From a country that has so many legendary kings (I’m shouting out the mythical Beowulf here) there’s not quite as many castles as you’d imagine but the ones you will find are pretty epic.
I’ve got to be honest, when I first think of Sweden, I think of its pretty little towns, its amazing ice-hotel (that happens every winter) or its capital city of Stockholm but I rarely thought of castles… until now!
Sweden has been hiding a gold-mine of exciting castles, palaces and forts (whatever you want to call them) that we should most definitely enjoy so if you’re planning a trip to Sweden you should definitely check out these beauties…
1.) Trolleholm Castle
Spread over a whopping 1200 acres, Trolleholm Castle is pretty epic estate that is still privately owned! Standing for over 1/2 a millennia, this beautiful castle is well-worth a visit during you’re next trip to Southern Sweden. Oh and don’t forget to sneak a peek at its gardens, they’re immense!
2) Skokloster Castle
Arguably one of the most beautiful Baroque castles in all of Europe, Skokloster Castle is nestled on the banks of Mälaren’s shores and dates from the 17th century (which is still young in castle years). 😉 Don’t forget to take a little gander around the castle and a guided walk through beautiful halls and ornate state rooms.
3) Drottningholm Palace
Dating from the 17th century, Drottningholm Palace is one (yes, one!) of the official residences of the Swedish royal family and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Heavily influenced by French architecture, it’s one place you can spot a little bit of France in a Nordic country. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled some quirky additions too like its Chinese Pavilion and the Baroque garden.
4) Gripsholm Castle
Nestled on the banks of Lake Mälaren, Gripsholm Castle is known for its sweeping garden that spans for days! Oh, and don’t forget to keep a look out for a deer (or 500) that roam this area. If you’re heading inside, expect lots of smug mug oil paintings adorning the walls… Hehe!
In all seriousness there are some beautiful examples and artefacts including the Swedish National Portrait collection that’s well worth a peep at.
5) The Royal Palace
*Remember, I did said the Swedish royal family had more than one palace? 😉
As the name suggests, this is the official residence of the King of Sweden and is famous for having over 600 rooms. This colossus palace is also home to five museums on site for us all to enjoy and full of antiques that date back many hundreds of years.
6) Malmö Castle
In the south of Sweden, Malmö Castle was built in the 16th century and originally belonged to the Danish (shhhh, don’t tell them, they’ll want it back). Now part of Sweden, the castle was feared in days gone by as a place to imprison criminals, similar to the Tower of London in the UK or more recently Alcatraz in San Francisco. *gulp*
7) Rosendal Palace
Another (yes, another) royal residence, Rosendal Palace sits on its own island of Djurgården and is known for its Swedish Empire style of design. Inside the palace you will find a pretty epic range of period pieces including furniture and plush textiles from all over the world.
8) Eketorp Fortress
Not so much ‘castle’ as it is ‘fortress’,Eketorp is one of the oldest standing fortresses in all of Sweden.
Eketorp is located in southern Öland, which has also been awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. The ancient fortress was built with lots of sweat and tears (I can imagine) in the darkest years of the Iron Age – it’s almost 1,700 years old!
9) Bohus Fortress
A medieval castle, Bohus Fortress is on the border of Norway and Sweden and actually used to be part of Norway. Nowadays it belongs to Sweden and is often held up as one of the most well-preserved examples of Northern European architecture in the region.
10) Örebro Castle
Located on the Svartån River, the Örebro Castle was built to keep a watchful eye out for contraband (such as liquor and gold) and see if it was being passed along the river. In recent times, they no longer watch out for the liquor and the castle has been opened to us all to enjoy its concerts that take place throughout the year.
11) Kalmar Castle
Found in the little town of Kalmar, Kalmar Castle dates back to the Stone Age. It is one of the lesser known castles in Sweden but is well worth a visit if you want to get off the beaten track and see one of the area’s oldest historic buildings.
12.) Marsvinsholm Castle
A long time ago, Marsvinsholm Castle in Southern Sweden was part of (modern-day) Denmark and built for the Royal family (still surprised that Denmark hasn’t asked for it back yet) ;-). The castle itself has been restored quite a few times and now stands proud for us all to enjoy.
If you want to see a list of the prettiest castles in Denmark, then take a look at our post, here.