Day Trip: Sigtuna
Monika Roozen takes us on a day trip from Stockholm to historic Sigtuna.
Sigtuna, Sweden’s oldest town, is one of the most popular tourist destinations outside of Stockholm. In the summer, the little town buzzes with visitors walking the old main street and strolling along the lake shore.
Once upon a time … In 970, King Erik the Victorious looked out at the surroundings and pointed out the location where Sigtuna town would be built – a new era in the Swedish history was about to begin… Today we can go back in time and visit medieval churches, ruins, castles and rune stones from the Viking Area… Destination Sigtuna.
Sigtuna’s popularity, no doubt, lies in its proximity to Stockholm and its compact beauty. Founded in 980, the town is small with the most significant sights all within short walking distance. The colourful old houses of Stora Gatan (Old Street) house a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. They end a little junction with a museum, which used to be the King’s residence.
One street up the hill, along Prästgatan, there are five rune stones and three pretty church ruins. Information boards at each point of interest have reconstructed views from the medieval town to help visitors imagine how people used to live here.
A comfortable wander around Sigtuna won’t take more than two hours, even for little legs. Add a picnic and you have a half day program. Nature is very close and people often combine a visit to Sigtuna with one of the nearby castles- Venngarn Castle or Skokloster Castle to make a full day or even a weekend out of the trip.
A winter visit, however, shows a different side to this little old town on the shores of Lake Mälaren.
In winter, once the lake freezes over (and it’s safe to skate on), Sigtuna council regularly ploughs routes clear of snow and the town expands with miles of beautiful skating paths. These paths cross the lake, hug the shores and round small islands. For the team-minded there is a hockey field or two cleared of snow on a regular basis too. If you don’t have skates, they are available to hire at sports shop Sigtuna Sport Uteliv located at the beginning of Stora Gatan.
It’s so easy to skate longer distances because the scenery and the company of friends and family helps eat away the kilometers. Though don’t forget to keep an eye on the ice for natural imperfections and skate marks to avoid falls. It’s all part of the fun of skating on natural ice!
Those uncomfortable on skates can also try cross country skiing: skiing on snow-covered ice is guaranteed flat and perfect for beginners.
Looking back on the town from the ice gives a unique vantage point. And when all the fresh air and exercise gets too much, then the cafes and restaurants await with warming treats.
Learn more at Destination Sigtuna.