Lonely Planet names Sweden world’s fourth best country

swedenSweden has been named as the fourth best place to visit in the world by travel guide Lonely Planet, which lists its food and pop culture among its main draws. Lonely Planet ranked Sweden, which will be the setting for the European Capital of Culture next year, behind only Brazil, Antarctica and Scotland in its new list.

In its annual report, the travel guide said that because of the late author Stieg Larsson, many people have an image of what Sweden is like – beautiful, cold and a little scary. It rated the country’s emerging pop culture highly, and noted that the northern town of Umeå will be next year’s European Capital of Culture.

However, it was the Scandinavian country’s food that most impressed Lonely Planet. It said Stockholm has, for a long time, been regarded as a stylish top-notch city for boldly experimental chefs and serious gourmands, but lately Swedish cuisine has spread to other countries.

It said that as Swedish food is so heavily linked to locally sourced ingredients – such as game, seafood, regional cheeses, herbs or berries – it makes sense to travel to Sweden to sample it firsthand.

Brazil was ranked number one on the list, with the travel guide praising its beaches and rainforests as well as pointing out that it will stage the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.