Things to know before visiting Sweden

Here's a few important things to know before you visit Sweden

Madeline Rae

Malmö, Southern Sweden, Copenhagen, and Norway

So you've decided to book a trip to Sweden. I'm so excited for you! I get a ton of questions about important things to know before visiting Sweden, so I have compiled this list of my most frequently asked questions about visiting Sweden.

What language is used in Sweden?

Swedish is the official language spoken in Sweden. However, major cities in Sweden are very international and Swedes are some of the best English as a second language speakers in the world. So it isn't uncommon to overhear some English (or 'Swenglish') on your trip to Sweden.

Should I learn some Swedish before visiting Sweden?

Since English is commonly spoken in Scandinavia, you can get by without learning any Swedish before your visit. However, if you want to be polite here's a couple phrases you may want to remember:

Hej = Hello

Tack = Thanks

Tack så mycket = Thanks so much

What currency is used in Sweden?

The official currency used in Sweden is the Swedish krona (SEK).

Do I need to bring cash to Sweden?

Sweden is a virtually cashless country and in many cases, restaurants and shops will not take cash. While some people may find it useful to have a small amount of cash on you, you'll want to plan to make most of your purchases by card.

Is Swedish tap water safe to drink?

Absolutely! Make the sustainable choice to bring your reusable water bottle along and fill it up with tap water because Swedish tap water is some of the cleanest (and tastiest) in the world.

What is the best season to visit Sweden?

Sweden is a very long country and the seasonal conditions vary a lot depending on where you are visiting. However, Sweden is beautiful to visit any time of the year.

The summer months between May and September are when Sweden really shines. Scandinavian's eagerly wait all year for summer where the days are long and the summer weather is mild. In the north of Sweden you can even experience the midnight sun.

In the winter months, the days are very short. In the south of Sweden, you'll get 5-6 hours of daylight at peak darkness, and in the north it can be as little as two hours. But don't let that deter you. Embrace the Scandinavian coziness in cities, or head up north to Lapland for a winter adventure and northern lights hunting.

Is it true that you can't buy alcohol on Sundays in Sweden?

Sweden has an alcohol monopoly, which means alcohol must be purchased through the state-run stores called Systembolget. If you're visiting Sweden and want to purchase alcohol, be aware that Systembolget stores have limited hours on Saturday (usually closing at 2-3pm) and are closed on Sundays. Outside of the store hours, you can only consume alcohol within licensed bars and restaurants - so plan accordingly.

What is your suggest daily budget for a trip to Sweden?

A lot of people think that travelling to Sweden is very expensive, but it doesn't have to break the bank. On the low end I would budget 150-200€ per day inclduing accomodation, but of course this will increase if you choose to dine at a more premium restaurant or stay at a luxury hotel.

If you're on a tight budget and want to explore Swedish nature, the 'right to roam' means that you can camp anywhere in Swedish nature as long as you are respectful of a few simple rules.

Is tipping expected in Sweden?

Generally speaking, tipping is not expected in Sweden because staff are paid fairly. If you're having a casual lunch or grabbing the coffee, you often will not be given the option to tip. However, if you're at a more upscale restaurant, you may be prompted to tip. In that case, I always like to leave a small tip if I'm happy with the service and experience.

What is the best way to travel around Sweden?

Sweden has an amazing public transporation system which makes it easy to get around by transit, even to more rural locations. Depending on the region you're visiting, the easiest way to book your travel is through the regional transit app.

In some cases, it can be easier to have a car. For example, if you're doing a more rural roadtrip. If you read my Scandinavia itineraries I include tips for how to best get around in each location.

Is it really true that Swedes have a fika every day?

Every day might be a stretch, but Swedes definitely love their coffee and often take a midday break to enjoy a coffee and pastry. And you should too while visiting Scandinavia. I have dozens of my favourite cafe recommendations included on my map of things to do in Scandinavia .

Is Sweden vegetarian-friendly?

Absolutely! You can find many veggie-friendly spots in the restaurant recommendations in my map .

I hope you found this FAQ helpful and that you have the best time in Sweden. If you're travelling throughout Scandinavia you can get full access to 200+ of my insider tips for Denmark, Sweden, and Norway for 25% off with the code MADELINERAE25.

Or if you can't find what you're looking for, you can always submit a request for a personalized itinerary and I'll help you curate the perfect itinerary for you!