Sweden is known for its small towns. From fishing villages filled with traditional wooden cottages, medieval town squares filled with winding streets, the country is a gold mine of castles, churches, and villas on a beautiful backdrop of farmland, beaches and mountains. From the frozen north and snowy Lapland, its sparkling seas and patchwork of islands in the south, Sweden’s small towns takes you on a journey you will never forget…
MOST CHARMING SMALL TOWNS
The seaside settlement was granted city status in 1200 AD. With a population with just over a 1 000 the “city” was named after the island on which it is situated. It is also home to the mid-17th century fortress of Carlsten, named for King Karl X Gustav of Sweden, a 14th century medieval church, and a renowned centre for sailing and sailing competitions, hosting the Match Cup Sweden. The “city” is also the playground for the rich and famous.
The country’s largest lake and the sixth-largest in Europe is nestled on the southern shores of Vattern. It is famous for the castle, built in 1545 as a fortress before becoming a habitable royal castle in 1660, and today a museum, Vadstena Town Hall, the oldest in Sweden, a 14th century abbey founded by the Swedish Saint Bridget, and a medieval town square as pretty as it is old.
Originally a naval base meant for protection from invasions and raids from the east in 1680, it is today Sweden’s only baroque town. The buildings and layout is left virtually intact since it is founding. Constructed in the 1690’s the Fredrikskyrkan church is the central building of the town. There is also other churches, such as the early 18th century Church of the Holy and more traditional Amiralitetskyrkan, Sweden’s largest wooden church.
Sweden’s northernmost town is in the process of being moved to a new location 3 kilometers east due to the Kiirunavaara mine undermining the town. It is a great place to see the splendor of the Northern Lights, the nearby Abisko National Park and the world’s first Icehotel built around 11 miles north of Kiruna. As a stand-out icon the 2001the stylishly elegant wooden Gothic Revival church was voted Sweden’s favorite pre-1950s building.
Mainly famous for the quaint settlement that grew up around the 14th century Nederlulea Church, the town is situated in the north of Sweden, close to the city of Lulea. In the center of the 424 traditional wooden cottages painted in the quintessentially Swedish Falu Red, is the largest medieval church of any kind in the northernmost, the Lutheran Church. It’s possibly the best preserved example of how many towns once looked throughout Scandinavia.
Situated just two-and-a-half hours by train from Stockholm, near the town of Orebro. This timeless little town was described by the 18th century Swedish poet Anna Maria Lenngren as “Such a small town, so much flavor”. The iconic houses are tucked away in picturesque cobbled streets that make exploring the 17th century town a joy.
The town is dating back to the 11th century is located in Sweden’s southernmost Skån County. The history of this place goes back almost a millennium. The town is known as a tourist destination for its heritage buildings, such at the grand town hall, Main Square, Greyfriars Abbey, one of Sweden’s best preserved monasteries, and the medieval St. Mary’s Church – both striking examples of the Brick Gothic style. The megalithic monument of Ales Stenar, consisting of 59 large boulders forming a stone ship can be found east of Ystad.
The town is famous for its many 18th century wooden buildings, from traditional summer houses to the old wooden railway station (today a museum), with steam trains still making a welcome appearance for tourists. It is also famous for the 14th century Gripsholm Castle, an imposing fortress turned royal residence turned museum. The Cartusian monastery was pulled down and today the town’s parish church stands on its former location.
Situated in the southern Skane Country, the picturesque coastal town is known for its orchards, farmland, beautiful nature and small towns. Visitors can visit the ancient church dating back from the 1100s, the 11th century Simris Runestone - the mysterious standing stones with runic inscriptions in the Old Norse language.
Far north Lapland has the snow and climate to go with it – this is where you will find the Jokkmokk. The town is a picturesque place to visit, with wooden houses and beautiful landscapes. You can visit the museum dedicated to the Sami people and the impossibly pretty 19th century Gothic Revival church. You can also take part in the unbroken 400-year-old tradition at the Market; taking place on the first Thursday of February each year - playing host to concerts, trade and exhibitions.
Both winter and summer could be the best time to visit Sweden. January to March is the right time for watching the Northern Lights, ice skating, and dogsledding. May to September is the perfect time for outdoor activities from birdwatching to timber rafting. Up north, autumn can show up in late August and the first snow is even possible in September. Anyway, chilly autumn months will hypnotize you with migrating birds and Gotland's roses in bloom. December brings celebratory atmosphere with glogg, lussekatt buns, and ginger biscuits.