Best Cities In Sweden

Swedish cities: The best cities in Sweden to visit this year

If you’re planning a trip to Sweden and want to soak up as many amazing experiences as possible during your vacation, it pays to start with a trip to the best cities in Sweden. There’s more to this stunning destination than just the capital of Stockholm, as we’ll discover…

With some willingness to do a little exploring, you can encounter the many different flavors of culture Sweden has to offer.

In this beautiful Scandinavian location, there’s limitless opportunity to explore old castles, churches, and stunning architecture, relax at a local café, or shop until you drop. The question is, where do you start on your Swedish adventure?

Today, we’re going to be covering some of the top cities in Sweden, and why they’re so appealing to visitors around the globe.

Major cities in Sweden

Let’s start with some of the major cities in Sweden. There are some of the famous, and most popular cities in Sweden, thanks to their wonderful sights, activities, and global reputation. We’ve chosen major cities for their size, too, as the bigger the city, the more attractions there usually are.

1. Stockholm

Probably the most obvious of all the major cities in Sweden, Stockholm is the capital of the country, and it’s actually spread across a total of 14 islands.

Considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the Nordic region, Stockholm is home to an eclectic mix of traditional and modern architecture, with countless fun activities to explore.

You’ll have no trouble finding a trendy café where you can sit and enjoy some Swedish treats and a cup of coffee when you need a break from all the walking around.

Stockholm is also home to a host of attractive museums like the Vasa Museum, and the Royal Palace, in case you want to see how the other half live.

You can even find a handful of nightclubs for evening entertainment.

Find places to stay in Stockholm.

2. Gothenburg

Another of the most famous cities in Sweden, Gothenburg, is a laidback location with plenty to offer both locals and visitors alike. There’s a sense of maritime joy to everything in Gothenburg, which means you’ll be right at home if you like the sea and the food available from it.

There’s an attractive waterfront to walk across, and plenty of beautiful boats to check out too.

Gothenburg is home to a lot of fantastic architecture, as well as a strong cultural and arts scene. With almost 600,000 residents, less than half of the population of Stockholm, Gothenburg offers a more relaxing vibe for people who don’t always want to be surrounded by crowds.

Find places to stay in Gothenburg.

3. Malmö

The third of the most popular cities in Sweden, Malmö is a multicultural hub of unique experiences and amazing people. The location borders Copenhagen, so you could even consider taking a quick trip over to Denmark if you feel like doing something different.

Malmö is ideal if you’re interested in art and modern architecture, as well as delicious foods and fun shopping districts.

You can check out Malmö castle or the Malmö Opera House if you’re feeling inspired, or visit the Lilla Torg square, where you’ll discover row upon row of cafes and restaurant terraces, framed by amazing historic buildings.

The Stortorget Square is also worth visiting if you want a look at Swedish history.

Find places to stay in Malmö.

Best Cities In Sweden

4. Uppsala

Though not as well known as the top 3 major cities in Sweden, Uppsala is considered by locals to be the heart of the nation. As one of the oldest destinations to visit in the country, Uppsala has tons of history to explore, and plenty of amazing museums to expand your knowledge.

Despite its traditional background, Uppsala still maintains a lively and energetic vibe, thanks to its large number of students. There are even some impressive nightclubs on offer.

Make sure you check out the Botanical Gardens when visiting Uppsala and visit the Uppsala Cathedral for some beautiful gothic architecture. The destination is only a short distance away from Stockholm, so you can easily hit the capital and this beautiful, underrated destination at the same time.

Find places to stay in Uppsala.

5. Vasteras

Vasteras is more than ten times smaller than Stockholm in terms of population, but this doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Though it may look a little daunting from afar, due to a high number of shopping centers and industrial areas, visiting the center of town will give you plenty of beauty to enjoy.

There are amazing, cobbled streets, stunning cottages and flower-filled gardens galore.

If you want a really unique experience, go and visit the largest burial mound in Sweden, Anundshog, the location is apparently the resting place of the legendary king Brot-Anund. Alternatively, why not visit the Vasteras Cathedral for some beautiful picture-perfect moments?

Find places to stay in Vasteras.

Best Cities In Sweden

6. Örebro

Örbero is one of the larger popular cities in Sweden, known for its fantastic Tiveden National Park. According to legend, the park was carved by glaciers, and was once home to trolls and other Swedish fairytale creatures.

If you have a car or you’re willing to find another form of transport, the region is great for hiking and cycling, but it doesn’t have public transport.

If you can’t get to Tiveden, you can always try the kid-friendly Stadsparken park instead. This green getaway stretches along the black river in Sweden, and merges into the Wadkoping museum village. The park was once named the most beautiful park in Sweden, so it’s hard to compete with.

Find places to stay in Örbero.

Popular cities in Sweden

There are over 60 cities in Sweden, so even if you don’t want to check out some of the biggest major locations, you can still find the atmosphere you’re looking for among some of the lesser-known gems.

Here are some of the beautiful places you can visit in Sweden just off the beaten track:

Best Cities In Sweden

7. Visby

The capital of Gotland, Visby is one of the most stunning cities Sweden has to offer. If you’re a fan of old-fashioned buildings and medieval aesthetics, this is definitely the place for you.

It’s easy to spend all day exploring the multitude of cobbled streets and alleys, all with their own adorable shops and charming cafes to visit.

You’ll find a host of beautiful ruins, picturesque cottages and churches all blending together in Visby to give it a unique vibe. Though the location can be a little crowded in the Summer, it’s definitely worth visiting when you get a chance.

When possible, try to visit during Medieval week, when the city is packed full of costumed people and events.

Find places to stay in Visby.

8. Linköping

Located in southern Sweden, Linköping is a popular location to visit if you’re interested in open air museums and beautiful educational environments.

A short walk from the city center, you’ll find the Berg Locks on the Gota canal, where you can hire a boat, or explore some delicious fresh foods from local sellers. Alternatively, go and visit the best preserved Swedish medieval cathedral in Sweden.

The Air Force Museum is extremely interesting if you’re interested in seeing the incredible wrecks of some genuine airplanes. Alternatively, you can take a walk through the open-air Museum Gamla and feel as though you’re travelling back in time a century or two.

Find places to stay in Linköping.

9. Karlstad

Located on the shores of Lake Vanern, Karlstad is a must-visit destination in Sweden for lovers of the great outdoors. Though quite a bit smaller than some of the other Swedish cities we’ve mentioned, Karlstad is still one of the most popular to visit.

Here, you’ll find the Varmlands museum, which uncovers the culture and history of this specific part of Sweden, with more than 9000 artworks and 40,000 artefacts to learn about. There’s also the Stadsträdgården park — an English-style park featuring over 800 species of trees and shrubs.

Find places to stay in Karlstad.

10. Halmstad

One of the things making Halmstad one of the best cities in Sweden is its unique history. There was a huge fire in this location in 1619, which forced the city to rebuild almost from scratch.

Today, you can enjoy a wide range of food and drink locations catering to visitors or hire a boat to take a trip down the Nissan River, soaking in the scenery as you go.

The Galgberget park is a stunning restful space if you want a place for a picnic during the summer, or you can head to the Tylosand strand beach. This Swedish beach is famous for its silky white sand — just keep in mind the northern sea waves can be pretty cold.

Find places to stay in Halmstad.

Best Cities In Sweden

11. Lund

Perhaps the most attractive thing about Lund is its incredible historical architecture. Lund is another of the oldest cities in Sweden, located in the Southern side of the country.

There are cobblestone towns to stroll through when you want a relaxing, lazy day, or you can discover the magic of the ancient Romanesque style Lund Cathedral.

Lund has its own open-air museum, where you can find all kinds of archeological relics from the bronze and stone ages. You’ll also have no trouble finding greenery to enjoy here. There are plenty of leafy parks to sit in with your family for a quick picnic.

Thanks to the University in the city, Lund maintains a young and fresh vibe.

Find places to stay in Lund.

12. Helsingborg

Feel like soaking up some sea air on the Swedish coast? One of the most popular cities in Sweden, Helsingborg is a beautiful destination to visit, particularly if you’re thinking of taking the ferry to visit Denmark soon after.

The location is best-known for its old town, where you’ll find the only surviving element of an ancient fortress, Karnan tower.

The region is also home to the Tropikariet indoor zoo, where you can check out some exotic animals, and the fantastic waterfront, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes. There’s also a fantastic arts and theatre scene if you’re interested in theatrics.

Find places to stay in Helsingborg.

More top cities in Sweden

Listing the top towns in Sweden, or the most popular Swedish cities can be difficult, as every destination has its own unique charm. There are plenty of important cities to visit in Sweden, but it’ll be up to you to determine which regions appeal most to your taste.

Here are some more of the best cities to visit in Sweden we haven’t covered so far:

13. Sundsvall

Lying beside the Bothnian coast, the Sundsvall cosmopolitan city in Sweden offers a slightly different experience to what you might expect from other parts of the country. The beautiful region seems to be perfectly manicured, with uniform houses, crystal-clean streets, and plenty of boulevards to explore.

It’s definitely worth visiting the Sundsvalls Museum to learn more about this incredible place.

In 1888, the town was almost entirely burned down, and rebuilt again at an incredible pace. Many local Swedes refer to the region as the “Stone City”, thanks to the stone houses lining the streets.

Find places to stay in Sundsvall.

14. Umea

Umea might not be first on the list of top cities in Sweden based on its population, but this small location could be a hidden gem for many adventurers. Located in Eastern Sweden, Umea is best known for its cultural institutions and open-air museum.

There’s a huge art gallery, and a museum where you can learn all about gorgeous, vintage guitars. You’ll also find a range of museums to teach you about the indigenous Sami tribes.

Outside of the cultural attractions, Umea is a great place for relaxation and exploration in equal measure. You can go shopping at one of the great shopping districts, check out some bars and restaurants, or just head out to one of the many parks placed around the city.

Find places to stay in Umea.

Best Cities In Sweden

15. Karlskrona

The capital of Blekinge County, Karlskrona will give you a Swedish travel experience like no other. Among all the famous cities in Sweden, Karlskrona is the only “baroque” option.

The city is also a military base town, so you can expect to find a lot of naval architecture, museums, and beautiful ancient buildings to explore too.

Originally established to give the King of Sweden more control over the Baltic Sea, Karlskrona has grown significantly over the years.

It still can’t compete in size with some of the bigger major cities in Sweden, but it’s definitely a place worth checking out if you’re looking for unique architecture and amazing sights.

Find places to stay in Karlskrona.

16. Gävle

One of the many overlooked cities in Sweden, Gävle is the capital of Gävleborg county, and the oldest city in the historical Norrland. If you want a destination out of the way of the crowds and chaos you might find in some other major cities in Sweden, Gävle could be an excellent choice.

It’s particularly worth a visit around Christmas, when you’ll see iconic Gavle goat — a 13 meter high Yule goat made of straw.

If you’re visiting in the warmer months, check out the Boulognerskogen park which was created all the way back in 1865. There’s a trail near the river with lots of handy information boards if you want to learn more about the location.

Find places to stay in Gävle.

17. Borås

Located towards the West of Sweden, around 45 minutes from Gothenburg, Boras is one of the most attractive cities to visit in Sweden. Many of the municipal buildings and apartment blocks in this city are decorated with amazing street art.

The murals draw the eyes of visitors all around the world.

You can also find plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained in Boras, such as the ethical, thoughtfully constructed zoo on the northern outskirts of the city. The park has more than 600 animals, and 65 species, including the only African elephants in Sweden.

This is one of the only zoos where cheetahs have been successfully bred.

Find places to stay in Boras.

18. Växjö

More of a town than a city, Växjö is located in the southern side of Sweden, and its home to a number of beautiful museums, great for people who want to learn more about Swedish history.

The Swedish glass museum in Växjö is a must visit for a lot of tourists, as is the Växjö Cathedral, where you’ll find a glass altar and glass tree.

Växjö also has the Asnens National Park to its credit, where you can stroll along the lake and check out some local wildlife. Plus, there’s the Teleborg Castle if you’re interested in a more historical walking area after an afternoon lunch. 

Find places to stay in Växjö.

Best Cities In Sweden

19. Luleå

Finally, Luleå is an incredible coastal city located in Swedish Lapland. Best-known for its wonderful Gammelstad church town, as well as beautifully-preserved wooden houses and the impeccable Nederlulea church dating back to the 1400s.

Closer to the center of the city, you’ll find museums to show off local culture, history and art. There are also more than 1000 islands located just off shore, on the bay of Bothnia.

If you’re looking for a fun way to learning something, check out the Teknikens Hus Science Museum. We’d also recommend a trip to the Balingberget nature reserve if you’re into the great outdoors.

Find places to stay in Luleå.

Exploring the best cities in Sweden

With a multitude of amazing cities in Sweden to explore, you’ll never be lost for something to do, or somewhere to go in this wonderful Scandinavian location.

The major cities in Sweden covered above are just a handful of the locations we recommend visiting if you want to get a taste of everything Sweden has to offer.

Of course, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the alternative top cities in Sweden we haven’t explored here too, such as Varberg, Gustavsberg, Tumba, and Kalmar.

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