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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Sweden

Geography

Swedish Geography - Rocks along the coast
Rocks along the coast

Sweden is a long country that stretches nearly to the Arctic Ocean in the north and south to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Sweden borders Norway (north and west) and Finland (northeast). Additionally, many of Denmark's islands lay just off the coast of Sweden in the far south.

Geographically, Sweden has a number of different formations. In the far northeast the land is very low and forested, making flooding in spring and summer common as winters tend to freeze these lakes. Along much of the border with Norway, there are mountains, leading to a huge number of rivers flowing from west to east or south. Sweden's eastern coast and in the south the land is fairly flat and this is where almost all the people live. Rivers from the mountains also create lakes in these areas.

Weather

Sweden is a long country stretching north and south, creating a number of weather variations. The northern part of the country reaches into the Arctic Circle, while the southern part of the country lies on the Baltic Sea and experiences more temperate climates.

Swedish Geography - Mountains
Mountains

Winters in the Arctic Circle can experience 24 hours of darkness each day, with heavy snow and temperatures falling to as low as -40° F (-40° C). Further south the days are still very short, but the sea can warm temperatures to the point that Stockholm averages about 28° F (-2° C), although stretches of cold and snow can make that average dip for days or weeks at a time.

The most significant difference in the summer is the length of days as the Arctic Circle has 24 hours of daylight and the south gets nearly 19-20 hour of light. Temperatures also warm up, but rarely get too hot, although the generally sunny days tend to help. Stockholm hits daily highs of about 70° F (21° C) in summers as the far north is a bit cooler, averaging about 60° F (16° C), but with daily highs a couple degrees warmer.

The fall (autumn) tends to be the rainiest time of year as temperatures drop. The spring comes at differing times depending on your latitude, but tends to warm up fairly quickly as the days get longer.

Wildlife

Swedish Wildlife - Reindeer
Reindeer

Sweden's huge landscape with relatively few people has encouraged and maintains a huge number of large mammals. Moose, reindeer, bear, and lynx are all common, while other species, like the wolf still exist, but in smaller numbers. Many of these animals are hunted for both sport and food, while many more are protected in national parks. Fish are also common as much of the country sits on the Baltic Sea. Salmon, pike, mackerel, cod and herring are some of the most common.

As a cold weather climate, there are few birds that remain in Sweden year round, but the country is home to hundreds of migrating birds who stay and nest in the summers.

This page was last updated: November, 2013