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Looks are everything in stylish Sweden, where natural beauty inspires architecture, fashion and design. Rocky coastlines, sparkling lakes and swathes of untouched forest set the scene for offbeat boutique hotels of world-class calibre, while proximity between town and country means urban adventures can easily be combined with wilderness breaks.

Enveloped by forests where moose and reindeer graze, some of Swedish Lapland’s best hotels are destinations in their own rights. Spend the night in a masterpiece suspended between trees, enjoy a sauna on a floating platform encased by birch twigs, or snuggle into a seasonal frozen palace sculpted entirely from ice.

Wherever you go, attention is always focused on nature: in summer, kayak safaris are complemented by campfires and wild swims, while winters are perfect for husky rides, cross-country skiing and skating across thick ice. Aurora expeditions form part of much broader adventures, including immersion in local Sami culture with evenings spent in a traditional lavvu.

Even cosmopolitan cities are intrinsically linked to the outdoors. Gothenburg and Stockholm occupy their own archipelagos, with pretty summer cottages decorating islands fringed by beaches and woven with hiking trails. Like their neighbours, Swedes practise ‘allemansrätten’ (or Everyman’s Right), meaning the environment is open for everyone to explore.

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Wonderful places to stay in Sweden