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Wedged between Norway and Finland, Sweden could be viewed as the cool middle child of Scandinavia. With stunning natural beauty, architectural magnificence, and a culture that loves a taste of the modern, Sweden is an easy travel destination pick. However, the country is often only synonymous with Stockholm — the capital is great, but there’s much more to the northern country. Below we list the must-visit cities in Sweden to add to your bucket list.

By Jonathan Brink


It’s hard to imagine anyone coming to Sweden and not spending at least a day in Stockholm. While overshadowed by other European cities, the Swedish capital really does have everything travelers could want from a European vacation: beauty, sophistication, and effortlessly cool. The area around the old harbor is stunning and visitors can spend hours gawking at the waterfront architecture. Meanwhile, for those wanting to know the “new” Stockholm, spend some time in the upscale restaurants and chic cafes. Simply walking around the city, tourists can get a sense for Stockholm’s style, as most locals make a fashion statement daily.

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While Sweden’s “second city” is more laid back than Stockholm, Gothenburg is not short of vibrancy or things to do. The largest city on the west coast, Gothenburg has an attractive waterfront and streets that wind along canals. Along these, tourists can find numerous museums, aquariums, and lovely architecture. There are multiple lively places and pub-lined streets in the areas known as Avenyn and Haga, which are perfect for a fun night out. Just outside of the city, Gothenburg’s countryside is bordered by a rocky coastline that is only broken by the occasional maroon-colored home overlooking the sea.

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As with many things in Sweden, Uppsala is a combination of old and new. For example, its large student population — that has a flair for new Bohemian cafes and bars — dominates a city that was founded in the 3rd century. Uppsala is undeniably beautiful as striking Gothic cathedrals rise above the River Fyris. Those who can manage the winters here are treated to summers, where the town’s many gardens bloom with greenery. Separated from Stockholm by a series of waterways, including Lake Mälaren, the area around Uppsala is gorgeous.

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Farther south than Denmark’s capital Copenhagen, Malmö residents get to enjoy relatively milder weather in comparison to the rest of Sweden. Dynamic in its own right, Malmö’s proximity to Copenhagen (the cities are linked by the Øresund Bridge) only adds to the multicultural and progressive atmosphere here. While much of Sweden can exist in isolation, Malmö’s location attracts restaurants, peoples, and attitudes that are not wholly Nordic. The exterior matches, as the ruggedness also gives the city an unexpected beauty. Standing in contrast with the Gothic buildings, the Turning Torso building is the tallest, and one of the more unusual, in Scandinavia.

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By Matyas Rehak | Shutterstock


One of the oldest places in Sweden, Lund has an undeniable charm that radiates down its cobblestone streets. The buildings in the Medieval old town are not overbearing and grim like some of the architecture of the era; instead, it’s accented by plant life and splashes of color. Another town that is partially defined by its prestigious university, Lund has benefited from its youthful population with strong art and culinary scenes emerging in recent years.

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The most well-preserved Medieval town in Scandinavia, Visby is easily one of the most sought-after sites in Sweden. A mix of ruins and better-maintained buildings, there are very few places in the city that aren’t begging for a photograph. Summer’s Medieval Week — Sweden’s version of a Ren Faire — is an extremely fun time to visit Visby. Locals and tourists alike parade around the city dressed as lords, ladies, jesters, and knights to enjoy music, drinking, eating with their hands, and entertaining activities. In the shadows of the city’s old fortifications, it almost feels real.

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By loneroc | Shutterstock


One of the largest places in Sweden not to be on the coast, Örebro continually attracts students and those trying to escape the pace of Stockholm. Tourism and the beat of the city revolve primarily around the impressive castle that shares the city’s name. Surrounded by moats fed by the Svartån River and lush trees, it’s no wonder why so many people spend a warm day admiring the building.

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Halmstad serves as Sweden’s premier beach getaway. Tylösand Beach, as soon as it gets somewhat warm, is packed with Swedes from all over trying to thaw out from the winter. Situated along the Nissan River the city itself is a nice place to wander for an afternoon or two. The shops of Storgatan are a must-see for anyone passing through.

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Only 20 years ago, Norrköping was a forgotten city, its numerous mills and textile factories lying empty. But thanks to Sweden’s legendary design, the town has been revitalized. The old mills have been converted into trendy apartments and the canals are now lined with hip bars and cafes. As prices and population in Stockholm continue to rise, cities like Norrköping are becoming more popular. This is the Swedish city to watch in the next 10 years.

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Located in the dark, white north of Sweden, Kiruna is unlike any other city on this list. It’s not the most striking, nor are people visiting here for trendy hangouts, however, it serves as a gateway to remarkable nature and grueling (but beautiful) hikes. There are also few places in the country that sees the Northern Lights more clearly or consistently. That said, in 20 years this city will no longer exist as slowly but surely, most buildings are being relocated to New Kiruna, and old Kiruna demolished. Tourists should not be surprised to see a house or two on the back of a truck while visiting.

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By Maurizio De Mattei | Shutterstock


Even closer to Denmark than Malmö, Helsingborg has a few more touches of architectural grandeur compared to its southern brother. Helsingborg is highly regarded as a center for theater and art, but for those who aren’t into that, spending a day at a waterfront restaurant sipping a beverage is a nice alternative.

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