Linköping, Östergötland – Exploring Sweden

There is one sight that welcomes you to the city of Linköping no matter which direction you are coming from. The cathedral greets you from a far distance and it is the landmark to follow when going to this university city in south-eastern Sweden. The city is also home to several high-tech industries, including Saab. With approximately 100.000 inhabitants, Linköping is Sweden’s 7th largest city. Together with neighboring Norrköping, it makes Sweden’s 4th metropolitan area.

Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Linköping Cathedral

Linköping – A Short History

Linköping is an old city. It is believed to have been named after the Lionga ting assembly. The tings were historical Scandinavian governing assemblies. On the other hand, the word köping indicates that there was a market in the town. The city has strong religious roots. It was the second diocese in Sweden, with the diocese dating back to as early as 1128. There was also a monastery nearby. As little is said about the history of the city, it seems to have lived in quiet peacefulness.

Linköping remained a small town until 1937 when the Saab aircraft industry started. The university was established in the 1960s. Nowadays the university is one of the major academic institutions in Sweden.

Things to do and see in Linköping

Linköping is a medium-sized city, but it is still widespread. In general, Swedish cities are not very compact. There are many interesting areas and you might want to follow the advice of the students – get a bike. There are really good bike lanes in and around Linköping and it is by far the easiest way to get around. You will also be able to explore Linköping’s surroundings on the bike, with Berg and Ljungsbro being located within cycling distance.

The City Center

In the city center, the main attraction is the impressive cathedral together with surrounding cozy streets.

The city center could be described as the area between the Cathedral and the river Stångån. This is the area for shopping or grabbing something to eat. In the vicinity is also the central station as well as Linköpings Trädgårdsförening. At the latter, you can enjoy a beautiful park with gardens and a café.

Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Town Hall, City Hall, Stadshus

Stångån

Stångån flows through the city and next to it there is a nice pathway. In other words, this is where you should head for a walk alongside the river while enjoying the calm atmosphere.

The Saab Arena stands next to the river. It is here that Linköping HC plays their games in the Swedish Hockey League. The arena holds around 8.500 spectators. Hockey is huge in Sweden, so attending a game could be a fun idea when visiting Linköping.

Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Stångån

Malmslätt

In the area of Malmslätt, you find the Swedish Air Force Museum – or Flygvapenmuseum in Swedish. The museum is right next to the military airfield of Malmslätt. Here you can get acquainted with a lot of airforce memorabilia. For example, there is a DC-3 that was shot down by the Russians during the cold war. If lucky, one might see (or at least hear) a JAS 39 Gripen taking off at the airstrip outside. As mentioned before in this article, the city is famous for its aircraft industry.

Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Flygvapenmuseum
Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Flygvapenmuseum

Tornby

Tornby is an area north of the center. Here, right next to the highway E4, you find Linköping’s largest shopping center. It has all the department stores such as IKEA. Perhaps it’s part of the Swedish experience as well. However, I daresay that it is not as charming as shopping in the city center.

Ryd

If you want to know more about student life this is the place to visit. Well, it might be hard to understand when visiting in the summer and the area is mostly empty. But during the university semesters, this area is sprawling with students. The area is famous, or infamous, for being mostly the home to university students. There are a couple of supermarkets as well, in case you feel like having some Swedish fika.

Valla

In the area of Valla, you have two main attractions of Linköping. There is just the Valla Woods (Vallaskogens naturreservat) separating them.

On one side you have the main part of Linköping University. Walking along “märkesbacken” and between the A and C building, continuing by Kårallen and the B building can bring many memories back to a former student.

On the other side is the Gamla Linköping Open Air Museum. This is one of the city’s major attractions. The small shops and cafés are housed in historical buildings from the area. Indeed, anyone visiting Linköping should make a stop here. Those of us who possess a sweet tooth will be glad to hear that there is a chocolate shop. Swedish confectionery company Cloetta has one of its main factories in nearby Ljungsbro, hence the shop in Linköping.

Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Square in Gamla Linköping
Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden, Gamla Linköping

How to get to Linköping

Flights: there are a few (very few) flights to and from Linköping City Airport (LPI). Further north from the city you also find Norrköping Airport (NRK) and Stockholm Skavsta Airport (NYO).
Car: the E4 is the largest major road that passes Linköping.
Train: there are trains from Copenhagen, Malmö, and Stockholm stopping at Linköping. Of course, there are other domestic destinations as well. The train from Stockholm takes approximately one hour thirty minutes. There are also local trains to and from for example Norrköping and Motala.
Bus: There are bus connections with several larger cities and towns in the southern half of Sweden.

The driving distance from 4 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

Stockholm – 200 kilometers (2 h 11 min)
Gothenburg – 273 kilometers (2 h 57 min)
Malmö – 417 kilometers (4 h 22 min)
Luleå – 1094 kilometers (12 h 1 min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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