Studies have shown that viewing groovy architecture can improve a person’s health, so planning a trip to see Swedish architecture should be on everyone’s wellness list! It’s no wonder the Swedes are known as some of the happiest people on earth: Sweden is notorious for its quirky buildings, massive complexes and intricately-designed religious sites. Travelers who explore Malmo in the south to the Swedish Lapland in the north – and of course, Stockholm, in between – will discover Swedish architecture that includes a sauna made of scrap metal, churches fit for royalty and a cemetery that makes guests feel welcome.
1. Turning Torso | Malmö
Overlooking Öresund Strait on Malmo’s western seaside, Scandinavia’s tallest building literally adds a modern twist to this quaint neighborhood. The Turning Torso was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava with the intention of mimicking a twisting human body. At 623 feet (190 meters), the building is not only the tallest in the region but also the first twisting tower of its kind in the world. The skyscraper contains 54 floors, most of which are dedicated to residential apartments. The bottom two floors, however, are reserved for business offices. While seeing Turning Torso by itself is worth a trip to Malmo, the skyscraper is near several more Malmo landmarks, so travelers can plan an itinerary that includes them all!
Malmo landmarks & Swedish architecture near Turning Torso
- Öresund Bridge
- Malmo Castle and Malmo Museum
- Malmo Old Cemetery
- Margareta Pavilion
- Kungsparken, Malmo
- Historische Presse
2. Emporia Shopping Center | Malmö
A shopping mall, business center and optical illusion all rolled into one, Emporia Shopping Center in Malmö adds to any sightseeing experience, as this piece of Swedish architecture comes with entertainment as well. Located in the southcentral district of Hyllie, Emporia Shopping Center is as interesting on the inside as it is on the outside. The mall contains more than 200 shops on three floors, and shoppers are surrounded by indoor gardens and eye-catching glass work throughout. The rooftop terrace, which covers nearly the length of the mall, is a big draw for visitors and a fantastic place to take a quiet stroll and photograph the surroundings.
Check In to Scandic Stortorget, Step Out to Malmö
3. Svettekörka – Gothenburg
It might sound weird and look a little rough on the outside, but Svettekörka (which translates to Sweat Church) is a plush oasis in Gothenburg’s Göta Älv harbor, and the best part about this sauna is that it’s completely free! Built in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Frihamnen District, Svettekörka was built by volunteer from locally recycled materials. The outside of the steamy spa looks much like a tin shack, but inside, visitors will find luxury lumber-clad rooms and classy changing rooms constructed of more than 10,000 recycled bottles. Guests can book a time slot online, but the sauna welcomes drop-ins as well. Svettekörka is positioned on the water, and taking a dive into the river after a sauna is allowed – and encouraged!
Can’t-miss Swedish architecture in Gothenburg
- Kronhuset och kronhusbodarna
- Gothenburg City Museum
- Rune Lighthouse
- The Cathedral Gothenburg
- Gustav Adolfs Torg
- Gothenburg Botanical Garden
- Museum of World Culture
Check In to Hotel Eggers, Step Out to Gothenburg
4. Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan)
Located in the historical city center, Stockholm Cathedral, also known as Storkyrkan (Great Church), is the oldest church in the area and was once the main parish church of Stockholm. The Gothic-styled architecture is a standout, but the landmark establishment also houses some of the country’s most prized treasures, including Saint George and the Dragon, a wooden statue sculpted in 1489 by Bernt Notke. Storkyrkan is believed to have been built in 1279, and visitors can spend several hours viewing both the medieval Swedish architecture of the building and the wealth of artifacts contained inside.
Nearby Stockholm landmarks & amazing Swedish architecture
- Stockholm Palace
- House of Nobility
- Vasa Museum
- Riddarholmen Church
- ABBA the Museum
- Royal Swedish Opera
5. Ericsson Globe – Stockholm
Sports enthusiasts and concert junkies will appreciate a trip to Ericsson Globe. The ball-shaped building is a modern architectural spectacle, sure, but it also represents the sun in the Sweden Solar System, the largest scale model of the solar system in the world! The round wonder can fit up to 16,000 concert-goers and nearly 14,000 fans during hockey matches. Visitors should try to catch an event while in Stockholm, but a ride around Ericsson Globe on a cable car does a great job of highlighting the awesomeness of this building.
6. Stockholm City Hall
Serving as the center of Stockholm city government as well as one of the city’s biggest tourist destinations, Stockholm City Hall knows how to multitask! The building’s architecture definitely attracts tourists, and its waterside location adds to its appeal. Plus, it still serves as the principle meeting place for Stockholm’s municipal council! The public is welcome to join a guided tour of Stockholm City Hall any day of the week. One of the most popular things to see at Stockholm City Hall is the bell tower, which is topped with a gorgeous spire of the Three Crowns, the national emblem of Sweden. During summer months (May to September), guests can climb the 365 steps of the tower for a stunning view of the city.
7. The Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården) | Stockholm
Visiting a cemetery in search of amazing Swedish architecture might not come to mind first when planning an itinerary in Stockholm, but dedicated historians and architecture lovers should add The Woodland Cemetery to the list. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this peaceful green space, designed by Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz, doubles as a place of mourning and a living landscape. Multiple aspects of the grounds, particularly the chapels and crematorium, were designed with both comfort and functionality in mind. Features of the buildings offer added comfort for grieving visitors while making regular functions more convenient. Guests can learn about all the hidden characteristics of the The Woodland Cemetery during a guided tour, offered on Sundays from July through September. While tours are limited, the cemetery is open year-round.
8. Stockholm Public Library
Another creation of Gunnar Asplund, the Stockholm City Library is famous for its rotunda-shaped reading room and is considered one of the most important representations of Swedish architecture in the city. On the outside, photographers can appreciate the contrasting features of the rounded reading hall set inside a square base. Inside, visitors have a hard time comprehending just how many books are available in the spellbinding circle that holds them. The Stockholm City Library is not only famous for its design, but it also is Sweden’s first public library that allows visitors to access books without the help of a librarian.
Check In to Radisson Collection Strand Hotel, Stockholm, Step Out to Stockholm
9. Kiruna Church | Kiruna, Swedish Lapland
Adventurists travelers planning a trip through Swedish Lapland (famous for skiing and splendid views of the Northern Lights) should stop by Kiruna Church (Pastorat) and discover an adventure in the making! Designed by Gustav Wickman and built in 1912, this simple-looking church is one of the country’s largest wooden buildings and in 2001 was voted Sweden’s Most Beloved Building of All Time. Kiruna Church is painted a traditional Swedish red and is designed to look like a Laplander’s cot tent. Because of mining in the area, the entire town of Kiruna is transitioning to a new location, and Kiruna Church – now sometimes called the Moveable Church – is being deconstructed one piece at time so that it can make the journey with the rest of the town. The church is expected to be completely moved between 2025 and 2026.
Check In to Hotell Kebne, Step Out to Kiruna
10. Treehotel | Harads, Swedish Lapland
A trip to the Swedish Lapland deserves an adventurous stay, and there’s no better place for that than Treehotel. The unconventional accommodations are nestled in the forest of the Lule River Valley, just a short walk from Harads, a small village just 30 miles from the Arctic Circle. Staying in one of the seven huts at Treehotel guarantees quiet nights, tranquil views and occasional sightings of the Aurora Borealis. Each hut at Treehotel hovers 13 to 20 feet above the ground, and while all rooms are designed differently, they all capture aspects of Swedish architecture and offer an unbelievable night in Sweden.
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