Start \ Regions and countries \ Europe \

Sweden

Main attractions

Fortification walls in Visby, Sweden
Fortification walls in Visby, Gotland / Helen Simonsson, , CC BY-SA 2.0

Sweden is prosperous country with rich natural and cultural heritage.

This North European country can not boast with world's most impressive man-made or natural attractions, but it has a bit of everything. Among the wealth of this heritage somewhat more impressive are:

  • Megaliths, runestones and prehistoric settlements. Sweden has high diversity of archaeological monuments. Many are of international interest - such as Rök runestone, Eketorp and Ismantorp fortress, the gargantuan Askeberga stone ship and many others.
  • Historical towns and cities. Sweden has several very interesting historical towns, such as Falun, Old Stockholm (Gamla stan). Very special is Visby - well preserved medieval trade metropolis of Baltic sea.

Natural landmarks

Hällingsån canyon with Hällingsåfallet in the forefront, Sweden
Hällingsån canyon with Hällingsåfallet in the forefront / Sjoge, / public domain

Waterfalls

  • Hällingsån canyon - Jämtland. One of most impressive canyons in Northern Europe. Canyon is some 50 m deep, with vertical cliffs. Contains the 42 m tall Hällingsåfallet waterfall.
  • Linafallet - Norrbotten. Impressive, some 50 m wide and 16 m tall waterfall.
  • Njupeskär - Dalarna. 125 tall waterfall, tallest single plunge is 93 m tall. Tallest waterfall in Sweden.
  • Tännforsen - Jämtland. Most impressive waterfall in Sweden, 38 m tall, highest plunge is 32 m. With of waterfall is 60 m. Waterfall connects two lakes.
Skierffe rising over Rappadalen, Sweden
Skierffe rising over Rappadalen / Kitty Terwolbeck, / CC BY 2.0

Other natural landmarks

  • Korallgrottan - Jämtland. Longest known cave in Sweden, length of passages is 6 km. Cave has corall-formed limestone formations - hence the name.
  • Kvill-Eken - Kalmar. Oak (Quercus robur L.) with the largest circumference in Europe. Circumference 14.4 m, height - only 14 m.
  • Old Tjikko - Dalarna. The oldest living clonal tree (Picea abies (L.) H.Karst.) in the world - its root system is at least 9,550 years old, while the tree above the soil is much younger.
  • Skierffe (Skierfe) - Norrbotten. Mountain with more than 400 m tall, nearly vertical cliff side towards Rapa Valley. At the base of mountain is located important Sieidi - Sami sacred place.
  • Stora Alvaret - Kalmar, Öland. The largest (260 km2) alvar - limestone barren - in Europe. Contains unique plant communities, including some of the northernmost restricted endemic plants - Oland Wormwod (Artemisia oelandica (Besser) Krasch.).
  • Storsjöodjuret - Jämtland. A lake monster is reported in Storsjön lake since 1635. This animal is reportedly some 6 m long and looks like aquatic reptile with fins across its back.

Man made landmarks

King's grave in Kivik, Sweden
King's grave in Kivik / Gavin Anderson, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Mounds and cairns

  • Anundshög - Västmanland. Largest tumulus in Sweden, 9 m high and 60 m wide, built in Bronze Age or Iron Age. Next to the tumulus are two stone ships, 51 and 54 m long.
  • Håga kurgan - Uppsala. Enormous Bronze Age mound, approximately 7 m high and 45 m wide. Built sometimes around 1000 BC, contains rich burial in wooden cist.
  • Hovgården - Stockholm. Archaeological site on the island of Mälaren, possible sacred site, royal necropolis and the site where kings were ruling. Oldest burial mounds are from the Bronze Age, 1800 - 500 BC, youngest - from the early Middle Ages. Here was built a castle - Alsnö hus - built approximately at 1200, now only ruins remain.
  • King's grave in Kivik - Skåne. Unusually enormous Bronze Age burial cairn, built sometimes around 1000 BC. This double burial site consists of stone heap with a diameter of 75 m. Cists are adorned with petroglyphs, showing people, ships, chariots, animals.
  • Uggarde rojr - Gotland. Tallest cairn in Gotland. This stone heap is 7 m high and diameter of 15 m, built in the Bronze Age (1800 - 500 BC).

Runestones, picture stones

  • Karlevi runestone - Kalmar, Öland. One of most prominent runestones, made in the late 10th century. Stone contains long inscription, partly in verse and partly in prose.
  • Rök runestone - Östergötland. Prominent runestone with the longest known inscription (760 runes) in runestone. This long writing was probably carved in the early 9th century and represents early example of Swedish literature. Inscription contains references to lost Norse mythology and the Western Roman emperor. Text is partly deciphered, albeit very hard to read and understand.
  • Stora Hammars stones - Gotland. Four beautiful Viking Age picture stones. Especially fine is stone No.1. with well preserved phallic form. there are other such beautiful stones found on the island.
Eketorp - Iron Age fort, Sweden
Eketorp - Iron Age fort / Michael Johansson, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Early medieval settlements, fortresses

  • Birka - Stockholm. One of the earliest urban settlements in Scandinavia (up to 700 inhabitants), established in the middle of the 8th century. Important trade center in Viking age. Destroyed in the middle of the 11th century, now little is seen.
  • Eketorp - Kalmar, Öland. Reconstructed Iron Age fort in the desolate Stora Alvaret. This is impressive ringfort, originally constructed around 400 AD. Rinkfort has a diameter of some 80 m and is surrounded by a tall wall.
  • Ismantorp fortress - Kalmar, Öland. Ruins of enormous Iron Age ringfort which was constructed sometimes around 200 AD and used until 650 AD. Ruins consist of ringwall with seven gates and fundaments of 95 houses arranged in 12 blocks. Diameter of fortress is approximately 135 m.
  • Torsburgen - Gotland. Ancient fortress, built on limestone plateau. Walls along the roms of this plateau encircle an area of 12 hectares. Fortification was built in the early 1st century AD and in use until 1100 AD.
Tanum rock carvings, Sweden
Tanum rock carvings / Alexander Granholm, / CC BY 2.0

Other archaeological landmarks

  • Ale's Stones (Ales stenar) - Skåne. A stone ship 67 metres long, one of the largest stone ships. Formed from 59 large boulders, up to 1.8 tonnes heavy. Most likely built sometimes around 600 AD.
  • Askeberga Stone Ship - Västergötland. Impressive megalithic monument - 55 m long stone ship, made from 24 stone blocks of gargantuan size, up to 15 tons heavy.
  • Stone labyrinth of Blå Jungfrun - Kalmar. Stone labyrinth - stone setting on the bare granite surface of Blå Jungfrun island - small island rising 86 m above the sea. The island is seen as evil magical place in folklore, a place of witch gathering.
  • Tanum rock carvings - Västra Götaland. In 18 km² large area are found numerous rock carvings from Bronze Age (sometimes around 1500 BC). Most show men, weapons and boats, also animals - oxen, horses, there are depicted traditions of prehistoric people.
Gamla stan in Stockholm, Sweden
Gamla stan in Stockholm / Daniel Sjöström, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Historical towns, cities

  • Falun - Dalarna. Historical city next to Great Copper Mountain - long time largest copper mine in the world. Falun was developed mainly in the 17th century with grid street planning. City contains quarters of wooden buildings, as well as numerous ornate manor houses, industrial architecture.
  • Gamla stan in Stockholm - Stockholm. Old town of Stockholm on Stadsholmen island. Well preserved medieval buildings in Renaissance and Baroque style, street network. One street - Mårten Trotzigs gränd - is just 90 cm wide.
  • Karlskrona - Blekinge. Planned naval city, built in 1680 - 1750 in austere Baroque style (the only Baroque city in Sweden). The Baroque centre has been exceptionally well preserved. Interesting are the ship docks, including the rock-cut Polhem dock.
  • Luleå Gammelstad - Norrbotten. Well preserved church village - 424 wooden houses around an early stone church from the 15th century. Village was inhabited only in Sundays and church holidays, when people from countryside came to the church and stayed here overnight. Village developed since the middle of the 16th century.
  • Sigtuna - Stockholm. Oldest city in Sweden, founded in 980 AD. Well preserved medieval street network with many old buildings, runic stones, archaeological monuments.
  • Visby - Gotland. One of the best preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe, with 3.4 km long city walls. City flourished in the 10th - 16th century.
Läckö castle, Sweden
Läckö castle / David J, / CC BY 2.0

Castles

  • Gripsholm castle - Södermanland. Enormous castle in Renaissance style. First fortress was built here in 1380, current castle was built in 1537 - 1709. Contains National Portrait Gallery - one of the oldest portrait collections in the world.
  • Kalmar castle - Kalmar. Medieval castle, constructed in the 12th century and rebuilt in Renaissance style in the 16th century. One of best preserved Renaissance castles in Sweden.
  • Läckö castle - Västra Götaland. One of most prominent medieval castles in Sweden. Construction started in 1298, castle was rebuilt and extended in later times. Now castle has more than 250 rooms.
  • Örebro castle - Örebro. Medieval castle on an island, built in the 13th - 14th centuries, rebuilt in 1900.
  • Vadstena castle - Östergötland. Former royal castle, built in 1545 at the shore of Lake Vättern. One of the best examples of Swedish Renaissance.
Drottningholm palace, Sweden
Drottningholm palace / Mastad, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Palaces, stately homes

  • Drottningholm palace and gardens - Stockholm. Royal palace and gardens on an island in Lake Mälaren. Buildings constructed in the late 16th - 18th century. Much of the ornate interior is in Rococo style. Castle grounds contain well preserved theatre (1766) with intact machinery and fine Chinese pavillion (1769) in Rococo style. Lush gardens around the palace are in Baroque and English styles.
  • Jon-Lars farm in Långhed - Gävleborg. One of the best representatives of rich farmer's house from the 18th - 19th century. This two-storied house with 17 rooms has rich adornment in typical style for its time. There are other similar buildings in Långhed and elsewhere in this region.
  • Stävlö castle - Kalmar. Eccentric palace in pyramidal form, built in 1860 after the coat of arms of the landowner.
  • Stockholm palace - Stockholm. Enormoys royal palace in the centre of Stockholm, built in 1697 - 1760. Palace has 1,430 rooms and is one of the largest palaces in the world. Many rooms have ornate design.
  • Strömsholm palace - Västmanland. Royal palace in Baroque style, built on island, in the site of medieval castle. Constructed in 1669 - 1674. Especially valuable are the beautiful interiors and collection of Swedish paintings.
Lund cathedral, Sweden
Lund cathedral / Anton Holmquist, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Churches, monasteries

  • Husaby church - Västra Götaland. Very old church, built in Romanesque style in the 11th - 12th centuries.
  • Källunge church - Gotland. Old and interesting church, built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. Church is richly adorned with frescoes and sculptures in archaic style, which shows influence of Byzantine style - most likely from Byzantium and Russia.
  • Lund cathedral - Skåne. Large cathedral, built mainly in Romanesque style. First cathedral was built here before 1085, but the construction date of the current cathedral is not known - it is between 1104 and 1123.
  • Riddarholmen church - Stockholm. Gothic church, oldest parts were built in the late 13th century. Church has served as burial site for many Swedish monarchs.
  • St.Peter abbey in Ystad - Skåne. Medieval monastery, one of the best preserved monasteries in Sweden. Founded in 1267. Consists of three buildings, represents one of most outstanding examples of brick Gothic in Sweden.
  • Uppsala cathedral - Uppsala. Tallest church in Scandinavia, 118.7 m tall. Uppsala Cathedral was built in the late 13th century to replace the strong paganic beliefs in the site of main paganic shrine in this region. Cathedral is constructed in brick Gothic style.
  • Vadstena abbey - Östergötland. Established in 1346 by St. Bridget, here started Bridgettine Order.
Turning Torso, Sweden
Turning Torso dominates the skyline in Västra Hamnen of Malmö / bjaglin, / CC BY 2.0

Other man made landmarks

  • Engelsberg ironworks - Västmanland. The best preserved historical ironworks in Sweden. In the 17th - 19th centuries here was produced high quality iron. Preserved a complex of buildings and old machinery.
  • Martebo lights - Gotland. Ghost lights, reported on the roads around Martebo since 1900.
  • Öresund bridge (Øresund Bridge) - Skåne and Denmark, Hovedstaden. Railway and road bridge and tunnel across Øresund strait. Bridge is 7,8 km long, up to 57 m high. It was built in 1995 - 1999.
  • Skansen - Stockholm. The first etnographic open-air museum in the world, founded in 1891. Museum includes a full scale replica of the 19th century town, zoo and other attractions.
  • Skogskyrkogården - Stockholm. Cemetery - landscape park, developed in 1917 - 1920. Impressive, successful example of landscape architecture with profound influence on similar cemeteries worldwide.
  • Stockholm city hall - Stockholm. This city hall building belongs to most outstanding examples of National Romantic style. The massive building was constructed in 1911 - 1923 and its dominant is 106 m tall tower.
  • Turning Torso - Skåne, Malmö. Tallest skyscraper in Scandinavia, built in 2001 - 2005. This 190 m tall building (54 floors) has innovative, impressive design - the building is twisted.
  • Varberg radio station - Halland. Impressive historical radio station with six 127 m high steel towers. Constructed in 1922 - 1924, the only large radio transmitting station from the age of pre-electronic technology.

List of described attractions by counties

Sweden is divided into 21 counties (län).

Blekinge
Dalarna
ArrowNjupeskärWaterfalls
Gävleborg
Gotland
Halland
Jämtland
Jönköping
Kalmar
Kronoberg
Norrbotten
Örebro
Östergötland
Skåne
Södermanland
Stockholm
Uppsala
Värmland
Västerbotten
Västernorrland
Västmanland
Västra Götaland

Map of Sweden

Your thoughts?