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10 things for travelers to know about Sweden

Ah, frosty maiden of the north, you tempt travelers from around the world with sweet harmonies and even sweeter deals on furniture, but what do we need to know before traveling to Sweden?

CNN’s Mary Kavanagh has ten fun facts about this beautiful country for tourists to know before they’re stuck bracing themselves against the cold with just a jar of pickled herring.

1. Only one store sells hard alcohol

If you enjoy a drink, you might want stock up on duty free en route to Sweden. Gas stations and local stores are forbidden to sell wine and hard alcohol.

In an effort to control alcohol consumption in the country, the government set up Systembolaget stores in 1955.

The store has a monopoly on retail sales of alcohol: it’s the only place you can buy wine and spirits and beer with an alcohol content above 3.5 percent.

You have to be 20 years or older to buy in stores, though in Swedish bars and restaurants the drinking age is 18.

Most towns have one Systembolaget. Cities have a few, but finding them isn’t always easy.

General opening hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Perhaps this is a good time for a detox.

2. Pickled herring is a way of life

Some of us love chocolate. Swedes love pickled herring.

No festive occasion is complete without it.

Herring comes in many flavors and is usually eaten with crisp bread or potatoes, sour cream and chives.

Smoked fish is also popular — mackrel, eel and salmon. Fish smokeries in the villages along the coastline offer locally caught and smoked delicacies.

Another eating habit peculiar to the Swedes is the tradition of eating fermented fish (surströmming). It comes in a tin and if you’re able to handle the smell once you open it, you can probably stomach it.

Full story at CNN.

All about Sweden.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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