COUNTRYSIDE TRAVEL: THIS IS THE OLDEST TOWN IN SWEDEN
SIGTUNA IN PICTURES
Countryside travel is one of my favorite ways of exploring the countries I visit. I guess it is the same for you. My trip to Sigtuna was short and amorous. I felt instantly in love with the water view, the colorful street filled with tiny shops, and most of all – the feel of an old and somewhat mysterious place.
Sigtuna is Sweden’s first town. It was founded in AD 970 by King Eric the Victorious. To me, it seemed that very little has changed since then. The lifestyle of the Swedes evolved but the medieval feel is still there, along with the Viking’s tangible presence. Sweden’s first coins were minted here and during 250 years the town was the royal and economical center.
SIGTUNA’S COUNTRYSIDE FEEL
Sigtuna town is a very touristy place, as I had the chance to see. Despite the crowds filling the main street with noise and colors, in the rest of the town, the atmosphere is peaceful and provokes you to make long walks.
There are 9 000 inhabitants in this small picturesque town so close to Stockholm. The impression that left in me is for people proud of their history and culture and very open to visitors. Smiles are free gifts here and stress-free ambiance is just the way this place exists.
Walking around, I found an immensely big number of hidden spots that enchant with country style charm. Entrance doors of houses were all pleasant to watch and very characteristic. Flowers were surrounding all homes and letter boxes often were decorated with painted scenes.
A MEDIEVAL TOWN
The picturesque look of the town comes from the colorful facades and the constant presence of water; both are so typical for the Nordic countries. The historical museum, in spite of its serious name, is nestled in a modest building with even smaller garden. What a lovely place is this museum! Most of such places look grim but this museum somehow feels homey.
Walking along Stora gatan, one is amazed by conviviality and the small size of everything around. The beautiful wooden buildings on the main street, that it is said to stand here from one thousand years, are not tall. They look as old ladies bent under the weight of their years but still lovable.
The runic stones scattered around the town and the old town hall are giving the place this mysterious feel I was talking about before. The town hall (Sigtuna Radhus) is curious wooden building that to me looked more like a church. Its story is a bit emotional. It says that during one of the large fires that demolished the town, people left their own homes to the fire and came to protect it with wet blankets. It was so important to them. And so, today the building is standing in the middle, making it a focal point and place where you inevitably come back, no matter which way your walks are going. It is like a magnet. Inside, however, you expect to see something interesting. Disappointingly, the building has just two rooms that the visitor can see. Tiny rooms with the sweet odor of ancient wood and untold stories.
1909 SIGTUNA STADS HOTEL
Facing this cute museum is another historical place – the Sigtuna Stads Hotel. The hotel claims that its history goes back to middle ages, and was re-opened in 1909. Recently, a new owner took the rudder. In result, the hotel was renovated in order to bring back its previous glory and be updated to meet the requirements of the times.
I can say one thing – it is a magical place to be. The vistas from the windows, the table candles which lights are reflected in the original crystal chandeliers … all these details make it a perfect place to stay as a tourist, business traveler or newlyweds on a honeymoon.
A GREEN VENUE
Sigtuna’s green look amazed me. Green grass, flowers, and trees were all over the place. The graveyard surrounding the 12th-century church was lovely place despite its sad function. Ivy was wrapping up the crosses on the ground in a soft embrace. Flowers could be seen everywhere – in the gardens, in pots, climbing the facades and even in the water – the water lilies were blooming.
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TANT BRUNS KAFFESTUGA
One place you shouldn’t miss is Tant Bruns Kaffestuga, a café popular among not only tourists but locals too.
It is obviously one of the oldest buildings in the town and you can find it easily by just looking for Auntie Brown, the old lady with glasses at the door. The cafe is located on one of the cross streets of Stora gatan. What you will find here are several Lilliputian rooms, a small garden with several tables and absolutely amazing pies, homemade bread, and other goodies. One of the best places for authenticity and good snack-seekers.
Laurentii Gränd 3
193 30 Sigtuna
SIGTUNA MAIN SITES
♠ Sigtuna Museum
♠ Old town hall
♠ St. Mary’s Church
♠ St. Olof’s church ruin
♠ The promenade along lake Malar
HOW TO REACH SIGTUNA
Sigtuna has a perfect location for one day visit from Stockholm. And even better – it is located only 20 minutes drive from the international airport Arlanda. From Stockholm, you can reach it for 45 minutes drive/bus or 1 hour by train. For a list of all travel connections, check the Sigtuna Tourist Office site.
Although I spent just a day in Sigtuna, every minute was bounteous with Middle Ages treasures, intuitive sensations and mysterious stories about kings, Vikings, Dominican monasteries and destructive attacks by raiders. Today, the town is a peaceful and romantic place to be. One of the best to visit in Sweden and on the top of my list for countryside travel in Europe.
This trip was sponsored by Visit Stockholm during my attendance of TBEX conference in July 2016. All opinions expressed and recommendations made in this post are honest and are written to give you an impression of the place. I am grateful for this opportunity to discover (for me and you my readers) this amazing countryside travel destination and would love to go back in the future for more in-deep discoveries.