Sweden is situated in the most northerly part of western Europe, in the region known as Scandinavia. To the northeast is Finland, to the east is the Gulf of Bothnia, to the southeast is the Baltic Sea, to the southwest are the Skagerrak Sea and the Kattegat Sea, and to the west is Norway. Sweden is separated from Denmark by a narrow strait called Öresund. Two islands in the Baltic Sea, Öland and Gotland, are also part of Sweden.

 Sweden is a little larger than the province of Newfoundland, and more than half of its land surface is covered by forests. There are nearly 100,000 lakes in Sweden, and thousands of islands line Sweden's long coastline.

Sweden is divided into three regions: Norrland, Svealand and Götland. Norrland, the northernmost region, is the country's largest and most sparsely populated area. It covers about three-fifths of the country, and contains forests, mountains, lakes and rivers. On the west side of this region are the Scandinavian Mountains, a range that Sweden shares with Norway. The highest mountain in Sweden, Mount Kebnekaise (2,111 metres), is in this area.

 In the centre of the country is Svealand, the smallest of the three regions, an area of fertile plains, large forests and numerous lakes. The cities of Stockholm and Uppsala are located in this region. The southernmost region is Götland. The landscape here is flatter, with smaller lakes and wooded hills. This is the richest farming area of Sweden. Göteborg and Malmö are in Götland.

  Did you know?
In July 2000, a bridge linking Sweden and Denmark was opened by Sweden's King Carl Gustav xvi and Denmark's Queen Margrethe II. The 16-kilometre Öresund Link spans the water between Lernacken, near Malmö, and Kastrup, near Copenhagen.
Sweden's climate varies from one region to another. The coldest month is February, and in northern Sweden the temperature can drop as low -40°C during the winter nights. In the northern interior, snow may remain for up to eight months. Southern Sweden has milder winters because winds from the Atlantic Ocean have a moderating effect. Summers are warm, but the summer is shorter in the north. Rain falls throughout year, but late summer and autumn are the rainiest seasons. 

The vegetation in Sweden is very similar to that in Canada. Mosses, lichens and stunted birch and willow grow in the arctic areas. Farther south are forests of firs, pines and birches. Deciduous trees, including oak, beech and maples, are found in the south. In the forests are mushrooms and berries, including lingonberries, blueberries and cloudberries.

  Did you know?
One-seventh of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. This region is called the Land of the Midnight Sun because the sun shines almost 24 hours a day for several weeks in late June and early July. In December and January, the sun barely rises above the horizon.