Historic sites in Sweden

If you’re looking to explore Historic Sites in Sweden and the surrounding area then you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below.

There’s a fantastic selection of  Historic Sites in Sweden and you can plan some great things to see on your trips by browsing our selection. Once you’ve explored the  Historic Sites in Sweden you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.

Our database of historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other  Historic Sites in Sweden, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.
 

Sweden: Site Index

Photo by Håkan Dahlström (cc)

Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle is a picturesque ruined medieval castle on the Swedish island of Öland which is now a popular tourist attraction.

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Borgholm Castle, also known as Borgholms Slott, is a ruined medieval castle and palace complex located on the Swedish island of Öland. It is now a popular tourist attraction and one of the most picturesque castles in the country.

The origins of the original fortifications built on this site are obscure, but it is believed that a castle has stood at Borgholm since around the 12th century AD.

Over the following centuries, Borgholm Castle was often involved in the conflicts which often took place between the Nordic kingdoms and was damaged and rebuilt several times – including a significant rebuild under Gustav I of Sweden and his son John III.

In the 17th century Borgholm Castle was remodelled along the lines of an opulent Baroque palace by King Charles X Gustav – he is the only king to have actually lived at the castle. However, the lifetime of this palace was short due to a devastating fire which swept through the complex in 1806, leaving just the impressive and striking ruined shell which still survives intact.

Today, Borgholm Castle is a popular tourist attraction and visitors can explore the castle ruins as well as learning more about the history of this strategic crossroads.

Photo by marabuchi (cc)

Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace is a well-preserved 18th century royal palace in Sweden and a UNESCO listed site.

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Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholm Slott) is a well-preserved royal palace in Sweden, renowned as the “Versailles of Scandinavia”.

The first incarnation of Drottningholm Palace was built by King Johan III in the late sixteenth century. The king built it for his wife, Queen Katarina Jagellonika, hence its name “Drottningholm” means "Queen's Island". However, this palace was razed to the ground by a fire in 1661 and a new one built in its place in 1662. This was foundation of the Drottningholm Palace which can be seen today.

Yet, it was the influence of crown princess Louisa-Ulrika in the eighteenth century which can be felt most keenly today. She had Drottningholm Palace renovated in image of Versailles, taking inspiration from the opulence of Louis XV.

Since 1981, Drottningholm Palace has been the home of the current royal family. Parts of the Palace are open to the public and fifty minute guided tours of Drottningholm Palace are included in the ticket price.

Amongst the highlights at Drottningholm Palace are its restored eighteenth century theatre (the work of Louisa-Ulrika), its gardens and the Chinese pavilion gifted to Gustav III in 1769.
In 1991, Drottningholm Palace became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Photo by sk12 (cc)

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is the 13th century historical centre of Stockholm, Sweden.

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Gamla Stan, literally meaning “Old Town” is the historical quarter of Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm.

Dating back to the 13th century, Gamla Stan was originally called “själva staden” which means “the city itself” and is mostly located on the island of Stadsholmen.

Gamla Stan is made up of a network of cobbled streets, North-Germanic architecture and beautiful open plazas, most notable of which is Stortorget. Stortorget was the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath, a massacre of noblemen in 1520 and the square is now home to the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building.

The old town is the site of centuries of history and contains numerous significant attractions, not least of which is Stockholm’s Saint Eric’s cathedral.

Another stunning religious site in Gamla Stan is the beautiful medieval church of Riddarholmen, one of Stockholms oldest buildings and the burial place of Swedish monarchs. Riddarholmen is near Stockholm’s famous 18th century Royal Palace.

The best way to enjoy Gamla Stan is just by walking around and exploring.

Photo by aikijuanma (cc)

Gamla Uppsala

Gamla Uppsala is an ancient Swedish burial site which includes at least 300 ancient graves, most notably the three large burials known as The Royal Mounds.

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Gamla Uppsala, also called Uppsala Högar, is a famous ancient burial site in Sweden which includes hundreds of ancient graves, most notably the three large burials known as The Royal Mounds.

With its roots stretching far back in time, much of the history of Gamla Uppsala is unclear and mingles into the semi-mythical legends of the earliest Kings of Sweden. What is known is that the area was of great religious and political importance during the Iron Age and Viking Age periods. The three Royal Mounds themselves likely date from the 6th century AD.

Today Gamla Uppsala is one of Sweden’s most important ancient sites and is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the area and visit the Royal Mounds as well as accessing a wealth of information in the Gamla Uppsala Museum, which also contains a range of artefacts from the area.

Also nearby is the Disagården Open Air Museum – which recreates life on a 19th-century farm.

Photo by slideshow bob (cc)

Hallwyl Museum

Hallwyl Museum is a small museum of 19th and 20th century life in Stockholm.

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Hallwyl Museum or “Hallwylska Museet” is a 19th century palace and the former home of the the Count and Countess von Hallwyl, who formed part of one of Europe’s oldest families. The Hallwyl Museum was created as a result of the Countess’s passion for collecting antiques and works of art.

Today, the Hallwyl Museum holds a diverse collection ranging from 19th and early 20th century household objects to paintings by great masters such as Pieter Faes. Guided tours are available as are audio guides, which you can download online to your MP3 player.

Although not one of the most well known attractions in Stockholm, the Hallwyl Museum does offer an interesting insight into life in early 20th century Stockholm.

Photo by access.denied (cc)

Kalmar Castle

Kalmar Castle is a fortified castle in Sweden which dates back to the twelfth century.

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Kalmar Castle or ‘Kalmar Slott’ is a medieval castle whose history dates back to the twelfth century. Originally only made up of a lone fortified tower, Kalmar Castle developed over time to become an imposing stronghold and castle.

In the sixteenth century Kalmar Castle was expanded and renovated in the hands of Kings Erik XIV and Johan III, monarchs of the House of Vasa, giving it a Renaissance feel it still has today.

Kalmar Castle played an important role in Swedish history and was the site at which the Union of Kalmar was signed in 1397. This unified of Denmark, Norway and Sweden under the rule of Erik of Pomerania and would endure until 1523.

Today, fully restored to its original glory, Kalmar Castle is a popular tourist attraction and is even a wedding venue.

Photo by Historvius

Ragnhildsholmen

Ragnhildsholmen is an early medieval castle ruin, representing all that remains of a 13th century border fortress.

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Ragnhildsholmen near Gothenburg is an early medieval castle ruin, representing all that remains of a 13th century border fortress.

The Ragnhildsholmen castle was built around 1250 AD by Norwegian king Håkon Håkonsson (aka Haakon IV of Norway) at a strategically important point on the south eastern border of Norway as it was at the time. It stood to protect the border as well as the city of Kungahälla.

It was in use for about 100 years or less until it lost much of its military importance due to the construction of the nearby Bagahus castle (Bohus castle), just a few km away. It was later largely destroyed by a devastating fire and left as a ruin until its excavation in the 19th century.

Riddarholm Church

Riddarholm Church has been the burial site of most of Sweden’s monarchs since the thirteenth century.

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Riddarholm Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is one of Stockholm’s oldest buildings, with parts of this imposing historic structure having been built in 1270 and completed in around 1300.

Ever since King Magnus Ladulås, who died in 1290, was buried there, Riddarholm Church has been the site in which most of Sweden’s royal family have been laid to rest.

Amongst those found at Riddarholm Church are Karl Knutsson Bonde, Gustav II Adolf, Adolf Fredrik, Gustaf III, Gustav IV Adolf and Karl XIII. Some of their tombs and burial chambers are open to the public, whilst others are closed. In fact, the only former monarch not buried at Riddarholm Church up to the mid-twentieth century was Queen Christina.

A particular highlight of the church is the Bernadotte Chapel, with its beautifully ornate decoration.

Riddarholm Church is primarily open to the public in the summer and a guided tour is included in the ticket price. Tours take place at 11am daily in English during the open months and last around 45 minutes.

Stockholm Cathedral

Stockholm Cathedral is a pretty medieval site believed to date back to the 13th century.

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Stockholm Cathedral is a pretty medieval building known as the "Storkyrkan" or "Great Church".

Stockholm Cathedral received its first written mention in 1279, also believed to have been the year it was built. When, in 1942, Stockholm became a diocese made up of three previous smaller parishes, Storkyrkan became its official cathedral.

A Lutheran church since 1527, Stockholm Cathedral has been the site of several royal occasions including the 19th century coronation of Oscar II and the 2010 wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.

There are guided tours on Tuesdays at 11am except in the summer season.

Swedish Museum of National Antiquities

The Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm has pieces ranging from the Stone Age to medieval times.

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The Swedish Museum of National Antiquities (Historiska Museet) in Stockholm offers a comprehensive series of exhibitions for the period spanning from the Stone Age to the Medieval period.

From prehistoric artifacts to Viking displays and beyond, the Museum of National Antiquities offers an insight into ten thousand years of history.

One of the most striking exhibits at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities is its “Gold Room’, a heavily fortified underground chamber housing around 52kg of gold ranging from Viking relics to pieces from the Middle Ages.

The museum offers audio guides in English, Swedish, French, German and Spanish, although these are on a first come first serve basis. These are not adapted for children, but the history trails in the Viking section are perfect for kids to follow.

Tanum Rock Carvings

The Tanum Rock Carvings are a collection of hundreds of Bronze Age rock carvings found around the modern town of Tanumshede in Sweden.

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The UNESCO-listed Tanum Rock Carvings are a collection of Bronze Age carvings found in the area around the modern town of Tanumshede in Sweden.

With at least 350 distinct groups of rock art comprising of hundreds of individual carvings, it is one of the most fascinating collections of its type in Europe. The carvings date from around 1700BC-500BC and depict scenes from the lives of those who lived in the area during this period - including scenes of ships, hunting and domestic life.

The Tanum Rock Carvings are spread out over a wide area and there's a huge number to see. A good place to start your exploration is at the Vitlycke Museum, where you can find further information and guides of the rock carvings in the area.

Photo by rieh (cc)

Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum in Sweden displays the world’s only surviving 17th century warship.

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The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) in Stockholm offers a detailed insight into the 17th century Vasa ship, which sank on its maiden voyage, but which was recovered and is now the only surviving ship of its era.

The Vasa was a warship built during the reign of king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. It was part of a fleet of warships commissioned by the king in 1625 when Sweden was at war with Poland and was built by an experienced shipbuilder called Henrik Hybertsson.

The Vasa was intended to be a masterpiece of naval engineering with 64 guns and capacity to fit 300 soldiers. It was completed in 1628, but Hybertsson had actually died a year beforehand, leaving his brother in charge.

On 10 August 1628, the Vasa took its maiden voyage before crowds of spectators and with over 150 passengers. However, minutes into the journey, it began to sway violently before it finally tipped over and tragically sank. Up to fifty people were estimated to have died as a result of the sinking of the Vasa and the disaster prompted numerous criminal investigations, although nobody was convicted.  The conclusion of all of the inquiries was that the ship sank as it was badly proportioned.

The Vasa Museum now displays the ship in its purpose built building together with several detailed exhibitions, both about the Vasa itself and its passengers and about Sweden’s maritime history. Audio guides are available and can even be downloaded online and guided tours also take place.

Photo by egevad (cc)

Visby

Visby is a walled town in Gotland in Sweden with a history dating back to the Viking Age and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Visby in Gotland in Sweden has historically been a thriving trading port and town and was part of the Hanseatic League, a powerful trade alliance originating in Lubeck in Germany.

With its location along Baltic trade routes, Visby has attracted commercial interest since the Viking Age and, from the twelfth century onwards, German, Russian and Danish tradesmen flocked to the town.

Perhaps the clearest evidence of Visby’s importance in commercial terms is its imposing stone fortifications. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the 3.6km wall with its fifty towers and which surrounds Visby was erected to protect the town from pirates and other threats from the sea.

Visby’s city walls still dominate the town today and the area within the defensive walls has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, containing several medieval buildings.

Vitlycke Museum

The Vitlycke Museum explores the history of the Bronze Age culture of the region and is a good starting point for exploring the Tanum Rock Carvings.

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The Vitlycke Museum near Tanumshede in Sweden explores the history of the Bronze Age culture of the region and serves as a good starting point for those seeking to explore the Tanum Rock Carvings - a collection of hundreds of Bronze Age rock carvings found in the area.

Across the road from the museum is the Vitlycke Carving, which is one of the largest and most accessible of the rock carvings in the area – you can explore a panoramic shot of the carving here. The museum also includes a recreation of a Bronze Age farm with a number of exhibits exploring domestic life of the period.

Handheld digital guides to the rock carvings are available from the museum.