Sweden Travel Rating: What To Expect If You Visit

Are you considering a visit to Sweden on your next Scandinavia trip? In this article, I will present a balanced view of how Sweden stacks up in travel categories such as accessibility, popularity, quality of life, travel costs, and attractions. For each category, I include reliable data points that will give you a good idea of what to expect if you visit the largest of the Nordic countries.

I feel lucky to have been able to grow up in and travel around Sweden and the rest of the Nordics throughout my life. Whether it has been historical and educational trips with family or adventurous and explorational trips with friends, I have never run out of new places to discover and new things to do in my native Sweden.

But just because I love the country I grew up in doesn’t mean everyone would, so I was curious to find how Sweden is like for the average traveler.

To find out how Sweden stacks up travel-wise, and in an attempt to give you an unbiased and balanced view of how Sweden rates as a travel destination, I set out to collect all the relevant data points I could find from different reliable indexes and surveys where countries around the world are compared in ways that relate to traveling experience and satisfaction.

So let’s take a look at how Sweden rates as a travel destination for the average tourist, based on relevant data points and survey results:

7Expert Score
Travel Rating: Sweden 🇸🇪

The Nordics’ largest and most populous country offers visitors great accessibility, good quality of life, budget-friendly travel for the region, popular attractions, a high cultural impact, and a great capital city. Being a Scandinavian country, Sweden is still fairly expensive for travelers, although it is still cheaper than its neighbors.

You can click on each category for a deeper look into the data and the sources, or simply keep scrolling to look at how we arrived at these ratings, one by one.

Visitor Accessibility – How Easy Is It to Travel to and in Sweden?​

For this category, we’re trying to establish how convenient it is to travel to Sweden, and how easy it is to get around in the country when you’re visiting. If you’re visiting Sweden as part of a bigger trip we’ll look at distance in travel time from different European cities, and we’ll also try to gauge how the country’s infrastructure holds up compared to other countries in order to figure out if it’s easy to get around in Sweden.

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
EU member
Country is part of the European Union
Yes
Number of major airports
Number of airports servicing international airlines and 10M+ pax that visitors can fly in to/out of
2 (ARN + CPH)
Car drive from Berlin
How long it takes to drive from Berlin to the nearest major city, Google Maps 2021
6 hrs 30 min
Train ride from Berlin
How long it takes to drive from Berlin to the nearest major city, Google Maps 2021
7 hrs 48 min
Car drive from Amsterdam
How long it takes to drive from Amsterdam to the nearest major city, Google Maps 2021
8 hrs 30 min
Train ride from Amsterdam
How long it takes to drive from Amsterdam to the nearest major city, Google Maps 2021
11 hrs 16 min
Road connectivity
8th out of 141 countries – Global Competitiveness Index World Economic Forum 2019
96% / 8th
Quality of road infrastructure
20th out of 141 countries – Global Competitiveness Index World Economic Forum 2019
72% / 20th
Railroad density
37th out of 141 countries – Global Competitiveness Index World Economic Forum 2019
59% / 37th
Efficiency of train services
40th out of 141 countries – Global Competitiveness Index World Economic Forum 2019
49% / 40th
Airport connectivity
35th out of 141 countries – Global Competitiveness Index World Economic Forum 2019
67% / 35th
Efficiency of air transport services
13th out of 141 countries – Global Competitiveness Index World Economic Forum 2019
78% / 13th
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
80%
8Expert Score
Visitor Accessibility Score

With 2 major airports and fairly close proximity to the European continent, Sweden is very easily accessible — whether you come by car, bus, train, or air. Transportation infrastructure is very high with great roads and fairly reliable public transportation (although train reliability could be better).


Visitor Popularity, Demand, Total Area, and Global Reputation

Looking at how popular Sweden is for visitors, how long they stay, and how the country’s reputation ranks globally, we can get a good sense of how people in general rate Sweden. I’ve also chosen to include total area to get a sense of how much there is to explore in the country as a whole.

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
Number of visitors
Number of yearly foreign visitors to country – World Tourism Organization 2019
7.62 million
Length of stays
Nights spent in accom. by international guests – World Tourism Organization 2019
16 million
Total Area
Land + water area in square kilometers – CIA The World Factbook 2020
450 000 km²
Reputation
Out of 55 countries – Country RepTrak study 2018
1st
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
80%
8Expert Score
Visitor Popularity, Demand, Total Area, and Global Reputation Score

Sweden is fairly popular, in high demand, and ranks 1st in global reputation, which has a lot to do with the country’s high global cultural impact.


Quality of Life Index – How Does Sweden Compare Globally?

To get a sense of how Sweden ranks as a destination for expats and visitors, we’ve looked at a massive global index that ranks countries based on factors relating to quality of life.

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
Stability
Political & economic stability – WorldData 2020
100%
Rights
Legal system, civil rights & freedom of expression – WorldData 2020
100%
Health
Life expectancy, water cleanliness, health services – WorldData 2020
87%
Safety
Crime/homocide rate, displaced persons – WorldData 2020
96%
Climate
Assuming optimal climate is 25 C / 77 F and 55% humidity – WorldData 2020
18%
Relative cost
Cost of living, ease of doing business – WorldData 2020
18%
Popularity
Happiness, migration rate, number of tourists – WorldData 2020
39%
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
65%
6.5Expert Score
Quality of Life Index Score

Sweden places 48th out of 91 countries when we look at quality of life indicators for visitors and expats from a massive global dataset gathered by WorldData. The country scores in the top of every sub-category except for climate, cost, and travel popularity. Considering the sometimes harsh climate and higher travel costs commonly associated with the Nordic countries, the lower scores in these areas did not come as a surprise.


Quality of Life Surveys – What Do Actual Expats and Visitors Think of Sweden?

We can definitely learn a lot from looking at the big data in the previous section, but I also wanted to include how actual visitors of the country rate Sweden in different areas related to quality of life, which can give a good idea of how it is to visit the country. A great way to find out how good a country is for travelers is to ask the people who have actually visited the country.

I looked at three independent surveys which asked expats and visitors what their experience in Sweden was:

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
Quality of living – employees working abroad
23rd out of 231 cities – Mercer 2019
90%
Quality of life – expats survey
Out of 60 countries – Expat Insider 2019
29th
Quality of life – user survey
Out of 83 countries – Numbeo User Survey 2020
13th
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
68%
6.8Expert Score
Quality of Life Surveys Score

Sweden places very high in Mercer’s quality of living index for employees working abroad and in Numbeo’s user survey for visitors as well. However, we start seeing some interesting trends in Expat Insider’s survey where Sweden places somewhere in the middle compared to the other countries surveyed, which ultimately brings down the overall score in this category. In this survey Sweden scores very low in ease of settling in, feeling at home, friendliness, and finding friends; so it seems the Swedes have a lot to learn when it comes to hospitality and openness towards expats and visitors.


Reported Cost of Food, Drinks and Shopping – How Expensive Is It to Travel to Sweden?

We’ve touched on the cost of travel in Sweden already, but I wanted to give an idea of actual costs travelers may be interested in, as reported by visitors (and confirmed by myself).

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
Cost of eating out
Basic meal with drink at inexpensive restaurant – MyLifeElsewhere 2020
$12.00
Cost of drinking
Cost of a domestic beer in an inexpensive bar – MyLifeElsewhere 2020
$7.82
Cost of shopping
Cost of a regular dress from H&M or similar store – MyLifeElsewhere 2020
$43.29
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
50%
5Expert Score
Reported Cost of Food, Drinks and Shopping Score

As mentioned earlier Sweden is a fairly expensive place for travelers internationally speaking, but it looks like the country is still cheaper than its Scandinavian neighbors so there is some value to be found regionally at least.


Attractions & Travel Community – What Does the Travel Community Say About Sweden?

Other important factors for travelers to consider before deciding on their travel plans are how many attractions there are, how excited other travelers seem to be about the country, how attractive the country’s natural assets are, and what the country’s main attraction categories are:

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
Number of attractions
Number of attractions listed on Tripadvisor June 2021
7 000+
Community topics
Number of community topics listed on Tripadvisor June 2021
17 363
Attractiveness of natural assets
Out of 140 countries – World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism report 2019
41st
Most popular attraction categories
Most popular attraction types – Lonely Planet 2021
Culture, Nature, Cuisine, Old Towns
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
71%
7.1Expert Score
Attractions & Travel Community Score

There is definitely a lot of buzz about Sweden as a travel destination in online communities, and Sweden’s natural assets rank fairly high globally speaking.


Capital City Rating – Is Stockholm a Good Travel Destination?

Finally, you get a pretty good sense of a country by looking at its capital city and how it stacks up against other capital cities, specifically when it comes to factors that are relevant for travelers.

Data PointsSweden 🇸🇪
Average temperature
Average maximum temperature
11°C / 51.8 ℉
Rainy days
Average amount of rainy days in a year
99
Universities
Number of universities in city
16
Museums
Number of museums in city
100
Theaters
Number of theaters in city
6
UNESCO World Heritage Landmarks
Number of UNESCO World Heritage Landmarks in city
2
Cost of living
Estimated monthly living expenses for a single person (excluding rent) – Numbeo 2021
$ 1068 USD
Quality of city living
The annual survey ranks 221 cities using 39 quality of life criteria – Mercer 2021.
20th
Michelin restaurants
Number of restaurants listed in Guide Michelin that are currently open – Guide Michelin 2021
44
Population density
How densely populated the city is
4600 people/km²
Average salary
Average yearly salary in USD
$ 31 524 USD
Score
Weighted score out of 100%, higher is better (adjusted for relevant factors such as size, quality, etc.)
76%
7.6Expert Score
Capital City Rating

The capital of Sweden was founded in 1252, spans over 14 islands where Lake Mälaren flows out in to the Baltic Sea, has a medieval old town, a royal palace, and many unique and picturesque neighborhoods. The city ranks in the top 20 in a quality of life survey from Mercer comparing how it is to live in 231 different major global cities.


Data sources: 1234567891011121314151617, 18

Karl Andersson

As a native Swede with a Finnish mother, Karl identifies as both Nordic and Scandinavian. He left Sweden at 19 to explore the world, and stayed abroad for almost 8 years—during which he backpacked, worked every job there was, earned a degree from UC Berkeley, and met the future mother of his children. He ultimately returned to his native Malmö with his love, where they now have 3 Swedish-American boys eager to explore the world.

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