Travel tips to European Countries: Sweden

Travel tips to European Countries: Sweden

About the county

Beautiful and clean, the peaceful Sweden is a land of cultural diversity with a mix of Danish and Wild Arctic North influences. One can also get the feel of urban living in its beautiful and sophisticated cities and at the same time one can feel the tranquility in the countryside. Sweden is full of charm with scenic medical villages, islands, lakes and forests dotting its landscape.
Most of Sweden’s area is covered by forests and not to forget thousands of lakes. One of the beauties of Sweden is its islands and one cannot go without seeing these islands. They offer the most scenic and beautiful experience to any visitors. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, a city with 14 islands dotted with great restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and artistic grandeur. Wherever you go most people speak English. If visitors want to have a taste of seafood the west coast is the place to be. Also it is popular for ancient city Uppsala. Do no miss a trip to the Ice Hotel which is sculpted from ice each winter in Lapland. Sweden is an exciting country with great roads and state of the art high speed train system.

Population & Languages

Sweden has a population of around 9 million and the official language is Swedish. Lapp is spoken by Sami people in the north. Most people speak English fluently and also many speak German and French.

Electricity

Voltage - 230 volts, Frequency - 50Hz. Standard European 2-pin plugs are used.

Geographic Location

Sweden is a Nordic country lying in the Scandinavian Peninsula and is the fifth largest country in Europe. Its west neighbor is Norway; Finland in the northeast, the southwest border is surrounded by Skagerrak and Kattegat straits and the west coast is surrounded by Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. Majority of the area is forest and there are thousands of lakes mostly in the Southern part of Sweden.

Local Customs

Like any other country Sweden has its own customs too. It is customary not to drink until the host makes a toast. Smoking is prohibited in most public areas. It is also customary to say Tack f√∂r maten to the host after having a meal which means thanks for the food.  Casual dress is acceptable for everyday wear and formal wear for social gatherings. Also tipping up to ten percent is customary for service in restaurants and around same percent for taxis also.

Places to see

Stockholm – The biggest city and capital of Sweden and is one of the most beautiful cities of the world. The old town is a treat for your eyes and a walk around city’s waterways and parks is an experience to cherish. Most visitors prefer walking around on foot and visit the medieval part of Gamla Stan. The city is basically constituted by archipelagos which are outstandingly scenic and can be explored by cruises.

Gothenburg Рit is the second biggest city of Sweden. Not to be missed attraction in this city is Liseberg, a world class amusement park. It is home to popular museums like Ostindiska huset, Konstmuseet and Sjöfartshistoriska museet.
Vadstena - The Renaissance castle Vadstena slot & klosterkyrkan.

Visby – Port of Visby, ruins of Drotten, St Nicolai, St Lars and St Carin, cathedral of St Maria and Gotlands Fornsal historic musem.

Oland – Fort of Graborg, Eketorp museum and ruins of Borgholm Castle.

Travel

By Air – It is well connected to the rest of the world by air. Many international airlines serve Sweden apart from its national airlines SAS. The other airlines are Air Canada, Air France, Aeroflot, British Airways, Finn air, Lufthansa, Ryan air etc.

By Sea – The ferries connect Sweden with other destinations such as New Castle, Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg etc.

By Rail – Trains connect Ostend, Sweden to London. It is also connected to Denmark by Eurostar train.

By Road – Visitors from UK can drive to Sweden through Demark or Germany

Duty Free Items
1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 250 gm tobacco
2. 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars
3. 1 liter spirit over 22% or 2 liter wine or 32 liter beer
4. Perfumes
5. Gifts up to SEK 1700.

Prohibited Items
Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, most meat and dairy products, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.



Travel Tips to European Countries: Switzerland

About the country

Switzerland is blessed with all the bounties of nature. It is the most preferred tourist destination among all the countries in the world. The Alps region has a cold weather most of the times, where as the summers are warmer in the northern area. Visit Saas Fee to ski and snowboard. Dream of living in real life igloo can come true as many resorts, like Zermatt and St Moritz (which is a celebrity resort), had them built for their customers. 

Culture

Italian, German and French are the official languages of Switzerland. Many English people can also be found here. Unwrapped flowers must be presented to the host to show appreciation. White asters and chrysanthemums flowers are reserved for funerals, so precaution must be taken when presenting flowers to others, even red roses are better avoided. One can move around in casuals but it is important to dress in warrant jackets and ties when attending social gatherings or when eating out at a fine restaurant. Swiss Franc is the currency used here. 

Shopping

Switzerland is famous for its exotic chocolates, finest handmade clocks and luxury watches. Other specialties are embroidered linen, music boxes, wood carvings, Swiss cheese and Swiss army knives. Many shops remain close on Monday, so shopping should be avoided on that day. Since service charge is applied on all services, so tipping is an issue of free-will. 7.6% VAT is charged on all purchases made in Switzerland, which can be reclaimed later by asking for a global refund check, if the purchase crosses 400 CHF.  

Electricity

The standard current used is 230 volts (AC) and 50 Hz.

Getting There

Swiss airline is the national airline of Switzerland, which connects to 71 destinations all over the world. Zurich is the most popular airport, located at a distance of 11km from the city. Every 15 minutes, trains shuttles passengers to their destination. Fly-Rail Luggage ticket can be bought if the passengers want to collect their luggage at the railways station rather than the airport. While leaving Switzerland, Fly-Rail Baggage service can be availed that enables passenger to check-in their luggage at the railway station itself. Other facilities provided here are duty free shops, banks, restaurants and car hire. Check out Geneva, Basle and Bern airport for offers.

Since weather conditions are worst during the winters, train is an efficient and cheaper option. They are also great if one wants to enjoy the scenic beauty of Switzerland. Swiss Pass can be purchased to visit most of the tourist attractions in Switzerland.

High quality roads are maintained here. Roads connect to Austria, Germany, Italy and France. But in winters things can get worse, so it is better to carry chains and snow tires. Cars should be kept to the right.

Duty Free Items

a) Visitors from European countries

200  cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
2 liter of alcohol (up to 15 per cent) and 1liter of alcohol (over 15 per cent)

(b) Visitors from non-European countries

400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco
2liter of alcohol (up to 15 per cent) and 1liter of alcohol (over 15 per cent)

Meat items, narcotics and absinthe are strictly not permitted. Other items that come under the prohibited items list are firearms and animals.

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