Chase the Midnight Sun: Iceland and Canada tours available now!

Uppsala is the fourth largest town in Sweden and is known as a vibrant University town. All the sightseeing is located in the compact city center, so it's hard to miss anything. Read our little travel guide on Uppsala to learn more about the destination.

Where Is Uppsala?


Uppsala is one of the oldest towns and is located on the east-central side of Sweden. Situated 80 km north of Stockholm, this gorgeous little town is your best bet for a road trip. Uppsala is the capital city of Uppsala County, and it borders counties like Dalarna, Stockholm, Södermanland, Västmanland, Gävleborg, and the Baltic Sea.

How to Get to Uppsala

Stockholm Arlanda International Airport is the closest airport to Uppsala and is located only 35 km south. Since most Swedish towns are well-connected with the public transportation system, you could take a bus straight from the airport or direct trains to reach your destination. In about 20 to 45 minutes, you can commute between Arlanda and this destination by road.

For those who prefer commuting by train, which is the fastest mode of transportation on the ground, you could pre-book your train tickets from the national train company SJ's website at an approximate cost of SEK 175-210.

The local taxi service is also another mode of transportation you could choose for commuting between the airport and the town itself. It will cost you approximately SEK 500.

General Information about Uppsala

  • Area: 48.77 km²

  • Population: 177,074 (Dec 31, 2019)

  • Location: East-central side of Sweden

  • Established: 1477

  • Best time to visit: June to August

  • Top attractions: The university, Gustavianum, the Cathedral, and the botanical garden

Brief History of Uppsala

Over 1500 years ago, Uppsala has located roughly 5 km to the north and was considered to be an important place of worship for the Swedes. This is where the general assembly met and created laws of justice. This old town has also played a crucial role as the center of trade. In the 12th century, Sweden was Christianized. And in 1286, Östra Aros, the new Uppsala was founded. The cathedral that was destroyed in a fire during the 13th century was rebuilt and inaugurated in 1435.

Uppsala panoramic view from a Cathedral during sunset

The new Uppsala gradually became the city of learning and continued to be the trade center. Uppsala University, the first in Scandinavia, was set up here in 1477, and world-renowned scientists made it their workplace. In the beginning, the university had about 50 students and a handful of tutors. Although, in the first decade of the 16th century, the university saw a slight downfall due to political unrest, by the 18th century, the university started flourishing with scholars.

What Is Uppsala Known for?

Although this is one of the oldest towns in Sweden, and the fourth largest too, this destination is renowned by the university and the cathedral located here. This university is known to be the first in Scandinavia and currently has a well-established wing of medical research and biotechnology. Besides the academic environment, the medical town of Visby is among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. This town also houses Fyrishov, the largest arena in the town and the fourth most visited in Sweden.

What to Do in Uppsala

Lush green parks, a historic cathedral, and the most obvious of all, the university itself. This stunning location has so many places to visit and things to do.

1. Visit the oldest university in Scandinavia

Uppsala University is the oldens one in Scandinavian countries

Established in 1477, Uppsala University is now rated as one of the best in Northern Europe. If you have always been a bookworm, ensure you don't miss out on the library building here. Dating back to the 1820s, the library here has an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and gospels.

2. Be enthralled by the cathedral

French-gothic style Cathedral in Uppsala town, Sweden

Dominating the skyline, this tall and spectacular cathedral has an architecture inspired by French-gothic style. Being the largest church in Scandinavia, this cathedral has a lot of historical relevance and is also the burial place for many members of the royal family.

3. Enjoy an evening stroll at the lush green parks

Take a romantic walk in the oldest Botanical Garden in the Sweden

Uppsala houses the oldest botanical garden in the country. Cultivated by the celebrated botanist Carl Linnaeus from the 18th century, this botanical garden features over 9,000 plants, native trees, and seasonal displays that must not be missed.

4. Explore an archaeological site

Old, or Gamla, Uppsala is a site that is of high archaeological importance. Located just 5 km away from the city, you'll find so much history in this place. From prehistoric burial mounds to a church that looks right out of a fairytale, this destination will not disappoint you.

5. Walk back in time

Uppsala Castle and Botanical Garden in Sweden

Visit the Uppsala Castle, which was built in the 16th century and is surrounded by lush green gardens. It's almost as though time has stopped for this beautifully reconstructed castle from the Vasa dynastic era.

For a sports enthusiast, we recommend you stop by the largest sporting arena, Fyrishov. But if you are an art lover, don't miss out on a visit to the former house and work studio of the renowned Swedish modernist painter and sculptor Bror Hjorth (1894–1968).

For those interested in taking a deep dive into the past and learning more about history, make sure the Uppland Museum and Museum of Medical History are on your list of places to visit.

When to Visit Uppsala

Summer months (June to August) are the best time to visit this town. Spring season starts in May and is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, too, but the weather can be a little unpredictable due to temperature dips. Is enjoying the snow and visiting the colorful Christmas markets on your list of things to do? Then, we recommend you visit this lovely destination in November and December.

Attractions near Uppsala

Stockholm is just minutes away from Uppsala. Gamla Stan, Skasen, Vasa Museum, Modern Art Museum, and the Royal Palace are some of the must-visit spots in Stockholm.

Colorful houses in Galve town near Uppsala in Sweden

Gavle is another destination that is just an hour away and is perfect for a day out with your family. From spotting the giant Yule goat made of straw to Sweden’s railway museum, there are plenty of things to see and do here.