Karyn Wofford is a freelance writer in the fields of travel, eco-tourism, and wellness. She’s an avid traveler and Georgia native. She grew up with a passion for travel, exploring everything from the mountains to the ocean, and continues to find new and unique things to do in the places she travels.
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Originating from humble farming beginnings, Sweden has been developing for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Forging through the Bronze and Iron ages into tumultuous times of Vikings and religious introduction, the naturally striking country has been shaped, leaving behind palaces, towering cathedrals and somewhat unexplainable monuments in its path of time. Come explore beautiful villages with their original streets and houses, gaze upon thousand-year-old writings in stone, and visit more modern historical attributes. Sweden is overflowing with remnants of the past, and these are the must-see landmarks.
Feskekôrka is an 1874 built fish market in Goteborg, which was designed after the architecture of various churches. Earning its name, the “fish church”, folks can browse various vendors within the dramatic waterside structure. Seafood that has been caught moments ago makes its way into the hands of browsing customers, and one can also dine at two on-site restaurants with fresh offerings.
Ales Stenar, in Skane, overlooking the Baltic Sea, is an incredible arrangement of stones, in the outline of a ship. Experts suspect the formation is likely around 1,400 years old, but some note various parts could be as old as 5,000 years. Whether the purpose of the historic natural monument was to provide a type of sundial clock, or if it serves as markings to graves, it’s nonetheless something to behold.
Hallwyl Museum is housed in the lavishly ornate home of a former countess and offers a glimpse into the late 1800s of Sweden. While Stockholm and other Swedish cities house museums (a lot of museums), this one is particularly intriguing. The count and countess always intended for their home to become something for the public to enjoy. More uniquely, everything has been left as it was, right down to facial hair remnants—gross, but pretty interesting at the same time.
Gamla Uppsala was a village thriving with thousands of inhabitants, dating back to the 7th century. The iron age was brutal but historically significant. Right outside of modern-day Uppsala, are these old, old grounds, and there’s a museum that will help create a deeper appreciation for the site. A virtual reality tour will even whisk visitors centuries back in time, to understand life then, to a greater degree.
On the Island of Gotland, Visby is a medieval town that thrived as a trade hub primarily in the 13th century is still intact today. A top day trip from Stockholm, Visby has been impeccably preserved, and today countless old warehouses, moats and city walls still stand. So significant, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, trips to and from are both exciting parts of the adventure.
Gamla Stan doesn’t house just one landmark, but many, as it’s a district within Stockholm that has thrived for ages. Aside from traditional architecture and monarch burial sites, grand cathedrals seal the “old town” as a significant stop in Sweden. Riddarholm Church, where royals of the country have been buried, is also in the vicinity, along with the medieval Stockholm Cathedral.
Tanum Rock Carvings is also a world heritage site, where hundreds of spots featuring petroglyphs can be found. These early carvings into surrounding stones date back to the Bronze Age and are considered precious works of art. To some controversy, some of the images have been painted red for easy visualization. Sectioned into different areas, Vitlycke Panel, Aspeberget, Litsleby, and Fossum are some of the more significant ones to see.
While only close to 30 years old, the Oresund Bridge has already begun to sew itself into the fabric of Swedish history. The marvelous, striking design of clean parallel lines and stretching railway and motor traffic lanes span over Oresund Strait, which connects the country to Denmark.
Malmo Castle is set within the southern tip of Sweden on the Baltic Sea. Its scenic location is only part of the allure. Built in the 1400s with the continual development of the fortress thanks to other leaders, the castle stands strong to this day. Visitors are welcome to explore various exhibits through the year, and adding a more family element, there’s an aquarium housing a variety of marine life and animals.
We could talk Swedish castles all day—it’s challenging to select just a few to visit, but we’ve decided to take you beyond Stockholm and other heavily visited cities. Gripsholm Castle sits within Mariefred, conveniently just one hour away from Stockholm, but still far enough away. Once used by the royal family, Gripsholm now serves the people as a museum. However, it is still an entity of the crown.
While the 17th-century fortress Skansen Kronan would normally be the title of this particular listing, the area in which it resides, Haga, is a historical site all in itself. The feel of the olden days pours onto the cobblestone streets and creates an overall cozy vibe in the town. Folks come here to immerse in that undeniably captivating ambiance of early age Sweden. Get cozy at a pub or bistro, and melt into the moody lighting and intricate detail of the architecture.
The Royal Palace has stood since the 1800s, and was built in a luxurious Italian Baroque style after the 1600s castle that once stood in its place burned to the ground. Remaining the residence of royals, the doors to many sections of the grand estate open for visitors. Guests can see the silver throne, coronation areas and picturesque halls where events are held. Five museums are placed throughout the grounds as well, showing off historical artifacts and other royal relics.