Castles of Sweden

Sweden’s 30 Best Castles

Sweden cherishes one of its great symbols of grandeur – its many castles, from austere fortresses to lavish royal residences. Almost all of them are in excellent condition, so tourists from all over the world come to see them and soak up the spirit of the Middle Ages. Sweden has several hundred castle complexes built in the period from XII to XIX century.

Today they belong to individuals, state, royal family or public organizations. They arrange museums, hotels, offices, restaurants, or they are just used for living. In any case, all these buildings are a unique historical heritage, protected by the state. Most of the castles are located in the south. As a rule, they were built on the banks of ponds, and next to them picturesque parks.

The most interesting medieval castles and fortresses

List, pictures with names and descriptions of ancient castles!

Visby City Wall

The old port town of Visby on the island of Gotland is the best preserved medieval settlement in Scandinavia. Until today it is surrounded by strong walls of 3.5 meters high and 27 towers of 15-20 meters high, which were built to protect citizens from pirates. The oldest tower – the Powder Tower – was built in the early XII century. The total length of the fortification is 3.5 km. Largely thanks to it the city fell under UNESCO protection.

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Gripsholm

Located on the shore of the lake in the city of Mariefred. It was laid for the chancellor’s family in 1380, 150 years later came into the possession of the Swedish king. Gradually rebuilt and acquired his present features. Belonged to the royal family until 1713. In the 18th century it was used as a prison. Later, under Gustav III, in one of the towers the court theater was created. Today, the castle houses a museum and the state portrait gallery.

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Vadstena

It was built in 1545 by order of the Swedish king for the protection of the capital from attacks of the Danes. It is situated on the Wettern Lake. Until 1716 it served as a royal residence, later it was used as a granary. In modern times, the interiors have been restored and the ramparts restored. The castle opened a museum, and there is a tourist information center, an archive, and the office of the Vadstena Academy. In the summer, concerts are held in the courtyard.

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Kalmar

The history of the Renaissance castle in Kalmar began in 1160 with the construction of a watchtower. It later became a massive fortification, protecting the townsfolk from the enemy. Heads of state often met here to negotiate and sign agreements. In 1592 a chapel was built. In the 17th century the castle housed warehouses, a brewery and a prison. Today there is a museum here.

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Lekkö

It rises on an island of the largest lake in Sweden – Lake Venerne. It is the national monument of the country. It traces its history back to 1298, was radically rebuilt several times, had many owners. Its final appearance with baroque elements acquired in the XVII century, being the possession of the noble Swedish Delagardi family. Today the castle and its garden are open to the public, and during the summertime there are exhibitions and performances.

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Erebro

Sweden’s national monument. It is located in the city of Örebro, on the coast of the river Swarton. It was built to defend against aggressive neighbors in 1240. It participated in battles until the 16th century. It was restored several times, only one tower survived in its original form. During the last 4 centuries it functioned as a royal castle, prison, storehouses and governor’s residence. Today it houses a museum, hotel, school and cafe.

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Skokloster

Built in the 1600s for Field Marshal Count Wrangel, one of the richest men in Sweden. It is located on Lake Mälaren. It is a huge white stone building with 4 corner towers. The only castle in Europe which remained unchanged since the 17th century. It embodies the luxury of Baroque style. Its collections include weapons, furniture, textiles, books, carpets, paintings. There is a museum in the castle.

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Uppsala

The famous building of the city of Uppsala was laid in 1549 by order of the Swedish king. The majestic mansion had been under construction for 100 years. It dominated over the residence of the archbishop and was supposed to remind him of the supremacy of royal power. A fire in 1702 burned out most of the building and it was not rebuilt until the 19th century. Today three museums and the governor’s office are located there. The botanical garden is situated next to it.

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Sofieru

Located on the shore, 5 km from Helsingborg. It was given as a wedding gift in 1905 to the future King Gustaf Adolf and his wife Margaret. The crown princess planted gardens around the castle, with rhododendrons being the main decoration. Today, they grow about 500 species, and tourists come especially to see them bloom. The castle in 1973 was transferred to the city, but the royal family still finances the labor of gardeners.

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Malmöhus

Is a complex of stone buildings, surrounded by a massive wall and a moat with water. It was built in 1542 for the King of Denmark. It was meant to defend the western Danish borders. There were barracks and artillery pieces on its territory, and later – a prison. Today there are several museums, introducing the history of the city of Malmo, works of Scandinavian artists and the development of scientific and technological progress in Sweden.

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Landskrona

A powerful defensive fortress. It is located in a port city of the same name in the south of Sweden. It was built in the XVI century by the Danish king to protect the bay. The system of fortifications and several moats around the castle is one of the largest and best-preserved in Europe. During the XIX-XX centuries the fortress was used as a prison. Today it is available for tours and events. There is a museum, cafe and recreation area.

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Marsvinsholm

An elegant Renaissance castle with two towers, surrounded by a pond, was built in the 1640s for a noble Dane. It is located 12 km from the town of Ystad. During its history it has changed many owners, and was often rebuilt. Inside the castle today can not be accessed, it is rented out for various celebrations. In the summertime in the palace park are theatrical performances. Since 2007, an exhibition of sculptures is held.

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Karlsten Castle

The main attraction of the city of Marstrand. Erected in the 17th century, it protected the approaches to an important ice-free harbor. It survived two enemy attacks, was even conquered, but was eventually returned to Sweden. In the 19th century it was used as a prison for dangerous criminals. Today guided tours are offered and medieval battles are reconstructed in the courtyard. The former barracks is now a hotel.

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Drottningscher

A strong citadel with four corner bastions. It is located on the island of Aspe on the outskirts of Karlskrona. Construction took 70 years, starting in 1680. The fortress lost its military purpose by the end of the 19th century. Today there are guided tours and museum expositions. There is a restaurant in the courtyard in the house of the commandant. You can get to the fortress by ferry from the pier in Karlskrona.

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Borgholm

Originally a defensive fortress in Borgholm was built in the XII century, in subsequent centuries, many times rebuilt, passed from the Danes to the Swedes and back again. In XVIII century, the last reconstruction was carried out. But after the fire in 1806, the fortress turned into ruins and was never rebuilt. Today, it is open to visitors, there is a museum and theatrical performances are periodically held.

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Nyköping

The white tower by the river in the center of the town of Nyköping is almost all that remains of the powerful structure that defended the approaches to Stockholm. Defensive fortress was built in the XII century, and then many times rebuilt and strengthened. In XVI century, it was a royal residence. It was badly damaged by fire in 1665. In the last century some of the buildings were rebuilt. There is a museum, gift store and restaurant.

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Swaneholm

It is located in the south of the country, 26 km from Malmö, on an island near Lake Svane. It was built in the XVI century for the nobleman Sparre, and then was rebuilt many times. The last owner of the castle in the 30s of last century was Carl Augustin Ehrensvärd. He installed electricity and central heating. After his death the palace was transferred to the ownership of the city and a museum was opened here. In addition to the lake, the castle is surrounded by flowering gardens, meadows, and forest.

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Trolleholm

Magnificent castle with round towers surrounded by a park and mirror-like canals. Located 9 km from the town of Eslev. Erected in the early 15th century, later rebuilt and renamed three times. In the XVII century it became the family estate of the Trolley family. The castle gained its current Renaissance appearance during the modernization in 1887. It is famous for its library with rare books. Only the park and the chateau surroundings are accessible to the public.

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Krunuberg

It is located 5 km north of the town of Växjö, on Lake Helgason. It was built as a bishop’s palace in 1444. It was used for defensive purposes. It lost its military purpose in the middle of the XVII century, and since then began to crumble and gradually turned into ruins. In the summertime it is open for tourists. On its territory theatrical performances, carnivals in medieval costumes, battle re-enactments are organized.

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Vaxholm Fortress

The powerful bastions of this fortress are built between the islands of Rindyo and Waksyeong, on the approaches to the nation’s capital. The citadel traces its history back to the beginning of the 16th century. Several times it repulsed attacks on Stockholm, was constantly rebuilt and strengthened. In the XIX century it lost its military purpose. Today it is an outstanding monument of architecture, on the territory of which there is a military museum, a hotel, conference halls and a cafe.

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Trolle Lungby

Medieval castle in the style of Renaissance in the south of Sweden. It is situated on a small island surrounded by a deep moat. It was built in XIV-XV centuries for a noble Danish family. Its current appearance is by the end of the XVII century. Near the castle built a church. Inside the castle remained Rococo and neoclassical interiors, the original furniture, one of the best private libraries in the country. The castle is owned by the family of Counts Trole-Vachtmeister.

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Mölsacker

It stands on the shores of Lake Mälaren, 70 km from the capital. It is a magnificent example of elegant baroque architecture. It acquired its present appearance by the end of the XVII century, when it belonged to the aristocratic family Goob. A fire in 1945 almost completely destroyed the building. It took 50 years to restore it. Today, the palace and the surrounding park are available to the public. A foundry is open on the grounds.

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Glimmingehus

Powerful medieval building 10 km from Simrishamn. Built in the early 16th century by order of a Danish knight. It is a rectangular stone structure 30 meters long, 12 meters wide and 26 meters high. Inside there are a lot of false doors, secret pits, dead-end corridors, killer holes and so on. There is central heating. The citadel is surrounded by a moat with water. Today there is a museum, a restaurant and a store.

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Scarhult

A luxurious structure in the south of Sweden surrounded by a landscaped manicured park. One of the well-preserved Renaissance Scandinavian palace complexes. The Barons von Schwerin, owners of the manor, still live there and manage the neighboring farm. Since 2014, the castle grounds have been accessible to tourists. Tours of its halls and the adjacent park are offered, and then guests are treated to a delicious lunch in the basement café.

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Torup

Torup is located in southern Sweden, 15 km from the city of Malmö. It was built in the early 16th century. It is a three-storey brick construction in the form of a square with one eight-cornered and one round tower. The castle is surrounded by agricultural land, a picturesque park and beech forest. Since 1970, the building belongs to the city of Malmö. Possible tours by appointment. For tourists developed a cultural trail called “Life Around the Castle”.

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Osgård

Located on the shore of Lake Mälaren, in the town of Mariefred. Leads its history since 1681. It combines elements of Baroque and Scandinavian style. It is famous for its luxurious interior. It reached its true heyday in 1937, when the writer Hildin Shellen, a lover of art evenings and other social events, bought it. Today, the castle is rented out for celebrations, particularly wedding ceremonies.

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Bochus Fortress

It is located on the hill of Bagaholm Island, on the border with Norway. It was laid by order of the Norwegian king in 1308 for protection against the southern neighbors. It is famous for the fact that in the history of its existence it was besieged 14 times, but was not taken. Today is a ruin, overgrown with grass, with the only surviving tower, ramparts and magnificent views of the river valley. In the summertime is available to tourists.

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Penningby

Located in the seaside valley, 70 km from Stockholm. It began to be built at the end of the XIV century. In the early 19th century English garden was laid out in front of the castle. In 1831 it was damaged in a fire, after which part of the building was completely rebuilt. The last restoration was carried out in the 50s of the last century. Today, the interior of the castle is available in the summertime. It belongs to the national cultural heritage.

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Castellet .

The castle was built in 1667 as a defensive structure. Located on an island in the center of Stockholm. In 1845 it was severely damaged by an explosion in a gunpowder laboratory, which was located on the fort. The dominant new image of the fort was a 20-meter round tower made of red brick. Every morning the country’s maritime flag rises above it as a symbol of peaceful life and prosperity in Sweden.

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Rosersberg

Located 26 km from Stockholm, on the shore of Lake Mälaren. It was built in Renaissance style in the 1630s for the family of the Rikskancellor Oksenshern. A century later it was modernized with the addition of Baroque elements. From 1757 it served as a royal residence and acquired many new luxurious interiors. At the end of the 19th century it was handed over to the army. Since 1960, the land and part of the buildings have been under the authority of the Rescue Board. There is a museum in the central building.

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