Notes on Sweden

We wanted to share notes from a vacation we had in Sweden, July 16-28, ’03. This trip certainly is one we will repeat. We gathered information from the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council ( and from articles written by ITN subscribers, some of whom we contacted.

We were a little reluctant to try the express train from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm, but it was inexpensive; we paid a family rate of $23 for the two of us. We had our luggage carts from entry and merely took the elevator to the airport’s lower level and boarded the train.

We chose the Sheraton in Stockholm, as it was an easy walk of only a block from the central station, which was across the street from trolleys and buses, which also stopped in front of our hotel. We had a room with a view of the water and Old Town; the rate was $212 for a river view.

The breakfasts were plentiful and they even made custom-order eggs. We also ate dinner there two nights as we could watch the chefs cook the meal — the best steaks, fish and pizza with fresh salads plus an excellent staff to serve us. For two entrées, one dessert and four steins of beer, the cost was about $60.

The first day, we were tired from the overnight flight, so we just walked through the pedestrian-only streets and took a 2½-hour boat trip around the islands. There were many sunbathers, as the summer there is limited.

On Friday we walked to the Central Station and purchased a 2-day tourist pass. With the pass, we didn’t need to pay further for any museums or transportation. The Stockholm Card for two days cost $47 per person. It included 70 museums and attractions; free public transportation on buses, trolleys and local trains; free sightseeing boats, and free street parking.

We took the train and bus to Drottningholm Palace. The royals were on vacation. We saw the lovely gardens, took the minibus to the Japanese Pavillions, watched the changing of the guards, visited inside the palace and took a tour of the theater, where they were practicing for a concert that night. We returned to Stockholm and went to the Nordic and Vasa museums, which were at the same location.

That evening we walked through Old Town and had dinner at a restaurant located in a cave. Femme Sucre Restaurant is located on Vasterlanggatan in Gamla Stan (Old Town). We paid $57 for two dinner entrées, a bottle of wine and a dessert.

The next morning we toured Old Town, including Riddarholmskyrkan Church, the Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum, then took a bus to Skansen Homestead Park. The park had a zoo, aquarium, children’s rides, a petting zoo and historic buildings. It even had a mini-train, a horse carriage and a “gondola escalator” up an incline.

On Sunday we walked one block from the Sheraton to Hertz to pick up our Volvo. We paid $20 to drop the car off at Arlanda Airport at the end of our trip.

For accommodations on this trip we chose Countryside Hotels (Box 69 830 13 Are, Sweden; phone 46 0647 50680, e-mail reservations@ or visit www., which we prebooked before leaving.

When I went online to Sweden’s national tourist office and e-mailed them for information, among the literature they sent was a booklet with an ad for Countryside Hotels. Countryside Hotels sent me a catalog that included a map with hotel locations listed. We chose where we wanted to visit and gave them a first and second choice for each day and they made our reservations. For this service we paid $18. Each inn cost $149 per couple.

The eight inns we stayed at were unique; each was a country estate, manor home or upscale hotel. The included breakfasts were bountiful, and for the dinners the chefs used only the best ingredients and varied the menu selections. It was an advantage to eat at the inns, as some of them were located outside of cities. The on-site restaurants had excellent ratings and wine cellars. For dinner, we would have a bottle of wine and two entrées and split a dessert, and the bill was never over $60.

We drove from Öland Island west to Nybro and Växjö (the glass areas), then north to Jönköping and along Lake Vättern to Örebro. At Hallefors we started east to Västeras and Uppsala.

The last night, we stayed at the SAS Sky City at Arlanda (the rate was $147 including tax and breakfast). That was a plus. We were able to be first in line to check our luggage, then went back to the hotel to have breakfast and check out. Some rooms looked down into the terminal and restaurants.

Driving in Sweden was very easy — good road signs, little traffic except in the cities, and helpful people. For 1,500 miles, we filled the tank three times at about $90 total.

Venice, FL