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Uppsala

Photo © Liamps

Travel Guide Europe Sweden Uppsala

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Introduction

Uppsala is one of Sweden's oldest cities founded in the Middle Ages. Precisely how old is unclear, but the city was big enough to make it a reasonable choice as the site for the archdiocese of Sweden in the 13th century. Uppsala offers some interesting spots to visit like Gamla (Old) Uppsala with burial mounds from the 6th century and the former Cathedral built in the 12th century. Sweden's first university was founded here in the 15th century and is still one of the most prestigious in the country.

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Neighbourhoods

  • Gamla Uppsala
  • Luthagen
  • Kapellgärdet

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Sights and Activities

  • Uppsala Cathedral - The Uppsala Cathedral, in the Gothic style, is one of the focal points of Uppsala and it dominates the city skyline. It is simultaneously the largest church in Scandinavia, the burial site of many a Swedish royal, and the seat of the Church of Sweden. It shouldn't be missed, but given its towering size, how could you? Free English language guided tours are available. Daily Mass celebrated at 12:00; all welcome. Free.
  • Uppsala Castle - Uppsala's other huge landmark is stocked with large halls, paintings, and older remnants of the 16th century castle built by the Vasa dynasty. as a royal residence and a military fortification. It is today the official residence of the governor of Uppsala county, and houses several museums. Due to its location on the top of Uppsalaåsen the Castle area offer some of the best views of Uppsala.
  • The Anatomical Theatre
  • Uppsala University
  • Gustavianum Museum
  • Botanical Garden
  • Linnaeus Garden
  • Linneaus' Hammarby
  • University Library
  • The Concert Hall

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Events and Festivals

  • Sacred Music Festival

Uppsala Reggae Festival

Commonly called the Reggae Mecca of Scandinavia, the Uppsala Reggae Festival is a thriving music event that has been held annually since 2001. What began as a one day event has grown in popularity and expanded to three days in August. The city of Uppsala is only 55 miles from the heart of Stockholm, so visitors to the capital can easily reach the festival.

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Weather

The climate is temperate, but it can become really cold in the winter (below -25 °C) and really hot in the summer (over 30 °C), though these are extremes, not recorded every year. Uppsala on average though has moderately warm summers, between 19 °C and 22 °C from June to September. Nights are around 13 °C or 14 °C. Winters last from December to March with temperatures around zero during the day, -6 °C degrees at night. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, but with some more rain in summer and quite some snow in winter.

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Getting There

By Plane

With no commercial airport of its own, Uppsala is served by the same airports that serve Stockholm. In fact Arlanda is closer to Uppsala than to Stockholm. Arlanda airport is short bus or train ride away.

By Train

Uppsala Central Station has a modern, accessible building since 2016, and improved integration with local buses.

The national railway SJ operates regional express trains from Stockholm every half hour. This takes 40 minutes and costs around 80 kr. These are complemented by occasional regional trains running Linköping–Norrköping–Stockholm–Uppsala–Gävle, with similar speed and costs.

Some Stockholm commuter trains (pendeltåg) also run the route Älvsjö–Stockholm–Uppsala. This takes about 55 minutes from Stockholm C as stops are more frequent, but is useful for passengers coming from one of Stockholm’s suburban stations. Ordinary Stockholm tickets and passes are not sufficient to reach Uppsala, and that commuter trains do not have a toilet on board.

All trains from Norrland also call here, including the Sundsvall express and the night trains from Luleå and Narvik. From anywhere west of Stockholm or south of Linköping, it’s usually necessary to change at Stockholm Central.

A few private travel companies also serve Uppsala. Snälltågets night trains between the northern ski resort Åre and the southern city of Malmö pass through Uppsala. The luxury first-class Blå Tåget from Gothenburg to Stockholm also continues to Uppsala.

By Car

The north-south highway E4 passes east of the city and stretches south to Stockholm, Norrköping, and all the way to Helsingborg in southern Sweden. Likewise it continues north past Sundsvall and Umeå to the Finnish border at Haparanda. Road 55 carry traffic to Enköping and continues to Norrköping where it reconnects with the E4. It might be a preferable alternative to E4 since it is more scenic and avoids Stockholm, and thereby lessens the risk for traffic stockings. In Enköping route 55 crosses the highway E18 which continues westward towards Västerås, Örebro, Karlstad and Oslo, or from Örebro towards Gothenburg as highway E20. The smaller national roads 72 and 288 carry traffic to Sala and Östhammar.

By Bus

For those really on a budget, Uppsala is accessible by bus. Swebus runs coaches from Stockholm's Cityterminalen, as well as Gothenburg, Malmö and other cities in Sweden. Also, Bus4You runs coaches on the route Göteborg - Stockholm - Uppsala with one-way tickets from Stockholm to Uppsala for 39 kr.

Public transport company UL operates services to Västerås and Sala (see Uppsala County#Get around for details), as well as Arlanda Airport. Buses also connect Uppsala with Västerås Airport (200 kr return ticket), operated by Flygbussarna. These are timed to coincide with the arrival and departure of Ryanair's daily flights to London.

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Getting Around

By Car

If you would like to travel by taxi, use the three major taxi companies: Uppsala Taxi (+46 18-100 000), Taxi Kurir(+46 18-123 456) and Taxi 020 (+46 18-202020). There are also a lot of smaller companies, but they might have their own view on what you should pay and might also have less geographical knowledge. Be sure to negotiate the fare in advance of getting in the taxi if no guaranteed fare is posted.

By Public Transport

Uppsala boasts an excellent bus system, operated by the regional company UL, and you're never more than a few hundred meters from the closest bus stop. Local buses, also called "zone 1" or "Stadstrafiken", are green and numbered 1–31 while regional buses are yellow and numbered 100 and above. Most local bus lines pass by either the central station, city hall or the main square, all located within a few hundred meters of each other. A map of the city-traffic network can be found here.

A ticket on a green "Stadstrafiken" bus costs 22 kr when bought with a traveling fund, 28 kr if bought in advance and 35 kr when bought on board, and is valid for all travels within 75 minutes. A 24-hour ticket costs 88 kr if pre-purchased and 95 kr when bought on board. If you are planning to stay for long you can also buy a 30-day travel card for 800 kr. Children aged 19 and below can buy discounted tickets of all types, and children aged 11 or below ride free in the company of an adult during weekends and holidays. Seniors and students may buy discounted 30-day travel cards. Groups of 10 people or more can buy discounted group tickets.

Tickets can be bought in advance at machines located at the central station and on the main square. If you have a Swedish phone you can also buy pre-purchase tickets by SMS. Send a message to +46 704-202222 with the text "V1" for a local adult's ticket and "U1" for a children's ticket. You must however register for payment before use. Tickets can also be bought by credit card on the bus. Note however that cash is not accepted on board. Travel fund cards can be bought and charged in the train station or at one of UL's ~60 sales agents, marked out with yellow UL-flags.

By Foot

Most tourist sights are within the old central area of Uppsala; walking between them is easy and allows the visitor to appreciate the character of the place. A walk across the entire city centre takes no more than 20 minutes, so as long as you plan on staying within the city centre you won't need any means of transportation.

By Bike

A good way to travel in Uppsala is by bike, especially if you plan on leaving the city centre and visit Uppsala's peripheral districts or Uppsala countryside. As any visitor will notice, there are a lot of cyclists here, enough so for the city to earn the nickname "Bike Town". There are paths paralleling nearly every road, and many places to store them outside. Several bike rental places exist in town. Aktivt uteliv (Bergsbrunnagatan 8, +46 18-10 88 04) and Ski Total (Dragarbrunnsgatan 46 A, +46 18-105040) offer rental bikes at 200 kr for the first day and around a 100 kr for every additional day. As a side note, locals have a saying that everyone who lives there has had a bike stolen at some point in their lives. While this is not entirely true (it's more a reflection on the popularity of biking than any level of crime), it's probably a good idea to lock your bike.

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Eat

Uppsala, being a college town, is not a city that is big on fine dining. There are a number of good restaurants to be found, however, and most of them are not far from the main landmarks in town. If you're on a budget, try one of the kebab places in town, "Jalla Kebab" or "Kebab House" for a lot of food for not a lot of money. For something more on the high-end, "Saluhallen" is a great spot for lunch given the huge variety of different types of food. If you are interested in something lighter most cafés mentioned bellow offer dishes like sandwiches, lasagna or salad.

Most days at least one of the 13 Nations (see infobox under section Drink) serve simple, yet well cooked meals. Unknown to most locals lunches are also open for non-students (since there is no alcohol serving). If you have a nation guest card you can also dine at the Nations. To know which nations are open any given day check the calendar at Nationsguidien. Prices range around 50 kr for lunch and 70 kr for dinner.

Most restaurants have at least one vegetarian dish on the menu. Vegan food is however not as common.

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Drink

The local newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning has a calendar listing various cultural and entertainment events. You can also pick up the free Nollarton magazine and the equally as free Uppsala Nya Tidning Fredag downtown for the same type of information. They are only available in Swedish though.

As in the rest of Sweden, the government-owned chain of liquor stores Systembolaget is the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% alcohol. The two Systembolaget stores in the city centre are located on Dragarbrunnsgatan 48A and Vaksalagatan 30. They are open M-F 09:00–19:00, and Sa 09:00–15:00. Additional Systembolaget stores can also be found by major shopping malls in the more peripheral districts of the city.

Bars and clubs in Uppsala are obliged to close no later than 03:00. Most student nations close at 01:00 unless there is any special event.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Uppsala or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely stretched out in a very modern way and you can find 3G network (and soon 4G as well) almost everywhere, though in the higher northern parts and in the mountains it is of course harder or impossible.

The number of WiFi access points are growing and fast food chains, libraries, hotels, cafés and malls and others may offer free wireless internet access. Fixed terminals where you can pay for internet access exist as well, although many libraries can provide the same service for free. Some buses for longer distances have free wifi and most of the trains do have it as well but at cost sometimes.

Almost every household does have internet and it is fast and modern. You barely see any internet cafés because of the influence by high-tech phones with internet access and the cheaper and more comfortable internet at home, but there are some places like Pressbyrån that offers computers with internet access (not free).

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The general emergency number is 112. Sweden's international calling code number is +46. Payphones are available (however extremely rare), with older models only accepting cards (special smartchip phone cards as well as credit cards), and newer models that accept coins. Collect calls are possible by dialing 2# on a pay phone.

Sweden has excellent wireless GSM and 3G/UMTS coverage, even in rural areas except in the central and northern interior parts of the country. The major networks are Telia, Tele2/Comviq, Telenor and 3 (Tre). Swedish GSM operates on the European 900/1800 MHz frequencies. You can choose to buy a local SIM card or bring your own cellphone. Be careful for roaming costs though and try to use wifi only.

Prepaid USB 3G modems can be bought in many shops. They are a good alternative to WiFi in Sweden. They cost around 100 SEK/week and 300 SEK/month to use. Data limits are high (typically 20 GB/month). The prepaid 3G data package of the provider 3 bought in Sweden can be used in Denmark without incurring any roaming charge. It is, however, not possible to buy refill vouchers for this products in Danish stores.

Post

Posten AB is the Swedish postal service, with fast and reliable services. They have a wide range of services including a track and trace system and different options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. There are both express and economy services and if you are not in a hurry the latter option is fine enough.

The postal service was abandoned at the public post offices in 2001. The public today deals with its postal business at Postal Service Points. Mail and parcels can now be picked up at a number of places, including gas stations, supermarkets and kiosks. Look for the blue and yellow sign above or by the entrance of outlets providing this service. You can also buy stamps and there are quite a few more services in these places, many of which stay open late in the evening and on weekends. Yellow post boxes are for national and international letters and blue for regional letters. Postal Service Centres are maintained for business clients and Svensk Kassaservice, a chain which deals with simple financial transactions but offers no postal services. There are also traditional post offices offering the full range of services. They are usually open between 9:30am and 6:00pm and may have extended opening hours once or twice a week.

One of their competitors is Bring Citymail AB, formerly privatised but now nationalised by Norway. Otherwise, for sending parcels internationally, try and use international companies lik TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 59.858144
  • Longitude: 17.644586

Accommodation in Uppsala

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This is version 16. Last edited at 6:41 on Oct 12, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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