This blog post was updated on August 3, 2021.
Thinking about a European vacation but stuck on whether to go north for a Scandinavian adventure or to Western Europe for some exploring? It could be a tough call to make but comparing the rich history, cultures, and things to do in each place can make your decision quite simple. When you break it down to which countries to visit in these geographic areas, England or Sweden would be the best destinations for your Euro trip. If you’re having a tough time deciding between the two, just read on to discover which country is best for you to visit.
Travel to Sweden if…
You wish for sunlight ALL day long
Head to the northern part of Sweden if you want to wear your sunglasses for 24 hours! Catch the midnight sun for a sight you’ve never seen before. It’s best to witness the midnight sun in the northern towns such as Björkliden, for some late night/early morning fishing, hiking, and golfing, or venture to Jokkmokk if you’re interested in learning about the rich heritage of the indigenous Sami people of the north.
You’re up for a fun-filled celebration
We suggest you plan to go during midsummer between June 20 to June 25 for the traditional celebration of the summer solstice. It’s celebrated throughout Europe, and Sweden happens to be the most popular place for the celebration. The festivities include dancing around a pole with flowers in your hair, singing traditional songs, and eating food such as the traditional herring and meatballs with lingonberry jam.
You’re interested in tasting new (salty) foods
Swedes love salt on basically everything, from a savory meal to candy! Try the crayfish or kräfta, or for those daring to taste something new and different, try surströmming, or Baltic herring fermented for around 6 months, but beware, it’s among the world’s smelliest foods! Top off these tastings with a piece of salty licorice to put your taste buds in shock!
A little bit of history amuses you
Learn about Viking history and tour the many castles around Sweden if you’re interested in some history and neat architecture. You’ll see the Renaissance style architecture at Gripsholm Caster locate on the shores of Lake Mälaren as well as the baroque style at Drottningholm Palace where the Swedish Royal Family resides. And for those of you looking for some Viking history, go to the old Viking hub of Birka to watch roleplayers carrying out traditional crafts, baking, and battle reenactments.
Travel to England if…
You’re interested in all things royal
From the recent royal nuptials to the endless places to explore, a trip to England will never leave you bored. Spend some time at Buckingham Palace and witness the changing of the guard followed by a visit to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and learn about the famous executions and prisoners. And, if you’re a fan of the royal weddings don’t forget to visit Westminster Abbey, the incredibly beautiful Gothic style church where many of the royal coronations and weddings have taken place.
You’re interested in grabbing a drink at the local pub
Hopping around to the local pub after a long day is where you’ll find the best social experience. If you’re unsure of exactly which pub to go to, The Nag’s Head, The Grenadier, and The French House in Soho are all fantastic spots where you’ll get to mingle with the locals. Some of these pubs are very old-fashioned and authentic, so don’t expect a TV and you my also be banned from using your cell phone!
You’re not picky when it comes to food
This diverse country offers a plethora of different foods to choose from when it comes to deciding what to eat. Besides tasting the famous fish and chips, the locals aren’t picky when it comes to food. In the larger cities of England, you’ll find a bunch of options to choose from like Indian curries, Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese, and Mexican..
You’re crazy about soccer
Ahh, last but not least…soccer! Enjoy the wild energy that radiates from the stands at a soccer game or go on stadium tours in London at the famous Wembley Stadium and Emirates Stadium. If you’re looking to learn some history about the game, head to Manchester to the National Football Museum. And for something different, go to the small village of Bourton-on-the-Water during the month of August to find locals playing a game of football in the River Windrush.