Gripsholm Castle

Mariefred, Sweden

Gripsholm Castle is regarded as one of Sweden's finest historical monuments. A fortress was built at the location around 1380 by Bo Jonsson Grip, and belonged to his family until the confiscation of mansions and castles by King Gustav I in 1526. The King tore it down, and built a fortified castle with circular corner towers and a wall, for defensive purposes. Of the original medieval fortress, only the façade of a wall remains.

Since Gustav Vasa, Gripsholm has belonged to the Swedish Royal Family and was used as their residence until 1713. Between 1563 and 1567, King Eric XIV imprisoned his brother John and his consort Catherine Jagiellon in the castle. This was also one of the castles that King Eric was imprisoned in when John had overthrown him. John's son Sigismund, later the King of Poland and Sweden, was born in the castle on June 20, 1566.

The castle was again used as a prison between 1713 and 1773, before it was renovated by King Gustav III on behalf of his consort Sophia Magdalena. A theater was also added in one of the towers at this time.

Between 1889 and 1894, the castle underwent a heavy and controversial restoration by the architect Fredrik Lilljekvist during which many of the 17th and 18th-century alterations were removed. The largest change was the addition of a third floor; the planned demolition of a wing did not take place.

Today the castle is a museum which is open to the public, containing paintings and works of art. Part of the castle houses the National Collection of Portraits (Statens porträttsamlingar), one of the oldest portrait collection in the world.



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Founded: 16th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Early Vasa Era (Sweden)


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Laura Wiegand (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle with an awesome painting collection. The rooms are very well preserved. It feels like traveling back in time, getting lost in the numerous rooms. Bring some time when visiting, there is lots to see. The tour (one English tour a day) gives a great overview and is amazing value for money (30sek for 1h and a great guide). But you can spend lots of time exploring the 3 different floors. One of the best castles I have been in as it really transports you back in time. The theater is stunning. The gardens are beautiful as well but don’t need as much time as the castle.
Matthew Struck (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle and worth the trip. Guided tours or stroll though at your own pace. Pay for the booklet guide if you go on your own. Lots of good info about each room.
Apolline Adiju (2 years ago)
One of the best well-preserved castles I've visited in Sweden. It's worth spending your weekend winding through each room packed with historical ornaments. And the view outside is fantastic!
Tina Liu (2 years ago)
Nice Swedish castle in a cute quaint town. Takes ~3hrs to see everything depending on how thorough and detailed in your observation you want to be. This castle has a huge portrait and painting collection, which they actively add to with current royalty and political figures. The theatre inside is a must see, has a quiet otherworldly vibe. Lots of couples seem to come here for wedding photos outside.
Sergio Tilli (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle. Great view of Mariefred too. A bit expensive (140kr for adults and 70Kr for kids) but a great piece of history
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