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10 Best Cities to Visit in Sweden

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Mike Blumer

Known for miles upon miles of gorgeous coastline and mystical forests from ancient times, Sweden is a remarkable place to travel. The 10 best cities to visit in Sweden offer a treat for the eyes with picturesque spots along the water, plus architectural gems of the past and present united together.

Old and new discoveries await your discovery so put them on your travel itinerary and get ready to be amazed by Sweden’s exquisite beauty. Through an abundance of lakes and forests, ancient reminders of the past, and modern pop culture, these cities offer something for every kind of traveler, especially those that are keen to discover more of this country.

1. Stockholm

When you’re planning a trip to Europe, Stockholm, Sweden’s capital city, is a must. As it spans 14 islands, this city on the water has a view at every turn. Modern and traditional sights intermingle, giving this charming town of old a special feel. Revel in the splendor of breath-taking cathedrals and an expansive palace. Walk down the winding cobble-stoned streets while water surrounds you as though you’re walking into a dream. 

Along with a mix of new architecture, Stockholm also exudes a feel of trendiness. The fashionable style is a match for the lively nightlife, yet makes it perfectly easy to embrace that peaceful and easy on-the-water charm. 

2. Helsingborg

The essential places to visit in Europe often overlook little gems like Helsingborg. Because it is so close to Denmark, it’s an ideal place to add to your itinerary. History buffs will love that there are numerous old battle sights from when the Swedes and Danes had a conflict. Alas, there are castle ruins that take you back in time. 

Surrounded by water, the beauty of the area becomes even more reverent. You’ll find your way down those cobblestone streets that weave you around the city. Turreted buildings give Helsingborg a look of its own, one that you’ll be glad you took the time to see.

3. Lund

Perhaps one of the best cities to visit in Sweden is Lund, for it is the second oldest in the entire country. This purely stunning place will make you think you’ve embarked into a dream rather than one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It features lovely old lanes that wind about the city, taking you through an architectural mosaic. Beyond that, the forests of beech trees create a spectacular border for this medieval town. 

Lund has hidden spots among the leafy parks that are prime for photography or for simply reveling in the beauty. It also features the oldest university in the country, brimming with prestige from the past with a youthful energy of the future. Lively and artistic, Lund is one of the best examples of past and present beauty colliding into an exceptional work of art.

4. Uppsala

Along the banks of Uppsala, you’ll find waterside paths perfect for wandering. It’s among the oldest of Sweden’s cities, a place that is rich with history. It almost feels as though you can breathe this in with every breath, a sense of past that echoes along the ancient streets. Yet, as with many places in Sweden, while the sights of olden times are a constant reminder, the youthful energy bubbles to the surface, even amongst the remains of old Uppsala. 

If you’re traveling to Europe in a month and have Stockholm on your itinerary, Uppsala is easy to get to from there. It’s certainly worth adding for exploring more of this lovely country.

5. Gothenburg

Gothenburg is a perfect Swedish city, one that puts you right on the water. The marinas dotted with immaculate boats are a delightful sight. Coupled with the refreshing sea air, strolling along the waterfront is a sublime activity. In such a setting, you’re also treated to a bevvy of architectural sights and artistic creations. 

It’s a smaller population in this city, an ideal retreat for travelers who would like to step off the beaten path from larger cities, like Stockholm for example. In fact, visiting them both gives you quite a contrast in atmosphere while treating you to incredible beauty at every turn. 

6. Vasteras

There’s something you should know about Vasteras. If you’re approaching it from afar, you may be inclined to turn back around and find another Swedish city to see. It is surrounded by industrial areas and shopping centers that don’t exactly bring to mind beauty and grace. However, move past these and you’ll be in for a town center that is among the most visually pleasing of all. 

Amid the cobblestone streets, stunning cottages depict a cozy warmth and charm. Gardens full of flowers sway gently in the breeze, and an air of invitation swells throughout. It is another small place in regards to population, though it also boasts the breathtaking Vasteras Cathedral. Another interesting tidbit about this small town is the burial mound of Anundshog, where King Brot-Anund rests.

7. Visby

As you prepare for international travel again, it might behoove you to put Visby on your itinerary. It is the capital of Gotland and repeatedly dubbed as Sweden’s most stunning city. The old-fashioned architecture of the buildings and the overall medieval feeling you’ll get can’t be replicated anywhere else. 

Little alleys just off from the cobbled streets, peppered with charming cafes and shops that will sustain you for your exploration. Among the lovely cottages and churches tucked together, you’ll also find beautiful ruins to discover, a reminder of the past. This city also hosts a medieval week in August of every year, making it a great time to stop in and join the fun with costumes and performances. If you’d prefer a more relaxed visit to Visby though, it’s ideal to plan your trip for another time of year.

8. Karlstad

For those that thrive on life outdoors, Karlstad is the perfect city in Sweden to visit. You’ll find it along the shores of Lake Vanern. With the Klaralven River running through it as well, it has water at almost every turn. Ideal for anyone that gets their thrills via watersports, there are plenty of spots to simply relish the scenery. The lake’s massive shoreline provides ample opportunities for such a thing. It’s a more active city than some of the other stops due to the younger generations of college students and focuses more on the beauty of outdoor life rather than ancient relics.

9. Malmo

Malmo is an interesting city to visit for several reasons. For starters, it is the third largest city in Sweden. Another thing that makes it unique is that there are over 150 different nationalities in this city, giving it a multicultural pulse. It sits on the border of Copenhagen and since Germany is right across from it on the Baltic, it has been a beacon for many to explore.

Thriving arts and culture meld with architectural extravagance. Here, the old castle gives you a peek into the past while the Old Town brims with lovely squares. Head to the waterfront and discover the promenade, a place that is lively amid the threads of old woven with the ones of new. Markets with Middle Eastern influence create a diverse scene on the water, with the fragrant aroma of exotic spices wafting into the air to delight all your senses. 

10. Karlskrona

Karlskrona was originally formed so that the King of Sweden could exert control over the Baltic Sea. It is one of the largest cities in the country with a military base that overflows with naval architecture right into the rest of the city. The old buildings hail from the 17th and 18th centuries, however, a tour will help you gain access. As they are still used by the military today, you can’t simply walk right into them on your own.

In addition to the naval military discoveries here, the old churches amid modern shopping malls make for an interesting contrast. Swim around the archipelago for a secluded way to make a splash, or simply sit by the water and partake in this undeniably beauty-laden place.

While Sweden is a simply spectacular country to visit through and through, these 10 best cities to visit in Sweden are ideal when you don’t know where to start. Many can easily be added to your European itinerary. The smaller and lesser known spots are usually accessible from the bigger cities, giving you a chance to discover much more than ever before. 

Mike Blumer

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