The Best 20 Castles to Visit in Sweden (Listed by Popularity)

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This stunning and well-known Scandinavian country abounds with extensive green landscapes, beautiful woodlands, and picturesque mountains comprising glaciers of all shapes and sizes. Besides boasting so much natural splendor, the country is also famous for many other interesting things. The world-famous pop group ABBA originated in Sweden! Other extremely famous Swedish brands include Volvo, Spotify, and Saab.

The country also has an abundance of historical and cultural landmarks which are visited by tourists from around the world each year. We’ve compiled a list of twenty historical landmarks to spark your interest and maybe get you to start planning a vacation to experience some of the country’s beautiful ancient sites.

The order of the list is based on Google search volume of each castle = popularity.

1. Gripsholm Castle

Gripsholm Castle in Sweden.
Gripsholm Castle in Sweden.
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Picturesquely positioned in the county of Sodermanland’s Mariefred town, Gripsholm Castle is a grand Renaissance-style palatial compound with magical water views over Malaren Lake.

Originally built as a military fortification in the latter part of the 14th century, the castle was reconstructed in the 16th century by Gustav Vasa. Today, the site is frequented by Swedish celebrities and is renowned as a top tourist destination. Popular attractions at the site include the well-preserved Gustav III theatre housed within a circular Renaissance tower. The castle also draws many tourists from the world over to view the extensive exhibition of the portraits on display in the Swedish State Portrait Collection, featuring depictions of important people throughout the castle’s existence.

Informative historical and cultural guided tours are available for visitors and boat trip excursions along the lake include a stop to experience the magnificence of Gripsholm Castle.

2. Kalmar Castle

Kalmar Castle and surrounding fortifications.
Kalmar Castle and surrounding fortifications.

Kalmar Castle is a gorgeous site located in Kalmar town in Smaland province. Established as a round fortified tower in the twelfth century, this site was extended during the thirteenth century with the addition of an enclosed fortification with cylindrical corner towers.

The medieval fortress was further reconstructed in the 1500s to resemble a royal compound in the Renaissance style. The castle site has played an important role in the history of Sweden, with several pivotal events occurring there throughout the centuries of its existence.

In the present day, the gorgeous fully-restored castle site is open to the public. Informative guided tours are available for visitors and the scenery is breathtaking. The site is certainly one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and well worth a visit!

3. Orebro Castle

Orebro Castle in the afternoon sun.
Orebro Castle in the afternoon sun.

Beautifully situated on an island in the Svartan river, Orebro Castle is an ancient castle site first constructed in the late 13th century. Built as a defense fortress, the site is believed to have been expanded into a larger fortification during the 14th century.

In the 16th century, the fortification was magnificently transformed into a Renaissance palatial complex as ordered by King Charles IX of Sweden. Further expansion of the castle site occurred during the rule of the Swedish royal family known as the House of Vasa. A final rebuilding project was concluded around the early 20th century.

In the present day, the castle site is open to the public with many interesting tour options available–including a ghost tour. Classrooms and the official residence of the governor of Orebro County are also hosted at the site.

4. Trolleholm Castle

Trolleholm Castle from beyond the moat.
Trolleholm Castle from beyond the moat. 2012-06-03 flickr photo by Giåm shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Trolleholm Castle is an extensive castle estate located in the Scania region, in the southern part of Sweden. The massive layout comprises one hundred and ten structures and several lush lawns and gardens.

It was first known as Kattisnabbe and then renamed Eriksholm. The current name was assigned in 1755 by Frederik Trolle. The present-day owners of this glorious castle site are the Trolle-Bonde family who inherited the land in 1806 from the original Trolle family. The castle estate was given a full overhaul by the family in 1887.

Interestingly, images of the castle site were used by Arrow Games company to feature in their jigsaw puzzles but were incorrectly referenced a Norwegian castle named Trolleheim Castle!

Although the castle itself is not open to the public, the gorgeously landscaped gardens and grounds may be visited.

5. Trolle-Ljungby Castle

The entry bridge to Troll-Ljungby Castle.
The entry bridge to Trolle-Ljungby Castle. Trolle Ljungby Castle flickr photo by roger4336 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Surrounded by a moat, this fairy-tale Renaissance castle is situated in Scania’s Kristianstad Municipality. The beautiful site boasts an interesting lineage of owners including the Danish Bille family in the 14th and 15th centuries & the famous Danish politician Jens Holgersen Ulfstand in the 1460s.

Reconstruction work was carried out at the site from around 1621, with the castle site’s exterior appearance being reshaped to its current Renaissance style while the interior retains Neoclassical and Roccoco styling. The layout of the castle comprises a courtyard surrounded by three wings. The castle houses one of Sweden’s most celebrated private libraries.

The castle site is privately owned by the Wachtmeister family and is not open to the public. However, the gorgeous castle estate gardens are accessible to visitors during certain days of the summer.

  • Location: Kristianstad, Sweden
  • Time built: c. 1621
  • Architectural style: Renaissance
  • Touring: Not allowed.

6. Torup Castle

Torup Castle from the grounds.
Torup Castle from the grounds. Castle flickr photo by Infomastern shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Viewed by many visitors as a romantic and exceptionally well-maintained travel destination, Torup Castle stands proudly in the Svedala Municipal region of Scania–about 15 km (9.3 miles) east of the city of Malmo.

The castle was built after 1545 by a wealthy Danish noblewoman named Gorvel Fadersdotter. The castle estate was constructed for the noblewoman’s son after her second husband had passed away. The castle was restored a century later to take the form that we see today.

In the present day, the castle and the beautifully landscaped gardens are open to the public by appointment for guided tours. The castle is owned by the Malmo Municipality. Take your partner on a romantic getaway to this fantastic location and take in some of the history of the country whilst you fall more in love with one another!

7. Vadstena Castle

Vadstena Castle’s stark beauty.
Vadstena Castle’s stark beauty. Vadstena Castle – Sweden flickr photo by Cederskjold – The Dane shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Vadstena Castle is a grand architectural masterpiece situated in Ostergotland province, in the town of Vadstena. Built as a defensive fortification to protect Stockholm, the castle was commissioned by King Gustav I in the 16th century.

The fortress was transformed into a luxurious palatial complex for use as a royal residence until around 1716. After this, the castle compound was predominantly used as a grain storage unit. Today, the castle compound is open to the public. There is a museum housed at the castle that showcases artwork and furniture from the 16th and 17th centuries. Various pop and classical music concerts are hosted in the castle courtyard throughout the year for tourists to attend. The headquarters of the country’s smallest opera house, Vadstena Academy, is also located within the castle’s grounds.

8. Bogesund Castle

Bogesund Castle within its wooded surroundings.
Bogesund Castle within its wooded surroundings. Bogesund Castle flickr photo by Arild Vågen shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Charmingly situated in the heart of the country’s Bogesundslandet nature reserve, Bogesund Castle is an exquisite former manor house in the Vaxholm Municipality. Built at the instruction of Swedish nobleman Per Brahe the Younger, the castle compound stands statuesquely with magnificent views–including a sightline of Stockholm’s main shipping channel.

The manor house was erected during the 1640s. The pristine castle compound boasts Gothic windows and four grand corner towers which were added in the 1860s. Reputable architects Fredrik Scholander and Thor Medelplan were responsible for the design additions and changes made in the 19th century.

In the present day, the castle site is open to visitors. The castle compound has been well-maintained, and it is an enchanting experience to see the castle amidst the wooded surrounding area when approaching during a tour of the area.

9. Christinehof Castle

Looking across at Christinehof Castle.
Looking across at Christinehof Castle. Christinehof Castle flickr photo by Infomastern shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Christinehof Castle is something out of a fairy-tale! The site was first called Sjostrup, dating to around the early 14th century. This manor, together with Kolstrup Manor, was amalgamated into Andrarum Estate in 1387.

The current German Baroque-style castle was erected between 1737 and 1740 under the direction of Christina Piper–who had bought the larger, united estate in 1725. Christina was a noblewoman and the widow of Carl Piper, a notable Swedish Head of the Chancellery during the reign of King Karl XII.

In the present day, the castle estate is open to the public and a frequently visited tourist destination. The site may be toured without a guide … but the guided tours are quite something with the tour guides dressed in traditional 18th-century regalia!

10. Lacko Castle

The straightforward geometry of Lacko Castle.
The straightforward geometry of Lacko Castle.

The immaculate Lacko Castle with its clean design lines is situated in Vastergotland, on an island known as Kallandso in Lake Vanern. This beautiful castle site has been administered by the Swedish National Property Board as a National Monument since 1993.

Erected as a fort by the Bishop of the Diocese of Skara in around 1298, the site was expanded in the late 15th century, after a fire. After the Reformation, the castle was seized from the bishops and became the property of the Crown under King Gustav Vasa. Throughout the 17th century, extensive building work and expansion took place at the castle site.

Today, the castle site is open to the public and is well-maintained in the decorative Baroque style. The castle’s inner courtyard area serves as the venue for the yearly opera of the Lacko Castle Opera for a few weeks during the summer.

If you are a castle enthusiast, you must take out the time to visit these equally spectacular castles in Sweden as well:

11. Sofiero Castle

The facade of Sofiero Castle.
The facade of Sofiero Castle. Sofiero Castle flickr photo by Infomastern shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Immaculately maintained gardens, lawns, and parks form part of the impressive Sofiero Palace estate. Already an established farm called Skabelycke, it was acquired by the royal family in 1864. Within the next year, the first palace structure was finished at the estate.

In the present day, the palace site is a popular tourist destination. The palace building houses a restaurant and is used sometimes as a venue to host art exhibitions. The fabulous gardens of the palace offer a romantic backdrop and feature a variety of local and exotic flora and fauna.

12. Teleborg Castle

Teleborg Castle through the greenery.
Teleborg Castle through the greenery. 20180823 12 Växjö – Teleborgs Slott (Teleborg Castle) flickr photo by Sjaak Kempe shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Deceptively conveying several centuries of existence, Teleborg Castle was actually only built in 1900! The castle was built as a wedding present from count Fredrik Bonde to his wife. The castle was used by the couple for only 17 years after its completion and then served as a school for girls and housing for rental income.

Today, the beautiful castle is available to the public for rental as a venue for special private events. Certain portions of the castle’s interior are used by the local university.

13. Tosterup Castle

 Tosterup Castle glowing in the afternoon sunlight.
Tosterup Castle glowing in the afternoon sunlight. User Jorchr on sv.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Orderly and lovely Tosterup Castle is located in Scania. The castle has a history dating back to the early 14th century, it has been owned by the Ehrensvard family since 1832.

The castle is open to the public and boasts a fantastic apple orchard. There is a working farm on the estate as well. There is an extensive wooded land area around the castle with specific sections for wild animals from the region. The grounds also include small lakes and a gorgeous moat.

14. Uppsala Castle

Uppsala Castle in downtown Uppsala, Sweden.
Uppsala Castle in downtown Uppsala, Sweden. Uppsala castle flickr photo by Francisco Anzola shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Uppsala Castle is easy to describe as a majestic royal gem! Situated in the town by the same name, this grand castle was first erected in 1549. With several additions, extensions, and remodeling projects carried out at the site over the centuries of its existence, the castle is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture. Today, the site is occupied by various business operations and two museums. The site is also the location for the official home of the Uppsala County governor. 

15. Borgeby Castle

Borgeby Castle's side view.
Borgeby Castle’s side view. Vitold Muratov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Borgeby Castle is situated in Scania, along the shore of the largest river in the region, known as Kavlingean. Excavations have revealed that the castle is built over a fortification dating back to the 11th century. The castle site has a rich lineage of owners, including several Danish and Swedish noble families who inhabited the castle after the Reformation. In the present day, the castle is open to the public, with an art museum and the gallery of Ernst Norlind at the site.

16. Ellinge Castle

The white-washed facade of Ellinge Castle.
The white-washed facade of Ellinge Castle. jorchr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Beautifully whitewashed and quaintly encapsulated by a square moat, surrounded by neatly kept grounds, Ellinge Castle is an ancient castle site located in Scania’s Eslov Municipality. The first castle building traces back to the 1100s.

Today, the beautiful venue may be rented for special occasions and there are guided tours available for visitors to admire the gorgeous interiors of the castle rooms whilst learning about the history of the castle. The famous Purity gin distillery is located at the site and open to visitors as well. Hunting trips are also available for tourists. 

17. Tjoloholm Castle

Tjoloholm Castle in the wintertime.
Tjoloholm Castle in the wintertime. Tjolöholm castle flickr photo by blondinrikard shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Tjoloholm Castle is a lovely manor house located in the town of Halland, along Kungsbacka Fjord. Despite the clear Tudor inspiration, the manor estate was only built in 1904.

In the present day, the gorgeous manor estate is open to the public, with guided tours offered during the summer months. A restaurant and hotel operate year-round within the manor house. The venue is also available to rent for special private events. There are incredible views from the castle grounds and several walking trails to venture along whilst visiting the site.

18. Ekenas Castle

Looking up at the stark grandeur of Ekenas Castle
Looking up at the stark grandeur of Ekenas Castle. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:V%C3%A4stg%C3%B6ten

Naturally defended by an encapsulating lake at the time of building, Ekenas Castle was constructed as a defensive fortification in the 14th century. The structure was transformed into a Renaissance castle during the 17th century and has since been the property of private noble families. The castle estate is situated near Linkoping in Ostergotland.

In the present day, the castle is open to the public. Don’t miss the castle’s Middle Ages fair and jousting, designed to give tourists a sense of what life was like during the early centuries of the castle’s existence.

19. Gunnebo Castle

Gunnebo Castle & grounds.
Gunnebo Castle & grounds. Gunnebo fountain flickr photo by Udo Schröter shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Gunnebo House, as it is referred to, can only be described as an exquisite manor house with impeccable grounds. This glorious Neoclassical style manor house was constructed in the latter part of the 18th century.

This beautiful mansion is open to the public, with the main structure operating as a museum. The interior boasts furniture from the original time of the manor house’s completion. The estate boasts an exceptional Baroque-style landscaped garden as well. Since 2003 the estate has been classified as a cultural reserve.

20. Hjularod Castle

Hjularod Castle from the entry road.
Hjularod Castle from the entry road. User Jorchr on sv.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Scania’s Eslov Municipality you will find the enchanting manor estate known as Hjularod Castle. Writings mention the site in the late 14th century; however, the castle standing today was erected between 1894-1897.

The French Middle Ages-style castle was designed by architects Isak Clason and Lars Wahlman and commissioned by Hans Gustav Toll, intended as a residence. The castle site is not open to the public and is privately owned in the present day by the Bergengren family who has been in possession of the estate since 1926.

Conclusion

Sweden is truly a natural gem, while the country’s history is just as bountiful and remarkable. With so many outstanding historical landmarks and monuments to visit, Sweden certainly rates as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It is already is an established destination visited by history enthusiasts throughout the year. Why not delve into Sweden’s awe-inspiring beauty, splendid cultural, and historical heritage by planning a trip to visit these fantastic castles yourself?

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Charmaine Waterston
Charmaine Waterston
After studying Law and Industrial Psychology, I went on to start my own ICT data recovery business. Some years later I qualified locally as a Financial Advisor and ran my own business with a portfolio of clients. Throughout my life, I traveled extensively to many interesting countries around the world. While enjoying my life’s adventures, I absorbed the rich history of various cultures and experienced the beauty of so many different places! Today, I am an author. I combine my career and travel experience with my thirst for knowledge about our captivating world and the remarkable people in it. My writing is an expression of my passion for personal growth and my love of communication. I am truly fulfilling my dream through my work!

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