Castles across Europe are mainly built to protect their respective cities and countries in the past, and castles in Sweden are no different. Sweden split into the Gota and Svea kingdoms and provinces in the medieval era. In the 1630s, Sweden was emerging and developing a strong military. Many castles in Sweden built from medieval to renaissance era. Sweden has several historic castles that are still well preserved.
Sweden has no lack of entertainment options, tourist attractions, and natural landscapes. This serene Scandinavian nation is very appealing to many tourists. There are different things to do and see in this country so you can easily spend months to explore all the activities and beauty of Sweden.
From wide natural areas like forests, lakes, and rivers, and from beautiful coastlines to cultural landmarks, Sweden is full of vibrant destinations. Here are some of the majestic cultural sights and most beautiful castles in Sweden.
Table of Contents
- 1 Palaces in Sweden: Top 10 Castles in Sweden to Visit
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Palaces in Sweden: Top 10 Castles in Sweden to Visit
Located in a serene town Mariefred on Lake Malaren, this renaissance castle offers a nature reserve, romantic grounds, and collection of furnishings as well as interiors belong to four centuries, including the theatre built by King Gustav III.
The path to get around this Stockholm castle is breathtaking. Most tourists get here by paddle steamers. However, Gripsholm castle faced unsympathetic and massive renovation since the late 1800s, and some of its charms destroyed by adding a weird third floor.
Initially, the Malmö castle was built by King Eric of Pomerania in 1434. Partially, the structure destroyed at the beginning of the 16th century, and a new castle was built over it by King Christian III of Denmark in the 1530s. This fortress is among the most prominent strongholds of Denmark.
For five years, i.e., 1568 to 1573, the castle served as a prison of 4th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn, who was also the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was jailed on the orders of Frederick II, the Protestant Danish king when his ship ran in Bergen, Norway. He was imprisoned in Malmö castle, despite being released from Tower of London due to lack of evidence for the murder of the second husband of Mary, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
Frederick II, as a bachelor, courted Elizabeth I and became a Knight of the Garter. According to some sources, there is another reason for the Danish king’s involvement in this matter. He is known to have held hopes to collect a ransom in Scotland.
However, the earl died in Dragsholm Castle in 1578 where he was moved after the captivity of Danish in the first five years, without being subject to negotiations between Scottish and Danish for the release.
Skokloster Castle is known to be one of the best Baroque European castles. Built around 1654 to 1676 by Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel, Skokloster Castle is a monument belongs to the Age of Greatness, in the mid-17th century when Sweden became one of the major European powers.
In 1676, after Count Wrangel’s death, the castle was never completed completely. This banqueting hall is still unfinished, and most of the tools remain in the house. The rest of the part of the castle remained the same for over 300 years. The subsequent owners, along with Wrangel collected books, weapons, textiles, and various other objects. Currently, it exhibits the collection of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The eldest daughter of Wrangel, Margareta Juliana married Nils Brahe, a member of the most exalted family in Sweden. Skokloster castle became Entailed Estate on her rule in 1701. This type of ownership restricts the owner from giving away or selling any part of this castle, estate, and its collections which have grown over the years.
Rosendal Palace is a Swedish pavilion palace on Djurgården Island located in the heart of Stockholm. Built around 1823 and 1827 by King Karl XIV Johan, Rosendal Palace is one of the best castles around Stockholm, created as an escape from court life formalities at Royal Palace, mostly designed by one of the best architects of the era, Fredrik Blom (who got the royal commission to the built palace after the last buildings burned).
Rosendal Palace is a great example of Swedish architecture. It has a tremendous overall impact on furniture, textiles, and fittings designed and made by Swedish artisans and architects.
The castle is open from June to August each summer. The architect based in Stockholm City between 1818 and 1824, Fredrik August Lidstromer had been the principal architect for King Karl XIV Johan at the construction of Rosendal Palace. Lidstrom had also created drawings for replacement palace when it was burned down in 1819.
Later on, these were redrawn and adapted by Fredrik Blom, who had been Jonas Lidstromer’s assistant. At Rosendal Palace, the Queen’s Pavilion and Guard’s Cottage has been the work of Fredrik August Lidstromer’s work.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is one of the largest European palaces. It is the official residence with around 600 rooms for His Majesty the King of Sweden. The palace has five museums open to the public. Largely, the palace was built around the 18th century in Italian Baroque architecture on the spot where the castle named Kronor burned down in the year 1697.
You can explore the reception rooms with beautiful interiors from the 18th and 19th centuries, Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chivalry) and Rikssalen (Hall of State) with the silver throne of Queen Kristina. You can also check the Museum of Antiquities of Gustav III, the Treasury, and the Tre Kronor Museum.
The Royal Palace also exhibits the royal costumes and armor in The Armory, along with magnificent coaches and coronation carriages from the Royal Stable. Also, don’t miss the daily changing of guard and parade of soldiers.
The term “Örebro” refers to “bridge over the graveled river” because the castle was a logistics hub that had overseen the ships crossing the River Svartan Bridge. Currently, Örebro castle has designs by King Karl IX of Sweden and has four ranges of three stories covering a courtyard with a round tower.
It was once known to be one of the toughest defensive strongholds in Sweden during the medieval era. The fortress is believed to have a defense tower with a nearby wall. However, when it is still unknown where it was built.
It hosted a lot of major events over the centuries in Swedish history. It has also served as a house of county governor for more than two decades, but most of the castle is open to the public with exhibitions, food, conferences and guided tours belonging to daily activities. The palace located in the sixth-largest city of Sweden in Örebro City and it is one of the prominent inland hubs in Sweden.
Kalmar Castle is 800 years old legendary fortification. It has served as a key to the kingdom due to its strategic location over the years. Blekinge and Scania were Danish territories of the period, and the Swedish-Danish border positioned just a short distance towards the south.
The current form of Kalmar Castle Sweden dated back to the 16th century when Johan III and Erik XIV, and Gustav Vasa kings rebuilt this medieval fortification and turned it into the palace of Renaissance architecture decorated and furnished well in a continental manner.
The castle had played a vital role in the politics of the Nordic era as the location for Kalmar Union signing in the year 1397. The 600th anniversary of the union was celebrated well in 1997 during the whole year.
Located in Kristianstad Municipality of Scania in Southern Sweden, Backaskog Castle was a monastery in the 13th century. Later on, it became a castle in the 16th century. The castle is positioned well on isthmus combining the Oppmanna Lake and the largest lake of Scania, Ivo Lake.
The Danish Crown has closed down the monastery in the year 1537 during Reformation. The noblemen Henrik Ramel and Henrik Ramel Jr. were in charge of its current form in 1584-1653.
Ekenäs castle is built in renaissance architecture when Sweden was indulged heavily in the struggle of European power from 17th to the 18th century. You can join one of the skilled tour guides for free, and it is open to the public, along with the administration.
The castle has always been and is still a private castle since Svante Sture. He lived during 1560-1568, the rule of King Erik XIV. When he ascended the throne, he was going to win the favor of influential individuals in the aristocracy of Sweden.
For that end, one of his strategies was to bestow on three of the most powerful nobles of Sweden, the title of count. It was a significant move in the history of Sweden, and Svante Sture was the one who received the title. Count Philip Klingspor owned the castle in the early 1880s as well as its nearby area. It marked the new era of the history of the castle. Bergengren’s family is the present owner of the castle.
Läckö Castle is a medieval Swedish castle on Kållandsö Island of Lake Vanem around 25 km north of Lidköping. Bishop of Skara, Brynolf Algotsson built the fortified castle as a fort in 1298. It had 2 to 3 houses covered by a wall. In the 1470s, it was burned down but expanded by Brynolf Gerlachsson.
In 1527, King Gustav Vasa possessed the castle after the Reformation. Jacob Pontusson Del La Gardie was a field marshal who granted it in 1615. He embarked on a vast surrounding spree and conquered the third floor of the keep. On the central courtyard, the portal added under his rule. The frescos also depicted winding plants on the niches, people, rooms and stairwells on the third floor.
Count Magnus Gabriel Del la Gardie started a huge construction project in 1654 at Lacko. In the main building, a fourth-floor constructed, and many artists were hired to design the ceilings and walls of the castle.
Lacko Castle has been managed as a national monument by the National Property Board since the year 1993. The National Museum of Fine Arts, Foundation of Lacko Castle, and the National Property Board work well to furnish and maintain the castle in Baroque style. Lacko Castle Opera starts production of opera in the inner courtyard of the castle with performances for around three weeks in July.
The Nordic most beautiful ruin or the Borgholm Castle is a prominent structure that always fascinates the visitors. This overwhelming and giant castle located in a serene surrounding is the highlight amongst the natural landscapes. Sadly in 1806, it was burned down, and only the bare limestone walls left on its former glory.
Currently, Borgholm Castle is the remains of the significant Baroque palace that was built by King Karl X Gustav in the middle of the 17th century. He is the only king of Sweden who stayed longer at the castle.
Currently, Borgholm Castle is one of the most significant tourist attractions of the region, and it gives a serene and amazing way to get an insight into the Nordic, Swedish, and European history of over 900 years. Borgholm Castle belongs to the cultural heritage, and the National Property Board manages it well.
The castle strategically combines history to the present days as a living museum. It blends the prominent exhibits of the historical importance of the castle with kids’ activities, art exhibitions, concerts, and guided tours. New concerts and exhibitions in the castle are presented well to form an exciting and serene environment.
The fascinating history of this castle shown at the museum where you can explore the findings due to the excavation missions in the castles and models to see the castle in various periods.