Culture and etiquette
In many ways, Sweden is a model country: society is liberal, people are prosperous and the social and economic position of women is one of the most advanced in the world. As a result, most visitors find Sweden an easy country to visit.
Swedes, in general, are an efficient nation – planning meticulously and booking ahead to ensure they get what they want, when they want. Accordingly, spontaneity and flexibility are not high on the agenda in Sweden, which can sometimes create a mistaken impression of rudeness to the outsider. Honesty and straight-talking are two highly cherished sides of the Swedish character; a promise in Sweden is just that. Haggling over prices is not the done thing. On meeting, friends of both sexes usually hug, rather than kiss, each other. In more formal situations, people shake hands whilst saying their name.
In line with the liberal reputation Sweden gained during the 1970s as a result of countless soft porn films, nudity is widely accepted. In changing rooms, people are uninhibited about their bodies and don’t feel the need to cover up with a towel. Nude lake swimming and sunbathing are common practice across the country. If other people are around, show them consideration, but you’re unlikely to meet opposition.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
Planning your trip to Sweden
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
The 10 best Baltic beach resorts
European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the E…
Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break
So gloomy they named it goth? Not in the slightest. This town can certainly do black-eyeliner bleak with the best of them – anywhere with docklands can, and G…
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks
On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…