The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, and its sequels, have been big hits, with both the books and the films popular in the UK. Rest assured, for those a little late to the party, there will be no plot spoilers here so you can read on without fear!
Despite the “crime thriller” genre that the series undoubtedly falls into, what also shines through for me are the landscapes that are the backdrop to the tales. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that he paints a pretty picture of Sweden despite the menacing undertones, but I was, and I’m now more determined to visit than ever.
You’re never far from the water in Stockholm as the Swedish capital is comprised of 14 islands, so to see the city at its best you can jump on a ferry and make a tour. Gamla Stan is the old town, and it’s one of the best preserved Medieval centres in the world, so if you stay here you might just enjoy a lovely view like Blomkvist does. If you’d rather save money and stay a little further you can enjoy the view from the City Hall rooftops. Unlike the crime-solving journalist though you’ll also have time to see the Royal Palace and the Cathedral whilst staying in this vibrant capital!
If it all gets too much in the city, head south just like the hero, and many other of Sweden’s residents. This part of the country is known as the Gateway to Continental Europe and not only does the weather change but the culture does too. A cosmopolitan mix of residents and the seaside proper makes for a perfect spot to relax. Ok, so you might not find your perfect beach hut but with plenty of gardens as well as a huge beach you’ll find it easy to wind down the pace.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that the island of Hedestad was a fictional creation, but if you want to experience island living in Sweden that is very much available. Try one of the 8000 islands off the west coast, which can easily be reached by ferry from Gothenburg. Here you’ll find islands of all sorts of shapes and sizes, offering a range of activites, some of which are much more heavily populated that others. Although when I say heavily populated they aren’t exactly heaving! You can use the ferries as a sort of hop-on-hop-off service to explore them, or just settle on one and relax in the full knowledge that all that is expected of you is to eat good food, maybe drink a little wine, and perhaps curl up with a good book. Now pass me the second part of the trilogy please!
top image by jimmyharris