The Perfect Uppsala Day Trip from Stockholm

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by Neota Langley

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Nestled on the eastern coast of Sweden, Uppsala is a city that blends a modern-day vibrancy, thanks to its world-class university, with ancient Norse mythology and magnificent gothic architecture. Just one hour from Stockholm, taking an Uppsala day trip is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Swedish culture.

Uppsala is home to endless historical buildings, museums and even ancient burial grounds and ruins. Dominating the skyline of Sweden’s fourth largest city, the Uppsala Cathedral is a sight to behold, an architectural marvel dating back to the 13th century. 

The city’s charm extends to its botanical gardens, vibrant flora lining the picturesque Fyris River, flanked by interconnected parks and walkways. Modern galleries, theatres and music venues are dotted around the city, offering a contemporary contrast to Uppsala’s mediaeval roots.  

Getting from Stockholm to Uppsala

By Organised Tour

Taking an organised tour is an excellent way to discover the historical tales and ancient viking sites in Uppsala and surrounding villages. This way, all of the planning is taken care of, simply board the tour bus with a local expert directly from your hotel. 

Both this guided day tour and this full-day tour from Stockholm are excellent options if you don’t want to travel to Uppsala independently.

Both guided tours offer stop-offs at other significant sites along the route such as the runes at JarlaBanke Bridge, Vallentuna church and one of Sweden’s oldest towns, Sigtuna. 

After a morning of weaving through the Swedish countryside, you’ll then have time to explore Uppsala. Here you will visit Viking burial grounds, the Gothic 13th-century cathedral and one of Europe’s oldest academic institutions, the Uppsala University, before heading back to Stockholm

There is also the option to take a private tour that visits both Sigtuna and Uppsala.

View of Uppsala
City of Uppsala

By Train

Taking a self-guided day trip to Uppsala from Stockholm is incredibly straightforward thanks to the convenient rail connection. Trains to Uppsala depart from Stockholm Central Train Station every 15 minutes or so, running from 5am to midnight. 

There are several services operating on this route so journey times and price may fluctuate. To make sure you are getting the best price and the fastest train, it’s best to pre-book your ticket. You can view schedules here.

The fastest trains take just over 30 minutes but the slower, regional trains can take up to an hour, prices start from 75 SEK which converts to just under £6.   

Uppsala Train Station
Uppsala Train Station

By Bus

The bus from Stockholm to Uppsala is slightly cheaper than the train but there are a few downsides to consider. 

Buses from Stockholm typically depart from the central bus station, Cityterminalen, located near Stockholm Central Station. From there, the journey is between 1-1.5 hours long.

This is slightly longer than the train service but the overall ticket price is a little cheaper so if you are on a tight budget, you may prefer to take the bus. 

When comparing the bus and train services, it’s also important to consider the timetables. If you want to spend your evening in Uppsala, visit the theatre or go out for dinner, the trains offer more services throughout the night. You can view bus schedules here.

By Car

By choosing to travel by car, you will have more freedom to explore en route. There are plenty of small towns and villages along the way, some with especially interesting historical sites connected to the Vikings. This is a great opportunity if you want to visit Sigtuna and Uppsala in a single day. 

The journey from Stockholm to Uppsala by car takes around 1 hour, depending on traffic. It is relatively straightforward, with most of the journey taking place on the E4 motorway. 

There are, however, a few things to note if you decide to either bring your own car or hire a car whilst in Sweden. Several roads and bridges have automated toll cameras, these capture your registration details and send a bill to your vehicle’s registered address a couple of weeks after your trip.

If you are doing a lot of driving in Sweden or Norway, it’s best to register for an E-Pass, this way you pay the charges automatically and there is no added admin fee on your bill. Some hire companies cover this additional charge but it’s worth checking when you hire a car. 

There are also three separate low-emission zones in place around Stockholm. Your vehicle must be EURO6 or above to drive in and out of the city without risking a fine. This is another thing worth checking when you hire a car. You can browse to compare prices on rental cars.

Depending on when you are visiting Sweden, the weather conditions can affect the road conditions. During the winter months, it is likely you will encounter snow and ice so if you are not a confident driver, it may be best to stick to public transport.   

Exploring Sigtuna
Exploring Sigtuna

Uppsala Day Trip Itinerary

Swedish Cafe

It would be impossible to write a Uppsala itinerary without mentioning the incredible Swedish bakeries. There is no better way to start your day.

There are many options for coffee and a traditional Swedish pastry such as the cinnamon bun (kanelbullar), or the cardamom bun (kardemummabullar) but, if you want to sit beside the river and enjoy one of the best in the city, Güntherska is an excellent choice. 

Uppsala Cathedral

You can’t miss it, the Uppsala Cathedral is the most prominent part of the city’s skyline. It is the tallest church building not only in Sweden, but in the whole of Scandinavia, its three soaring spires reaching 118m into the sky. 

Dating back to the 13th century this gothic cathedral is full of historical insights to the city of Uppsala. Inside, the cathedral houses ornate chapels and the tombs of Swedish royalty, including King Gustav Vasa and John III.

Discover the intricate stained glass windows and the mediaeval astronomical clock as you wander around the halls and head up to the tower to experience the best views across the city.

Entry to the cathedral is free but donations towards the upkeep are recommended.

Uppsala Cathedral
Uppsala Cathedral

Gustavianum Museum

Gustavianum, located at the Uppsala University, is a small museum with a large range of exhibits. Housed in a grand 17th-century building, it displays a fascinating collection of exhibits ranging from ancient artefacts to scientific marvels.

Uppsala University is over 500 years old, making it one of the oldest academic campuses in the world. Wander around the grounds, before heading inside the museum to discover the Augsburg Art Cabinet, a unique Renaissance treasure and an ancient anatomical theatre that provides insights into historical medical practices.

Explore the museum’s archaeological and cultural displays, including Viking relics and Egyptian mummies. The museum itself is not very big so allocating one hour would be plenty.

At the moment, the museum is closed for refurbishment but will reopen in June 2024. 

Gustavianum Museum
Gustavianum Museum

Botanical Gardens

After discovering the Gustavianum Museum, it’s the perfect time to take a stroll through the University Botanical Gardens.

This is no regular walk in the park, spanning 34 acres, this botanical oasis is a living testament to biodiversity, featuring over 11,000 plant species, lovely little hills and beautiful lakes and ponds.

The path alongside the Fyris River weaves through separate thematic sections like the Linnaeanum and the Japanese Garden, transporting you through diverse ecosystems along the way. There is a rainforest area, orchid room, the orangery and an area where you will find a range of alpine plants.

It is open all year round, with different areas blooming at different times of year. If you are visiting during the winter time, make sure to visit the orangery. The trees are in full bloom and the smell is incredible. This is a botanical enthusiast’s dream destination.  

Gamla Uppsala

Gamla Uppsala is the ancient heart of Uppsala, a truly mesmerising archaeological and historical site that resonates with Nordic mythology. Rolling green landscapes peppered with burial mounds, this sacred area served as a major religious centre during the Viking Age.

Back in mediaeval times, Scandinavians considered Gamla Uppsala to be one of the most significant locations in the entirety of Scandinavia. 

It is said that there were once over 2,500 burial mounds in Gamla Uppsala but over the passage of time, many of them have become part of the surrounding farmland. Among the 250 that remain, there are three primary burial mounds.

Often referred to as the ‘Royal Mounds’ they are closely associated with three semi-legendary kings from the House of Ynglings – Aun, Adils and Egil. These gigantic mounds are iconic symbols of Sweden and can be found in texts and images all over the world.

The adjacent Gamla Uppsala Museum delves into the area’s rich history, displaying ancient artefacts and shedding light on the rituals and customs found in Norse mythology. 

On site you will also find the Gamla Uppsala Church, dating back to the 12th century. This perfectly preserved Lutheran church is built using stone, separate from the bell tower which is adorned with a distinctive red façade and traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture.

Its interior features a blend of mediaeval and Baroque elements, including an elaborately decorated altarpiece. 

Gamla Uppsala Church
Gamla Uppsala Church

Uppsala Castle

One of the best ways to see a city is from above. Standing proud, towering over the city is Uppsala Castle. Constructed in the 16th century, the castle blends Renaissance and Gustavian architecture, showcasing an impressive facade and towers.

Once a royal residence, it played a vital role in Sweden’s history, witnessing royal gatherings and political events. 

Although the castle itself is private and is not open to the general public, the grounds can be visited for free and the panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside are well worth the extra walk. 

Uppsala Castle
Uppsala Castle


After spending one day in Uppsala, you are sure to have built up an appetite. Swedish cuisine is not something we hear about too often but their pride in local, sustainable ingredients is unmatched. Here it is not uncommon for families to head out to the woods to pick mushrooms and berries on the weekend. 

In fact, Uppsala boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering a mix of traditional Swedish dishes, international cuisine, and fine dining options. Staple dishes include köttbullar (meatballs) served with lingonberry sauce, gravlax (cured salmon), and pickled herring.

Potatoes, dill, and fresh berries often feature prominently. You could also order a ‘Smorgasbord’, which is an array of cold and hot dishes, from cured meats to seafood. 

Peppar Peppar is one of the best restaurants in the city to discover local cuisine, executed brilliantly. If you prefer seafood, Hambergs Fisk is an excellent choice, here you will find some of Sweden’s world-famous seafood. You can even buy some to take away with you from the in-house fishmonger. 

Enojoy Uppsala’s Cutural Scene

Uppsala is a city committed to showcasing the arts. With its welcoming atmosphere, it’s easy to immerse yourself in local entertainment whether that be watching a theatre performance, going to a summer festival in the park or music gigs. 

The city’s theatres, such as Uppsala Stadsteater and Slottsteatern, host performances throughout the year, ranging from drama to contemporary productions. Live music enthusiasts can explore venues like Katalin and Ordfestivalen, to discover local and international artists across several different genres. 

During the summer, there are several festivals in Uppsala’s events calendar. One of the most famous is the Reggae Festival, Scandinavia’s first and largest festival dedicated to reggae music.

There is also an annual film festival, Valborg celebrations (an annual event popular in the city where locals light large fires to scare away bad spirits.) and Kultrunattun (a celebration of Uppsala’s unique heritage held on the second Saturday of September since 1989). 

If you don’t fancy theatre or music, Uppsala’s lively pub scene, especially in the city centre, open their doors to provide the perfect place for socialising over craft beers or cocktails.

As a vibrant university city, Uppsala really comes alive at night. If you are a night owl, this is the perfect place to discover Sweden’s late-night antics. 

Uppsala Cathedral in the evening
Uppsala Cathedral in the evening

Where to Stay in Stockholm

Scandic No 53 – Well-situated for exploring Stockholm and for day trips, this is a great mid-range option. There are several modern rooms to choose from and amenities like an on-site bar to enjoy.

Downtown Camper – An excellent luxury option in the Swedish capital, this 4-star hotel has plenty of plush rooms on offer and an unbeatable location for exploring all Stockholm and the area has to offer.

Gamla Stan Apartments – These old town apartments are perfect for those looking for a self-catering space in the city. Equipped with all you may need and fully furnished, there are a number of different flats to choose from to suit your needs.

Castanea Old Town Hostel – Backpackers will love this cool hostel in Stockholm’s old town. There are several dorms and privates available along with comfortable common areas and good self-catering places.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Stockholm hotels!

Visiting Uppsala is never a bad idea if you have extra time and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Stockholm. The perfect day trip from the capital, Uppsala is one of the best Swedish towns to visit.

Are you planning to visit Uppsala? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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