This post was originally published on A Globe Well Travelled in 2016. The content has been revised and updated with fresh information.
I’ll admit, I tend to do a lot of city-hopping.
I enjoy the metropolois and do consider myself a ‘city person’ – though I also feel that it’s important to step away from the downtown areas to visit a range of locations, such as secluded beaches and mountainous national parks, when I travel.
Usually, I’ll base my stays in the city and plan day trips out to countryside or seaside destinations. When I visited Sweden, I based myself in Stockholm and made an effort to get out and explore some small towns as well. This is how I came across Sigtuna and Uppsala, which gave me a different perspective of Sweden than the tourist hotspots in downtown Stockholm.
If you’re heading to Sweden and want to see some adorable Swedish towns, here’s how to visit Sigtuna and Uppsala in a day trip from Stockholm.
How to get there:
It’s very easy to get to both Sigtuna and Uppsala by train/bus. Check the Swedish Rail website for tickets.
From Stockholm to Sigtuna: Jump on at Stockholm Central, then get off at Märsta Station for the synchronized bus (number 575 or 570) to Sigtuna. There are trains departing Stockholm every 15 minutes or so and the total trip takes about an hour.
From Sigtuna to Uppsala: Take the same bus from Sigtuna back to Märsta Station, it leaves every half hour or so. At Märsta Station, jump on a northbound train to Uppsala. This trip also takes about an hour.
From Uppsala to Stockholm: The easiest part of the journey! The train between Uppsala and Stockholm is a fast train, so the journey takes only 40 minutes and departs approximately every half hour.
You can also rent a car for the journey if you like, but public transport is a fine option as it doesn’t actually take that much longer than driving.
If you’d prefer to take a guided tour with transport included, book a Viking and Swedish history day tour from Stockholm.
Things to do in Sigtuna:
Sigtuna is popular with tourists because of its history. It’s been named “Sweden’s first town’ as archeological digs have uncovered many old coins and building remnants that date past anything else that has been discovered in Sweden. Check out the Sigtuna museum to find out more about the local history.
Sigtuna is easily walkable. The main street (Stora Gatan) is super adorable, with many tiny shops lining the street.
There are also plenty of great options to grab a bite. For a casual lunch, I’d suggest stopping in at Tant Bruns Coffee House, or for something a little fancier, head to Sigtuna Stads Hotell which has a dining room with a sweet view over the lake.
Town Hall (Sigtuna Rådhus) is one of the oldest buildings in Sigtuna. Throughout the years, many buildings in the town burnt down in various fires, but each time the town hall was saved. Now the building is part of the Sigtuna museum – you can take a walk around inside.
The ruins of St Olaf’s Church (Sankt Olofs kyrkoruin) are definitely worth checking out. You can’t go inside due to safety reasons, but wandering around the exterior of the old creepy church and cemetery is a great activity for those (like myself) who enjoy injecting a little dark tourism into their travels.
Next to this is St Mary’s Church (Mariakyrkan) which was built in the 13th century and is the official church of Sigtuna. It has some really interesting Gothic-style architecture, if you’re into that kind of thing!
Things to do in Uppsala
Uppsala is well known for 2 things: It’s Cathedral, and it’s University.
The Cathedral (Uppsala Domkyrka) is impressive on the inside and out. It was built in the 13th-15th centuries and features French Gothic style architecture. I know that churches and cathedrals can get very same-same after you’ve seen about a million of them throughout Europe, but this one is worth a visit, really.
Next is Uppsala University, which was founded in 1477 making it the oldest university in Sweden and the Nordics. The building itself isn’t all that interesting to visit – though the library is quite an attractive building from the outside.
Next to the University is the much more impressive Botanical Garden. I’ve visited many pretty gardens in my time, but I have to say, this one was definitely one of my favourites.
Even though it started raining when I was walking around, I couldn’t believe how well-kept and serene the gardens were – I’m fairly sure I was the only person in there. I almost started singing ‘dancing in the rain’ out loud.
From the gardens, you can head straight up the stairs to Uppsala Castle (Uppsala Slott), which sits on a hill at the city end of the garden. The 16th century castle now houses 3 museums including an art museum and the castle museum, so if you’ve got some time, do check them out.
After the castle, head down to the picturesque riverfront for gorgeous views looking back at the Cathedral.
If you’ve got time, you can do some shopping along Svartbäcksgatan, and if you’re already peckish then head to the Churchill Arms for some pub grub and a local beer before your train back to Stockholm.
*My trip to Sigtuna was sponsored by Visit Stockholm. I’m proud to be an honest and transparent blogger, so every opinion expressed on AGWT is a true review of my experience!