What springs to mind when you think of Sweden?
Undoubtedly ABBA and IKEA will be high on the list, perhaps images of snow, elk and vast expanses of forest. All these Sweden is justly famous for – but it has so much more! Did you know, for example, that just outside Stockholm lies an archipelago of 24,000 islands, many of which are completely uninhabited? Did you know that bears and wolves still roam the forests, lynx and wolverines still hunt in the mountains, or that Sweden contains Europe’s largest area of wilderness? That summer temperatures can rise to the high twenties?
What kind of holidays in Sweden would you imagine having?
Sweden is a fantastic destination for wildlife and outdoor holidays throughout the year, and offers a range of activities hard to find anywhere else in Europe. What’s more, it is readily accessible from the UK, an easy country to travel in thanks to the well-developed public transport infrastructure and the fact that almost everyone speaks excellent English, plus the country has a reputation for being clean, safe and politically stable. So put away your preconceptions about Sweden and prepare to be amazed at the wealth of opportunities the country offers for a year-round close-to-nature experience!
Stor Sjö Lake (30 metres from the front door), Swedens 3rd warmest lake!
With beautiful beaches, attractive fishing and rich bird life Stor Sjö lake is naturally a goal for anyone finding themselves in the centre of the Gästrikland region in summer. With a surface area of 71 km2, Stor Sjö lake is the largest in the region. It has around 365 islands and many beaches perfect for the rich bird life - White Tailed Sea Eagle, Mallard, Common Teal, Goosander, Greylag Geese, Bean Geese, Barnacle Geese, Whooper Swan, Brent Geese, Wigeon, Shelduck and the Bar-Headed Geese have all been observed around the lake. Stor Sjö lake also boasts Swedens longest natural causeway running from Årsunda to Sandviken.
For the Nature Fanatic...
The Sandviken area is a rich natural environment with a number of forests, parks & nature reserves. In the County of Gävleborg there are c.a. 130 areas protected by nature reserve status and a further couple of hundred areas deemed as having valuable biodiversity. e.g. 20km NW of Sandviken at Österbergsmuren you can find 300 yr old pine trees. The forest here is dramitically different from the surrounding forest including rare wood composting fungi, 99 different mosses and lichens and more than 300 species of butterfly including endangered species such as dot lichen Arthonia leucopellaea and the three-toed woodpecker.
Gysinge nature reserve, 45 min drive south of the cottage, was set up in 1975 to protect a large area of natural environment typical of the Dala River such as deciduous forest and river meadow. A large part has now been incorporated into the Färnebofjärden National Park first and foremost known for its abundance of bird life. There are about 200 species with over 100 nesting here regularly. The rich bio-diversity of plant and animal life include 270 different Tracheophyta vascular plants, 20 or so fish species and 70 endangered insects and that's without the elk, deer, hares, fox, beaver, pine martin, wood lemming & lynx.
Färnebofjärden National Park covers 10,000 ha of which 4,000 ha is water.
Stockholm- Europe’s first green capital in 2010
The European commission has named Stockholm as Europe’s first green capital. The city has been given the distinction for its years of work on environmental issues. Experience Stockholm’s clean city environment and water by way of a sightseeing tour or by visiting some of Stockholm’s premier attractions, such as the Vasa Museum, Skansen and Junibacken- all of which lie in the world’s first National Urban Park.
Sweden - one of the FT's 'Top Destinations in 2012'
Perhaps helped by the popularity of Nordic food and design, not to mention Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books, tour operators are getting excited about Sweden. Stockholm makes a perfect weekend-break destination, with boutique hotels and world-class restaurants. Stay at the fashionable Lydmar (www.lydmar.com; doubles from £299) and check out the bohemian area of west Stockholm, Rörstrandsgatan, packed with interesting cafés and antique shops. But Stockholm is also a good jumping-off point for longer trips. Barber recommends moving on to northern Sweden, where tourists can ski, go dog sledding and see the northern lights. (Tom Barber is co-founder of Original Travel (www.originaltravel.co.uk) Extracted from the above article, courtesy of the FT.