Uppsala, some 71 km north of the capital Stockholm, has a compact city center and that makes it easy to get around on foot. This is a year-round destinations, equally beautiful in winter snow or in the sunny summer day. The Fyris river divides the city into two different parts: the historic quarter on the west side of the river and the residential and commercial area on the east side. This is also a bicycle-friendly town with more bicycles than inhabitants. You can easily rent a bicycle, download the map of paths and enjoy riding around.
The 13th century Uppsala Cathedral, the largest - and tallest - church in Scandinavia dominates the city skyline. It has been the coronation church for many of Sweden's kings and queens. Other famous Uppsala's landmark situated south of the cathedral, is a light apricot coloured the 16th century royal castle, now the residence of the County Governor of Uppsala County, while its right wing hosts the Uppsala Art Museum. From the castle's hill you can have a fantastic view of the city. Or, facing the other way, you can enjoy a look at Uppsala's botanical garden.
If you want to experience a bit more of history, take a boat cruise to the baroque castle of Skokloster. King Carl Gustaf, a 19th-century ex-steamship, sails Tuesday to Sunday from mid-May to mid-August, and that's the perfect opportunity to see the city from another perspective. On the other side the city center is filled with good shopping full of everything you need. If you are into more shopping then visit Boländerna district, the biggest district for buying "not everyday stuff". There you will also find the second biggest IKEA in Sweden.
Fyrishov is one of Sweden's largest arenas for water-related fun. It is home to a popular water park in a tropical setting - yes, tropical! - with water slides, jet streams, waterfalls, and a lot of other activities. Fyrishov is a walking distance of central Uppsala so it's very easy to get there. Then, Linnaeus' garden should be seen if not for anything else then to pay hommage to Carl Linnaeus, one of the greatest botanist of all times who invented the modern biological naming scheme. If you're not in flowers, well, there are a café and a restaurant, just take a sit and enjoy surroundings.
Speaking about museums, Evolutionsmuseet is a classical natural history museum for animal lovers and dinosaur fantasists of all ages. It has one building full of fossils and minerals and one with animals from all round the world. Upplandsmuseet is a historic county museum about Uppland. It is situated on an islet of Fyrisan River near the center of Uppsala and housed in the old Academy Mill from the 1760s. In Vasaparken you will find Biotopia, an interactive museum that serves as a guide to Uppland nature.
Since Uppsala is a student town, that certainly contributed to a range of different and interesting places to drink and eat. The characteristics of local cuisine are organic food, with sometimes eccentric crossovers and old-fashioned home cooking, so there is something for all tastes. The famous lingonberry jam is used with almost everything - except bread. Pickled herring is the centre of the smorgasbord, the traditional Swedish table, as well as local sandwiches with just a single slice of bread, a tradition from 1400s.
For beer and whiskey fans we simply must mention Stora Torget where you can find the Irish pub O’Connors with a drinks menu consisting of around 1000 different kinds of beer. Name any style - British, Spanish, you-name-it - you will find an appropriate bar. If you want to experience a bit of old-fashioned atmosphere, Grand Hotell Hörnan beautifully located on a canal near parks with many nice to-do-things on walking distance is the place where you can enjoy classic cocktails in a beautiful atmosphere dating back to 1907.
You'd think that Uppsala is too far north to be considered a water destination but in fact it is just that. The city and its surroundings are full of lakes where you can swim and get some sun. If you are traveling with your dog then beaches in Fjällnora, Siggefora and Storvadsbadet are places where your pet can swim with you. A little further out of town you can find a number of good golf courses, from small ones to those that host big championships. ■