Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Norrköping (Sweden), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Norrköping is one of the largest cities in Sweden, located in the province of Östergötland in the eastern part of the country. It was formerly known for its world-leading textile industry, which has given rise to nicknames such as the “Manchester of Sweden”.
It was founded already in medieval times who used the Motala stream to power their mills. There are no certain dates of the foundation of Norrköping, but in the 12th century, there is one mention of a church on-site that was dedicated to Saint Olaf.
The name Norrköping simply means that there was a market here (Köping) and that it was located in the north in contrast to nearby Söderköping (South Market). The first trace of the name goes back to a donation from Sophia of Denmark in 1283.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Norrköping as well as museums, attractions, and other sites of interest that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Museum of Work (Arbetets museum)
The heart of Norrköping is home to a particularly interesting museum called the Arbetets museum (in English: the Museum of Work). Unlike other museums, this facility does not collect objects but instead collects the stories of people and memories.
The Museum of Work is located in a former cotton mill called Strykjärnet, which is considered one of the most beautiful industrial buildings in all of Sweden.
Himmelstalund is a large public park found on the western edge of the city. What makes the park a popular attraction is its large collection of petroglyphs.
There are more than 1660 of these rock images found here making it one of the biggest of its kind in all of Sweden. The park and its petroglyphs are surrounded by many recreational sites including a camping ground and various sports facilities.
Hedvig Church is one of the main landmarks of the city center and was built in the 17th century. It was initially intended as a church for the German population of Norrköping.
The church was built in a simplified baroque style and has a uniquely stocky appearance due to its short and wide proportions. Over the last century, several renovation works were carried out that restored the original beauty of the church.
There is no reason not to stop by here when visiting the city center as the Hedvigs kyrka is within walking distance of many other interesting sites.
Lövstad Castle is a 17th-century château located a few kilometers west of Norrköping. It served as the residence of many influential families but has been turned into a museum in 1942.
The building is surrounded by beautiful gardens that are very inviting places to relax during the warmer months.
The interior of the building is very historic, and the museum aims for keeping it that way, making the Lövstad Castle a real-time capsule that allows visitors a glimpse of the elegance of past centuries
Norrköping City Museum
Norrköping’s Stadsmuseum showcases the urban history of Norrköping including the early times of the Viking Age as well the times of the booming textile industry.
Typical for the city, the museum is located in a former factory which gives it a unique atmosphere that sets it apart from other museums of its kind. The museum is arguably the best place to come if you are eager to learn about the city’s interesting history.
The Industrial Landscape
Norrköping is known for its fantastic industrial landscape that gives the city a very unique and interesting atmosphere. The city used to serve as a huge hub for the textile industry and even though the production has shifted elsewhere the iconic brick buildings along the Motala stream remain.
The factories have been turned into apartment buildings, museums, shops, and restaurants and are definitely Norrköping’s most defining feature.
Taking a walk along the water is one of the best things to do in Norrköping and will lead along with many interesting constructions that were used to manipulate the flow of the water in order to benefit the local industry.
Åbackarna is a great promenade that leads along the Motala stream. It is located south-west of the Folkparken and is a great spot for a nice walk amidst lush greenery.
The promenade has a length of around 3 km and leads along the Färgargården (a river-side cafeteria) and the Rhododendrondalen (so-called Rhododendron valley).
Different seabirds such as the mallard and the grebe can often be encountered here making the area a great spot for bird watching.
Carl Johans Park
Carl Johans Park was established in 1887 and is today mainly known for its impressive collection of cacti and the large statue of Karl XIV Johan.
This park is arguably one of the most popular places to visit in Norrköping as it is situated right next to the Motala stream while being home to many hotels, restaurants, and bars and becomes very lively during the weekend nights.
Depending on the season, the Carl Johans Park boasts numerous well-maintained flower beds which turn it into a really colorful area.
Around 15 km north of Norrköping is the beautiful Ågelsjön, a lake that is known for offering a very diverse array of activities. If you like adrenaline-inducing adventures you can go rock climbing here.
Or if you like it a bit more relaxed you can rent a kayak and explore the lake on your own terms. The forests surrounding Ågelsjön offers plenty of hiking and cycling trails. Perfect for people in search of nature and serenity.
Norrköping Light Festival
In order to light up the dark days of the Swedish winter, the city of Norrköping has established a light festival that illuminates many parts of the city during November, December, and January.
The light installations are spectacular and are often created by international artists. There is a light path that stretches from the Carl Johan Park to the Visualisieringscenter C which shouldn’t be missed when coming here during the winter.
There are also guided tours available that lead along some of the most impressive installations.
Day trip to Söderköping
Söderköping is a picturesque town south of Norrköping. It is known for its fantastic countryside including the archipelago of St. Anna which is home to numerous small islets.
But Söderköping is not just known for its great natural surroundings but also for its winding alleys and historical quarters that often date back to Medieval times.
There are many lovely restaurants here as well as cafes and family-run shops that make spending a few hours in this lovely town a really pleasant experience.
St. Matthew’s Church is one of the most beautiful churches in all of Norrköping and was built between 1887 and 1892. The church is known for its red-brick facade and its richly decorated 64 m tall tower.
The Matteus kyrka, as it is known in Swedish, is quite big and offers seating for 1400 people. Don’t miss the impressive altarpiece which depicts Christ surrounded by four evangelists, an ox, an eagle, a lion, and an angel.
Norrköping’s Museum of Art
The city’s art museum dates back to 1901 when a local industrialist called Pehr Swartz donated his art collection to the Norrköping Art Society.
It consisted of around 500 artworks at the time and served as the stepping stone for what is today one of the best collections of contemporary art in all of Sweden.
There is a special focus on the Swedish avantgarde as well including artists like Gösta Adrian-Nilsson and Isaac Grünewald. Apart from the Swedish artworks, there are also many international prints on display including works from Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and William Hogarth.
Getåravinen (Getå Nature reserve)
Getåravinen is a deep ravine surrounded by old spruce and pine forests. There are many trails here that allow visitors to explore the ravine and its winding stream.
Enjoy the sounds of nature including the flowing of the water, the chirping of the birds and the movement of the trees. The stream is also home to rare species of fish such as the colorful kingfisher.
Getåravinen is located 15 km north of Norrköping and can easily be reached by car or public transport.
Marble Mill Nature Reserve (Marmorbrukets Naturreservat)
The Marble Mill Nature Reserve is situated on the northern shore of the Bråviken bay around 25 km north-east of Norrköping. The trails here are known for their scenic views over the water and the virtually untouched nature surrounding them.
There are several viewpoints situated on cliffs over the water. People also come here for picnics or rock climbing. The nature reserve is home to several lovely villages that almost feel like time stood still here.
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