I fell in love with Scandinavia when I was cycling around the region in the spring of 2013. While Norway will always be my favorite country in the world, Sweden is definitely among my favorites too. I spent more than three weeks cycling from Helsingborg in the south to Haparanda in the far north on the Finnish border. I think it’s fair to say that I saw a lot of the country from my bicycle. I experienced Sweden’s weather, met its people, and tasted its food. I got to know the country pretty intimately. Below I would like to share my top 10 places to visit in Sweden.
Top 10 Places to visit in Sweden
As one of the oldest cities in Sweden, Uppsala is a place that’s definitely worth checking out; which is why Uppsala is in my top 10 places to visit in Sweden. It is home to Scandinavia’s oldest university and the enormous Uppsala Cathedral. The city is, by the way, the center of Christianity in the country. Other highlights are Uppsala Castle and the Old Town.
Located on the Swedish south coast, Karlskrona – literally meaning Carl’s Crown, after King Carl XI – this old city is spread out across thirty islands. It was established as a naval base and nowadays the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Swedish Lapland
Laponia or Lapland makes up almost the entire northern part of the country. One of the less-visited destinations in Sweden, this vast region consists of lakes, forests, mountains and tundra. Swedish Lapland’s four national parks are home to bear, lynx, wolf, wolverine and moose.
Malmö, situated on the southwest coast, was founded as a fortification in 1272. It used to be mainly a harbor town for most of its existence and had the inconvenient reputation that comes with that. Now, however, the city has been cleaned up and is a lively place. It is one of Sweden’s most multicultural cities, with more than 150 nationalities.
A formerly prosperous and important town, Kalmar’s main attractions are the Old Town, Kalmar Castle, the cathedral and several museums. Kalmar was where the Union of Kalmar was established in 1397, uniting Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
5. Lake Siljan
This large lake is one of the most popular holiday places to visit in Sweden among Swedes. Located in central Sweden, it offers excellent fishing, hiking, cycling and, in winter, cross-country skiing. The region is home to many lakes, situated on the so-called Siljan Ring, created by a massive meteorite impact about 360 million years ago.
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and lies on the southwest coast. The city’s harbor is the largest in the country and one of the largest in Europe. Attractions include several churches, museums and many great parks, but the most popular one is Liseberg, Sweden’s biggest amusement park.
Kiruna, the northernmost city in the country, is home to the world-famous Ice Hotel. This hotel is made up entirely of ice and is the largest and oldest one of its kind in the world. Rebuilt from scratch every year, the Ice Hotel offers truly unique experience to winter visitors. Additionally, Kiruna may be one of the best places to see the northern lights in winter.
Located in the island of Gotland, Visby is one of the best preserved medieval cities in northern Europe. It used to be a seat of the influential Hanseatic League and this is shown in the abundance of old buildings, warehouses and city walls. This stunning city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which says it all, really.
The capital city is also one of the most visited places to visit in Sweden. It’s easy to see why. Set on fourteen islands in an absolutely spectacular harbor, Stockholm is made up of greenery, waterways and ochre-colored buildings. I dare to say that each visit to Sweden should start and end in Stockholm, making Stockholm number one in my top 10 places to visit in Sweden. In fact, a trip to Sweden may just be a trip to Stockholm, because there is enough to see to keep visitors busy for weeks on end. There is beautiful architecture, but the city’s highlights are definitely its museums; there are more than seventy of them!