Uppsala, archaic spelling Upsala, is a university city in Sweden, 80 kilometres north of Stockholm, and the capital of Uppsala County. With a population of 158,000 (200,000 in the municipality), it is the fourth-largest city in Sweden. The two universities dominate the city, so there are lots of young lively people everywhere. It holds Scandinavia's largest cathedral, originally constructed in the 13th century.

Uppsala Municipality also contains the Uppsala countryside.


Uppsala cathedral
Tänka fritt är stort men tänka rätt är större.
"Thinking free is great, but thinking right is greater." Words by 18th century scholar Thomas Thorild, engraved at the Uppsala University auditorium entrance. Commonly misunderstood as an authoritarian statement; "think right" actually means "think reasonably".

During the Viking Age, Uppsala was the site of a pagan temple, believed to have been torn down in the 11th century, as the Swedish people were christianized. In these times, the Baltic Sea reached all the way to Uppsala; however, lake Mälaren was created through post-glacial rebound. In the 12th century, Uppsala became the seat of the Swedish archbishop, and the university was founded in 1477, as the first in Scandinavia. Much of the city burnt down in 1702. This did not prevent Uppsala from rising as a scientific stronghold during the Age of Liberty in the 18th century, with world-famous scientists such as Carl von Linné, founder of taxonomic biology, and Anders Celsius, inventor of the Celsius temperature scale.

Tourist office

Get in

By train

  Uppsala Central Station has recently completed a major multi-year expansion that replaced the station house with a modern, accessible building, 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 SEK. 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. Note that 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. During winter, Veolia runs night trains to the northern ski resorts that call here. The luxury first-class Blå Tåget from Gothenburg to Stockholm also continues to Uppsala.

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 39kr.

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

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. The smaller national roads 55 and 72 carry traffic to Enköping and Sala, respectively 288 to Östhammar.

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.

Get around

Uppsala town center

Town maps are available from the tourist office on Kungsgatan (near railway station) and elsewhere.

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.

By bike

The best way to travel in Uppsala is by bike. 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 rental places exist in town. 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.

By bus

Uppsala boasts an excellent bus system, and you're never more than a few hundred meters from the closest bus stop. A ticket on a green "Stadstrafiken" (city traffic) bus costs 25 SEK for city zone if bought in advance, and is valid for all travels within 75 minutes.

If you have a Swedish phone, paying by SMS is most convenient. Just send a message to 0704202222 with the text "V1" if you're 20 or older, and "U1" if you're 19 or younger and will travel within Uppsala city (all green buses except numbers above 100). Please note you must register for payment before use. For tours, tickets and traffic information, please visit UL's English website.

Otherwise, you can nowadays pay by credit card on the bus, cash is no longer accepted on board. Tickets are otherwise sold at vending machines or kiosks near many of the major bus stops. Consider buying a värdekort if you're staying a few days; they're prepaid, refillable (in any amount) bus cards, and by using it the price lowers to 18 SEK per trip. There is also 24h-tickets available for zone 1 (city) or zone 1-3 for 80 or 150 SEK.

By taxi

If you would like to travel by taxi, use the four major taxi companies: Uppsala Taxi, Taxi Kurir, Taxi Direkt and Taxi 020. 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.


The botanical garden


Linnéträdgården (The Linnean garden)

Annual events


Typical opening hours in Uppsala are 11:00-18:00 or 19:00 from Monday to Friday, and 11:00-15:00 or 16:00 on Saturday. On Sunday, most shops are closed, including many cafés and restaurants, which makes the city extremely quiet. Svartbäcksgatan is the main shopping street in town, two blocks from Centralstationen. On it lies the Stora Torget, the main square in Uppsala. It is closed to cars.


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. Unknown even to many locals, some of the student Nations serve simple, yet well cooked, lunches for around 50 SEK (or even less), and you do not need to be a student to eat there. More info at .





The university has an optional student club system called Student Nations. There are thirteen nations, each with a headquarters where one can dance, drink, and meet people - somewhere between an Oxford residential college and an American fraternity/sorority. Those Uppsala students that apply for membership of any of the nations receive a 'nation card' which is required for entry to the Nations. Guest cards cost SEK 75 for a week and can be purchased in advance at the Students' Union (Studentkår) or any of the nations for those who have a valid student ID. Without a guest card, your chances of getting into any of the nations at night are just about non-existent. A beer at a nation will set you back between SEK 25 and 30, compared to double the price at a normal pub, so the guest card will have paid for itself by the third beer.

The city's live music scene is mostly centered around Student Nations like Kalmar Nation or Västmanlands-Dala Nation.

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.

Of course, there are many bars and clubs of all types beyond the nations and an abundance of cozy cafés.


Daytime in the weekends, many of the student nations have cafés, which always have prices significantly below those of ordinary cafés. Both students and non-students are welcome.








Go next

Routes through Uppsala

Stockholm Knivsta  W  E  Tierp Tornio

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.