visby if you don't bring your own.

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    Could you be a bit more specific about what "an impressive town or city" is for you? Historical buildings? Great museums? Scenic locations?

    Architecturally pretty streets, squares, areas...like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Visby. Incidentally, I forgot to mention that I've been to Visby and would put it on the 'must-see' list.

    Some of the cities you have listed are quite small towns, Vadstena, Kalmar and Karlstad in particular. They are also scattered all over Sweden.

    Visby is small but it is still one of the prettiest destinations in Sweden by most people's standards, but I get what you are saying.

    Malmö and Lund are very close to each other and Lund can easily be visited as a day trip from Malmö. Why not base yourself in Copenhagen for a few days and do Malmö and Lund as daytrips from there?

    What are your opinions on Malmo and Lund in regard to what I am looking for?

    What most people do in Kalmar is visiting the castle...

    Is the town itself a special one or is it specifically the castle that draws in the crowds?

    From Kalmar you can continue to Oskarshamn and get on a ferry to Visby on the island of Gotland. Surprised that you didn't have Visby on your list! Irishwhistler is right, it is a very cool city and the rest of Gotland is very cool, too. It is one of the major tourist destinations in Sweden.

    I totally agree with you! Sorry I forgot that in my initial posting.

    Vadstena is a VERY small and very old town with historical buildings.

    I'll scratch it off the list then unless I hear otherwise.

    I can't possibly figure out why someone wants to visit Karlstad unless you are interested in the countryside, which is quite pretty, AROUND Karlstad. I find Karlstad itself boring and not impressive at all but that is of course my personal opinion. But if you found Uppsala unimpressive you will probably die from boredom in Karlstad.

    Ha. Ha.

    Why do you have Luleå on your list? Is it because you want to experience the real midnight sun? Or do you want to visit the old church town in Gammelstad (also on the UNESCO World heritage list)? Or do you just want to visit a town far up north?

    My book said it is one of the prettier towns in Sweden (streets, historical sites, squares, architecture, etc), regardless of location. Is this not the case?

    Another thing, if you by impressive also mean impressive scenery, the archipelagos outside both Gothenburg and Stockholm are very impressive. But since you have been to these two cities you have probably already explored them.

    I did, thanks.

    Some small cities/towns have interesting sights but they can never be compared to Stockholm and Gothenburg when it comes to the variety of sights and things to do. These small towns will keep you busy for one, or perhaps, two days if you prefer a relaxed pace.

    Hey, I don't have a problem knocking places off my list. It's quality for me, not quantity. You guys are great! I welcome more feedback.

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    Ok, I have sort of an understanding what you are looking for :-)

    In my opinion both Malmö and Lund are worth a visit. Malmö is one of my favourite cities in Sweden. It is, or it was, an industrial city and there are maybe not so many grand historical buildings. However, I find it very charming and the location is great on the shore of the Öresund strait. It is a very nice city just to wander around in for a day or two.

    Lund is an old university town with a cathedral, some other museums and a botanical garden. It is well worth a day trip from Malmö or Copenhagen. Compared to Uppsala, which is also an old university town, I like Lund better.

    You should definitely consider Karlskrona which is on the way between Copenhagen/Malmö/Lund and Kalmar. In my opinion, it is one of the most prettiest town in Sweden. Impressive architecture, in a really nice location as it is built on an island and surrounded by water. The old navy base and shipyard are very interesting and you can visit on a guided tour. You must report at the Tourist Information Center and don't forget to bring your passport! You can't visit those sites on your own as they are still in operation. There are also an old, impressive fort on an island south of the town which you can visit on a boat trip. Karlskrona is very historical and really pretty.

    Kalmar is a nice town in itself and the castle is interesting to visit. It is a small town though and I can't really recall that I found the architecture being "impressive". In my opinion it is more pretty than impressive. Many visitors do find the Kingdom of Crystal worth visiting for a day but not all of us are interested in glass blowing and glass works. But I liked it!

    If I had to choose between Karlskrona and Kalmar, I would pick Karlskrona.

    I didn't mean to put you off going up north. Luleå is probably an interesting town to visit but it is very far up north and not a place you just happen to be near. The northern part of Sweden receives many tourists in the summer but I think the majority go there for hiking and wild life experiences and not so much for the cities.

    I do think Vadstena is worth a visit if you happen to be nearby or if it can be trown in as a convenient stop travelling from A to B.

    A good idea is that you also post this question on Trip Advisor as there are some Swedes posting there with a great knowledge of touring Sweden and they are much more travelled in their own country than I am. You will get opinions from different people which I think is what you want.

    Good luck with your travel plans and I hope you will have a great time in Sweden wherever you will end up! Who knows, you might find the love of your life in Karlstad! :-)

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    Hi,

    This discussion thread has really helped me wrap up where I wish to go in Sweden. I’m only still undecided on Malmo. Yeah, I messed up because I’ve been to Copenhagen twice and Malmo is so close to there. Anyway, I was very impressed with the architecture, atmosphere and overall beauty of Stockholm and Gothenburg, but is Malmo on the same level (a ‘must-see’ city for tourists) or would you describe it more as a place to visit ‘only if you are in the area’? Typically for tourists, how does Malmo compare to Stockholm and Gothenburg?

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    None of them come even close to Stockholm - which for me - is worth at least a week. Malmo is a cute small town and you could push it and spend the whole day. The same with Visby.

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    Malmö and Lund are close to each other so why not visit them both? I think Lund would be the nicer place to stay overnight. It is a University town so obviously historic and young people. Malmö just got voted one of the worst places to live in Sweden by a poll in Sweden.

    Kalmar has the castle and like another poster said-is close to Öland and the glass country. You could pop over to Öland and visit the royal family's Soliden.

    Sundsvall is on the way to Luleå. The coastline, "Högakusten", is beautiful and unusual. During the summer you can visit Piteå and the Piteå havsbad- claims to be the warmest waters. Have to say that might be a stretch as Sweden WAS experiencing summer temps but certain areas have snowfall today. Ok, in the mountain range but it is still dang chilly.

    Vadstena is a cute medieval town. Worth a look.

    Haven't been to Karlstad, only driven through the area. If you are interested in Swedish literature then the Värmland region would be of interest to you. In Sweden the people from that region might get teased for living in the "sticks". Certainly forestland.

    Enjoy your trip!

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    "Malmö just got voted one of the worst places to live in Sweden by a poll in Sweden."

    This is not exactly the truth. No one voted as it wasn't a poll. It was rather a survey done by the Focus magazine on its own initiative. The outcome of 42 different factors were weighed for all municipalities in Sweden and yes, Malmö didn't do very well. Examples on factors investigated:
    number of teachers vs students, youth unemployment, life expectancy, cost for elderly care per capita, number of families living in their own houses etc etc

    In my opinion, it has little relevance to if a city is worth visiting or not on a trip to a country.

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