Sweden is recognized for many achievements, but not everyone is aware of the fact that it is also among the top 20 list of most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sweden accepted the convention list from UNESCO in 1985, and at present, there are fifteen UNESCO sites in Sweden.
The world heritage sites in Sweden are historically and culturally significant, making them crucial for preservation as well as appreciation. Here’s a brief glance at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sweden – from south to north.
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Top 10 MUST-VISIT UNESCO Sites in Sweden
The archaeological site on the island of Adelsö on Lake Mälaren is remnants from the Viking age. And depict their significance in the history of Scandinavia. This archaeological site is well preserved, and it is believed that kings and chieftains ruled from this site. Graves and burial mounds are dating back to the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
The oldest tomb dates back to the Roman Iron Age while the youngest one is from the Middles Ages. It is believed to be a royal estate from the Viking age as the excavation of a mound there led to the discovery of remnants of a wealthy man.
Birka is located on the island of Björkö, which lies to the south of Adelsö. Birka and Hovgården together make it to the list of Sweden’s World Heritage Sites and it’s also one of the best museums in the country. Birka was an important mercantile town and the hub of a trading network during the Viking age.
It is also the first recorded place of an attempt to Christianize the Swedes by a missionary. One can still see the grave mounds, the town rampart, and the hill fort that formed a part of the Viking settlement. Everyday utensils and remains on the water can also be seen on the property.
Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland
This is a former farm in Hälsingland with a preserved historical and cultural value. They are a great example of the old farmer’s construction technique. There are large decorative dwelling houses that housed several generations of a family. They are designed beautifully with decorated doorways and profiled joinery work around the windows.
The 20th-century building has large porches. The interiors of the buildings are well preserved with Biblical motifs, and funny stories are combined with imported wallpapers.
There are stenciled paintings on the walls, fireplaces, and ceilings. There are a number of outbuildings like a barn, breweries, stables and log cabins. These 19th-century sites are like a blast from the past.
Visby is a locality on the island of Gotland, and the Hanseatic city is a medieval city that is very well preserved and has been in the UNESCO sites in Sweden since 1995. There are a number of ruins and the remains of the town wall. It has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The photogenic destination with its cobbled lanes, wildflowers, and pastel cottages.
The cathedral and medieval churches are the main attractions here. Medieval Week is a good time to visit as you can don period dresses and walk around as peasants, kings, queens, and knights. The walled town with its turrets, spires, cottages, and arches describe “charming” to the world, making it must visit world heritage sites in Sweden.
The High Coast on the Gulf of Bothnia in Sweden is known for its glaciers. The High Coast or the Kvarken Archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sweden. It is because of its distinct red granite cliffs and rock along with the gorgeous seascape. The underrated tourist spot is known for its beautiful scenery.
Stroll through the fishing village of Bönhamn to enjoy the sea views. The Rotsidan Nature Reserve, with a low-lying shoreline, has a unique landscape where you can bask in the sun on the warm rocks.
Karlskrona lies in Blekinge County in Sweden. It is a baroque city and only remaining naval base in Sweden. Because of the history, the architecture is uniform. A historical rope making factory – Repslagarbanan, is also open for guided tours.
The naval port is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a great example of European naval cities. Do make time to see the Kungsholms Fort, Drottningskärs kastell, and the Marinmuseum.
The fort, with its circular harbor, was made in 1680. There are guided tours by boats that go on for two hours in case you want to see it. The Drottningskärs kastell is a tower on the Aspö island, and you can visit it on a car ferry. Model boats and figureheads in the maritime museum are a pleasure to see.
Falun is a city in Dalarna County in Sweden, which is known for the Falun Mine. The Falun Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sweden, and it had been operational from the 10th century to the 1990s. It funded Sweden’s wars and met much of Europe’s copper needs.
Today it is a museum and was designated a heritage site in 2001. There was a short-lived gold rush as well that produced 5 tonnes of gold.
The heritage site covers the town of Falun with the miner’s cottages and residential areas. The main museum has a large collection of portraits, historical displays, artifacts, tools, and machinery.
Skogskyrkogården or the Woodland Cemetery is a cemetery in the district of Enskededalen near Stockholm. It was designed by Sigurd Lewerentz and Gunnar Asplund, keeping together functionalism with Nordic Classism. The land utilized were once old gravel quarries that had pine trees. The natural landscape has been used to create a tranquil space.
There is a detached granite cross, a meditation hill, and chapels of the holy cross, faith, and hope. There is also a small woodland crematorium, and the whole space was designed for the last details. The picturesque cemetery is a mix of architecture, nature, and art.
The agricultural landscape of Öland is a famous world heritage site in Sweden, and it includes the Stora Alvaret. The Stora Alvaret is a limestone terrace that is barren and covers half of Oland. The expanse is dagger-shaped and has many rare plants and species.
It is known for prehistory and biodiversity. The limestone plain had been created due to glacial action before the Ice age. As such, this land contains fossils of some marine creatures.
Alby, a Paleolithic settlement is on the eastern part of the island. Excavations reveal a prehistoric lake and wooden hut vestiges. Archaeologists discovered ringforts and remains of harpoons, spears, and animals. Öland is worth visiting and do check out the quaint villages around it.
Mountains and wildlife characterize the Laponian area in the Lapland province of northern Sweden. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sweden in 1996. Since then, the area was made a heritage site for cultural and natural reasons.
The Sami people live here, and different geographical features dominate each natural reserve. It is a protected area and has multiple natural parks under it and has designated area over 9400 sq km of wilderness.
The landscape has part taiga, part mountains that features glaciers, wetlands, canyons, moraines, boulder fields, and ravines. For those wanting to get mesmerized by the spectacular natural landscape, the Laponian area is one of the most beautiful and must-visit UNESCO sites in Sweden.