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110km (68 miles) W of Kalmar, 443km (275 miles) S of Stockholm

Sweden's reputation for high quality and often imaginative glasswork has spread to every corner of the globe -- and Växjö, the country's "Glass Kingdom," has a lot to do with that. Some 16 factories here produce world-renowned Swedish crystal. Yet we recommend visiting even if you're not a glass aficionado. The name Växjö comes from Vägsjön, or "lake where the roads meet" and, true to that name, this 14th-century city offers scenic lakes and forests, dotted with traditional red-timbered cottages. Many ancestors of Swedes who emigrated to America also came from here, so odds are good that you'll encounter other travelers, often from Minnesota, researching their roots.