Sörmland or Södermanland is situated south of Stockholm and is well known for its castles and manors. Sörmland is a perfect Stockholm Country Break. If you’re travelling to Skavsta (100 km from Stockholm) with one of the low cost carriers, you’re actually landing at only 7 km of Nyköping, the capital of Sörmland. Did you know Sörmland also has an archipelago with 2800 islands?
One of the best known castles in Sörmland is Gripsholms Slott in Mariefred. Sörmland has 10 castles and over 400 manors. This region, south of Stockholm was a popular spot for the nobilty to have a (summer) residence.
Nyköping is the capital of Sörmland. This historical city is close to Skavsta airport. The famous Sörmlandsleden starts at the airport. This 900 km long hiking trail also crosses Stendorren, a nature park.
The archipelago of Nyköping consists of 2800 islands. Trosa is one of them. It’s the place where the royal family has a summer house. Did you know ‘trosa’ is Swedish for underpants?
The largest open air museum in Sweden can be found at the edge of the Öljarenmeer, in the heart of Sörmland, near Katrineholm and Eskilstuna. Julita is part of Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. In the Middle Ages it was a monastery, later several members of the Swedish nobility owned and now it is an open air museum. The last resident, Artur Bäckström, lived here until 1941 and donated the estate after his death to the Nordiska Museet. Unlike many other houses nearby, Julita Manor is still a working farm. The Swedish Museum of Agricultural Sciences is even located there.
The Julita manor house dates from 1760 and was built after the previous building was destroyed by fire. Julita Manor is fully equipped and shows you how they lived some 100 years ago. It really is like Artur can come walking back in anytime. Besides Julita manor you’ll find two smaller buildings: the garage where once the carriages were repaired and an office. It was striking that the people were living where they worked. No ‘out of office’ for them!
Besides the original buildings like Julita manor, there are +350 buildings from different eras and different parts of Sweden, collected by the last owner. You can compare it to Skansen and Kulturen.
You can follow several themed walks to visit Julita. These walks take about 45 minutes so you can combine several in one day if you want. Julita is a great day trip, very suitable for families with children as well. There are several eateries and it is also a perfect place for a picnic.
During May and September Julita is open during the weekend. From June till August they are open every day. For the latest schedule, take a look on their best website. Own transport is the easiest to reach Julita but you can also get there by train and bus: take the train to Katrineholm and then change to bus 405 or 714.
Tip: download the app Sörmlandstrafiken to consult timetables and buy tickets. You can buy your ticket on the bus, but you can not pay cash onboard the busses (only cards – Maestro or credit card).
Events at Julita that are not to be missed are the Christmas (already at the beginning of November) and midsummer. In September, they have an annual ‘apple day’. In July there is the Julita Festival, a music event with classical music.
The domain of Julita is very extensive. You could spend more than a day there. For those looking to overnight: there is a youth hostel and you can also stay in the 17th century rooms of the mansion.
Everyone knows the iconic Sunlight soap. It was the classic in your grandmother’s household closet because it was good for anything. Did you know you can stay in the former Sunlight factory in Nyköping (a town near Stockholm, in Sörmland)? The soap factory was completely renovated and now serves as a hotel. The Sunlight Hotel is a special hotel in many ways.
As if it isn’t special enough to spend the night in an old soap factory, you might be surprised to see the vintage car collection of the hotel. You can find Ford, Excalibur, Cadillac and even Ferrari cars on the third floor in the big hall when you go to your room. Here, you will not find a sign ‘do not touch’ as in a museum. They even let you sit in the cars if you want. These vintage car collections proved to be something typical for Sörmland. When we were there we also visited a castle with a huge antique car collection, more about that one later!
Sörmland forms the scenery for the German romantic series Inga Lindström. The production crew often stays and shoots in this area and always chooses the Sunlight Hotel as a base. Because we do not know the series in Belgium, I can’t tell you if I met the famous actors at breakfast, in the elevator or perhaps in the sauna. All I can say is that they were there when we were!
The Sunlight Hotel is the largest hotel in Nyköping. Nyköping is close to Skavsta airport near Stockholm where low-cost airlines (among others Ryanair from Charleroi) fly to. To the station of Nyköping it’s a 5 minute walk. The hotel has many amenities: a restaurant with a buffet, a spacious breakfast room and the opportunity to enjoy breakfast on the sunny terrace during the summer months, and a spa area (large pool, children’s pool and two Jacuzzis), a sauna room and a gym. There is also a communal kitchen where guests can prepare something if they want. There is a free parking in front of the hotel. In short, an ideal base for those who travel by car and want to stay near Stockholm or make a tour of Sörmland!
Thanks to Visit Sörmland.
At about 45 minutes from Stockholm you’ll find the picturesque town Mariefred. The main attraction in Mariefred is Gripsholms Slottet . Across the road from the Gripsholm castle you’ll find a lovely guest house: Gripsholms Värdshus. The oldest ‘Inn’ of Sweden has been open since 1609. Today, the family Åström is running the inn. In the summer months you can enjoy the view of Lake Mälaren and the castle view from the terrace.
An inn with a history
Karl IX, the Duke of Sörmland, called for major renovations to Gripsholms Slottet. This caused the nearby village to grow rapidly. In 1605 the hamlet received city rights and the town was named after the Carthusian monastery Pax Mariae, Mary’s peace, that once stood there.
A few years later the German Jocim Smock got the rights in order to start an inn. One of the rooms still bears the name of this first lodge manager. In 1987 the inn was undergoing major renovations. It was then that they discovered that the inn is built on the foundations of the old Carthusian monastery from the 14th century. Previously, they had always thought that the nearby church was built on the foundations of that old monastery. A number of objects found in the excavations, are now to be found in the interior of Gripsholms Värdshus.
Obviously Gripsholms Värdshus have repeatedly been completely renovated since 1609. The main building dates from 1750. In 1987 about 12 meters of building was added. However, the hotel still feels very authentic. There are 46 rooms, including a royal suite. The spacious rooms are beautifully furnished in a romantic country style. Here you won’t find a ultramodern shower but you get an antique pink bath and even a bidet! Besides the usual toiletries there was also a range of “female products” available. Gripsholms Värdshus clearly takes care of the details.
There is also a wellness center with spa and saunas but unfortunately I did not use them. I did tested the restaurant and breakfast. The chef cooks with local products and tries to give it an international touch. The breakfast buffet is very extensive. I remembered above all that you can bake your own waffles!
Yet there were also downsides. There was no elevator to the floor where our rooms were and the wifi did not work properly. But sometimes no wifi can be a breath of fresh air! I could spend all day watching the boats, the lake and the castle from the summer terrace.
Thanks to Visit Sörmland.