We Swedes often become easily blinded to our own behavior and our way of life, we feel everything we do is normal right? And perhaps that is the norm for every country, it’s just simply other cultures and the way of life in different countries, and also what each and one of us is used to and the way we´re raised. Here below you can read about some typically Swedish conducts and behavior that makes a lot of tourists baffled and sometimes raise an eyebrow or two while they are on a cottage vacation in Sweden.

Welcome to Sweden


1. Swedish queuing/line culture

Foreign tourists are often fascinated and quite baffled by the Swedish queuing culture. Except the Germans, who like order even more than the Swedes? That everyone imperceptibly watches their turn in small shops where you don't have room to stand in line in a civilized way. The fact that we almost always have queue numbers in places where long lines would otherwise occur, such as the liquor store, or the pharmacy for an example. Often we also have queue numbers where there never are lines, like small coffee shops and cozy cafés in quaint logcabins, but just in case because hey you never know.

Queue system

2. Fika / coffee break with a pastry

The only tourists who aren't surprised by the Swedish fika culture are the British, who just think it's strange that we don't drink more tea instead of coffee. Many foreign tourists compare the Swedish fika to a religion or a cult. But that doesn't stop the Swedish tradition of having a cup of coffee with a pastry in the morning, afternoon and evening, from spreading around the world.


Swedish fika, can consist of a coffee with a pearlsugar sprinkled cinnamon roll, or any drink in your liking with any type of pastry or sandwich, and is now among the trendiest things you can have now in cities like London, New York, Paris and Amsterdam, and something we hope you will participate in too while you stay here in your rented cabin on your Swedish vacation. Fika is something the Swedes usually does a few times a day, even at work you have "fika break" where everyone will put down what they´re doing and gather in the breakroom which more than often is a huge kitchen/lounge room and sit down with their coworkers and have fika.

Tourists also learn quickly that you should never stand in the way of a Swede and their cup of coffee.

Swedish Fika is appreciated by most

3. Huge strollers

Sweden is becoming known for our love of gigantic big wheel strollers. In addition to taking up half a pedestrian street, they are also full of extra equipment such as latte cup holders, mosquito nets, GPS tracker, all-terrain wheels, anti-theft systems and locks. The existence of these mega-strollers often comes as a shock to tourists from the Mediterranean countries, where at most you have a folded umbrella stroller with plastic wheels.


The big wheel strollers are unmatched when you walk on uneven surface, for instance the cobbled streets in the old city ( Gamla Stan) in Stockholm, or if you take a trip to the beach near you cabin rental and have to push the stroller through sand or lose gravel, then you definitely don´t want a stroller with small wheels.

In addition, when the Swedish strollers have to be loaded onto a bus, you can see amazed tourists take out their cameras, because no one at home would ever believe them without photographic evidence.

Big wheel strollers


4. Swedish tray lunches

Our lunch habits are a constant source of surprise for foreign tourists. It basically ends up in total surprise when they realizes what you can get for approximately 10 euros at a Swedish restaurant between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


“Drink included?” “Free bread and salad?” “Free coffee with ice cream or a cookie after the lunch?” is usually included at most of the lunch restaurants.

And if they end up at a classic Swedish Chinese buffet, they just can't believe their eyes. Low-budget backpackers in particular are convinced that they have found themselves in paradise. Perhaps perfect for you who is renting a cabin on a budget while on your vacation in Sweden.

Tray lunches are popular

5. No shoes indoors

It is sometimes claimed that the Swedish custom of taking off your shoes when you visit someone’s house, dates back to the time when we mainly lived in the country and the roads were muddy. But that's probably not true. Taking off your shoes when you come home is a late 20th century habit.

Nevertheless, foreign tourists are fascinated by the fact that we are so informal that we, as guests, like to wear our socks indoors.

Americans in particular, who are horrified by the thought of smelling foot sweat, see this as a very strange phenomenon.

This is also something that the cabin owners would like you to do as well, as it saves on cleaning the cabin and wear and tear on the floors.

Take your shoes off when visiting people

6. Swedish punctuality

If a Swede makes an appointment at eight o'clock, she is usually there five minutes before the set time. Many foreign tourists are also surprised by the excitement with which we Swedes have to keep said appointments. In many countries it is considered impolite to arrive on time, while we consider it impolite to arrive late.

Many cabin owners also think punctuality is of essence, at what time will you exactly arrive, and when will you depart from the cabin is often very important.

We appreciate punctuality

7. Our informal tone

The fact that we address people we have just met by their first name can be downright offensive to many tourists. Germans like their titles, the French says you and English speakers are very particular about the word "sir", “mam” or "miss". A  big difference between the USA and Sweden is that in school we will call our teachers by their first name, whereas in the USA you will always address them with Miss "their last name" or Mr "their last name". Looking back to my school years I dont even think I knew the last names of my teachers.

So it’s probably not a problem to address the cabin owner by their first name as soon as you’re introduced to each other.

What's your first name

8. Restaurant behavior

For us who live in Sweden, we almost always split the bill at restaurants. This bothers many tourists who have a completely different attitude of how to pay the bill. Brits in particular, who are used to buying rounds of beer for each other, find it odd that someone would go to the bar and buy a single beer just for themselves.This behaviior is probably rooted in us learning while growing up that we should never borrow money or other things from people, for instance if one person buy his friends a round of beers then the friends will feel the need to repay him, so to make it easier everyone will just buy their own round instead.

Do you want to split the bill?

9. Children

Many Swedes have a relaxed attitude towards children in public settings. We see it as natural that children make noises, have jumpy legs, find it difficult to sit still and like to be in the center of attention, however we do try to teach them common courtesy and not to say rude things to people, for instance please and thank you..

To a French tourist, this appears as rude behavior because they believe that children should be quiet and well-behaved most of the time. Italians tend to be more lenient, but many foreign tourists see Sweden as a child ruling society.

Can you quiet it down some

10. We don't talk to strangers

There´s plenty of countries where you will stir up a conversation with people you don't know, for example on the bus, in the café, in the pub, in the line at the ice cream parlor, yes simply everywhere. It is often seen as a good way to kill time and maybe get to know someone.

We don't do that in Sweden. We don't really talk to strangers unless there is a specific purpose or situation, asking for directions, for example. For the most part, we view strangers who just want to chat with us with great suspicion. This behavior is rooted in us from far back in time when most cabins and homes in Sweden was spread far and apart from each other, and we didn’t have that much interaction with strangers. It is also a way of showing respect to other people, our way of thinking will be that maybe this stranger at the busstop simply doesn´t want to be bothered by us, maybe we will make them feel uncomfortable if we start a conversation with them.

Unless the stranger speak English of course. We Swedes love to speak English and are quite good at it too. Even if we might not be as good as we think we are.

We don't do small talk

Rent a cottage in Halland


These are just a few of the very Swedish behaviors that is common in Sweden, also keep in mind that none of these conducts are written in stone, we have some Swedish people that doesn’t practice any of this and probably feel that this behavior is very foreign to them while others will follow them as a written law. We just hope you as a tourist will embrace our culture while you’re staying here in your cabin rental, and also bear with us when the differences from your own country might feel a little overwhelming and just too much to take. 

We do hope you embrace the swedish culture and that you will have a wonderful time on your vacation in Sweden.