Since we aren’t really taking any holidays at the moment, I’m trying to make the most of summer in Sweden by planning day trips and weekend aways. This Saturday, K and I decided to drive to Sigtuna, apparently the oldest surviving town in Sweden! Founded more than a 1000 years ago, this town is located on the banks of Lake Mälaren and was a thriving commercial city in its yesteryears.
Sigtuna is just an hour away from Stockholm and can be reached by road, bus, rail or ferry. Its proximity as well as connectivity to Stockholm has helped make it one of the most visited places in Sweden.
Things to see in Sigtuna
Sigtuna is a very compact town with sights in easy walking distance from one another. One of the first things you notice on entering the town is the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, built by Dominic monks in the mid-13th century. The church is also one of the oldest brick buildings in the Lake Mälaren valley. Back in the day, Sigtuna had almost six or seven churches. While the ruins of a lot of them can still be found in the town, St. Mary’s is the only church that still stands.
The oldest town also houses the oldest pedestrian street in all of Sweden. Stora gatan as the street is called, is a quaint street lined with colourful buildings on either side which house restaurants, cafes, delis and small shops. We went into a very cute shop selling antiques and other knick knacks. What caught my attention was the beautiful display in the garden.
Sigtuna’s city hall or Sigtuna Rådhus is also located on Stora gatan. It was built in the 18th century and is the smallest town hall in Sweden!
Further along Stora gatan stands the cutest bokkiosk (public library). As you may have guessed already, it’s the smallest library! Housed in an old style telephone box, anyone can borrow books without stamps and loan times.
The other main attraction in Sigtuna is lake Mälaren. There is a beautiful walkway and several parks along the shore where you can just sit and enjoy a picnic while taking in the beauty of the lake. Walking past the jetty, the walkway gets quieter but is really pretty. there are several bars and restaurants with beautiful views where you can stop for a drink or food.
If you’re a history buff, Sigtuna is also the place to look for runestones – raised stones with inscriptions. Over 40 runestones have been u covered here, mostly dating back from the Viking ages.
It doesn’t take more than a couple of hours to walk around Sigtuna, making it an ideal destination for a short trip.
Just before Christmas, Sigtuna hosts a very traditional Christmas market which I’m told is a must see. I’m hoping to do that this year – so watch this space!
(Click on the images to view gallery)
After spending a few hours in Sigtuna, we decided to drive another 30 mins to the university town of Uppsala. Best known for its university – the Uppsala University, founded in the 15th century, Uppsala also houses Scandinavia’s largest cathedral – the Uppsala Cathedral.
Spending a few hours just ambling around the city, visiting the cathedral, walking along the river and dining in one of the city’s many restaurants is a good way of seeing the city. Besides the university and the cathedral, the botanical gardens and the Uppsala Slott (castle) are also very nice to visit.