The 13 best places to visit in Sweden


In the extreme south of the country, on the coast of the Baltic Sea is the medieval town of Ystad. Featuring cobble stone streets and half timbered houses, the town is also home to the 13th century Klostret i Ystad, sometimes referred to as 'Greyfriars Abbey', one of the most well preserved medieval monasteries in Sweden. Along with the large medieval Mariakyrkan, or Church Of The Virgin Mary, they are among the best examples of Brick Gothic architecture in the country.

13. Ystad


North of the capital, Stockholm, is the city of Uppsala, the fourth largest in the country. Split neatly by the Fyrisån, or Fyris River, dividing the historic quarter from the more modern centre, this quaint city is home to two of the countries finest landmarks. The Uppsala Domkyrka, meaning Cathedral, built in the 13th century and standing at a height of 118 metres (389 ft) is the tallest church building in Scandinavia. Together with the enormous 16th century Uppsala Castle, these two giant structures dominate the skyline.

12. Uppsala


East of the mainland, on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, is the city of Visby Ringmur, one of the best preserved medieval walled cities in Scandinavia. First constructed around the 12th century, most of the original wall along with the medieval fortifications and defensive towers still stand. With many centuries old churches among the cobblestone streets, the entire walled city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

11. Visby Ringmur


Originally built in the 13th century, heavily restored in the 19th, to the west of the capital, Stockholm, is the medieval stronghold of Orebro Castle. Standing on a small island within the Svartå (Black River), this classic style medieval fortress has kept watch over the centre of Sweden for over 700 years, to this day it remains to be one of the finest castles in the country.

10. Örebro Slott


First constructed in the 12th century, in the far south east of the country is the medieval Kalmar Castle, considered one of the prettiest castle structures in Scandinavia. As well as it's aesthetic qualities, it also holds significant historical importance. In 1397 AD the Kalmar Union was formed within Kalmar Castle, declaring Margaret I of Denmark monarch of the Kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Restored heavily from the 18th century onward, this coastal fortress reminiscent of Denmark's very own Kronborg Castle, remains a most beautiful medieval fortress.

9. Kalmar Slott


On the south western coast, halfway between the Norwegian capital, Oslo, and the Danish capital, Copenhagen, is Sweden's second largest city, Gothenburg. For centuries it was an important sea port known for it's Dutch style canals and leafy boulevards. Visitors should seek out the 17th century Alvsborg Sea Fortress, the Gota Alv with the Barken Viking ship and the statue of Poseidon overlooking Götaplatsen square.

8. Gothenburg


In the west of the country, directly east of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Sweden, the Tannforsen. Surrounded by pristine forest, with a 32 metre (105 ft) drop from it's 60 metre (197 ft) wide mouth it is also one the countries biggest falls. 

7. Tännforsen


In the extreme north west of the country, straddling the enormous lake Tornetrask that runs along the Norwegian border, is the 77 square kilometre (30 square mile) area of protected park land, Absiko National Park. Sitting on the edge of the Scandinavian Mountains, far north of the Arctic circle, this vast area of snow capped peaks and great wild forests is one of the most remote and beautiful natural landscapes in Sweden.

6. Abisko National Park


In the far north of the country, in the village of Jukkasjärvi, first constructed in 1990 and subsequently rebuilt every year from December till April, is the location of the original Ice Hotel. Created from snow and ice blocks taken from the nearby Torne River, artists from around the world are invited to design and decorate every aspect of the hotel. As well as the construction of bedrooms, there is also a bar and an ice chapel that has become a popular weddings and baptism venue. The inside of the structure cannot be heated and remains below freezing, keeping a steady -5 °C.

5. Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel


East of the capital, Stockholm, in the Baltic Sea, is the largest archipelago in Sweden, simply known as the Stockholm Archipelago. The second largest in the Baltic after Finland's archipelago almost directly across the strait, the 24,000 separate islets and islands extend roughly 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the mainland. Visitors can travel to the larger islands all year round depending on the level of ice cover. With it's easy access from the capital and cabins for rent it has become one of the countries biggest attractions.

4. Stockholm's Skärgård


In the east of the country, on the Baltic Sea, stretching across fourteen separate islands is the Swedish capital, Stockholm, the most populated city of the Nordic countries. It's 13th century Gamla Stan, or old town, with it's cobbled streets and colourful medieval renaissance architecture has become something of an iconic symbol of the country. Another of the cities major attractions is the City Hall, an enormous building dating to the early 20th century. Inside visitors can marvel at the mosaic covered Golden Hall and climb the 365 steps to the top of the tower. The lookout from 106 metres (348 ft) high offers one of the best panoramic views of the city.

Pictured from the tower at the City Hall.

3. Stockholm


In the far north of the country, crossing the Scandinavian Peninsula, extending eastward from the fjords of Norway, forming a natural border across the northern part of Sweden, are the Scandinavian Mountains. Standing at 2,104 metres (6,903 ft) above sea level is Kebnekaise, though not the tallest mountain in the range, it is the tallest mountain in Sweden. This landscape of steep rugged snow covered mountains, glacial lakes, vast barren plains and huge glacial valleys is among the most visually striking terrain in the north of Scandinavia.

2. Scandinavian Mountains


In the north west of the country, close to the border with Norway is one of Europe's oldest national parks. Home to six of Sweden's thirteen peaks over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level, as well as over one hundred glaciers, Sarek National Park is one of the most remote areas in Europe.

One of the parks major attractions is the Rapa Valley, considered among the most noted landscapes on the continent. With no roads into the national park, experienced trekkers must undertake the 60 kilometre (37 mile) walk through the wilderness following the Kungsleden (Kings Trail) before hiking the relatively easy 1,179 metre (3,868 ft) Skierfe Mountain. The trek should only be attempted by experienced hikers, who should expect to take three days to complete the round trip.

Pictured is the Rapa Valley from the summit of the Skierfe Mountain.

1. Sarek National Park

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