We invite you to join us in exploring Sweden. This is our home turf, but there is always something new to explore. Towns and localities are spread out over an area equal to the size of California. It is the third-largest country by area in the European Union after France and Spain, but the population of around 10 million places Sweden only as the 12th largest. This makes Sweden a perfect place to both enjoy European cities as well as the nature that is never far away.
We have sorted the places we have written about by the historical provinces that they belong to. They might not have any political or administrative importance but still affects the culture in each of the towns that we have visited. Below you can either find the posts using the map or explore region by region. Exploring Sweden has never been easier than today.
Stockholm, the Capital of Sweden, actually belongs to both the province of Södermanland and the province of Uppland. It is located directly at the border between the two provinces and also at the gateway to lake Mälaren.
The municipality of Stockholm has a population of almost 1 million and its urban area of approximately 1.6 million people.
Blekinge is located in the south of Sweden. It was a part of Denmark until the peace treaty of Roskilde in 1658 when it was ceded to Sweden. The area of the province is today Blekinge County and has a population of 158.000 inhabitants.
Blekinge has for a long time been important for the Swedish navy, especially with the establishment of a naval base in Karlskrona.
Largest City: Karlskrona
Province Flower: common oak (Quercus robur) and great mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Province Animal: European stag beetle
Bohuslän is located along the Swedish west coast and is the westernmost province of Sweden. It borders Norway in the West, with Olso close by. The province was for a long time part of Norway and later Denmark. Bohuslän was ceded to Sweden in the peace treaty of Roskilde in 1658. At this time there were only three towns in the Province – Kungsälv, Marstrand, and Uddevalla. Since have both Söderköping and Lysekil been given town privileges. During the 20th century parts of Gothenburg were also incorporated into Bohuslän.
The province of Bohuslän is today a part of the Västra Götaland County. It has a population of around 307.000 inhabitants. The coat of arms depicts a red tower, a symbol for the Bohus Fortress, together with a blue sword and a blue lion.
Largest City: Göteborg
Province Flower: “Vildkaprifol”, honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
Province Animal: Harbor seal
The province of Dalarna is located in the middle of Sweden, bordering Norway in the west. Translated this is the provinces of the dales or valleys. This is a forest with mountains, lakes, and never-ending forests. It is a part of the historical core region of Svealand or Sweden proper and has played several important roles in the country’s history. Especially by housing and supporting the soon-to-be Swedish king Gustav Vasa, who had fled to the province during the revolt against the Danish king Cristian II at the beginning of the 16th century. Sweden was at this time a part of the Kalmar Union, which was ruled by the Danish king.
Dalarna has a population of around 284.000 inhabitants and is today for most parts a part of Dalarna County. The province is famous for winter sports, with Alpine skiing available in the resorts in the west and the annual long-distance cross-country skiing race Vasaloppet (90 km from Sälen to Mora).
Largest City: Borlänge
Province Flower: “Blåklocka” and “Ängsklocka”, Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) and Spreading bellflower (Campanula patula)
Province Animal: Eurasian eagle-owl
Dalsland is one of the smaller provinces of Sweden with a population of around 50.000. It is located in the western part of Sweden, bordering Norway.
Largest City: Åmål
Province Flower: “förgätmigej”, the true forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides)
Province Animal: Raven
The province of Gotland is not only a province, it is also the largest island in Sweden. With a population of around 60.000, it is not densely populated. That is during the winter. In summer the island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sweden.
The only proper town on Gotland is Visby, which is also a world heritage site due to it being one of Scandinavia’s best-preserved medieval cities.
Gotland was for a long time a commercial center, with Visby being an important Hanseatic city. Gotland has changed rulers many times after being a part of Sweden in the 13th century. Rulers included Denmark, the Victual Brothers, and the Teutonic Knights. It took until the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 for the island to be returned to Sweden and stay under the rule from Stockholm. It has through the centuries been considered an important strategic location in the Baltic sea.
Largest City: Visby
Province Flower: “Murgröna”, common ivy (Hedera helix)
Province Animal: European hedgehog
Gästrikland is the gate to Swedish Norrland, being the province on the southernmost tip of the traditional land. It is today mostly a part of Gävleborg County.
Gästrikland is mostly covered by plains and forests. It is, however, the mining and iron production that is up until today the most important industry in the province, still employing many of the around 153.000 inhabitants.
Largest City: Gävle
Province Flower: “Liljekonvalj”, Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
Province Animal: Western capercaillie
Halland is one of four provinces in Sweden that makes out the Swedish west coast. It borders Skåne in the south, Småland in the west and Västra Götaland in the north. To the west is Kattegat, a sea area separating the region from Denmark. Halland once belonged to Denmark, but was transferred to Sweden in 1645 and was eventually ceded in 1658 with the Treaty of Roskilde.
Halland has a population of around 304.000 inhabitants and is today mostly covered by Halland County. Small parts are located in what is today the counties of Västra Götaland and Skåne.
Largest City: Halmstad
Province Flower: “Hårginst”, hairy greenweed (Genista pilosa)
Province Animal: Atlantic salmon
Hälsingland, or Helsingia, is located in the northern half of Sweden along the coast to the Gulf of Bothnia. The population is around 130.000, mostly divided between a few smaller towns, especially Hudiksvall, Bollnäs, and Söderhamn. Outside the towns, you will mostly find large forests with around 85% of Hälsingland’s area being covered by forests.
The coat of arms dates back to the 16th century and depicts a goat, probably due to the province being known for its goat breeding at that time.
Largest City: Hudiksvall
Province Flower: “Lin”, Flax (Linum usitatissimum)
Province Animal: Eurasian lynx
Härjedalen is a province along the Swedish border with Norway, actually being a part of Norway until the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645. It is a mountainous region in Sweden, with several popular ski resorts.
The population is only around 10.000 and there are no larger settlements with Sveg being the largest with around 2.500 inhabitants.
Largest City: Sveg
Province Flower: “Mosippa” and “Fjällviol”, arctic violet (Pulsatilla vernalis) and alpine yellow-violet (Viola biflora)
Province Animal: Brown bear
Before Norway conquered Jämtland in the 12th century, Jämtland was actually an independent nation. It stayed in Norwegian until the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 when the province was ceded to Sweden. This is still the land of the Jamts and it has around 115.000 inhabitants. These inhabitants live in a land equal to the size of Moldova or Belgium.
As with neighboring Härjedalen, Jämtland is most known for its ski resort and winter activities. Parts of the mountainous border region towards Norway is a part of the province.
Largest City: Östersund
Province Flower: “Brunkulla” (Gymnadenia nigra)
Province Animal: Elk
Lappland is the largest province in Sweden, covering nearly a quarter of the whole country’s area. That is a larger area than Hungary or Portugal. The population is, however, only around 91.000.
Lappland is the land of the Sami people and was for a long time wilderness outside of Sweden’s control. The province was split between Swedish and Finnish Lapland when Sweden lost Finland to Russia. The area is also known by its Sami name Sápmi, a region that actually covers land in four countries.
Several of the largest national parks in Sweden is located in Lappland. Here you will find Abisko, Muddus, and Sarek, together with a few more. The sparsely populated province has nature within easy reach everywhere. It is also the resources in nature that give the province its main income. The large iron ore mines of Kiruna and Malmberget are well-known and an important income for the whole of Sweden. Not to be forgotten is the large hydroelectric power plants along a few of the major rivers, providing a big part of Sweden’s electricity.
Largest City: Kiruna
Province Flower: “Fjällsippa”, mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)
Province Animal: Arctic fox
Medelpad is a province in the northern half of Sweden, located along the Gulf of Bothnia. It has a population of around 125.000.
Thousands of Finns from Savonia and Tavastia migrated to Medelpad at the end of the 16th century and established many new villages where they cultivated the land. Ironworks was up until the end of the 19th century an important income for the province. It has since moved more towards the forestry industry.
Largest City: Sundsvall
Province Flower: “Gran” and “Smörboll”, European spruce (Picea abies) and globeflower (Trollius europaeus)
Province Animal: xxx
Norrbotten, or North Bothnia, is located in the northern-most part of Sweden, bordering Lappland in the west and Finland in the east. The population of around 195.000 shares an area similar in size to North Macedonia and Rwanda.
During the Middle Ages, the area was inhabited by the Sami people, it was later colonized by Sweden. The coat of arms dates back to 1995, formally recognizing Norrbotten as a province. The coat of arms depicts the 4 major rivers that flow into the Gulf of Bothnia.
Largest City: Luleå
Province Flower: “Åkerbär”, Arctic bramble (Rubus arcticus)
Province Animal: Siberian jay
Närke is a province situated in the central part of the southern half of Sweden. In English, it is sometimes referred to as Nerike (archaic spelling of the province) and Nericia (the Latin name). The province is the home of around 205.000 inhabitants and is nowadays part of the counties of Örebro, Västmanland, and Södermanland.
Largest City: Örebro
Province Flower: “Gullviva”, cowslip (Primula veris)
Province Animal: Hazel dormouse
The southernmost province in Sweden is famous for its dialect. Skåne has around 1.305.000 inhabitants and it also has the third-largest city of Sweden within its borders. In English, the area goes by the name Scania. The whole province is nowadays a part of the County of Skåne.
Skåne became Swedish in 1658 with the Treaty of Roskilde when it was ceded from Denmark. A few wars followed when Denmark tried to reconquer the province, the most devastating of these was the Scania War (1676-1679). The wars were unsuccessful and Skåne was fully integrated into Sweden in 1720.
Largest City: Malmö
Province Flower: “Prästkrage”, oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Province Animal: Red deer
Småland, the small lands, lies in south-eastern Sweden. Three counties make up the province: Jönköping, Kalmar, and Kronoberg. The first people arrived in the area at least by 6000 BC. Back in the day, Småland was the southernmost part of Sweden, and Kalmar – on the Baltic Sea coast – was one of the most important cities in the country. In modern times the largest city is Jönköping, on the southern tip of lake Vättern.
IKEA has its roots in Småland. Ingvar Kamprad started his business in the town Älmhult in 1943. The region is often present in Astrid Lindgren’s world-famous stories for children – she was born in Vimmerby, Kalmar County. Another famous Swede, Carl Linnaeus, also came from Småland. Perhaps that is the reason why linnaea (twinflower) is the province’s flower.
Largest City: Jönköping
Province Flower: “Linnea”, twinflower (Linnaea borealis)
Province Animal: Eurasian otter
Södermanland is a province that stretches along the eastern shore of Sweden. Its name – meaning “Southern man land” refers to its people who live south of lake Mälaren. The province includes the southern half of the country’s capital Stockholm. In total, the population is around 1.300.000. The province is famous for its history; the earliest settlements date back to the early stone age, and around 300 runestones remain from the Viking Age. Before the end of the 14th century, six cities had received official city status. These places can still be visited today and they are Södertälje, Nyköping, Stockholm, Strängnäs, Torshälla, and Trosa.
Largest City: Stockholm
Province Flower: “Vit näckros”, European white water lily (Nymphaea alba)
Province Animal: Osprey
Uppland, coming from that it is the land north of Lake Mälaren. The province includes the northern part of the Capital Stockholm where most of the 1.433.000 inhabitants live. The area is today mostly split between the counties of Uppsala and Stockholm. Uppland is one of the richest areas in Sweden when it comes to ancient remains, especially from the Viking Age. The province has the highest amount of found runestones in Sweden. But there is also a large number of castles and estates to be found here.
Largest City: Stockholm
Province Flower: “Kungsängslilja”, snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)
Province Animal: White-tailed eagle
For many Värmland is mostly known for its dialect, but there are of course a lot more to explore in the province with around 321.000 inhabitants. It is a province that has Sweden’s largest lake Värnern to the south, large forests in its center, and the mountains along the border with Norway.
Largest City: Karlstad
Province Flower: “Skogsstjärna”, arctic starflower (Trientalis europaea)
Province Animal: Wolf
Västerbotten is located in Swedish Norrland, one of the three traditional lands that make up Sweden. It lies along the shores of the Bothnian Bay and Kvarken. These are the two most northern parts of the Baltic Sea.
Västerbotten, which today has a population of around 226.000, was for centuries sparsely populated. It was first during the 18th century that the population started to grow. It is very common to find a combination of church and market towns around the province. Du to the long distances, the churches, and their services became a meeting point for the surrounding villages.
Largest City: Umeå
Province Flower: “Kung Karls spira” (Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum)
Province Animal: Eurasian curlew
Västergötland or West Gothland is a province in the south-western part of Sweden. It has around 1.310.000 inhabitants and Sweden’s second-largest city is within its borders.
There is more to Västergötland than only Göteborg (Gothenburg). Some of the most famous attractions include the Läckö Castle on the shores of Lake Vänern, the huge Karlsborg Fortress by lake Vättern, and Skara – one of the oldest towns in Sweden.
Largest City: Göteborg
Province Flower: “Ljung”, ling (Calluna vulgaris)
Province Animal: Eurasian crane
Västmanland is another province situated in the center of the country. It has approximately 305.000 inhabitants and it today has parts within the counties of Västmanland, Örebro, and Dalarna. The name means “Western man land” and it refers to the people west of Uppland. The oldest town, Västerås, was formed around 990. Next up was Arboga, being chartered in the 12th century.
Largest City: Västerås
Province Flower: “Mistel”, mistletoe (Viscum album)
Province Animal: Roe deer
Ångermanland is located along the coast of the Bothnian Sea, most of this coast is known as the High Coast and is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This was for a long time the northern-most province of Sweden. There are still today several old fishing villages to be found, these did earlier have seasonal inhabitants from more southern parts of Sweden.
Ångermanland has today around 131.000 inhabitants, most of which are living in and around the largest towns of Örnsköldsvik and Härnösand.
Largest City: Örnsköldsvik
Province Flower: “Styvmorsviol”, Wild pansy (Viola tricolor)
Province Animal: Eurasian beaver
Öland is the second largest island in Sweden and is today a part of the county of Kalmar. The long and narrow island is connected with the mainland via the bridge to the city of Kalmar.
Öland is a long and narrow island. Its widest point is only 15 kilometers while it is 135 kilometers long. With a population of only 26.000 inhabitants, it is one of the smallest provinces in Sweden.
Largest City: Färjestaden
Province Flower: “Ölandssolvända”, hoary rockrose (Helianthemum oelandicum)
Province Animal: Thrush nightingale
Östergötland, or East Gothland, is situated in south-eastern Sweden along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The province has around 440.000 inhabitants and the whole province is today a part of the county of Östergötland.
The area boasts a long and interesting history. One of its most famous citizens might well have been the Viking Beowulf, the hero of the Geats. The region kept its own laws, the Östgötalagen, into the Middle Ages. It was also an important religious center after Christianity came to Sweden. The most important cities in modern times are Linköping and Norrköping.
Largest City: Linköping
Province Flower: “Blåklint”, cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
Province Animal: Mute swan