Visiting the countryside is probably the best way to reach beyond the surface and see a more complete picture of a country. Most of the times, urban life and life in small towns is as different as the lifestyle people would have on the Moon and on the Earth. The same goes for the people, traditions, architecture and most of all – Nature. However, it is also often when the beginnings of a country are revealed. My trip to Sigtuna was short but fondly appreciated. I felt instantly in love with the water view and the colourful street with its tiny shops. It is one of these places where you would like to go back, over and over again. Here is what I’ve learned and seen in the oldest town in Sweden.
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 centre.
Sigtuna’s Countryside Feel
Sigtuna is a very touristy place. But despite the crowds filling the main street with noise and colours, the rest of the town is peaceful and inviting you to long walks.
There are 9 000 inhabitants in this small picturesque town so close to Stockholm. The impression is for people proud of their history and culture and very open to visitors. Smiles are free gifts here and stress-free ambience 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 the eye and had their own distinguished charm. Flowers were surrounding all homes and letterboxes often were decorated with painted scenes.
Sigtuna – The Vikings’ Town
The picturesque look of the town comes from the colourful facades and the constant presence of water. The historical museum, in spite of its serious name, is nestled in a modest building with an even smaller garden. What a lovely place is this museum! Most of such places look grim but this museum somehow feels homey and inviting.
Walking along Stora Gatan, the town’s main street, you will be amased by the 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 …short. They look like old but still lovable ladies bent under the weight of their years.
The runic stones scattered around the town and the old Town Hall are giving the place a mysterious feel. The town hall (Sigtuna Radhus) is a 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.
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 can feel disappointed. The building has just two rooms that are open to visitors. Tiny rooms with the sweet odour of ancient wood and untold stories.
1909 Sigtuna Stads Hotel
Facing the museum is another historical place – the 1909 Sigtuna Stads Hotel. During my visit there with other travel bloggers, the staff claimed that its history goes back to the middle ages. Later, it 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 to meet the requirements of the times.
It is a beautiful place to be. The vistas from the windows, the candles on the tables, their lights reflecting in the original crystal chandeliers… I believe it would be a perfect place to stay as a tourist, business traveller or newlyweds on a honeymoon.
The Oldest Town in Sweden is Also Nature-Rich 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.
Welcome to 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 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 tables and chairs for the clients. However, the most appealing side of this cafe are its amasing pies, homemade bread, and other soul-healing food goodies.
Laurentii Gränd 3
193 30 Sigtuna
What to See in Sigtuna:
St. Mary’s Church
St. Olof’s church ruin
The promenade along lake Malar
How to Reach Sigtuna
Sigtuna has a perfect location for a 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. Alternatively, join one of the day trips to Sigtuna starting from Stockholm, Upsala or other Swedish cities.
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!
Sigtuna also has a stunning variety of homestays and nightly prices.