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If you have made the decision to head over to Scandinavia to spend some time in Sweden, you are in for a treat. Most people when they think of Sweden think of IKEA and ABBA and while there is nothing wrong with a bit of “Knowing Me Knowing You” or self-assembly furniture; there is more to Sweden than meets the eye. In this post you learn some important and interesting things you really should know before you arrive.

There Is Only One Alcohol Store

It might be a good idea to make sure you stock up on alcohol for your holiday at the duty free before arriving at Sweden, because local stores and gas stations are not allowed to sell hard alcohol and wine. As a method for keeping control over the alcohol consumption of the country, the Swedish government installed Systembolaget stores during 1955.

This is the only place you can buy alcohol outside of restaurants and bars and you have to be 20 years or older to buy it from a Systembolaget. In most towns there is at least one, while in cities they have a few – the only problem is finding them.

Pickled Herrings Are More Than a Delicacy

Everyone has food that they really love. Lots of us love chocolate, while the Swedes love pickled herring. We don’t say that they love pickled herring lightly as no family or social gathering is complete without a reasonable supply of the smelly fish. The herring is available infused with a wide variety of different flavours and is generally served with potatoes or crisp bread, sour cream and chives.

Swedish People Love to Fika

Instead of beer gardens, the Swedes have cake gardens. The fika is a vital part of Swedish culture and is used as a noun or verb that roughly translates as “pause” or “coffee break” and while you are enjoying pastries, cakes and coffee with your family and friends, you will have many chances to fika!

There are many great fika cafes throughout Sweden. If you are heading to the Northwest Skane, the fika we insist that you visit is Flickorna Lundgren which was opened in 1938 by 2 sisters. It has a beautiful garden and is just as popular for the relaxing surroundings as it is for the pastries.

Swedes Take Glass Blowing Very Seriously

In Smaland in the south of Sweden, you will find Glasriket, also known as the Kingdom of Crystal and is the home of a total of 13 glassworks including the famous brands Orrefors and Kosta Boda. You are allowed to watch the very skilled and experienced craftsmen as they work with glass, blowing the molten material into beautiful works of art or crystal. As an added bonus you don’t have to just settle for watching the experts at work, because at the Kingdom of Crystal you are allowed to have a try at blowing your own piece of glassware which you can paint and engrave to take home with you as a souvenir.