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13 Best Places to Visit in Sweden

13 Best Places to Visit in Sweden

Don’t let your ideas of Sweden be limited to flat-pack furniture, tales of ancient Vikings, and delicious meatballs. This country is a treasure trove of experiences, from its vibrant urban centers to the serene beauty of its lakes and the pristine expanse of its northern wilderness. Sweden invites you on an authentic Nordic journey that transcends any clichéd images. Discover 13 best places to visit in Sweden.

Top 13 Best Places to Visit in Sweden

In Swedish cities, you’ll witness a seamless blend of time-honored buildings and cutting-edge design, not to mention culinary creativity. Step outside these urban hubs, and you’re greeted by the calm of the countryside, dotted with tranquil lakes and miles of quiet, rural charm. For those who love the great outdoors, the extensive lakeshores and coastlines are a playground for adventure. Head up to the Arctic North, and you’ll enter a world of endless daylight in summer or the mesmerizing dance of the aurora borealis in winter, all while discovering the unique traditions of the Sami people.

Whether you’re docking in Stockholm for a day or mapping out an extensive exploration across the country, there’s a wealth of places to discover that will give you a genuine taste of Sweden’s rich culture.

1. Stockholm

best places to visit in sweden

As Sweden’s capital and the biggest city in Scandinavia, Stockholm is a charming metropolis spread across 14 islands. Established in the 13th century, it’s the proud host of the prestigious Nobel Prizes each year. With its verdant parks, top-notch attractions, and a mix of old and new architecture, Stockholm is a magnet for travelers.

The city’s medieval heart is a must-visit, boasting stunning ancient churches, the Royal Palace, scenic bridges, canals, and cobblestone streets filled with inviting cafes and shops. Djurgården, a green oasis in the city, houses some of Stockholm’s most frequented attractions, like the Gröna Lund amusement park, the Stockholm Zoo, and the Skansen Open-Air Museum. Don’t miss the chance to see the city from the top of the Ericsson Globe, the world’s largest spherical building.

The Vasa Museum, home to a 17th-century warship that tragically sank on its first journey, is the most visited in Scandinavia. Compared to other Nordic cities, Stockholm is more budget-friendly, offering free entry to 15 museums, such as the Swedish History Museum, Medieval Museum, Royal Armoury, and Skokloster Castle. Make sure to also check out the Royal Palace, Modern Art Museum, and City Hall.

2. Abisko National Park

best places to visit in sweden

Tucked away in Swedish Lapland, Abisko National Park is a haven for those who adore nature and crave adventure. The park’s natural splendor is truly awe-inspiring, with towering mountains, sparkling lakes, verdant forests, and tumbling waterfalls painting a breathtaking picture. It’s also renowned as one of the prime spots globally to marvel at the enchanting Northern Lights. Whether trekking under the summer’s midnight sun or snowshoeing under the winter’s aurora borealis, Abisko promises a uniquely Swedish experience you’ll cherish forever.

3. Gotland

best places to visit in sweden

Sweden’s biggest island, entirely encircled by the Baltic Sea, might seem like a fishing hub at first glance. However, it’s actually agriculture, tourism, and information technology that dominate the local economy. The island is a favorite among tourists, particularly those chasing the sun, as it enjoys more sunshine annually than any other part of Sweden.

Visby, the island’s sole city, is a stunning walled town from the Hanseatic era. It has managed to retain much of its historic charm with well-preserved buildings and landscapes. The island is also home to about 100 medieval churches and numerous ancient sites, adding to its allure.

4. Gothenburg

best places to visit in sweden

Situated on the western coast of Sweden, Gothenburg is a verdant city dotted with parks of all shapes and sizes. Many of these green spaces trace their roots back to the 19th century, like Kungsparken, which beautifully encircles the city center’s canal. If thrill rides are more your style, make sure to visit Liseberg, home to the most extensive collection of amusement park rides in Scandinavia.

As Scandinavia’s biggest port city, Gothenburg also hosts the region’s largest film festival and various music festivals throughout the year. Feeling peckish? Treat yourself to a Haga Bulle, a giant cinnamon roll, in Haga, a district famous for its charming wooden houses.

5. Swedish Lapland

best places to visit in sweden

For those yearning for a wild adventure, Swedish Lapland is the ultimate destination in Sweden. This region basks in 24-hour daylight during summer, far north above the Arctic Circle. It’s a dream come true for canoeing enthusiasts, hikers, and wildlife watchers. The resilient indigenous Sami people call this vast expanse of forests and stark tundra home.

One of the best ways to explore this area is by driving along the 359-km (223-mile) Wilderness Way. Starting from the canoeing hub of Stromsund, it ends at Vilhelmina, a quaint church town, passing through Fatmomakke, where you can spot traditional wooden huts. If you’re visiting in winter, don’t miss the chance to purchase reindeer hides at Jokkmokk, the heart of Sami culture.

6. Uppsala

best places to visit in sweden

Just a short drive 70 kilometers north of Stockholm, you’ll find Uppsala, the spiritual heart of Sweden since the 12th century. Before the Christian era, this spot was famed for its Norse deities’ statues. Here stands the majestic Uppsala Cathedral, the largest in all of Scandinavia and home to Sweden’s archbishop.

Education shines bright in Uppsala as well, boasting the prestigious Uppsala University, established back in 1477, making it one of the oldest learning institutions in the region.

The city is bisected by the tranquil Fyris River, with its historic core nestled to the west. The skyline is punctuated by the grand cathedral and the imposing Uppsala Castle. If you’re keen on history, don’t miss the chance to explore the botanical gardens where Carl Linnaeus, the famous botanist of the 18th century, once roamed. It’s a stone’s throw away from the castle and well worth the visit.

7. Stockholm archipelago

best places to visit in sweden

If island exploration is your thing, then a trip around the Stockholm archipelago might just be the adventure you’re looking for. With a staggering 30,000 islands – even tiny sea-sprayed rocks count – it’s clear you won’t be able to see them all. But don’t worry; ferries can whisk you off to the key spots, starting with a quick 10-minute ride from Stockholm.

Why not explore a World War I fortress at Starofortet or head to Vaxholm? Known as the “capital” of the archipelago, Vaxholm boasts beautiful architecture and a rich history rooted in herring fishing. For a bit of pampering, consider a spa day in Nacka. It’s the nearest to Stockholm and conveniently reachable by car.

8. Ystad

best places to visit in sweden

Susanne Nilsson / Flickr

If you’re a fan of detective novels and mysteries, the coastal town of Ystad in southern Sweden is a must-visit. This charming locale is the backdrop for Henning Mankell’s acclaimed Kurt Wallander series. You’ll find landmarks like the Greyfriars Abbey, one of Sweden’s most well-preserved medieval monasteries, and the Church of the Virgin Mary, a grand medieval church. Both are stunning examples of Gothic Hansa architecture.

Stroll along the cobblestone streets, taking in the quaint pastel-colored half-timbered buildings. Don’t forget to enjoy a leisurely walk on the town’s beautiful sandy beaches. Just east of Ystad, you’ll discover Ales Stenar, a megalithic monument made up of 59 large boulders arranged in the shape of a ship.

9. Malmo

best places to visit in sweden

Malmo, a city that beautifully blends the old with the new, is an intriguing mix of medieval history and modern architecture. As Sweden’s third-largest city, it boasts an enchanting Old Town (Gamla Stoden) featuring three main squares: Stortoget, Lilla Torg, and Gustav Adolfs Torg. Here, you’ll also discover the historic Malmohus Slott castle.

Home to over 150 different ethnicities, this multicultural city is connected to Denmark via the Oresund Bridge. The Turning Torso is one of the city’s most striking “new” attractions. This architectural marvel spirals upwards for over 190 meters (600 feet), making it one of Sweden’s most iconic buildings.

10. Marstrand

Marstrand

Marstrand, a city with roots dating back to 1200, is renowned for its sailing heritage and ancient fortress. Nestled on an island in western Sweden, this coastal gem hosts the yearly Match Cup Sweden, a significant sailing event. It’s also home to the impressive 17th-century Carlsten Fortress, a stone sentinel watching over the city.

Marstrand is often described as a “picture-perfect” destination for an excellent day trip from Gothenburg. Be ready to capture countless photos of the charming, pastel-hued historic buildings lining the cobblestone streets. Other must-see attractions include the Strandverket Art Museum, the beautifully restored Pater Noster Lighthouse, and picturesque hiking trails.

11. Kosterhavet National Park

Kosterhavet National Park

Bengt Nyman / Flickr

Sweden is certainly blessed with an abundance of coastline, but for a unique marine experience, Kosterhavet National Park takes the cake. Bordering Norway, Kosterhavet holds the distinction of being Sweden’s first marine national park. It’s a biodiversity hotspot, home to 6,000 marine life species, including several unique to Sweden.

The park revolves around the coastal and marine areas of the Koster Islands. Its coral reefs are a magnet for snorkelers and divers, while those who prefer to stay on land can explore charming fishing villages that seem straight out of a postcard.

12. Sarek National Park

Sarek National Park

Nestled in the heart of Swedish Lapland, Sarek National Park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and holds the title of being Europe’s oldest national park.

When favorable weather is favorable, you can embark on guided hikes leading to breathtaking viewpoints like Skierfe or the stunning Rapa Valley.

Remember to plan your visit ahead of time and aim for the summer months to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors.

13. Falsterbo

Falsterbo

 Located at the southwestern edge of Sweden, Falsterbo offers a tranquil and leisurely travel experience that’s perfect for a slower pace.

While there, don’t miss out on the Foteviken Museum, where you can step back in time to the Viking Age within their recreated Viking settlement. It’s truly an amazing sight. And be sure to drop by the Falsterbo Strandbad, known for its pristine sandy beaches and dunes – it’s absolutely breathtaking on a sunny day.

To top off your visit, treat yourself to some delicious cakes at Nya Almviks Cafe, one of the town’s best spots for sweet treats.

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