At first glance, Mexico and Sweden may seem like destinations with nothing in common to attract the same traveler, but take a closer look and you’ll see differently. Both are prized spots on most wannabe globetrotter’s bucket lists, as well as the prefect seasonal escapes, with Mexico offering a warm retreat for winter and Sweden being a mild and sunny sanctuary for summer.
Ideally, you’d visit both countries in the same year, but in the real world of limited vacation days and budgetary constraints, so you’ll have to choose between Mexico or Sweden. To help you pick, here are breakdowns for both destinations based their unique draws for visitors.
Head to Mexico, if…
You love authentic (and spicy) Mexican food
If you’re already a fan of Mexican cuisine, then you’re going to love the local food…if you don’t mind a lot more culinary heat. The authentic, and much spicier, versions of dishes that you already crave (like tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and more) abound in Mexico, but there are also lot of other mouthwatering and taste-bud-burning dishes you’ve likely never even heard of, like the spicy chicken stew “chilate de pollo” or the fiery shrimp soup “sopa de camarones.” So be sure to order some cool drinks to soothe your mouth from the blazing meals.
You want to check out some beaches and then some ancient ruins
Throughout Mexico you’ll find ruins and pyramids, remnants of the country’s ancient Mayan and Aztec history. They’re a must visit element for any trip to Mexico, and thankfully, most ruins are near cities and resort spots with some of the best beaches in the world. The famously relaxing Cancun, for example, is only a day trip away from the awe-inspiring Mayan ruins and temples at Chichen Itza and Tulum.
You want to see lucha libra (AKA “Mexican wrestling”) in person
Even if you’re so unfamiliar with professional wrestling that you just think of a cocktail when you hear the word “piledriver,” you’re probably going to want to check out Mexico’s most colorful entertainment via a traditional lucha libre match! Loosely translated to “freestyle wrestling,” these glitzy and over-the-top events are legendary for their flamboyant masked fighters (known as “luchadores”) that use acrobatic maneuvers, often incorporating use of the ropes and posts of the ring. It’s a truly unique Mexican experience that’s lots of fun.
You’re ready to save cash by going to an all-inclusive resort
Instead of worrying about planning each stage of your trip to Mexico, there’s always of the option of booking a stay at an all-inclusive resort. The country is full of them and there are different kinds for almost every type of traveler, like families, couples, and singles. It’s a stress-free trip, where you’ll spend most of your time deciding what to drink, whether to lounge by the beach or the pool, and what dining options to try. Plus, depending on how much you would have spent on the same amenities and activities in a non-all-inclusive resort, you could save big with all the bundled up perks.
Make Your Way to Sweden, if…
You want to experience a sunny midnight
There are only a few habitable parts of the world that experience 24-hour days, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis exposes these areas to periods of days when the sun doesn’t set — and the northern part of Sweden is one of them. Known as the “midnight sun,” it’s an awe-inspiring spectacle that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In the town of Björkliden, for example, visitors can partake in late-night outdoor activities like hiking as well as golfing on a course that’s open for 24 hours during the constant daylight.
You’re interested in the ultimate midsummer celebration
Midsummer, a traditional celebration of the summer solstice, is popular throughout northern Europe, but Sweden’s take on the celebration is probably the most famous. Traditional customs include dancing around a pole, wearing flowers in your hair, singing traditional songs, feasting on traditional foods (like herring and meatballs with lingonberry jam), and throwing back shots of schnapps. If that sounds like something you’re in to, just make sure you travel there between June 20 and 25, which is when Sweden’s midsummer celebrations usually take place every year.
You love salty food and are up to dine on something new
The most famous Swedish dish to those outside of Sweden is probably meatballs, but the country’s culinary offerings are much more than that. Dining on crayfish, or “kräfta” is a popular summertime tradition in Sweden, with gatherings featuring party hats, schnapps, and drinking songs. Meals of pickled herring (AKA “sill”) are a favorite year-round and are usually served with potatoes, sour cream, chives, boiled eggs, and crispbread. The Swede’s obsession with salty tastes isn’t just savory foods; they also like it on their candy in the form of salted licorice.
You want to check out castles and learn about Vikings
Sweden may not seem like a destination for history lovers, but anyone looking to geek out on castles and medieval architecture will love checking out the Renaissance stylings of Gripsholm Castle on the shores of Lake Mälaren or taking in the baroque design of Drottningholm Palace (which is the private residence of the Swedish Royal Family). But of course, the big draw will be for those curious about Viking history, which Sweden is a chock-full of. In Stockholm, the Swedish History Museum (“Historiska”) features some of the best collection of Viking artifacts and exhibits in the world, while the relatively new Vikingaliv offers an interactive experience of the Viking age, and afterwards, you can grab something to eat at Aifur, a Viking-themed restaurant. But no Viking fan should miss visiting the old Viking hub of Birka, an island in Lake Mälaren (about 30 kilometers west of Stockholm) where they can see roleplayers engaging in traditional crafts, baking, and even battle reenactments.