urban area in Vadstena Municipality, Sweden
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Europe > Nordic countries > Sweden > Götaland > Östergötland > Vadstena and Ödeshög

Vadstena (pronounced "Vasstena" by the locals) is a village in Sweden. It is in the northern part of the Götaland region in the Östergötland county. It has about 5,000 inhabitants.

Vadstena is a small town, but has many historic buildings from its impressive history.

The narrow streets of central Vadstena.

Ödeshög has just short of 3,000 inhabitants, with just above 5,000 inhabitants in the municipality as a total.



Vadstena is situated on the eastern shores of Lake Vättern in a rich farmland district.

The town's history is closely connected to the convent, founded by Saint Bridget of Sweden in 1384. It was the first, and also the largest, convent of the Bridgettine Order. The convent was established in the 13th century royal palace by lake Vättern. Since 1999, Bridget has been one of Europe's six patron saints.

After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the convent was closed and the abbey church later became the Vadstena parish church, which it still is today.

In the 16th century, a hospital was founded next to the convent to care for the poor pilgrims who couldn't afford to stay at inns and guest houses in town. The hospital lived on through the centuries specialised on psychiatric help. Several old buildings in the hospital area are still standing today.

Get in

Map of Vadstena and Ödeshög

By plane


By train


Train stations are in Motala, Mjölby or Linköping, from where you take the bus to Vadstena.

By bus


It's not possible to pay cash for a ticket on the bus. You can get a ticket in Quickomats and some stores. It's also possible to buy an SMS-ticket - information how to do that can be found at [2][dead link]. The ticket is valid for a limited time so you can use the same ticket for more than 1 trip.

You can also buy a bus card. It is a magnetic strip card and you can load money in it. The advantage is that each trip fare is cheaper than the normal fare. You'll find more info about tickets and fares at [3][dead link].

By car


Get around


Vadstena is a small town and the easiest way to see the sights is by foot.



Taxis are on the expensive side. The meter is used to control the cost but always make sure that this is set when commencing a journey.


Vadstena Castle is one of few castles in Scandinavia with a waterfilled moat.
  • 1 Vadstena Abbey Church, Myntbacken 2. One of the largest medieval churches in Scandinavia. It holds a large collection of medieval wooden sculptures. Next to the altar is Saint Bridget of Sweden's reliquary.
  • 2 Vadstena Castle. From the 16th century, it was built as a fortress to protect the rich Mälaren Valley from the Danish Empire. Rebuilt into a Renaissance palace by the royal Vasa family and since then very well-preserved. Guided tours are offered all year. Museum with furnishings from 16-18th centuries.
  • 3 Vadstena Rådhus (City Hall), Rådhustorget 5. The oldest city hall in Sweden, built in the early 15th century.


  • 4 Vadstena Hospital Museum, Jungfrustigen 2. Weekends late Jun-early Sep, daily mid Jul-late Aug. A museum that covers the town's hospital tradition. The 16th-century Mårten Skinnares House is next to the museum and open during guided tours of the museum. 80 kr.
  • 5 Saint Bridgets Convent Museum (Sancta Birgitta Klostermuseum), Gräsgården, Klosterområdet, +46 143-100 31. In the old royal palace which was rebuilt into the Bridgettine convent.
  • 6 Vadstena City Museum, Rådhustorget 9, +46 10-476 87 31. In a building from the 16th century. Tells the story of the town. Free.
  • 7 Gottfrid Larsson-gården, Skänningegatan 9, +46 10-476 87 31. A house museum dedicated to the local sculptor Gottfrid Larsson. The house also contains "Spetsmuseum" (Bobbin Lace Museum). Free entry to sculptors museum, 20 kr to Spetsmuseum.
  • 8 Leksaksmuseum (Toy Museum), Slottsgården, Hamngatan 3 (Opposite the castle), +46 143-292 75, . In a building from the 16th century. Tells the story of the town. Adults 60 kr, children 45 kr.


  • 9 Rökstenen. The world's largest runestone, with a visitor center. See Vikings and the Old Norse for context.    
  • 10 Lake Tåkern. A known birdwatching site. Naturum visitor center.    
  • 11 Omberg. A mountain 20 km south of Vadstena. Ski at Ombergsliden in the winter.    
  • 12 Alvastra Abbey. Monastery ruin.    
  • Visit the Abbey. Don't miss the concertos.
  • Walk around the city.
  • Attend the Nostalgic evenings at the Toy Museum, once a week during summers.
  • The city sightseeing train Hjulius with guided tour of the town.
  • Bobbin laces, traditionally woven in Vadstena since the 17th century.








  • 1 Systembolaget, Hovsgatan 4 (close to the Rådhustorget Square), +46 143-100 36. Systembolaget is the state-owned monopoly liquor store.







Go next

  • 13 Väversunda Church.  
  • Herrestad Church and Örberga Church, dated to the early 12th century
  • Borghamn, little town 15 km south of Vadstena where you can buy fish and enjoy the harbor, and beautiful walk up to Omberg.
  • Vadstena Motorcycle and Tractor Museum, just outside Vadstena
  • Motala, town 15 km north of Vadstena.

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