My travels around the world


Around Lake Mälaren, Sweden

The picturesque village of Mariefred


Train station Mariefred
At the train station

The steam train was not 'home' when I was at the train station, so instead this picture of an old loc that was standing here. But if you like you can go on a little trip with the old steam train from Mariefred. The railway is rather special as it is a 600 mm gauge railway.

A really nice daytrip would make their "Mariefred roundtrip", which is a combination of getting by boat to Mariefred from Stockholm (see next tip), spend a few hours at Stockholm and Gripsholm Castle and end the day with a ride on the historical train from Mariefred to Läggesta, from where you can hop on the normal high speed train from the Swedish Railway back to Stockholm. This tour can only be done during the summer time and you can find more about the rates and times on the website of the ÖSJ.

Steam train

Steamboat Mariefred

Steamboat Mariefred
Steamboat Mariefred

I ended my walk around Mariefred at the little harbour. And how lucky I was to just see the old steamboat 'Mariefred' return home from her trip to Stockholm.

A great way to travel from Stockholm to Mariefred is actually by taking this steam boat. You will not only be visiting Mariefred and Gripsholm castle, but will also have the chance to enjoy the beautiful Lake Mälaren. The trip from Stockholm does take a few hours though, so be prepared for that. I've never done this trip myself, but it is still on my wish list. It sounds like a great thing to do! You can find more info about prices and times on their website:

Lake Mälaren Area

Lake Mälaren
Around Lake Mälaren

Area: The Lake Mälaren and the close area around it.

Mälaren is the third in size lake in Sweden. It has a climate quiet different compared to other close by areas. It is more humid and warmer in the summer, but not as cold in the winter. This has created a specific flora and also a special fauna. Several species of flowers and trees only grow around Lake Mälaren and in the south of Sweden. The mistletoe for instance is rather rare in Sweden but we can see dozens of them from our window.

Many fortifications and castles have been built around the lake. You can for instance visit 5 Royal Castles by boat on a 6-hour trip roundtrip from Stockholm. This building of fortification and permanent settlements began early, around 5000 BC, and there are many fort hills and archeologically sites around.

Everyone has probably heard about the Vikings, and you can still find lots about them in this area. I live only a 10 minutes walk from a very important Viking monument: The Sigurdsristningen. Being so close to a site like this makes me feel in touch with this part of Swedish history and has made me fascinated by the early history of Sweden. Around Lake Mälaren there are many spots where you can find signs of early culture, like in Birka and Sigtuna. Along the roads you can see a lot of Runic Stones.

Click on the map to go to the destination pages.

Interesting points to see in the area are:

  • Anundshög: old burial mounds from Viking Age.
  • Birka: ruins from old capital city of Sweden.
  • Mariefred with Gripsholm Castle. A picturesque village and a beautiful castle. In the castle is also the Swedish National Portrait Collection.
  • Sigtuna: old city with lots of historical background.
  • Sko Kloster: one of the most popular castles with a huge collections of painting, furniture and arms. The latter is one of the largest in Europe.
  • Sundby with Sundyholms Castle and the famous stone carvings from the time of the Vikings: Sigurdsristningen.
  • Eskilstuna: not a real tourist destination, but it has some nice places. My favourite of all is the Fors Kyrka (Fors Church). Also worth visiting is the Klosterkyrka, sculpture 'Hand of God' by Miles, the historic area of "Rademachersmedjorna" and the museum "Faktorimuseet".
  • Taxinge slott: Get a taste of the typical Swedish Christmas celebrations at the yearly Christmas market at Taxinge Slott.
  • Tidö slott: A beautiful castle with a toy museum.
  • Ängsö Castle A haunted castle from the 15th century and one if the many smaller castles in this area.
  • Strängnäs: one of Sweden's oldest towns. The highlight of this city is its beautiful cathedral.
  • Västerås: is one of the top 10 cities of Sweden. Suggestions: visit the park (Djäkneberget), interesting for the many boulders with inscriptions. The old part of town with historical houses at Kyrkbacken and the Cathedral.
  • Örebro: is an university city and the 7th largest city in Sweden. Places to see are castle from the 13th century and Wadköping, which is the old town and now open air museum.
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