There are several small towns that spread out over the green region of Södermanland in Sweden. Some of them are more famous than others. You probably haven’t heard about the town we write about today, but who knows? You might find yourself there someday. The town of Gnesta is between Södertälje and Nyköping and it stands at the shore of lake Frösjön. One of Sweden’s main railway lines – the one between connecting Stockholm and Gothenburg – goes through the community. As we are talking about a place that has a population of around 5.500 inhabitants, it’s quite typical that the high-speed trains only pass by without stopping.
Gnesta: A Short History
The first known mentioning of Gnesta is from 1383. Back then its name was Gnytistum. Before the construction of the railway, the village had only three farms. In other words, it was the railway that resulted in the creation of the town. The station in Gnesta was opened in 1861 and this is when the town truly started to develop.
The town has during the years had several industries, the production of cigars and brushes to mention a few.
Nowadays it’s a fairly charming small town and it’s a nice place to visit for a few hours. With the countryside being nearby, visitors have the chance to enjoy the beautiful Swedish nature. An interesting fact is that it was one of the spots for the 2009 film adaptation of the Stieg Larsson book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
5 Things to Do In Gnesta
The Old Water Tower
The first water tower in the town dates back to 1914 and it stands on top of the hill that looks over the center of Gnesta. The tower is considered to be a symbol for the community and with its 28 meters, it is visible from most part of the town. A new water tower replaced the old one in 1977, but the first one still stands where it was built. It still is an important landmark. It is in the area surrounding it that you find most of the old houses. This is where the railway workers used to live, in bad and crowded conditions. Nowadays it’s a pleasant area for a walk. 129 steps take you back down to the center of town.
The Railway Station
The first railway station building in Gnesta was built in 1861 and it became a model for several other stations built in Sweden the following years. It was replaced in 1907 by the current station building that was built with stone and bricks. From here you can catch the commuter train to Södertälje and Stockholm. Close to the station, there is also one of Sweden’s few remaining water cranes. This crane delivered water to the old steam locomotives.
Gnesta bryggeri / Art Lab Gnesta
Close to the center of town you will find Gnesta bryggeri, an old beer brewery from the end of the 19th century. The three-story brick building was in use as a brewery until 1963. It has since had several owners and is now housing Art Lab Gnesta – a local organization for experimental art. If you’re lucky there might be an exhibition here when you’re in town. You can read more about the organization here >>
Gnesta bränneri / Gnesta Distillery
You find the Gnesta Distillery a short distance from Gnesta. Here visitors can enjoy the possibility to follow the production process of vodka and snaps.
There are plenty of castles in Södermanland. Södertuna Castle is the perfect place to enjoy the Swedish countryside – either on foot or by bike. It is also possible to live in the castle.
How to Get There?
Do you want to travel to Gnesta? Here are a few means of going there:
Car: Road 57 connects the town with the E4 in Järna and with the towns of Flen and Katrineholm in the west.
Bus: There are local buses connecting the town with other places in the region of Södermanland.
Train: There are local and regional trains stopping in Gnesta. The local trains go to Södertälje where they connect with the local trains to Stockholm.
Flights: The closest airport is Skavsta airport outside of Nyköping. There are flights to several destinations in Europe with Ryanair and Wizz Air.
The driving distance to Gnesta from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 67 kilometers (57 min)
Gothenburg – 417 kilometers (4 h 6 min)
Malmö – 556 kilometers (5 h 21 min)
Luleå – 964 kilometers (10 h 20 min)
Linköping – 143 kilometers (1 h 33 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden