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Gripsholm Castle
Gripsholm Castle, located by lake Mälaren, stems from the 1500s and hosts an internationally renowned portrait collection of prominent Swedes from the days of Gustav Vasa.
Photo credit: Sten E / Visit Sweden

Sörmland – a pleasure garden studded with castles

Sörmland county is a unique spot conveniently located near Stockholm. Perfect for a weekend break, the county offers a wealth of outdoor activities and cultural experiences – including an impressive number of centuries-old castles.

World-famous Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf dubbed Sörmland ”Sweden’s pleasure garden,” and it’s easy to see why. Perched on the southern shores of Lake Mälaren and spreading across varied terrain spanning beaches, deep forest and meadowland, the natural beauty of the region is undeniable. You’ll be able to cover a considerable chunk of this natural wonderland by setting off along Sörmlandsleden – Sörmland hiking trail. At over 1,000 kilometres, it’s one of Sweden’s longest and most idyllic treks.

Sörmland also boasts fascinating culture and history – if you have a penchant for castle hopping, you’ve come to the right place. There are some 400 castles and manors to discover, and you’ll also find plenty of rune stones – Sörmland has the second highest number of these historic relics. As for towns and cities worth visiting, the picturesque waterside spots Mariefred and Trosa are particular draws, and so too Nyköping and Eskilstuna, with its myriad of public art pieces, of which you’ll find some 160 dotted around.

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Julita Manor

Julita Manor is one of Sörmland's many manors and castles.

Photo: Andreas Sander

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Julita Manor

Photo: Andreas Sander

Julita Manor Balcony

Photo: Peter Segemark

Gripsholm Castle

Photo: Raphael Stecksen / Kungl. Hovstaterna

Im Schloss Gripsholm

Photo: Lisa Raihle Rehbäck / Kungl. Hovstaterna

Rune stone in Mariefred

Photo: Rocco Gustafsson

Castle-safari – the perfect way to discover Sörmland

Few Swedish counties are as castle rich as Sörmland. And the castles and manors studding the landscape provide the perfect reason to criss-cross this beautiful part of Sweden.

Located on the shores of Lake Mälaren on the outskirts of the beautiful town of Mariefred, Gripsholm Castle was built by King Gustav Vasa in 1537 – hence its nickname “Gustav Vasa’s castle”. Follow in the famous king’s footsteps by exploring the grand halls within the castle or the magnificent grounds surrounding it, near which you’ll find Hjorthagen nature reserve, where deer roam free.

Julita Manor nestles in an equally beautiful natural setting on the shores of another lake – Öljaren. Before this grand abode started housing Swedish nobility, it served as a medieval monastery, making it a multifaceted historic gem.

These are only two examples – there are hundreds of more castles in Sörmland to discover.

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Kayaking in Trosa

Kayaking is a fun way of experiencing Trosa.

Photo: Paola Noordh

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Kayaking in Trosa

Photo: Paola Noordh

Trosa guest harbour

Photo: Apelago / Visit Trosa

Sörmlandsleden

Photo: Trosa stadshotell

Ridled Sörmland

Photo: Ridled Sörmland

Mountain biking at Bergs Gård

Photo: Paola Noordh

Outdoor adventures across water and land

Sörmland is often described as “Sweden’s southernmost wilderness”. With its large expanses of untouched nature and many lakes – including Sweden’s third largest, Lake Mälaren – it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The unspoilt archipelago encompasses thousands of islands and skerries – perfect for canoeing and kayaking excursions. Rent the water vessel of your choice at one of the many water sport rental companies, such as Apelago in Trosa harbour. Or opt for a multi-day experience combining hiking and paddling courtesy of outdoor activity organiser Nordic Trails.

The key hiking trail Sörmlandsleden covers over 1,000 kilometres of paths snaking through a number of nature reserves and spots of cultural and historic interest – including a good number of rune stones.

If you fancy taking in the scenery on horseback, Tolfta Gård and its friendly family of (mostly) Icelandic horses are conveniently situated along the well-established riding route Ridled Sörmland – a 400-kilometre network of quaint roads and paths allowing you to trot through lake-studded forests and pastures. You’ll find accommodation along the way that welcomes riders and horses alike. The trails are suited for hikers and bikers, too – you can even venture out by mountain bike.

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Sörmlands Matkluster

Rhubarb is one of many locally produced crops found in Sörmlands Matkluster (Sörmland's food cluster).

Photo: Visit Sörmland

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Sörmlands Matkluster

Photo: Visit Sörmland

Taxinge Castle's cake buffet

Photo: Taxinge Slottscafé

Taxinge Castle

Photo: Taxinge slott

Sample the flavours of Sörmland

Sörmland’s culinary culture is based around produce sourced locally – think foraged mushrooms and berries, freshly caught fish, and vegetables, eggs and meat provided by the region’s small-scale farmers. Sörmlands Matkluster (Sörmland’s food cluster) is a crop of local food producers and creators collectively serving up the best the region has to offer. They host a series of events such as food festivals and dining experiences, as well as permanent foodie spots including farm shops, bakeries and delis.

Skalla Bord is a fine dining option offering tasting menus based on seasonal produce and ingredients sourced locally. The highly regarded restaurant at Dufweholms Herrgård – one of Sörmland’s beautiful manors – also bases its menu on local seasonal offerings.

Saltå Kvarn (Saltå Mill) is another culinary hotspot using only what’s available on its doorstep to produce organic bread and other grain-based products. This Järna-based foodie favourite has an onsite café and shop, and its popular products can be found in grocery stores throughout the country.

Sörmland also caters to the sweet-toothed among us. Taxinge Castle’s cake buffet is an elaborate classic, inviting you to try a smörgåsbord of delicious homemade cakes and biscuits in a glamorous castle setting surrounded by natural beauty.

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Bomans Hotell

Bomans Hotell is a unique boutique hotel in Trosa.

Photo: Bomans Hotell & Restaurang

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Bomans Hotell

Photo: Bomans Hotell & Restaurang

Room at Bomans Hotell

Photo: Bomans Hotell & Restaurang

Dufweholms Herrgård

Photo: Svenska Kulturpärlor

Deluxe Suite at Dufweholms Herrgård

Photo: Svenska Kulturpärlor

Palstorp Äventyrsgård

Photo: Palstorp Äventyrsgård

Öster Malma Wildlife Park

Photo: Rocco Gustafsson

PRACTICAL INFORMATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO SÖRMLAND