Great castles close to Stockholm
Alex Dudley shows us three impressive castles close to Stockholm beyond the Royal Palace in Gamla stan.
European castles were mainly used for military battles and Sweden is no different. During the medieval times, the country was split into providences and into the Svea and Gota Kingdoms. As a result, Sweden had many castles that were built through the renaissance and medieval periods.
Here are three castles close to Stockholm you should explore while visiting the region.
Undoubtedly the best known of all the castles in Sweden, Gripsholm Castle is located in the south of the country and a few hundred kilometres from Stockholm. It is firmly embedded on the tourist trail as it houses a wide national collection of portraits. Located in Mariefred, a picturesque town on Lake Malaren, this renaissance castle offers romantic grounds, a nature reserve and collections of furniture and interiors from four centuries- including Gustav III’s theatre.
The arrival to Gripsholm is particularly memorable as most tourists arrive by paddle steamers. Sadly, the castle suffered significant and unsympathetic renovation during the late 1800’s, destroying some of its original character, and forcing the addition of a rather ugly third floor.
The permanent residence of the Royal Family since 1981 and one of Stockholm’s three World Heritage Sites are a few reasons why this location is one of the most visited sites in Stockholm. The palace is also Sweden’s best preserved Royal palace.
Drottningholm was constructed according to a French prototype by the architect Nicodemus Tessin by order of Queen Hedvig Eleonora. Many royals since its establishment have left their mark on the palace. It also features magnificent salons from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a park, a unique palace theatre and a Chinese Pavilion. The palace and the park are mostly open to visitors all year round.
Drottningholm Slottsteater (the palace theater) is the best preserved 18th-century theatre in Europe and the only one in the world that uses its original stage machinery on a regular basis. In 1991, this palace was the first Swedish attraction put on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Skokloster is one of the world’s greatest castles in a beautiful natural setting by Mälaren’s shore near Arlanda. The castle is from the Swedish Empire of the 17th century and it is Sweden’s biggest private palace.
Visit the castle’s state rooms on your own, or take a guided tour through beautiful rooms and halls filled with original furniture from various centuries. The most interesting fact about it, is that after the death of Count Wrangel in 1676, the castle was never fully completed. This means that its banqueting hall still stands unfinished and many of the tools used in building the house remain. The rest of the castle has also remained amazingly untouched for more than 300 years.