Language: Swedish

Climate: July temperatures in Sweden average 13-17°C. February is usually Sweden's coldest month, with temperatures from -22 to -3°C. Snow covers the ground in southern Sweden from December to April, and in northern Sweden the first snowfall often falls in October. Most of the country is icebound in winter, but special icebreaking boats keep the major ports open.

Northern Sweden lies in the Land of the Midnight Sun featuring continuous daylight during part of the summer. Southern Sweden never has continuous daylight, though it averages 19 hours of daylight each day in midsummer. In winter, Sweden has similar periods of continuous darkness.

Time Zone: CET - Central European Time

International phone code: 46

Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)

Capital: Stockholm

Transportation: There are three major airports, the largest being in the capital, Stockholm. Train service into Sweden is from Denmark, Norway and Germany. There are also a number of ferries running from countries such as Belgium, Denmark and Finland, to name a few. Although Sweden is a fairly large country, most of the action takes place in the southern parts, where the distances are moderate. Domestic flights are mainly for travellers with more money than time. Sweden has an extensive railway network. Most major lines are controlled by the government-owned company SJ. As of summer 2009, the cheapest SJ tickets are released exactly 90 days before departure, so time your online ticket purchases carefully. Swebus and gobybus run a number of bus lines in the southern third of the country, Götaland and Svealand. They tend to be a little cheaper than going by train.

Gay Sweden

Spartacus recently placed Sweden at the top of its Gay Travel Index. And the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), has declared that "life is never brash, ghettoized or in-your-face aggressive, as in some of Europe's other capital cities. IKEA might have re-invented the closet, but there’s little need for it here!"

Due to the strong sense of secularism dominating both social attitudes and government legislation, Sweden is seen as a campaigner of gay rights. It was one of the first countries to introduce civil unions and anti-discrimination laws.

People in Sweden, especially in Stockholm, are quite open-minded. Due to the relatively small population, the queer scene is not large, but you might be surprised by how many hotels, cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs are explicitly gay-friendly.