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Uppsala - Where to stay.

I have a quick trip to Uppsala next week - adult woman, travelling solo. I'd like to stay in the most happening part of the city that's pedestrian friendly. Looking for hotel recommendations and other other tips you may have - sights, restaurants...
Thank you!

Posted by
6668 posts

The entire city centre is pedestrian friendly, and pretty compact. You could consider Scandic Uplandia or Clarion Gillet. They are both on Dragarbrunnsgatan, that might be considered "the most happening part", but there is a bit of construction going in close to them so maybe not the best place if you're noise sensitive. If you're looking for a special place to stay, book a room at Grand hotel hörnan or Villa Anna. But there are many other options as well, depending on your budget.

As for sights and other things, what are you interested in and want to see and do? And when exactly are you arriving, this Sunday will be a very special day in Uppsala. But a small tip I have is to pay a visit to Uppsala English Bookshop, at the corner of Svartbäcksgatan and St Olofsgatan, a great bookshop that specializes in selling books in English. Including a good selection of Scandinavian authors translated to English. Another tip is to don't miss the cafés, among the best in Sweden in my opinion.

Posted by
27431 posts

I went to Uppsala last year. These are the sights I had on my list (most of which I didn't have time to see); I think they're listed roughly from north to south. The black triangles are Rick's prioritization:

Gamla Uppsala: Royal burial mounds (always open and free), good small museum with artifacts, 12C church (I think free) surrounded by evocative cemeteries, and tiny church museum (free?). 5 km N of town; Bus 2 (as of the time of my research) from Stora Torget, 0:15.

▲Linnetradgaarden, 27 Svartbacksgatan: 2.5 acres; very nice. Annuals right, perennials left. Gardens may be free after 5 PM. There's also a small house-museum, the Linnemuseet.

Upsala Konsert & Kongress, Vaksala Torg 1: Superb view of entire city from top floor (escalator).

Radhuset, Stora Torget 10: 18C former town hall, now elegant department store?

Riverfront has sidewalks on both sides and artworks that double as benches. Many beautiful houses from 17C on.

▲▲Uppsala Domkyrkan (1435), Domkyrkoplan: Sweden’s largest cathedral and perhaps most beautiful. Surrounding area also lovely. 15C with mainly 19C interior decor. Gorgeous Baroque pulpit and important side chapels. Treasury (Skattkammaren) has exceptional collection of medieval textiles, swords and crowns. There may be tours offered in English. Or see whether the gift shop is still selling a descriptive booklet. Church open daily and free; restricted access during services and concerts. Main service Sun 1100 and concerts Sat afternoon at the time of my visit. Skattkammaren (entry fee) has somewhat shorter hours; check the website.

Slottsbiografen (Castle Cinema), Nedre Slottsgatan 6D: Opened in 1914 and restored to original Art Deco glory; shows art films.

▲▲Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3: University museum with mostly-scientific displays and archeological holdings. Augsburg Art cabinet has miniature works of art. Was closed at the time of my visit but supposed to reopen sometime this year.

The university area is beautiful. I think I recall some hilliness.

▲Carolina Rediviva, Carolinabacken: Library. Exhibition room used to be free Monday-Friday and have a fee on Saturday.

Vasaborgen Uppsala Slott, Drottning Christinas Vag: Castle only viewable on tour but views and botanical garden are great. Don't know that it's open this early in the year.

Uppsala Konstmuseum, Castle Entrance E, Drottning Christinas vag 1E: Contemporary art.

Botaniska Tradgarden, Villavagen 6-8: Large university gardens. Used to be free except for tropical greenhouse.

Bror Hjorth Hus, Norbyvagen 26: Art of Bror Hjorth; rather naïve. Bus 2 or 7 from Stora Torget to Evolutionsmuseet or Birkagatan stops, then 300 m walk. Free as of 2022.

Hammarby: Linnaeus’s summer home, surrounded by lush gardens, 9 mi from Uppsala. Old-fashioned garden flowers, nature walk and cafe. Not sure how much is open in May.

Posted by
55 posts

Thank you for the great tips on sights and lodging! Much more than I'll have time for, so I guess I'll have to return.
Much appreciated!

Posted by
6668 posts

Gustavianum is still closed for renovation and planned to reopen in spring next year. Regarding Gamla Uppsala, do not miss the museum if you go there, and if you have any questions about the museum or the area, don't hesitate to ask the staff. Most people working there are historians or archeologists and know a lot about the area and its history.

Slottsbiografen also has an important role in the history of cinema as this was the place where a young boy named Ingmar first experienced the magic of movies.

There is also a good article about Uppsala on Wikivoyage:

Posted by
55 posts

Thank you, Badger!
This Wiki Voyage article has it all! A great resource! VERY helpful!
Much appreciation!

Posted by
795 posts

We usually stayed at the Radisson, surprisingly quiet given it's by the train station. The entire downtown area is very walkable, so you won't be far from the action wherever you choose to stay. On my first visit, we splurged and stayed at Grand Hotell Hörnan, it was a gorgeous room & it's right next to the river. It also has the advantage of being a 2-minute walk from Guntherska cafe, one of the premier cafes in town, go early or get takeaway from it's bakery next door. Across the street from the English Bookstore (which seems to be about the only place in town that sells postcards), inside the library is the Cardamom Cafe, a personal fav as it serves good food and excellent coffee. If you have the time, rent a bike, it's a great way to get around & see a bit more. And if you have time for one extra thing besides a walk along the river, up to the cathedral & castle view point, & of course sampling the desserts, Gamla (old) Uppsala is amazing.

Posted by
55 posts

Thank you, Sandancisco! I'm booked at the Radisson! Glad to know the location is good.
UGH! So many things to do! Lots of wonderful suggestions! And you'll all be sad for me, because I'm only there for 2 days at most. So, I'll prioritize the activities, etc, that were suggested by more than one person. It's a voluntary business trip. I'd love to have time to rent a bike, too.
No doubt, I'll have to return for vacation with my husband. What was your itinerary when you planned this adventure? We live in Chicago, retired, and are fairly flexible, except for all the activities we already have planned through October. Gotta "Keep on Travelin!"

Posted by
6668 posts

Güntherska and Kardemumma are both good cafés, but there are many other. A few that I can recommend:

  • Fågelsången
  • Ofvandahls
  • The Linné Cafés (there are two of them next to each other).
  • Leijon Stenugnsbageri (although not the one in the city centre)
  • Centralkonditoriet
  • Storken
  • Café Victoria
  • Katedralkaféet
  • Landings

Just make sure you avoid any of the café chains (Wayne's coffe, Espresso house, Bröd & Salt, Coffehouse by George).

Posted by
795 posts

Hey there lgpoodle, the Radisson rents bikes, I just checked for some friends. Hope you have a fab time in Uppsala, weather is not too cold, some rain showers & occasionally it clears up and is sunny.

Posted by
55 posts

Badger - Thank you for the heads up on the coffee shops. I'll definitely avoid the chains, now that I know which ones they are!
Sandancisco - Thank you for checking on bike rental. Hoping for sunny days!

Posted by
55 posts

Hej, Sandancisco!
Had a wonderful time! Almost 2 full days of squeezing a lot in! It was an easy, quick train ride (18 min) from ARN to Uppsala. Radisson Blu is a great location, nice hotel with awesome staff! Reviewed my plan with the desk clerk who gave me a city map.
Day 1: After settling in & getting a second wind, I stopped at TI, then lunch at the recommended Güntherska Cafe. Enjoyed a scrumptious goat cheese salad (sans salmon). It came with self-serve coffee & water - neither of which are a thing in Germany! What a treat! Next, I visited the Uppsala Cathedral - too early in season for tours, but I followed Rick's self-guided tour. Moving along, checked out Holy Trinity Church, the University library and grounds, the castle, English book store, a few other sights, grocery store... Too early for gardens & too cold to bike ride. After roaming & exploring, time for a beer & music trivia at Bryggeriet Ångkvarn Brew Pub. Brewed on location, enjoyed "Lennart's Milk Stout." Very delish! After trivia, I chatted with the trivia host about music, travels … & later had a delightful chat w/staff member Emily about multiple topics - beer, USA, travelling, family... Next stop, Taps Beer Bar. Not a brewery, but a great selection of beers on tap. More delightful chats w/beer tender Crystal & other patrons. Final stop, O'Connors with new friends from Taps, discussing movies, TV, & cultural experiences. Hangin’ with the locals, as Rick likes to do! My fave, too!

Day 2: Walked to Stora Torget as advised by Rick, to catch #2 bus to Gamla Uppsala. The street was blocked off for construction, so no motor traffic. The workers directed me back to Central Station. I checked out the transit map & found a stop closer to my hotel (Radisson Blu) with help of a couple of lovely people. It's a cash-free country, so just tap your credit card when you get on the bus & you're on your way! It's less than 20 minutes, & last stop on the line. After viewing the grounds map, I entered the museum. And Badger is right- best part about museum is chatting with the archeologists! The 2 young ladies minding the store were archeologists who were exceptionally knowledgeable & fascinating! Tickets come with a pass to return through the end of 2023 & they offer senior discount. I then moved on to the church, but a funeral was taking place. Since it was quite windy, a bit of rain, sleet & hail, I took a coffee break in the lovely Odinsborg Café -a Victorian interior with several cozy living/dining rooms, walk-up service, decadent pastries, & prewrapped sandwiches & salads, which may be because it’s pre-season & low traffic, hence the sandwich wasn’t very fresh. So, if you visit during low season, pick a pastry. The coffee was great & more free water! When the funeral was over, I visited the church. Grab a guide when you enter which points out the historical artifacts. I then returned to the museum to catch a few things I missed & get answers to more questions. The weather improved, so I took a hike around the burial mounds. Rick says, “the highlight of a visit is to climb the evocative mounds, which you’re welcome to wander.” Maybe this was allowed in the past, but not currently. There are signs all along the trail of the mounds, “Please don’t walk on the mounds.” The bus stop is within sight, runs every 10 minutes.
After a brief rest, I headed back to Bryggeriet Ångkvarn, but this time for dinner. I ordered 2 starters – asparagus & meatballs. If on the menu when you visit, read the descriptions & you’ll know why! Unique, upscale recipes, beautifully presented! No pub grub here! And a flask of water! As I dined, I had a lovely chat with the owner’s daughter. More talk about beer, food, culture, local events… Summing up, Uppsala gets Rick’s “must see” rating - 3 /! EVERYONE was SO incredibly nice, helpful, friendly, & cheerful! Hope to return, visit gardens in boom, rent a bike, & maybe museums. Thanks to all for your guidance!

Posted by
6668 posts

Thanks lgpoodle! That was a very nice trip report. It is always nice to hear back from people that have asked questions.

Day 2: Walked to Stora Torget as advised by Rick, to catch #2 bus to
Gamla Uppsala. The street was blocked off for construction, so no
motor traffic.

That is one of those things I think is really important, never trust a guide book when it comes to public transportation! Always double check the information, schedules and routes change and as you noticed, roadworks can reroute buses.

Rick says, “the highlight of a visit is to climb the evocative mounds,
which you’re welcome to wander.” Maybe this was allowed in the past,
but not currently. There are signs all along the trail of the mounds,
“Please don’t walk on the mounds.”

It is allowed sometimes, but in order to prevent erosion on the mounds they are sometimes closed. Those that really want to climb a burial mound can visit the Håga mound (also known as King Björn's mound) in western Uppsala.

Posted by
795 posts

lgpoodle, wow what a great visit!! Sounds like you had a chance to get to know the locals, savor some fun locales, drink the local brew, and walk to your heart's content. I'm always surprised by how much intrepid visitors research & get to know a place! Hopefully 'next time' you will rent a bike and savor the lovely summer weather. I've book marked you post for future visitors, but maybe you could post this as a trip report?

Posted by
55 posts

Hej, Sandancisco!
Sorry for the delay. I had a quick trip to Gothenburg - another great place to visit!
You mention posting my trip to Uppsala on the Trip Reports page I see there's a pull down menu to select from. Do you suggest I post it in Day Trips?
Love the Travel Forum! Everyone has been so helpful!