On the eastern shore of Lake Siljan you find the locality of Rättvik. It is an urban area with a population of around 4.700 inhabitants and a long history as a tourist destination. The name could be translated to “the right/correct bay”
A Short History of Rättvik
Today’s Rättvik started as a church village, and there are still several signs of this in the area. It was the center of the parish with the same name and has its origins in the Middle Ages.
According to the sagas of Gustav Vasa, it was in Rättvik that he first spoke to the people of Dalarna. Sweden was during the beginning of the 16th century a part of the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway. The Danish king governed the Union. Gustav Vasa, then Eriksson, had fled from captivity in Denmark and was looking for support of an uprising in Dalarna. His speech in Rättvik was unsuccessful at first and he continued to Mora where the story continued. Many men from Rättvik eventually took part in the uprising, which saw an independent Sweden and Gustav Vasa as the Swedish King.
Rättvik grew to become a popular tourist destination in the end of the 19th century and there is a long tradition of folk music in the area.
Things to Do and See in Rättvik
There are a lot of things to do in and around Rättvik. Lake Siljan is probably one of the biggest attractions for anyone wanting to go for swim, or maybe even fishing. Once you are done with the nature, there are several historical sights left to explore.
Kyrkstaden and Kyrkstallarna
Around the church in Rättvik there are several small cottages. These are part of the church village (kyrkstaden) as well as the stables (kyrkstallarna). These were both used as accommodation during the church visits as well as somewhere to leave the horses while in church. Many of the stables date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, but there are a few from the 1470’s.
Wasastenen, or the Stone of Wasa, was erected in 1893. This is a memorial of the Swedish king to be Gustav Vasa’s speech in Rättvik in 1520.
Rättviks Gammelgård is the local heritage museum of the area. It is an open-air museum where you can walk around and view approximately thirty old buildings. They are all from different ages and comes from different locations around Rättvik. In other words, this is the place to go if you want to know how people used to live in the area,
Långbryggan is a pier that stretches out 628 metres into Lake Siljan. The pier was constructed in 1895 to make it possible for the steamer S/S Rättvik to dock. Today it is the steamer M/S Gustaf Wasa that uses the pier. M/S Gustaf Wasa was built in Stockholm in 1876 and has been used on Lake Siljan since. There is also a second steamer on Lake Siljan today, that is S/S Engelbrekt, dating back to 1866.
Some interesting curiosa is that Engelbrekt was the third steamer to traffic Lake Siljan. The first was the Prince August in 1839. Especially the name of the second steamer, from 1863, will be interesting today. You can today find the amusement part Santaworld on the other side of the lake, close to Mora. The name of the second steamer was S/S Tomten. “Tomten” is what we in Sweden usually call Santa Claus.
High above Rättvik you find the watchtower Vidablick. It stands on the hill Hedsåsberget, which reaches an altitude of 352 metres. The tower itself was constructed in 1898 and it is 28 metres high. Today the tower acts as a viewpoint and is open to the public during the summer months.
How to Get to Rättvik
Flights: The closest airports are Mora–Siljan Airport (MXX) located 45 kilometers away and Dala Airport (BLE) is located 73 kilometers away. They both connect the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
Car: Rättvik is along road 70 between Leksand and Mora.
Train: There are long distance trains that connect Rättvik with Borlänge, Mora, and Stockholm.
Bus: There are regional buses connecting Orsa with the surrounding area.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 271 kilometers (3 h 12 min) Gothenburg – 480 kilometers (5 h 59 min) Malmö – 713 kilometers (8 h 12 min) Linköping – 337 kilometers (4 h 32 min) Kiruna – 1132 kilometers (13 h 23 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden