With its hypnotic glass-blowing workshops, the ‘Kingdom of Crystal’ (www.glasriket.se) is Sweden’s third-biggest drawcard after Stockholm and Göteborg. There are at least 11 glass factories (look for glasbruk signs), most with long histories: Kosta, for example, was founded in 1742.
The medieval port town of Visby alone warrants a trip to Gotland. Within its sturdy city walls await twisting cobbled streets, fairy-tale wooden cottages, evocative church ruins and steep hills with impromptu Baltic views. The wining and dining options are similarly superb, while the leafy oasis of lush botanical gardens offers a tranquil respite, especially in high season.
Beautifully situated in a mountain valley by the shores of Åresjön lake, Åre is Sweden’s most popular skiing resort: 30,000 people invade the village during the December-to-May skiing season. In July Åre hosts the Åre Bike Festival and the hardcore Åre Extreme Challenge that has its competitors running, paddling and biking for the grand prize.