Sweden sightseing

The Best Things to See in Sweden between Stockholm and Gothenburg

Guides on the Internet usually recommend seeing Stockholm, Uppsala, and Abisko National Park in Sweden, but the more we travel here, the more we admire the number of other absolutely amazing attractions. Last weekend, we travelled from Stockholm to Gothenburg by car, and, by the recommendation of a colleague, visited several attractions on the way. We did not expect these 470 kilometers in between two cities to be so rich in things to see; three days were not enough to cover all we wanted. In this post, we tell about the attractions in-between Stockholm and Gothenburg, because both cities deserve (many) separate posts.
Best

The most convenient way to visit all the attractions is to make a circle following different routes on the way to and from Gothenburg.
route

From Stockholm to Gothenburg

Wooden town of Askersund

Askersund is one of many Swedish wooden towns, the most famous being the former capital of Sweden Sigtuna. Unlike Sigtuna, Askersund is not full of people; like Sigtuna, it offers a pleasant walk along the lake shore, an old church with a graveyard, and a lot of wooden architecture.
Askersund

Askersund

Askersund

Most famous is of course the falu red type of wooden houses – a Swedish specialty. Swedes started to paint their houses in this color at least as early as in the 16th century, and it became especially popular in the 19th century when peasants started to use this color too. “Swedish red” paint for houses also became widely used in Estonia, especially in the places of Swedish settlements.
Askersund

Hjo wooden town

Hjo is also known as a wooden town, but in addition to wooden architecture it offers several other nice things. First, there is a long pier allowing for a joyful stroll near the lake.
Hjo

More than that, at the lake shore, there is a great place for ice-cream, pancakes, and waffles. It is really hard to choose!
Hjo

In the tourist information center, they have a clock constructed by Harald Larsson in 1945-1950. It shows local and world time, calendar (days, weeks and weekends), and even astronomical information. Harald Larsson lived in Hjo since when he was six. He got the idea to construct the clock after his visit to Lund and seeing astronomical clock there.
Hjo

Varnhem Abbey

Varnhey Abbey promises the encounter with the thrilling history of Vikings, Sweden’s Middle Ages monks, and the reign of the Swedish mobility at the height of the Swedish Empire. What you see is primarily the ruins of the biggest Middle Ages Swedish monastery as well as a church still standing next to them.
Varnhem Abbey

Varnhem Abbey

This was probably our first time to see beyond the altar where the burial sites are placed.
Varnhem Abbey

Varnhem Abbey

Even if you are not up for history in general or Middle Ages in particular, Varnhey Abbey is so well-preserved and caters so many interests that you should not miss it. Also, this is another example of the perfect Swedish tourist infrastructure: they have a very nice café and picnic areas, interesting descriptions of what the lifestyle was like here, and the herb garden still revealing the selection of the monks’ medicinal herbs.

Varnhem Abbey

Åsle Tå village

Åsle Tå is a small Skansen-type museum depicting the way of life typical of the industrial poor settlement in this region. ”Tå”s, settlements inhabited mainly by the landless poor and the elderly, were once found in many places in Sweden. However, just like with the stories about poor Sweden we read in Ikea museum, you will hardly find the signs of true poverty here: the houses might be tiny, yet, they are cute and not falling apart.
Åsle Tå village

Åsle Tå village

Every stuga (house) has a description to it with the account of what family lived there; although many houses were brought here from other settlements, they functioned as real dwellings till the middle of 20th century.
Åsle Tå village

Skara city

Skara may seem very small, but it is actually one of the oldest Swedish towns.
Skara

Skara

Can you spot Ikea mouse on the Skara cathedral altar?
Skara

The notable buildings of Skara include the theater and the water tower.
Skara

Skara

water tower Skara

Sparlösa Runestone

The stone is one of the oldest in Sweden and second famous after Rök stone. Sparlösa stone was used as building material in a church before being rediscovered in the 20th century. It has references to some mysterious and great battle nobody knows about nowadays.

After an intensive day of visiting these attractions we stayed in the countryside in Alingsås, 50 kilometers before Gothenburg. Our neighbors were hares and deer.
hares

On the second day we visited Gothenburg and Volvo museum. On the third day returned back to Stockholm, following another route and visiting many more attractions.

From Gothenburg to Stockholm

Borås city

We only had a couple of hours in Borås, which is a pity because this city deserves much more time.
Borås

The first thing to explore is Borås city art. In the tourist information center, you may find a map with which you may have a quest for Borås graffiti.
Borås graffiti

Borås graffiti

Borås graffiti

Borås is a city of outdoor sculptures, such as a huge bronze version of Pinocchio called Walking to Borås by the American pop artist Jim Dine.
Borås

Borås sculptures

Borås

One of the most prominent sculptures of the old town reminds of another identity of Borås. The city is known for its textile production, it has a textile museum, and main H&M headquarters are based here.
Borås

Borås textile museum

Gränna town

The town of Gränna is known for its red-and-white candies and Polar Exploration Museum.
Gränna

It is also a gateway to the island Tunnerstad in the lake Vättern.
Gränna

Alvastra Abbey

In the 12th century a group of Cistercian monks came to this place from France to start the first Cistercian monastery in the Nordic countries. They came by the invitation of the king and the queen. It was the Catholic era and to fund a monastery building was the best way to save one’s soul. Powerful families also donated riches in return for burial in the Monastery and to have Mass and prayers said for their souls. During the Reformation of 1527, the Crown confiscated everything and closed the monastery. Alvastra ruins now neighbor the farm, and both are visited by tourists.
Alvastra Abbey

Vadstena

In the Middle Ages, Vadstena was a town of particular importance for the kings in Sweden: it was the seat of the influential Brigittine order, on the route to Southern Sweden and Danish border. The harbor was busy. Many pilgrims visited the church and the abbey. Vadstena castle was built in 15-16th century, intended primarily as a defensive fortress.
Vadstena

Vadstena

The town now surrounding it is very nice to have a stroll around.
Vadstena

The Rök Runestone

This runestone is the most famous and features the longest inscription found. Because of this, the stone is considered to be the first example of written Swedish literature.

Air Force Museum

Along with Ikea Museum, Air Force Museum is still our favorite in Sweden. Read more about it in our earlier post.
Air Force Museum

Although we woke up early and travelled till sunset every day on this trip, it was still really hard to see everything we had planned. For instance, Vadstena and Borås cities offer so much and we had so little time to see it. Because of this, it is possible to extend the trip to 4 or even 5 days, and the car is essential to do it so that not to waste precious time on public transport.