The city of Sigtuna was Sweden's capital from the 10th to the 13th centuries and has 8,000 residents.
- See also: Nordic countries#Understand
Sigtuna is located on the shores of Lake Mälaren, but the plains around Sigtuna were below sea level from the Ice Age until the beginning of common era. The land was fertile, and became densely populated during the Viking Age, leaving a heritage of runestones, graves and monuments, while Lake Mälaren was part of the Baltic Sea.
According to tradition Sigtuna was founded in 980 AD by king Erik Segersäll (the Victorious). The founding of Sigtuna is considered an important step in unifying Sweden into one centralized kingdom. It replaced Birka as the most important trade node in the region, and as an early Christian centre it competed with the pagan Uppsala for religious supremacy. Erik's son and successor Olaf Skötkonung constructed a mint in Sigtuna, and thereby became the first king to mint coins in Sweden. With a royal mint and a bishop, Sigtuna was effectively the capital of Sweden until power shifted towards Stockholm and Uppsala in the 13th century. The city was raided by "pagans from the East" in 1187, and a few years later in 1190 the archdiocese was moved to Uppsala.
However, Sigtuna prevailed, and in 1237 the first Dominican monastery in Sweden was built there. Sigtuna's decline accelerated in the 16th century due to the Protestant Reformation, as power and wealth moved from the convent in Sigtuna to the king in Stockholm. Between 1648 and 1666 the city suffered three city fires and was eventually abandoned. In 1700 the population of Sigtuna was only 108 people.
Sigtuna's population was down at the hundreds for 250 years, until the city was revived in the 1910s as a nationalist project. Even though many of the buildings look traditional, most of them are from the early 20th century. However, due to the conservative spirit in which the city was reconstructed, it did not experience the same heavy urban renewal that many other Swedish cities did in the 1950s and 60s.
- 1 Destination Sigtuna, Stora Gatan 33, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Low season (late Aug–late Jun) M–F 10:00–17:00, Sa 11:00–16:00, Su 12:00–16:00. High season (late Jun–late Aug) M–F 10:00–18:00, Sa 11:00–16:00, Su 12:00–16:00.
1 Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN IATA) is located in Sigtuna Municipality and is by far the largest airport in Sweden. For public transport between Arlanda and Sigtuna, bus 579 goes directly, while bus 583 connects Arlanda with Märsta where you have to change to bus 570 or 575.
By public transit
The local public transportation operator in Stockholm County is SL. There is no train station in Sigtuna, the closest one being in Märsta some 7 km east of Sigtuna. Sigtuna is reached from Märsta station by local buses 570 or 575. These buses are synchronized with the local communter trains between Stockholm and Märsta.
Route 263 passes through Sigtuna and continues towards Enköping in the West and connects to the highway E4 in the east. The E4, in turn, carries traffic between Uppsala in the North and Stockholm in the South.
Sigtuna is small and walkable. Unless you intend to leave the town for the surrounding countryside there is no real need for a vehicle.
- 1 Draketrädgården (Drake Garden), Stora Gatan 33, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 24 hours daily. As the city was depopulated, wealthy bourgeois and craftsmen bought abandoned plots of land and built large houses and gardens. The Drake garden was owned by the Drake family in the early 20th century and is the only remaining garden that covers an entire block. Free.
- 2 Lundströmska gården, Stora Gatan 39, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Mid Jun-mid Aug: daily 12:00-16:00. Guided tours at 13:00 and 15:00 between in late July and late June. A preserved typical fin de siècle middle class family home. Free.
- 3 Rådhuset (Town Hall), Stora Torget 4D, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Jun-Aug: daily 12:00-16:00. Guided tours at 12:00 and 14:00 between in late July and late June. Built in 1744 and said to be the smallest in Sweden. Free.
- 4 Sigtuna Kulturgård (Sigtuna Culture Seat), Stora Nygatan 1, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 12:00-16:00. A local art gallery.
- 5 Sigtuna Museum, Stora Gatan 55, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Jun-Aug: daily 12:00-16:00. Sep-Dec and Feb-May: Tu-Su 12:00-16:00. Permanent exhibitions about the earliest history of Sigtuna, the previous ceramics factory of Steninge Castle and about the painters Carl Peter Lehmann and Gideon Ekholm. Free Oct-Apr, 50 kr May-Sep.
- 6 St Mary's Church, Olofsgatan 2, ☏ . Built as the monastery church of the Dominican monastery established in Sigtuna in 1237. It was the first brick building in the Mälar-valley area. In the 16th century Sweden became Protestant, the monastery was closed, and St Mary's Church became the parish church of Sigtuna. There is a small herbal garden by the church which celebrates medieval gardening.
- 7 Viby Village, Vibyvägen 105 (3 km from central Sigtuna. Follow Vibyvägen North), ☏ . 24 hours daily. In the 19th century this village was inhabited by tenant crofters. Since the village is very well-preserved it is representative for how Swedish villages looked 200 years ago. Free.
Runes and Ruins
- Runestones and other artefacts from the Viking Age in Sigtuna. Over 40 runestones has been found in Sigtuna, and some 170 in Sigtuna Municipality.
- 8 St Lawrence Church Ruin, Fågelsångsvägen 1A. Built in the first half of the 12th century. It was turned into a school after the Protestant reformation but was destroyed in a fire in 1658. All that remains today is one of the church towers.
- 9 St Olof's Church Ruin, Olofsgatan. Built in the first half 12th century. The church rests on an even older foundation which might be from the first stone church constructed in Sweden.
- 10 St Peter's Church Ruin, Sankt Persgatan. Built in the first half of the 12th century. Supposedly the cathedral of the archdiocese of Sweden before it moved to Uppsala.
- Go bathing
- 3 Sigtunabygdens Golfklubb, Norra Vibyvägen 187, ☏ . A golf club with one 18-hole and one 6-hole course.
- Sigtuna Literature Festival. Held in August. Contains workshops, seminars and speaches on Swedish and international literature.
- Sigtuna Möte. First weekend in September. In 1912 the last traditional farmer’s council meeting was held in Sigtuna, and the same year the Olympic Games where held in Stockholm. Every year Sigtuna celebrates this with a 1912 themed festival with traditional clothing, craft markets, music, dancing and "Olympic" games.
- Sigtuna Christmas Market. The four last Sundays before Christmas, 11:00-16:00. An open air-market with traditional Swedish Christmas food and crafts.
- 1 Boutique 20 kvadratmeter, Stora gatan 41 B, ☏ . A women’s shoe store.
- 2 Golden World, Uppsalavägen 33, ☏ . Handmade jewellery.
- 3 Lottas Garfveri (Lotta’s Tannery), Långgatan 9, ☏ . A combined workshop and shop selling clothing, accessories and jewellery.
- 4 Ombonat, Stora gatan 44, ☏ . A furnishing shop.
- 5 Sigtuna Bookshop, Stora gatan 43, ☏ .
- 6 Skinnboden, Stora gatan 31, ☏ . A shoe and bag shop.
- 7 Viking House, Stora Gatan 29, ☏ . A store with plenty of Viking-themed gifts, souvenirs, and jewellery.
- 1 Båthuset Krog & Bar, Hamngatan 2, ☏ . On a pier with a beautiful view of Lake Mälaren.
- 2 Farbror Blå, Stora Torget 4D, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 3 Restaurang Kopparkitteln, Stora Malmgatan 31, ☏ . A family-owned restaurant mixing traditional Nordic with Mediterranean cuisine.
- 4 Våfflan Hamnkrog och Bar (The Waffle), Ångbåtsbryggan, ☏ .
As most residents venture to central Stockholm for nightlife, Sigtuna municipality mostly contains local hangouts and hotel bars.
- 1 RC Chocolat, Stora Gatan 49, ☏ . Homemade pastries, desserts and hot chocolate.
- 2 Strandvillan's Café, Strandvägen 36, ☏ . By the waterfront.
- 3 Tant Bruns kaffestuga, Laurentii gränd 3, ☏ . An old-school café in a 17th-century town farm.
- 4 Café Valvet, Stora Gatan 40C, ☏ . Serves hot drinks and alcoholic beverages.
- 1 STF Vandrarhem Sigtuna Folkhögskola, Manfred Björkquists allé 20, ☏ . A hostel runned by the Swedish Tourist Association STF.
- 2 32 Rum & Kök, Stora gatan 79, ☏ . A hotel.
- 3 Hotell Kristina, Rektor Cullbergs väg 1, ☏ . A hotel.
- 4 Sigtunastiftelsen Hotell & Konferens (The Sigtuna Foundation), Manfred Björkquists allé 4, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Founded as a private Christian cultural foundation in 1915 and became one of the driving forces in the resettlement of Sigtuna in the early 20th century. Their main building is inspired by a Tuscan monastery and is today used as hotel and conference venue.
- 5 Sigtuna Stadshotell, Stora Nygatan 3, ☏ . Branded as Sweden's smallest 5-star hotel.
- 6 Venngarn Palace (Wenngarns slott), Wenngarn 1:7, ☏ . A 17th-century palace, though there are historical records since the 12th century. Among most Swedish people, the palace is known as a rehabilitation home for alcoholics during the early 20th century. Today, it is used as a conference hotel.
- Stockholm is where most visitors go, after touching down at Arlanda. See Stockholm#By plane for transit to the capital.
- Knivsta is a suburb of Uppsala, with several historical artefacts.
- Märsta is the largest town in Sigtuna Municipality.
- Norrtälje contains the northern edge of the Stockholm archipelago.
- Uppsala is a millennial city, famous for its Viking Age heritage, and the oldest university in the Nordic countries.