Catch Views Of Beautiful European Castles On This Road Trip Route

Ready for a European vacation? (That's a rhetorical question — we're always ready for a trip to Europe!) If you're interested in Nordic culture, a road trip from Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark offers a stunning journey through scenic landscapes — and castles galore. As you drive through the countryside, you'll be lead to some of the most enchanting castles that provide centuries of royal history.

Start your journey in Stockholm; the capital city of Sweden is full of royal splendor and history. Before hitting the road, explore the iconic Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet). Perched on the Gamla Stan's skyline, it boasts more than 600 rooms and is one of the largest castles in the world that remains a royal residence. Wander through opulent state apartments, the Royal Chapel, and the Treasury.

"The signboards are clear and informative for access to different sections of the Palace. It has several museums, each displays art, artifacts, and royal collections especially the crown jewels and regal treasures truly shows its country heritage. Audio guides are readily available to your desired language," wrote one reviewer on TripAdvisor. "The whole place is massive, the beauty [SIC] Baroque architecture and very well decorated with statues and herms of notable people on its Palace façade... All in all a great place to visit to see lots of history & awesome interior and exterior architecture."

Castles you don't want to miss in Sweden

When you leave Stockholm, drive southwest towards Mariefred, where the 16th-century Gripsholm Castle sits on the shore of Lake Mälaren. This fortress looks like it's straight out of a fairytale, and you'll be treated to gorgeous Renaissance architecture. It's also home to the National Portrait Gallery, which features portraits of Swedish royalty and prominent figures.

Then keep going southwest to Vadstena, home to Vadstena Castle, a medieval castle surrounded by Lake Vättern. Built in the 16th century, this castle has been witness to a colorful history, from royal residencies to military use. Highlights include its impressive moat and well-preserved Renaissance architecture that provide a step back in time.

Next, head south and make a pit stop at Örebro, where Örebro Castle sits on an islet in the Svartån River. This medieval stronghold showcases a unique blend of architectural styles, with elements ranging from medieval to Baroque. Walk across the charming bridge leading to the castle and explore its interiors, including the atmospheric dungeons. Then drive westward to Lidköping, where the grand Läckö Castle sits on the shores of Lake Vänern. This 13th-century marvel underwent extensive renovations in the 17th century, resulting in a mix of Renaissance and Baroque styles. Be sure to visit the castle's gardens so you can take in the lovely panoramic views of the lake from the terraces.

Finish the Sweden leg of your trip by visiting Kalmar Castle and Trolleholms Castle

Initially built in the 12th century as a defensive fortress, Kalmar Castle played a central role in the Kalmar Union negotiations in 1397, which aimed to unite the three Scandinavian kingdoms under a single monarch. The castle's architecture is a blend of medieval and Renaissance styles. The combination of defensive features, such as towers and thick walls, with elegant and decorative elements showcases the evolving architectural tastes of different periods. Kalmar Castle hosts various cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, theater performances, and medieval reenactments.

Trolleholms Castle also has medieval origins, dating back to the 14th century. The castle was initially constructed as a defensive fortress, and its medieval architecture reflects the historical significance of the site. Then, onward to Denmark!

Once you cross the Øresund Bridge, you'll arrive in Malmö, which is considered Sweden's gateway to Denmark. Make a quick stop at Malmö Castle, a fortress with a rich history dating back to the 15th century. It has amazing medieval architecture and panoramic views of the city from its towers.

Must-see castles in Denmark

Just a short drive from Malmö is the town of Helsingør, home to Kronborg Castle, which was immortalized as Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a Renaissance masterpiece, with its imposing turrets and cavernous chambers. Explore the royal apartments, the ballroom, and the eerie casemates as you delve into Denmark's past.

Then drive southeast to Hillerød, to see Frederiksborg Castle, which is often referred to as the Danish Versailles. This opulent Renaissance castle has a stunning setting surrounded by landscaped gardens. Wander through the magnificent halls housing the National History Museum, which showcases Denmark's rich cultural heritage.

As you make your way to Copenhagen, take a detour to Roskilde, a city that's full of royal history. Roskilde Cathedral is UNESCO World Heritage Site and the final resting place of Danish monarchs since the 15th century. The cathedral's impressive architecture and chapels are a testament to Denmark's regal legacy. Visit Rosenborg Castle, a 17th-century fortress housing the Danish crown jewels and a treasury of royal regalia.

Wrap up your road trip by walking through the historic district of Nyhavn, where colorful buildings line the waterfront — it's the picture-perfect backdrop to a Nordic adventure.