I have been spending the past week with a good friend, Nadja and many new friends, where she lives in Uppsala, Sweden. I hadn’t seen Nadja for 2.5 years so we spent lots of time catching up and I did some sightseeing on the side with new friends.
Uppsala is home to a large population of university students and also to some of the oldest historical buildings in Scandinavia. Uppsala is a very safe city so you can you go for a wander virtually at any time, which I would recommend doing as there are lots of hidden surprises throughout the streets.
Things I did in Uppsala
Went to Ikea
My friends and I went to the most Swedish place possible – Ikea- to get some glasses for our New Years Eve party and to have lunch. Dining out in Sweden is notoriously expensive, however, Ikea is where you can go for a tasty selection of food for a great price. Some of the food is traditional Swedish food, so you can still get an authentic experience. I had the vegetarian meatballs and I only spent $9.11AUD for myself AND for my friend (we both had a main meal with a drink which is refillable), for Sweden this is very cheap.
Explored Uppsala University main building
Uppsala University was founded in 1477 and is the oldest university that is still functioning in Sweden and in all of the Nordic countries. This is the most beautiful, intricately designed university campus I have ever seen, it was described to me as ‘Harry Potter-esque’ by a student who studies there.
I came here to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve here which was pretty magical. A local also told me they once saw the Aurora Borealis from here on a night where the aurora was very strong and therefore still visible despite light pollution. The castle dates back to the 16th century and was the site of many historical events.
Fika is a very important Swedish tradition which essentially involves having coffee or tea with pastries. For a budget-friendly option go to ICA (a supermarket) or alternatively you can go to a cafe or patisserie – I spent around $10AUD in the cafe for tea and cake and $5AUD at ICA for a large pastry to share with friends.
Uppsala is the tallest Cathedral out of all the Nordic countries- it can be seen from very far from the city centre. The cathedral holds the remains of members of the royal family, clergy and the relics of the patron saint of Sweden, Saint Erik.
Explored the Haga Mound
One of my new friends very kindly took me on a hike to the Haga Mound at sunrise – it is a decent walk from the city centre of Uppsala (however I aiming to walk 10,000 steps most days so…). The mound is an ancient burial ground, dating back to 1000 BC. The site was excavated in the early 1900’s and contained the body of a man and who was likely a human sacrifice.
Heard the ‘Flogsta Scream’
I was fortunate enough to spend the night with a friend in their student accommodation in Flogsta and at 10pm I witnessed the phenomenon known as the ‘Flogsta Scream’. Basically, at 10pm EVERY NIGHT, students open their windows and scream. It was definitely a unique cultural experience that is for sure haha. Below is a video I shot when the screaming began.
Things I didn’t do that may be worth doing in the area:
-Visit Gamla Uppsala which is home to royal mounds (burial sites).
-Visit the Gustavianum which is the university museum, it is the oldest preserved building in Uppsala. After reading the website I am kind of regretting not going haha it holds exhibitions relating to Vikings, mummies and there is an anatomical theatre (where humans were dissected in front of an audience for medical students) on the roof that dates back to the 1600’s.
-Go to Stockholm; Stockholm is only a 45-minute train ride away from Uppsala. Unfortunately, I started to get sick (and I am still sick :(…) towards the end of my stay in Uppsala so I decided to rest instead.
I hope you found this blog post interesting. I have also written a short blog post including some tips on how to save money while travelling in Sweden.