Tourist’s guide to Uppsala – the provincial old town of Sweden

Uppsala is one of Sweden’s oldest and most beautiful cities, a “must see” for everyone who gets to know this country. Ancient houses reflected in the water surface of the river, numerous squares, fountains, interesting sights leave vivid impressions, and the desire to come here again. It takes no longer than 40 minutes to get from Stockholm to Uppsala, which means there is no reason to deprive yourself of the pleasure of visiting this city.

Uppsala City

General information

Furis River, Uppsala

Uppsala (Sweden) is located 67 km north of Stockholm. Thanks to the high-speed train running between these cities, many Upsals residents travel to the capital to work. A city of 47 km² spreads along the banks of the small Furis River. About 150 thousand people live in Uppsala – this is the 4th most populated city in Sweden.

The first settlement, called Uppsala, appeared in the V century, and began to actively grow and develop. After several centuries, the commercial and business center of the city moved to a more convenient place a few kilometers downstream of the river, closer to its mouth. The new settlement was called Estra-Aros (East Estuary).

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Map of Uppsala 1770

In 1245, a fire occurred in Uppsala, almost the entire city was destroyed, including the residence of the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden. They did not begin to restore the ashes, moving from the burnt city to the neighboring Estra Aros all the most valuable: the residence of the archbishop along with the center of the archdiocese, as well as the name of Uppsala, which replaced the previous name of the city.

Over time, the burnt former Uppsala turned into a branch. Now this territory is declared a conservation area. Old Uppsala attracts tourists with its sights – grave mounds of the 5th-6th centuries, a surviving medieval church and the Disagården open-air museum.

And the new Uppsala has worthily passed its historical path, becoming one of the most important cities in Sweden and having preserved to this day a significant part of its old buildings.

sights

The Furis River divides the city into two parts. The greatest number of ancient architecture has been preserved in the western part of Uppsala (Sweden), the sights are concentrated mainly here. On the eastern shore is the administrative and business part of the city and modern residential areas.

Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala Cathedral is the largest in Sweden and throughout Northern Europe. Its magnificent Gothic-style building lifted its towers to a height of 119 meters in the very center of Uppsala. The construction of the Cathedral was started in 1287 after Old Uppsala was destroyed by fire, and the center of the archdiocese moved to a new part of the city.

Uppsala Cathedral

Construction lasted almost a century and a half, and only in 1435 the cathedral was consecrated. During the fire that happened after 267 years, the building and the interior of the cathedral suffered considerable damage and its restoration was changed. And at the end of the XIX century, the building was generally reconstructed in the Gothic style. Only the red brick walls have survived from the original structure.

Uppsala Cathedral inside

Uppsala Cathedral plays an important role in the spiritual life of Sweden. Until the 18th century the monarchs were crowned here; nowadays the archbishop of Sweden is serving here. There are 4 organs installed and often concerts of organ music.

Tomb of St. Eric

In the premises of the Uppsala Cathedral, a temple shrine is stored – a precious sarcophagus with the relics of St. Eric. The remains of many prominent citizens of Sweden are also resting here: the kings Gustav Vas and Johan III, the great classifier nerd Carl Linnaeus, the scholar Emanuel Svedenborg, the bishop Nathan Söderblom.

The interior of the temple is striking in its grandeur and beauty. Particular attention is paid to vaulted ceilings decorated with gold patterns. The cathedral has a museum where you can see old church fabrics, as well as statues of the 14th century. An ancient cemetery has been preserved near the building.

Uppsala Cathedral ceiling
  • Cathedral Hours: Daily, 8-18.
  • The museum is open: Mon-Sat – 10-17, Sun – 12.30-17.
  • Admission is free .
  • Address: Domkyrkoplan 2, Uppsala 753 10, Sweden.
Uppsala University

Another attraction Uppsala is proud of is the university. Uppsala University is the oldest institution of higher education not only in Sweden but throughout Scandinavia. It began its work in 1477 and to this day maintains a reputation as one of the most influential institutions of higher education in Europe. More than 20 thousand students study here at 9 faculties, about 2000 employees are engaged in scientific research.

Uppsala University

The University buildings are concentrated in the city center near the Uppsala Cathedral and form a campus with its own special atmosphere. Uppsala University (Sweden) also has new buildings built in other parts of the city.

The main building of the University is made in the Renaissance style, it was built in the 80s of the XIX century. Decorated with marble columns, the building has luxurious interiors with magnificent halls and audiences worthy of this temple of science.

In the lobby of the main building

The University Library contains many rarities – a manuscript of the Bible in the Gothic language dated to the IV century, a collection of paintings, coins, minerals. There is another attraction at the University – an extensive botanical garden with a monument to Karl Linnaeus and a museum.

University library

Numismatists and anyone interested in history will be interested in visiting the University’s numismatics office, which has collected more than 40 thousand coins and medals from all countries for more than 2.5 millennia.

  • This attraction is open to visitors on Tuesdays from 16 to 18.
  • Address: 3 Biskopsgatan | University Main Building, Uppsala 753 10, Sweden.
Gustavianum Museum

Uppsala has attractions that will interest all the curious. One of them is the Gustavianum Museum. Its exposition is located in an old three-story building of the Baroque style, crowned with a small tower under a copper domed roof with a ball. This building was built in the XVII century and was formerly the main university building.

Gustavianum Museum

Many artifacts from university collections are represented here: ancient Scandinavian, ancient and Egyptian finds – ancient mummies, Viking weapons, stuffed animals and much more. Separate expositions tell about the history of the development of science and Uppsala University, the ancient history of Sweden. Visitors can see a collection of old telescopes, manuscripts with observations by Nikolai Copernicus, objects associated with the name of the great Swedish botanist Karl Linnaeus, an exclusive precious cabinet.

Museum of Anatomy

The visitors are most interested in the anatomical museum located in the tower. Here, students demonstrated human organs that were removed from the bodies of executed criminals. The action took place on a table on which bright light fell from the circular windows of the tower. Students were seated on benches surrounding a table and rising upward with an amphitheater.

You can also see the collection of the university library, which stores valuable book rarities.

  • Opening hours (except Mondays): June-August 10-16, September-May 11-16.
  • Ticket price : € 4.
  • Address: 3 Akademigatan, Uppsala 753 10, Sweden.

Old Uppsala

Old Uppsala is one of the most ancient sights of Sweden and all of Scandinavia. In this place 16 centuries ago, this ancient city was born, and existed here for 8 centuries, until it was destroyed by a fire. Now there is a small parish. This territory is a nature reserve protected by the state.

Old Uppsala

Old Uppsala is of interest as an attraction related to the pagan past and the birth of Christianity in Sweden. The city of Uppsala (Sweden) at almost all times was the cult center of the country. In pre-Christian times, it was a pagan center, and with the introduction of Christianity, it became the center of the archdiocese.

There are 3 burial mounds related to the period of paganism, when it was customary to sacrifice to the gods not only animals, but also people. Excavations in these mounds were made as far back as the 19th century, and now you can observe only the hills that rise above the devastated graves.

Church of Old Uppsala

The Uppsala Christian period includes the medieval church of XIII. In the local museum you can get acquainted with the layout of this city, see what it was like before the fire that destroyed it. It is best to visit this place in the summer, in fine weather and with a good guide.

Old Uppsala is located a few kilometers from the city. You can get here by bus number 2, departing from the center, or by bicycle, and you can walk.

The museum is open daily:

  • May-August 10-16,
  • September-April 12-16.

Ticket price: € 7.

Botanical Garden

This attraction is perfect for a relaxed, contemplative stay. The Botanical Garden is owned by Uppsala University. From afar, it attracts attention with its original landscape design – an alley of pyramidal clipped green shrubs. It is nice to take a walk in fine weather, enjoying the lush flowering plants, which at any time during the warm season there are more than a dozen.

Uppsala Botanical Garden

As in any botanical garden, a large number of plants from all corners of the globe are collected here. All specimens are labeled with a species. Poisonous representatives of the flora are marked with warning signs.

Orangery with tropical plants

On the territory of the botanical garden there is a greenhouse with tropical plants, succulents. Here you can admire the many species of cacti, blooming orchids, see the largest water lily – Victoria regia, whose giant leaves can withstand a person’s weight up to 50 kg. It is better to visit the Botanical Garden in the morning in order to have time to explore the greenhouses.

  • Opening hours of greenhouses: 10-17
  • Cost of visiting greenhouses: € 8.
  • Address: Villavagen 8, Uppsala 75236, Sweden.

Accommodation

Room in 4 * hotel Elite Hotel Academia
Elite Hotel Academia

Uppsala has many hotels, so there are usually no problems with tourist accommodation. But still, in the summer and Christmas seasons it is better to worry about accommodation in advance, and book your favorite room at least a couple of weeks before arrival. The cost of a double room with breakfast included in hotels 3-4 stars – € 80-100 per day.

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Food

At McDonald's in Uppsala

Food in Uppsala is relatively inexpensive.

  • Eating alone at McDonald’s is available for € 14.
  • In an inexpensive cafe, lunch will cost about € 10 per one.
  • If you want to visit a restaurant with average prices, you will have to spend about € 60 for two.

Prices do not include drinks.

Those who wish to save on food can cook on their own. Supermarket prices are approximately the following:

  • bread (0.5kg) – € 1.8,
  • milk (1 l) – € 1,
  • cheese – € 7.5 / kg,
  • potatoes – 0.95 € / kg,
  • a dozen eggs – € 2.5,
  • chicken – € 4,5-9 / kg.

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How to get to Uppsala from Stockholm

Train from stockholm

If you do not know Stockholm – Uppsala how to get there, go to the central railway station of the capital. From there, every 20 minutes, high-speed trains go to Uppsala, which cover the distance between these cities in just 38 minutes. The fare depends on the class of the car and is € 8-21.

You can get to Uppsala from Stockholm by bus. From the railway station, buses of the SL carrier depart several times a day for this route, which will take you to your destination in 55 minutes. The trip will cost € 8-25.

By bus to Uppsala

Swebus buses run from Stockholm to Uppsala every 4 hours, travel time is approximately 1 hour, ticket price is € 8-11.

Prices on the page are for July 2018.

The city of Uppsala deserves attention no less than Stockholm. Go there and you will see that it is one of the most beautiful cities in Scandinavia.

Watch a short video review of Uppsala to have a better view of the city.



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