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Sweden, land of Pippi Longstocking and known to be the country with the largest elk population in Europe: a real winter sports paradise. Various ice periods have formed the country to its present appearance. The huge Scandinavian glaciers of the last cold spell made way for for Sweden's unique lakes, rivers and waterfalls. For classic winter sports such as cross-country and downhill skiing, Sweden offers ideal conditions. It is not for nothing that the Alpine Ski World Championship was held in Åre, in 2007.
In Sweden you can find perfect ski areas: endless vast landscapes, wonderful nature and beautiful views entice every winter sports fan. Modern lifts and perfectly prepared pistes make a ski holiday here an unforgettable experience!
Sweden is strongly connected to the most well-known Nordic discipline: cross-country skiing, and the country is always recognised as the host to the famous Vasa race ("Vasaloppet"), which initiated in 1922. However, alpine skiing can also be found here. A main characteristic is the low altitude. The ski areas start already at heights of only 400 m and the maximum elevation of 1,277 m can be found in Åre, and that is still considerably lower that the Alpine altitudes. Still they are fairly snow-sure and skiing is possible from mid November until the end of April - which is comparable to the Alpine winter season.
The most well-known ski areas in Sweden are Åre and Sälen, with each approx. 100 km of piste. Åre is internationally known as the organisational host for top events such as the Ski World Championship and FIS Freestyle WorldCup. Sälen is a very diverse ski region and comprises the areas Lindvallen, Högfjället, Tandådalen and Hundfjället. Each of these is equally interested due to different reasons: in Tandådalen there is one of the best snow parks in Sweden - ideal for experienced riders and freestylers, Lindvallen is rather family-friendly and offers great children's areas with a kid's lift and professional child-care service.
After being host to the Alpine Ski Championship in 1954, this honour was repeated to Åre in 2007. Additionally the FIS Freestyle WorldCup 2008 was held in the training area of the Swedish national team.
Sweden - that makes on think of red, wooden houses with colourful gardens, elk and quaint villages as we remember them from the Astrid Lindgren stories. If you can befriend these images of Sweden, then you should not miss out on a trip to Luleå. The old part of town now belongs the UNESCO world heritage sites and resembles Sweden from a picture book: approx. 500 red, wooden houses with a beautiful, old stone church in it's centre. The houses were formerly used as accommodation for all those traveller who came to this church from far away.
The traditions of the Sami people however, can be explored in Jokkmokk. This place is known to be the centre of the Sami culture, especially because of it's annual winter market. This "Vintermarknad" is organised every year since 1605 and is also one of the world's oldest markets.
However it is not only the small villages that characterise Sweden, but also the large cities. The capital Stockholm of course being the largest. Here you can visit the Vasa museum for instance, which is to be found in the Stadshuset, where the Nobel Prize honouring event takes place every year. A saunter through the historic city centre Gamla Stan where the royal palace is located, is definitively recommendable. However also the second-largest city in Sweden, Göteborg, is worth a visit. Various museums, such as the "Experimntier Museum Universum" or the Rökkska museum for design, or the Volvo museum can be found here, and also the largest shopping centre in Sweden, the Nordstan.
If you prefer to discover Sweden's history, you should not miss a visit to one of Sweden's many and beautiful castles.The permanent seat of residence of the Royal Family is Drottningholm. One of the most pretty baroque castles is Skokloster. A visit to Tanum will take you back to the bronze period. Approx. 350 different groups of rock carvings have been discovered here, dating back around 3,000 years. They also belong to the UNESCO world heritage.