Gamla Uppsala (Uppsala): Some 1,500 years ago, the Kingdom of the Svea (Swedes) was ruled from a spot outside the modern university city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm. Gamla Uppsala, 5km (3 miles) north of the city center, is now one of the most revered historic spots in Sweden. Here Viking life dominated, and animals and humans were sacrificed to pagan gods. It is suspected, although not authenticated, that three Swedish kings dating from the 6th century were entombed here.
Skansen (Djurgården, Stockholm): Called "Old Sweden in a Nutshell," this is the best open-air museum in all of Sweden in terms of numbers of dwellings and authenticity. Some 150 structures were moved from places ranging from the château country in southwest Sweden to as far north as Lapland. From manor houses to windmills, they're all here, giving visitors an idea of how Sweden used to look. This is an especially valuable stop for visitors who see only Stockholm and don't have time to visit the rest of the country. Folk dancing and concerts enliven the atmosphere, and young Swedes demonstrate the creation of handicrafts from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Kivik Tomb (Bredaror): The Kivik Tomb was discovered in 1748 in the château country of Sweden, north of the coastal town of Simrishamn. It immediately became the most important Bronze Age discovery in the country. One of the former members of the discovery team compared it to being "invited into the living room of a Bronze Age family." Not only the usual bronze fragments were uncovered but also some grave carvings and, most notably, tomb furniture. A total of eight runic slabs depict scenes from everyday life, including horse-drawn sleigh-riding, plus a bit of prehistoric humor in what appears to be a troupe of dancing seals.
Eketorp Ring-Fort (Öland): This fortified village, built inside of a ring-shaped enclosure for defensive purposes, is the most important of more than a dozen prehistoric forts known to have existed on Öland in prerecorded times. It appears that the heavily protected village was inhabited by various settlers from A.D. 300 to 1300. Swedish archaeologists have filled the settlement with the Iron Age-style houses that once existed here, and they have reconstructed a massive wall along its edges. Although it is a reconstruction, it is believed to be an authentic replica of what the ring fort and village once looked like, giving amazing insight into life in the Sweden of ages ago, when prehistoric people fought to survive in an inhospitable terrain.
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