During medieval times, Lund was the seat of the archbishop who ruled all the Nordic countries. Talking to this religious power is the stunning cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Scandinavia. This must be the first thing you do in Lund, the green city famous for its famous universities where the final scene of Ingmar Bergman’s classic wild strawberries was filmed .
Sweden’s second-oldest outdoor museum is right in the city center, a small neighborhood of historic buildings where old industries and everyday life lived on before industry arrived. As a center of higher education, Lund has university-related educational attractions such as the Botanical Gardens and a first-rate museum of preliminary sketches by famous artists.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Lund:
1. Lund Cathedral
As Sweden’s greatest Romanesque building, Lund Cathedral has elements that haven’t changed in 900 years.
These oldest parts combine Rhine and Lombard styles, most of which are visible in the apse and basement.
Go below to see carved columns and an altar dating back to 1123. Upstairs there is a fabulous 1380 astronomical clock. Two automatic knights mark the hours, and the astronomical dial marks the direction of the sunset and the phases of the moon.
Finally, in a choir dimmed by narrow Romanesque windows, visit a 14th-century stall before continuing to the altar, a magnificent gilded Gothic altar dating from 1382.
The open-air museum in Lund is the second oldest in Sweden, after Stockholm.
Opened in 1892, it is a complete historic district between the Cathedral and the Botanical Gardens.
Some of the museum’s buildings have always stood on this site, while others have been moved into the museum in sections to ensure their preservation.
There are around 30 exhibition halls in this wonderful space, allowing you to immerse yourself in the daily and working life of the Lund Peninsula in the past.
The larger building is the museum’s gallery of more than 2 million artifacts, including silver, porcelain and jewelry from Scania.
Also in the garden are architectural fragments from a demolished medieval church, as well as runestones from the treasure vault.
3. Botanical Gardens
Since 1690, Lund University has managed a botanical garden with a certain description. The botanical garden was relocated several times until 1868 when it became its current 8 hectares. Even at that time, the garden had more than 6,000 plant species, and today it has more than 1,000.
About 200 of them are kept in greenhouses, which are divided into nine different climate zones.
For the curious, the flower beds and greenhouse displays are labeled to tell you what you’re looking at.
The best time to come here is from May to July, when the gardens are at their busiest and you can stop for a coffee and chat at the cafe by the pond.
4. Public Art Sketch Museum
In this one-of-a-kind museum, you can get a rare glimpse into the creative process of the most famous Swedish and international artists.
The exhibition features preliminary sketches and models by more than 1,000 artists from 30 different countries.
For example, in the International Sculpture Room you can see various models of Henry Moore for his work Hill Arches.
There are also preparatory works by other outstanding artists of the 20th century, such as Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Diego Rivera, Siri Derkert and Elli Hemberg.
Outside, you can browse the sculpture park, which features 20 works by Swedish artists such as Elli Hemberg and Arne Jones.
To the southwest of the center is the City Park, first laid out in 1911. The botanical gardens offer informative walks, while the Stadsparken is more suitable for relaxation, exercise and recreation.
There’s a skate park, a great children’s playground with rock climbing, the only indoor swimming pool in the centre of Lund, an outdoor gym, 10 km of hiking trails and even parkour lessons.
For those looking to relax, there are expansive lawns, paths lined with old hardwood trees and a formal garden with approximately 7,000 perennials.
These formal paths and gardens are located where Lund’s medieval town hall, Högevall, once stood.
6. Lund University History Museum
At Krafts Torg, the university’s history museum is over 200 years old and is the second largest museum of its kind in Sweden.
Its current building dates back to the 1840s, and the museum moved here in 1918. The reserve is large and includes more than 10 million pieces, as the agency is tasked with documenting discoveries in Skåne County.
There are Stone Age tools and weapons, finds from the Iron Age settlement of Upakla, thousands of coins and numerous examples of medieval ceremonial art.
The museum also has a gallery with a collection of classical artifacts brought here by the university after excavations abroad.
7. Rotten Church Ruins
This 51-meter-tall 11th-century church in the center of Lund was the seat of the archbishop but was demolished during the 15th-century Reformation.
The site was rediscovered during excavations in the 1970s and 1980s and remains intact, with the remains of the church cemetery and the main church on display in the underground museum.
During excavations, an older church from the 900s was discovered on the north wall of the main church, which is believed to be the first stone church in Skåne.
Entrance is free and there are information boards explaining the importance of the ruins and some of the artifacts found during the excavation.
8. Dalby Holy Cross Abbey
You only need to drive ten minutes southeast of Lund to reach the oldest stone church in Northern Europe.
It was built in 1060 and was once the seat of the bishop until it moved a bit on the road to Lund.
The most attractive part of this atmospheric Romanesque building is the baptistery, which dates back to the 11th century and was carved from sandstone quarried in Höör.
This is the oldest typeface still in use in Scandinavia, with a human head and a beast at the base and a relief of Christ’s Baptism at the side.
9. Lund University Main Building (Universitetshuset)
The origins of Lund University began in the 15th century, but it was officially established in 1666 near the cathedral.
It is now one of the most prestigious universities in Europe, with a strong reputation for medical research.
The institution runs several museums in Lund, but if there’s one attraction to see, it’s the main building in Lundgaard Park, on the other side of the cathedral.
This proud whitewashed monument was built in 1882 with a neoclassical design conceived by Helgo Zettttervall.
Admire the pilasters, Corinthian columns and gables on the facade, and keep an eye out for the four stone sphinxes on the roof.
10. Ronda Gard
The green buffer zone between the cathedral and the main university building also has an interesting story to tell.
After the cathedral was completed in the 12th century, it was fenced and served as an urban area containing universities and religious institutions.
There are also financial buildings, as well as the Royal Mint and Kaftog, the main trading center in Lund and later a cemetery.
The wall was eventually demolished in 1840, much to the dismay of the university’s students, and the last of the three surviving gates is the entrance to Kulturen.
11. All Saints Church
Another addition to the Lund cityscape by Helgo Zettervall came at the turn of the 1890s when he designed this monumental neo-Gothic church.
The building was constructed after Lund Cathedral was deemed too small to accommodate the city’s faithful, and Bishop John Henrik Tomander began searching for a replacement at the beginning of the century.
The size of the church remains impressive today, with a 72-meter-tall tower and rooms for 2,000 people.
There are many decorations inside, but the highlight is the choir’s stained glass window, made in Innsbruck, depicting the Ascension of Christ.
12. Wattenhalen Science Center
This hands-on science museum is run in partnership with Lund University and is primarily geared towards children.
On weekends and school holidays, the planetarium has two astronomy shows a day, hosted by the university’s astronomy graduate students and lecturers.
The array of activities available changes frequently, but everything here needs to be interactive, whether the kids are climbing a “digital wall,” keeping nerves in a shiver test, firing protons, making a torch, or taking part in various chemistry experiments.
For shots of local culture, the city’s art galleries are places to contemplate and discuss modern art.
The 1957 building is also worth mentioning because it was designed by 20th-century modernist Klas Anshelm, with large glass panels on the roof that flood the galleries with light.
Most exhibitions are dedicated to Scandinavian art, but several international exhibitions are held each year, and all exhibitions have free catalog printing.
The gallery also houses research rooms and studios.
Admission to all lectures and exhibitions is completely free, so if you’re on a budget, there’s no reason not to get some inspiration here.
14. Lenda Hoy
As a young university town, Lund is a cyclist’s dream, and you’ll be one of the many navigating the streets on two wheels.
Abundant greenery and little road traffic (most people ride bicycles) make things safer and easier.
Visitors can use the Lundahof bike share system, which has 250 bikes at 17 stations across the city.
No matter how many trips you make during the day, the first half hour is always free, thanks to the “30-minute rule” to ensure as many bikes as possible are available at a given time.
So if you know where to go, you can get around the city without paying a cent.
You can drive or take a regular bus to the vast natural space about 10 minutes east of the city.
Dalby Söderskog National Park has ten different protected areas consisting of deep forests, wilderness, abandoned quarries and ponds.
Some of the woodlands are old trees and can be negotiated with easy trails, three of which are brightly lit.
The Lund City Council also has a small visitor centre/museum in the park to introduce you to the human history, geology and natural life of this habitat.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Lund, Sweden
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