Sweden’s history is that of valiant warriors and prolonged peace. It’s the country of great Viking lore, yet it’s been 200 years since Sweden has participated in any type of war, both World Wars included. In a country that’s so peaceful, it’s no wonder that it has both a high standard of living and long life expectancy for its people. This tranquility is passed on the guests in the clean streets, helpful locals, and well-preserved nature and history. Sweden is a land that loves to be explored, whether for the first time, or the 1,000th.

As the largest of the Nordic countries and full of natural beauty, Sweden has a plethora of outdoor activities to discover. Depending on the season, it is a paradise for skiing, hiking, canoeing, cycling, sailing, and horse-back riding. In 1994 Sweden made it a constitutional right that everyone should have access to nature, which means you can enjoy all the outdoor activities you wish, just about anywhere you wish, including mushroom and berry picking, a favorite pastime for many Swedes.

To experience this affinity for nature firsthand, visit during the Midsummer celebrations, when Swedes celebrate the longest day of the year with maypoles, smorgasboards, and days spent under the sun, which stays out until nearly midnights, only to return a couple of hours later.

Form and function are king in Sweden, home of brands like Ikea, Volvo, and Ericcson, and the ideals of simple lines, practicality, and order can be found in all areas of design throughout the country, from food to furniture. It is not, however without its whimsy, with characters like Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking and the Moomin characters fixed in the national imagination.

Its major cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg are trendy and stylish with big name fashion houses and juxtaposed with medieval cathedrals, palaces, and cobblestone alleys, and the rural regions are endlessly green in the summer, and glistening white in the winter. Whatever the season, Sweden is an enchanted land.