Sweden has a milder climate than most other regions that far north. Sweden’s climate is influenced by the warm Gulf Stream that flows off Norway’s west coast. Sweden’s many lakes and the gulfs of Bothnia give Sweden a relatively mild climate.
July temperatures average 13 to 17°C. February’s temperatures range from – 22 to -3°C. In northern Sweden, winter temperatures drop to -30°C, or lower. Snow covers the ground in southern Sweden from December to April, and in northern Sweden from as early as October. Most of the country is icebound in winter, but special icebreaking boats keep the major ports open.
Sweden is in Northern Europe and borders Norway to the west; Finland to the northeast; and the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia to the east and south.
Sweden has a long coastline on the eastern side and the Scandinavian mountain chain (Skanderna) on the western border that separates Sweden from Norway. It has maritime borders with Denmark, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It is 450,295 km2 (173,860 sq mi) in size.
Swedish cuisine features cultured dairy products, crisp and soft (often sugared) breads, berries and stone fruits, beef, chicken, pork & seafood. Potatoes are often served as a side dish, often boiled. Swedish cuisine has a huge variety of breads made of different grains and doughs rye. Lingonberry jam is popular. Thick fruit soups, like rose hip and blueberry soup served hot or cold, are typical of Swedish cuisine.
The 9,6 million population are mostly Swedes, with a minority of Sweden Finns and immigrants for Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and Syria.
Stockholm has an extensive underground metro system, and Göteborg and Norrköping run tram networks. Göteborg also has a city ferry service. Sweden has 11,663 km of railways lines, more than 570 000 km of roads and more than 2000 km of navigable waterways.
Sweden has a developed export-oriented diverse economy aided by timber, hydropower, and iron ore. The main industries include motor vehicles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, industrial machines, precision equipment, chemical goods, home goods and appliances, forestry, iron, and steel.
Sweden is a highly competitive mixed-market economy featuring a generous universal welfare state financed through relatively high income taxes that ensures that income is distributed across the entire society. Some 90% of all resources and companies are privately owned, with 5% owned by the state and another 5% operating as consumer or producer cooperatives. The GDP is 394 billion US dollars.
For international travel, Arlanda is the hub for the Stockholm region and places north thereof. For south- or westbound international travel from places in Sweden well south of Stockholm, Copenhagen is the hub. From Gothenburg, some main airports of Europe can be directly reached and be used as hubs.
About half of the population actively takes part in sports activities and about 20% of the total population belongs to sports club. Handball, football, golf, gymnastics and athletics attract the most participants, while football, ice hockey, handball, bandy, golf, motor sport and athletics attract the most television viewers.
Popular recreational sports and activities include brännboll, boule, kubb, skiing, swimming, gymnastics, walking, running, cycling, dancing and hunting.