Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media

Planning

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Sweden, but no visa is required.

Security: Apart from the odd politically motivated murder, no major terrorist act has been carried out in Sweden since 1975. As a tourist, you should feel safe anywhere in the country.

Time: Sweden is six hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: Sweden’s currency is the krona. For current conversion rates go to OANDA Currency Converter. www.oanda.com/convert/classic

Phone Calls: The international country code for Sweden is 46. The area codes for the major cities are 08 (Stockholm), 031 (Gothenburg) and 040 (Malmö). When calling from abroad, delete the initial zero.

When to Go: May through September is by far the best time to visit, with temperatures in the 60-80°F (16-22°C) range for Stockholm. Winter sports attract visitors to the north, but erratic weather conditions with rain and heavy cloud cover make Stockholm a discouraging winter destination.

Getting There: There are four airports with international connections in the greater Stockholm area. From Arlanda (ARN, www.arlanda.se), the largest, you can fly nonstop to Chicago (SAS), New York (SAS, Malaysia Airlines and Continental), and Boston (Finnair).

Getting Around: Because Stockholm opens wide to the Baltic to the east, there’s no easy way to build a ring road around it. Speed limits are about 30 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour) inside cities and 43-68 miles per hour  (70-110 kilometers per hour) on the motorway.

Checklist

Passport: Sweden is a part of the Schengen passport-free zone. This means that once you’ve entered Sweden (or any other Schengen country) you don’t need to show your passport again when travelling within the Schengen area. Paradoxically, this also means that you must be able to prove your identity at any time while in Sweden if asked to do so by a policeman.

Immunization Papers: Sweden is not home to any epidemic diseases, so you don’t need any special vaccinations. The only exception would be if you are traveling from a temporarily infected area.

Insect Repellent: Especially if you venture into the archipelago (which you should), some sort of bug spray is a must in the summertime. Djungelolja (Jungle Oil) is a popular classic.

In Country: If you plan to leave the city for some hiking or biking, or even just a walk in the woods, ask a local to show you what brännässlor (burning nettles) look like. Sweden is only home to one dangerous snake—huggorm (the common European adder)—but its bite does require medical attention.

Ticks: If you’ve been to the archipelago, you should check yourself for ticks, which can give you Lyme disease or encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain).

Moose Alert: Sweden is home to thousands of moose, and people are killed and severely wounded each year after smashing into them with their cars. If you venture out with a rental car, drive with caution, especially where there are no safety fences. Also keep in mind that wildlife move around mostly at dawn and dusk, and that moose will not move just because you honk.

Appropriate Dress: Since Sweden switched from Catholicism to Protestantism in the 1500s, there are no restrictions against entering churches with bare shoulders or short skirts. In general, not much in the way of modern dress will shock liberal Stockholmers.

Sleep Mask: Many summertime travelers to Scandinavia wake up thinking they have overslept when the sun wakes them up at 5 a.m. The farther north you travel, the earlier the sun will rise. To secure a good night’s sleep, bring along a sleep mask.

Web Links

Stockholm Visitors Board

The official website of the main tourist organization. Weather, event calendar, and tons of tips in ten languages. www.stockholmtown.com

Allt Om Stockholm

Great site for the young and curious, but alas, only in Swedish. www.aos.se

Storstockholms Lokaltrafik

Greater Stockholm’s public transport authority. All you need to know about buses, trams and subway, in English. http://sl.se/

Vägverket

The Swedish Road Administration website tells you everything you need to know about the congestion tolls that surround Stockholm. www.vv.se

City of Stockholm

The official site of Stockholm County. Policies, local affairs, statistics, and a helping hand if you want to live, work, or study in the city. www.stockholm.se

SJ

Swedish railways. Whoever manages to figure out how the pricing system works should get some kind of award. Just pay the man and travel. www.sj.se

SF

Sweden’s largest cinema operator. Unlike in most European countries, films in Sweden are all in the original language. www.sf.se

Destination Stockholm

Weather, hotels, restaurants, sights, events, and shopping tips. No daily updates, but good for maps and general information, especially on hotels. www.visit-stockholm.com

Local Media

The Local

A comprehensive grasp on Swedish news, culture, weather, travel, politics and society. Provides a good overview of the country and its capital. www.thelocal.se

Faktumé

Local satire commenting on recent events and quirks of Swedishness; similar to The Onion. In both Swedish and English.

Sweden Radio International

Nightly programming of BBC World Service and Radio Canada for insomniacs or jet-lagged tourists. 89.6 MHz or www.sr.se/international

Ticnet

Central box office for tickets to concerts, musicals, sporting events, and more in all of Sweden. Great place to find out what’s going on, even if you don’t buy. www.ticnet.se

Nordic Reach

Ambitious lifestyle magazine for readers with an interest in Scandinavian life. Four issues a year feature profiles of prominent Scandinavians both at home and abroad. Available in specialty press shops or in Scandinavian-heavy communities in the U.S. and Canada. www.nordicreach.com

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