and traditional art meet as the glass blowers and artists of
Kingdom-- in Småland province--ply their wares. The region's
glass blowing prowess dates back to the 16th century, when Gustav
Vasa brought in artisans from Venice. In the heavily forested
region between Kalmar and Växjö, you'll find fifteen of Sweden's
most famous glass factories, including Kosta
Boda (founded 1742) and Orrefors (founded
It was from this area that thousands
of Swedes emigrated to the United States
in the 1800s.
Today it's a North
shopper's paradise, as crystal can be found at substantially lower
prices than in the U.S.
Just east of the mainland are the warm, sunny shores of the islands of Gotland and Öland . Enjoy biking, hiking, wildflower picking, and relaxing along sandy
beaches as you visit some of the best-preserved remnants of Viking history.
Sweden's most well-preserved Renaissance castle is replete with moats, dungeons,
and secret passages. Located in the town of Kalmar on the Baltic coast in the province of
Småland. This year, Kalmar is celebrating the 600th anniversary of the Kalmar Union.
Gotland's lovely capital was a trade city of immense importance during Viking and
medieval times. In fact, it remained one of the most important cities of the Hanseatic
League through the 17th century. Narrow lanes overhung with roses, gabled houses and
picturesque ruined churches give Visby a special charm. The city wall,
"Ringmuren," that was built to protect its medieval citizens is one of the
best-preserved in Europe. In 1995 the entire city of Visby was designated as a UNESCO
World Heritage Site, ensuring its preservation for future generations. The city also holds
an annual medieval week designed to recreate the flavor of old Visby.
The Emigrants' House
Erected in memory of the many Swedes who emigrated to America in the 1800s. It
contains an interesting museum and well-maintained files on the emigrants for those
interested in tracing their their ancestry. The museum is located in
This treeless plain in the center of the island of Öland is famed for its bird
sanctuary. It has no less than 400 windmills and is joined with the mainland by Europe's
longest bridge. The Royal Family spends a couple of relaxing summer months here and the
garden of Soliden Castle is open to the public.
The "balloon capital of Sweden," Gränna is also the birthplace of
Salomon Auguste Andrée, an explorer who attempted to reach the North Pole by balloon at
the turn of the century. His mission ended in death after he and his crew of two stranded
on an ice-floe. Gränna's Andrée Museum holds an impressive collection of artifacts from
the expedition, which were recovered 33 years later. The town is also home to some
peppermint candy factories.
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