The province of Småland isn't small at all, but occupies some 29,400-sq-km of dense forests, glinting lakes and bare marshlands from the Baltic Sea coast, deep into the Swedish interior. In fact, it's so big that its broken up into five smaller counties or län: Kalmar, Östergötland, Jönköpings, Kronobergs and Halland, of which Kalmar is the largest and Östergötland the most populous.

Historically, Småland served as a buffer between the Swedes and Danes who were forever having territorial tussles. Today, it's known for its Glasriket 'Kingdom of Glass' (think Orrefors and Kosta Boda glassware), the scenic Lake Vänern towns of Jönköping-Huskvarna, Gränna and Vadstena, and as the jump-off point for island explorations to Öland (from Kalmar, with its magnificent castle) and Gotland (from Oskarshamn, with its hulking ferries).

From nature to history and culture, Småland has a lot to offer – plan for a few days here if you can.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Småland.