Friday, February 24, 2012

Traveling with kids in Sweden: 6 places I want to go

Yesterday there was some big royal news coming out of my old home-country Sweden: crown princess Victoria (future queen of Sweden) gave birth to a baby girl. I'm no royalist, but I can be happy for any family welcoming a new baby.

Since I have lots of family and friends in Sweden, my kids have visited that country quite a few times already. Still, there are a lot of places they (and I!) haven't seen yet. So, inspired by the royal birth-news out of Sweden, here's a list of 6 Swedish places I would love to visit with my my kids.

Uppsala Castle. Photo by David Castor.
1. Uppsala
Uppsala is a university town with a lot of history. There's Uppsala castle (built in the 16th century), Uppsala cathedral (built in the 13th century), several university buildings dating back to medieval times, and a lot of other buildings that are centuries old throughout downtown Uppsala. It's lively place, full of students and lots to see and do. I spent some time studying in Uppsala a long time ago, and loved it there.

I'd like to take my kids to Ofvandahls (a cafe serving delicious baked goods in a fancy setting), to Carl Linneaus Garden, and just walk with them on the cobblestone streets around the cathedral and along Fyrisån, the creek that goes through Uppsala. Another must-see destination I'd take the kids to is Old Uppsala, a small village outside Uppsala. In ancient times a temple dedicated to the Norse gods stood there, and there are several burial mounds, or barrows, from the 5th and 6th century AD. It's also a very beautiful place to go for a walk, or just run around in the grass if it's sunny.

Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Photo by Karl Brodowsky.
2. Gotland
Gotland is a Swedish island located in the Baltic, between Sweden and Finland. It has been an important place in Scandinavian history, and has a rich history going back to the Middle Ages and beyond. I've never been there, but friends and family who have visited say it's a very special, and very beautiful place.

There are beaches for swimming, there's the island's main town Visby with a lot of medieval history still present, roads and trails perfect for biking and hiking, several nature reserves, and more. I think a biking holiday here would be a lot of fun with the kids in a couple of years.

The sailing ship Viking in downtown Göteborg. Photo by p g henning.
3. Gothenburg
Göteborg, or Gothenburg,  is the second largest city in Sweden. It sits on the country's west coast, by the mouth of the river Göta Älv, and also has a large seaport. This is the city where I was born, though I grew up in Skellefteå in northern Sweden. My kids (and even my husband!) haven't visited this city yet, but I'd love to take them there.

Must-sees include the amusement park Liseberg (with an awesome roller-coaster), the archipelago, the seafood market Feskekörka, and much more. I know most people who go to Sweden end up visiting Stockholm, which is also a great city, but Gothenburg is well worth a look too!

Kolmården Wildlife Park entrance. Photo by Zoostar.
4. Kolmårdens Wildlife Park
Kolmården is gigantic zoo, much of it featuring animals in fenced-in outdoor areas rather than cages. There are regular farm animals, wild Scandinavian animals, and also more exotic species like tigers, rhinos, dolphins, monkeys, elephants, wild birds and more. Several of my friends have visited Kolmården with their kids and speak highly of it. This park is located south of Stockholm, and is a popular destination with Swedes and tourists, especially in summer.

Lake Fagertjärn in Tiveden. Photo by EAMan.
5. Tiveden National Park
Tiveden is a protected area of old-growth forest located in the southern part of Sweden. There are 25 km of trails in the park, and lots of stuff to see and do. You can go swimming in one of the lakes inside the park, for example lake Skagern which has a sandy beach and is very child-friendly. There's a cave with a fresh-water spring, many interesting geological features, and a wealth of bird, animal and plant life. This is definitely a place where I'd love to go hiking with my kids!

The Kungsleden trail, seen from its highest point, the Tjäkta Pass. Photo by Nattfodd.
6. Kungsleden
Kungsleden is a very famous hiking trail (almost 400 km long!) in the northern Swedish mountains. It goes between Hemavan and Abisko, and takes you through some amazing scenery with rivers and brooks, mountains and valleys. There are huts and cabins along the way, or you can rough it by camping in the wilderness.

All photos via Wikimedia.

1 comment:

  1. My family (me, husband, son (8) and daughter (7)) will be in Uppsala for 6 weeks this summer, and we're very excited.

    I love your blog, it's given me some helpful tips!

    ReplyDelete

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