Gripsholm Castle – A Renaissance Beauty (History & Travel Tips)

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Located in the midst of a picturesque town by Lake Mälaren, Gripsholm Castle is the prime representation of Renaissance architecture in Sweden. From its detailed interior furnishing to its natural scenic beauty, the castle is worthy of the appreciation and attention it gets from thousands of tourists.

If you are planning your trip to Gripsholm Castle this year or are simply interested in learning about the history of the castle, you are in the right place. In this article, we will take you on a detailed tour of the historical significance of the castle to the tips and tricks that you need to know before visiting Gripsholm Castle. 

Gripsholm Castle enjoyed its glory as being the epicenter of social festivities, including the lavish parties, balls, and theatrical plays held at the castle through the nineteenth century. 

The entrance view to Gripsholm Castle.
The entrance view to Gripsholm Castle. Gripsholm Castle flickr photo by Leo-setä shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

From Fortress to a Palace (14th– 16th Century)

Known as one of the finest historical castles preserved in Sweden, the castle was originally built as a fortress around the 14th century. The fortress belonged to Bo Jonsson and his family until it was confiscated by King Gustav I around 1526. The fortress was torn down by King Gustav, and a fortified castle was built in its place in the Renaissance architectural style.

Artistic impression of Gripsholm Castle in the 17th Century.
Artistic impression of Gripsholm Castle in the 17th Century.

Conversion of the Palace into a Royal Residence (16th-18th century)

Gripsholm Fortress was converted into a palace within the same century. The Royal family moved into the palace around the late 1570s, and it remained a royal residence until 1713. During that time period, the castle also served as a royal prison for King Eric XIV’s brother and later as a prison for King Eric himself when he was overthrown by King John. Later, King Gustav III added some renovations to the castle, including a theatre in one of the castle’s towers, and converted it into his residence.

Panoramic representation of Gripsholm Castle’s reconstructed structure in the 19th century.
Panoramic representation of Gripsholm Castle’s reconstructed structure in the 19th century. litografi av Carl Johan Billmark (1804 – 1870).Den fjättrade ankan at sv.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Restoration of Gripsholm Castle in the 19th century

By the end of the nineteenth century, modernization of the castle began under the supervision of the Gripsholm Association, which was established in 1889. The castle underwent some major reconstructions under the supervision of the architect Fredrik Liljekvist, the changes are known as a rather controversial renovation. The architect removed major portions of the existing Gripsholm Palace in an attempt to restore the original Renaissance glamor of the castle. In addition to major structural renovations, an additional 3rd floor was also added to the palace.

The interior of Gripsholm Castle showing the castle armory.
The interior of Gripsholm Castle. Nationalmuseum Stockholm from Stockholm, Sweden, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Current Times

At present, only the front façade of the original walls remains. The castle no longer serves as a royal residence. Instead, it functions as a museum, housing various collections of period furnishings, handicrafts, as well as prized items that serve as a remnant of the castle’s glory days. The museum, which is open for the public to visit, also houses a collection of paintings and artworks from the Renaissance era. The portrait collection displayed in the castle’s museum, the National Collection of Portraits, is the world’s oldest portrait collection.

A panoramic display of Lake Malaren and Gripsholm Castle.
A panoramic display of Lake Malaren and Gripsholm Castle.

Interesting Gripsholm Castle Facts

  • King Gustav III originally intended to renovate Gripsholm into a neo-classical wonder, ultimately that did not come to reality. 
  • Gripsholm Castle enjoyed its glory as being the epicenter of social festivities, including the lavish parties, balls, and theatrical plays held at the castle through the nineteenth century. 
  • Interestingly, the castle’s museum has a stuffed lion displayed as a part of the castle’s major collection. Despite the absurdly dysmorphic shape of the stuffed lion, it has added to the popularity of the castle.

Visiting Gripsholm Castle – Tips and Tricks

By this point, we are sure that Gripsholm Castle has caught your interest. If you are unaware of how you can get to the castle or how much the ticketing fee costs, we are here to ease that trouble for you. Below are ticket pricing for the visiting hours, in addition to some tips and tricks that might come in handy while visiting the castle.

The statue of the Goddess of Hebe at Gripsholm castle garden.
The statue of the Goddess of Hebe at Gripsholm castle garden. Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get to Gripsholm Castle?

Getting to Gripsholm Castle from the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, takes about 38 minutes via hourly train. Train routes 929, 937, or 919 from Stockholm Central Station are the easiest ways to reach Laggesta Station. From there, you can take a bus to Gripsholm Castle for under 18-20 Swedish Krona ($2- 4 USD).

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

The castle is open to the public every day of the year from 10 am till 4 pm. The busiest visiting hours are from 10 am to 12 pm. If you wish to visit the castle outside the crowded hours, it’s best to visit in the afternoon. 

Visiting the castle ground is free of cost. Touring the castle’s interior hallways and museum costs a fee of SEK 30 ($3 USD). In addition, guided tours are also available, which can cost an additional SEK 30 ($3 USD). The tour is free for children under 18 years of age. 

Under the supervision of 45-minute guided tours, you can visit the castle’s corridors, inner chambers, and rooms in addition to learning about the history and significance of the artifacts displayed in the castle’s museum. 

While visiting Gripsholm Castle, make sure to remember that limited slots for guided tours are available every day. Since there is no pre-booking option available, it’s best to arrive at the castle during the early opening hours to secure your spot.

A peek at the inner courtyard of Gripsholm Castle.
A peek at the inner courtyard of Gripsholm Castle. Jacob Truedson Demitz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

It can take about two hours to complete a full tour of Gripsholm Castle. 

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • There are no cafés or restaurants available within the castle, so make sure to pack your snacks with you beforehand. 
  • Wear comfortable shoe-wear since walking around those long corridors can become challenging in uncomfortable shoes. 
  • The castle’s museum contains a number of portraits and artifacts. So, if you want your children to learn some history, Gripsholm Castle can be an interesting starting point.

Quick Video Tour of The Main Gripsholm Castle Areas

Kainat Khalid
Kainat Khalid
Kainat is an English literature graduate with a profound interest in historical architecture. She has studied and explored the dusted pages of history for years which has ignited her passion to explore the existing remnants of our past glory and revisit them from a revised perspective. “There is no present without the past” is what she believes in and what drove her to begin cataloging these timeless historical monuments.

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