10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Uppsala
About 70 kilometers northwest of Stockholm and just 25 mins drive from Arlanda Airport is the picturesque, medieval university city of Uppsala. Coupled with the air of academia, Uppsala has a laid-back feel that comes as part and parcel of a large and diverse student population. Bicycles are everywhere and the many waterways and parks add to an overall sense of tranquility. Often, it's hard to remember you're in Sweden's fourth largest city, particularly if meandering through the winding streets of the old town. Here you'll discover plenty of quaint shops, cafés, and places to eat along the way and many of Uppsala's must-see attractions.
Boasting a magnificent 13th-century cathedral, Uppsala lays claim to city status while retaining the feel of a town. The river Fyris (Fyrisån) neatly bisects the city, the historic old town lying to the west and commercial modern new town to the east. If you lose your bearings simply look out for the cathedral, which can be seen from almost anywhere. Uppsala was home to the Swedish kings of old and 16th- century king, Gustav Vasa, lies interred in the cathedral, as does 18th-century botanist, Carl Linnaeus. An incredible history dating back to Viking times and the ideology of learning remain at Uppsala's heart.
1 Uppsala Cathedral (Domkyrka)
For many visitors, the cathedral, consecrated in 1435, and evolved and altered numerous times over the centuries, is Uppsala's number one, must-see attraction. An impressive interior includes the sumptuous Baroque pulpit (1707) carved by Burchard Precht to the design of Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. At the east end of the choir lies the burial chapel and tomb of King Gustavus Adolphus (1576). Also buried in the cathedral are Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), Archbishop Nathan Söderblom and the philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. In the Silver Chamber, among other treasures, you'll find the gilded reliquary of King Eric IX (St. Eric), who was killed by the Danes in 1160. A gold brocade robe (c. 1400) that belonged to Queen Margaret, ruler of the united kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, tops the collection in the north tower.
Hours: Open daily, 8am-6pm
Address: Domkyrkoplan, S-75310 Uppsala
2 Museum Gustavianum (University Museum)
Funded by Gustavus Adolphus, the Gustavianum (c.1620) is the former main building of Uppsala University. It contains the university's cultural history collections, the Museum of Nordic Antiquities, the Victoria Museum (Egyptian antiquities), and an Anatomical Theatre, built on the roof in the1660s. Permanent exhibitions include Viking relics such as priceless jewelry, medals, and swords; the History of Uppsala University; and Egyptian Mummies. The spectacular University Art Collection in the main building is well worth exploring.
Hours: Open Tues-Sun 11am-4pm; June-Aug, Tues-Sun 10am-4pm
Admission: Adults Sek50, students& seniors Sek40, children (under 12) free.
Address: Akademigatan 3, S-75310 Uppsala
3 Uppsala University (Universitetshuset)
To walk through the university is to steep oneself in the illustrious world of Swedish academia. The so called "new" university buildings were constructed in sumptuous Roman-Renaissance style between 1879-1886. Grandeur is the order of the day with the magnificent foyer leading to the grand auditorium and festival hall, which seats around 1,800 people. Numerous portraits featuring royalty, cultural figures, and above all, distinguished university professors adorn the walls. Augsburg's magnificent carved cabinet in the Chancellor's Room is a sure-fire tourist draw as are the runic stones and statue of poet E.G. Geijer in the university gardens. The Palaeontological Museum includes dinosaurs discovered in China. The University Library (Carolina Rediviva) is the largest in Sweden housing in excess of 5,000,000 volumes and more than 30,000 manuscripts. The library's greatest treasure, and on permanent exhibition, is the world famous Codex Argenteus (Silver Bible), most likely dating from the 6th century.
Address: Biskopsgatan 375105, Uppsala
4 Holy Trinity Church (Helga Trefaldighets Kyrka)
Close to the cathedral, you'll find Holy Trinity Church dating from the 1300s. Although this is a medieval place of worship, the pulpit, pews, and three stained glass windows in the chancel date from 1904-1905 when substantial renovations took place. Murals dating back to the Middle Ages, many of which are by the famous medieval painter, Albertus Pictor (Albert the Painter), draw visitors from across the globe. Although German by birth, Pictor settled in Sweden where his work became renowned and much in demand throughout the country.
Address: Odinslund 75310, Uppsala
5 Uppsala Castle (Uppsala Slott)
History oozes from the pores of the castle, which today, is the official residence of the Country Governor. Inside are incredible art exhibitions, and if you venture up onto the battlements, there are breathtaking views over Uppsala and the surrounding countryside. Many of the events that would shape Sweden took place here. In 1567, a deranged and paranoid King Eric XIV ordered the execution of a group of noblemen in what became known as the Sture murders. In 1654, the shocking abdication of Queen Kristina, as famously played by Greta Garbo in the Hollywood movie of the same name (although anglicised to Queen Christina), was announced in the Rikshallen (Hall of State). Leisurely walks and other attractions surround the castle including Bror Hjorth's House, the Botanical Garden, the Pelle House, and the Uppsala Museum of Art.
Hours: Open Tues-Fri 12-4pm; June-Aug, Sat-Sun 12-4.30pm
Admission: Adults Sek40, under 20s and students free
Address: Drottning Christinas väg 1E, 75237, Uppsala
6 The Linnaeus Museum (Linnémuseet)
From the Stora Torg, Svartbäcksgatan runs northwest to the Linnaeus Garden (Linnéträdgården), which was curated by world famous botanist Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné). Here you'll find the museum, which was once his home. Throughout the house are exhibitions dedicated to Linnaeus' scientific achievements as well as personal belongings, mementos, furniture, and household items gathered over a lifetime. Run since 1937 by the Linnaeus Society, this is a wonderfully maintained shrine to Linnaeus, his life, and the extraordinary time of enlightenment and discovery in which he lived. Make sure to leave time for a stroll through the magnificent gardens.
Hours: Open Tues-Sun 11am-5pm, May 1st - September 30th (closed Mondays), guided tours in English Tues-Sun at 12.30pm
Admission: Adults Sek60, children free
Address: Svartbäcksgatan 27, 75145, Uppsala
7 Stadsträdgården (City Park)
Few nations do outdoor living as well as the Swedes; indeed they tend to live outdoors as much as possible once the brilliant Scandinavian sunshine dismisses the grey of winter. Stadsträdgården (The City Park) was developed in the late 19th century and is a tranquil oasis in which to unwind. Take a stroll through the trees; settle in for a picnic; stop to admire the magnificent flowers, which bloom through spring and summer; or preferably do all three. In the midst of a lily pond is the 'Island of Bliss' (Lycksalighetens ö) where visitors can take the weight off and admire the replica of botanist Carl Linnaeus' work table and chair. There's plenty for families to enjoy such as a playground, summer café, and open-air theater.
Location: Centrala, Uppsala
8 Uppland County Museum (Upplandsmuseet)
Housed in an old mill and dating from the 1760s, Uppland County Museum gives the visitor insights into the culture, craftsmanship, and history that shaped this unique part of Sweden. The mill is also famous having featured in the 1982 Ingmar Bergman movie Fanny and Alexander. The museum dates from 1909 and houses a wide range of permanent and temporary exhibitions such as photography, arts and crafts, music, and folklore. Facilities include a children's corner, café, and gift shop.
Hours: Open 12-5pm Tues-Sun
Address: St. Eriks Torg 10, 75310, Uppsala
9 Gamla Uppsala
Roughly four kilometers north of Uppsala lies Gamla Uppsala (not to be confused with the old town as mentioned earlier). For visitors interested in history and archaeology, the four-kilometer bus journey or if feeling energetic, six-kilometer 'Pilgrim's Walk' from the cathedral (Domkyrka), is well worth the effort. The land of the Vikings awaits, and spread across the landscape are more than 300 burial mounds; the last resting place of Viking Kings, Queens, and heroes of old. When Christianity took hold in the 12th century, Gamla Uppsala eventually boasted a cathedral on the site the ancient church (Gamla Uppsala Kyrka) now occupies. There are legends aplenty to be found here, and the Gamla Uppsala Museum is a must before further exploration.
10 Editor's Pick Gamla Uppsala Museum
A museum in perfect harmony with its surroundings, the dome shape reflects the Viking burial mounds dotted across the landscape. Here, the visitor can learn of Viking myths, legends, and culture, while viewing fascinating artefacts uncovered from the surrounding archaeological site. The excellent timeline is a great way of getting to grips with this particular slice of Nordic history and its eventual demise with the establishment of Christianity in the 12th century. Most definitely an attraction for all the family and well worth a short bus ride from Uppsala town center. Guided tours can be booked in advance.
Hours: Open 11am-5pm April 1st-August 31st, limited off season: check website
Admission: Adults Sek70, children free, group rates - check website
Address: Disavägen 75440, Uppsala
Other Attractions and Nearby Places Worth Visiting
Fyrishov Water Park www.fyrishov.se could be a welcome break from all the sightseeing and history, particularly for families. The complex boasts an Olympic size swimming pool, water slides, and diving boards. Camping facilities and chalets are on-site too. If plants are your thing, take a wander through the University Botanical Gardens www.botan.uu.se where you can while away a couple of hours among flowers in bloom year-round. In Vasa Park (Vasaparken) is the museum Biotopia www.biotopia.nu where visitors can learn about and explore the stunning natural environment and landscape of Uppland. Arty types should visit Bror Hjorth's House (Bror Hjorth's Hus) www.brorhjorthshus.se for quirky, colorful, and utterly unique Scandinavian art. The quaint village of Sigtuna www.destinationsigtuna.se (11 kilometers easy drive from Uppsala) is extremely popular on the tourist trail and provides a picture-postcard look at a typical Swedish village.