Vagnhärad, Södermanland – Exploring Sweden

Vagnhärad is a locality in the Trosa Municipality and it is situated a few kilometers from the coast where the municipality’s main town Trosa is located. There are around 3000 people who call Vagnhärad their home, but the area gets a lot more crowded during the summers. There is even a chance that one runs into a prince in the local grocery stores.

The locality might be small and perhaps it doesn’t have so much to offer when it comes to events and other activities that would attract younger people to spend a longer time here. But the small size is the charm according to others.

A Short History of Vagnhärad

Trosaån, a river flowing through Vagnhärad, was previously much more important than it is nowadays. This is because the sea level was a lot higher in the area after the ice age. There are several signs around Vagnhärad from the historic past, such as burial mounds from the Iron Age and rune stones from the time of the Vikings.

The first known mention of Wanghæradh dates to the year 1350. Vagnhärad is believed to mean the settlement at the bay. As mentioned, the waters of the Baltic Sea reached much further inland in the past. The current locality has mostly been established on the grounds of four farmsteads, Fagerhult, Husby, Lånesta and Nygård. These names are visible around Vagnhärad when looking at the names of streets and buildings.

Especially two events (or constructions) formed Vagnhärad to what it is today. They both have to do with transportation. The construction of the railroad that was finished in 1913 meant that Vagnhärad started to grow and many new services became available. This saw the construction of a hotel as well as a restaurant. The second transportation mode that meant a development for Vagnhärad was the road. Even more services were requested when Riksettan, or later the E4, passed straight through Vagnhärad on what is today known as the Old E4. The current E4 was built in the 1970’s and 80’s and it is slightly to the north of the locality.

What do people remember from the last 20 years? Another two events come to mind. The first one is the natural disaster in 1997 when a landslide brought with it several houses down into the river. Luckily, most of the houses had already been evacuated and there were no casualties and only minor injuries.

The second event might not be so significant took place 10 years later in 2007. The Brazilian soccer team was going to play a friendly game against Ghana in Stockholm. Unable to find a good pitch to have their practice, the team ended up training in Vagnhärad. More about that further down.

What to Do and See in Vagnhärad

There are a lot of small things to see and do in Vagnhärad. How about checking out the remains from a time long past? All the burial mounds and rune stones together with some imagination make Vagnhärad an interesting place to visit. As with smaller inhabited places, there is usually a weird way of doing things. Want to go shopping? Well, there is one clothing store. You find Hulo located in an old barn. How about going for a drink in the center? You will probably end up at Mira, the local pizzeria. Another place where you might find locals is at the local swimming pool, Safiren. As a visitor you might not do what the locals usually do, they’ll probably go to either nearby Södertälje or Nyköping for shopping and other activities.

Shopping

There are not many stores around, so if you find one do not keep looking for a second. We have also asked the stores to describe themselves and we have included their replies below as well.

Grocery Stores

There are two grocery stores in Vagnhärad, and they are across the very same square in the Centre. They are of similar size and the difference in products are not so big. In the end you can choose between Ica Supermarket and Hemköp.

Clothes & Home Decoration

Vagnhärad is not the place where you will find the international clothing chains like HM and Zara. Instead, you will find Hulo, a clothing store in an old barn close to the train station and that is overlooking the river Trosaån. Sport clothes and equipment is also to be found in the small shop of Enklaresport. It concentrates on inlines and the store have limited opening hours on Saturdays.

For home decoration and small gifts there is the small shop Vagnhärads Saker & Ting, it is located below the grocery store Ica Supermarket.

Enklaresport: A sport store run by sport loving athletes, with focus on inline skates and ski waxing.
Hulo: HULO has been around since 1978 and has been quoted: "something for everyone". The name comes from the farm name Husby lodge

Florists

Flowers and arrangements with limited choice is generally available in the grocery stores here in Sweden. But for better options or more advanced arrangements, you usually need to find a florist. In central Vagnhärad that is the small shop Vagnhärads Blomsterhandel. You can also find Nora Trädgård a bit outside of the locality.

Pharmacy

There is one pharmacy in the center of Vagnhärad, but it has limited opening hours. If you need one, the next one with slightly better opening hours is located less than 10 kilometers away in Trosa.

Gas Stations

Once the main road went through the center of Vagnhärad and the gas stations were thriving. The road has for decades been replaced by the new E4 a little bit north. OKQ8 and Preem are the two options still available.

Restaurants

There is not any fine dining to be found in Vagnhärad, but there are plenty of options for fast food. Many of the restaurants have focused on take-away, but there are also possible dining spots. And yes, this list might be outdated already when it is published. We have also asked the establishments to describe themselves and we have included their replies below as well.

Pizza and Kebab

There are three pizzerias in Vagnhärad: Pizzeria Mira, Pizzeria Piccolino, and Kebab 4 You. The last two are mainly concentrated on pizzas and kebab, while Mira has other dishes on the menu as well as the right to serve alcohol.

Hamburgers and Hotdogs

Next to the train station you find the for Sweden so stereotypical Gatukök or Korvmoj. This is a small kiosk serving hamburgers and hotdogs. Stationsgrillen & Gatukök is a small restaurant-like version that offers indoor seating.

Thai Food

Thai food has become a common sight in Sweden when it comes to fast food and Vagnhärad is no exception. The restaurant My Thai is in one of the old gas stations along Stationsvägen.

My Thai: Hungry? Make a stop at MyThai. We serve genuine Thai food as it should be.

À la Carte

There is an option to the fast food and that is the restaurant Utsikten. The focus has previously been on sandwiches, but there are now more options on the menu.

Public Buildings

There are a few municipality buildings in Vagnhärad.

Biblioteket Navet – the Library

The public library in Vagnhärad is named Navet and it is in the center between the two grocery stores. It is one of two libraries in the municipality, the other one is in Trosa. Here you can find both books and computer access.

Fornbyskolan and Hedebyskolan – the Schools

You will find two schools in Vagnhärad, located next to each other. Fornbyskolan has kids up to grade 5 and Hedebyskolan has grade 6 to 9. For pupils in upper-secondary school, there is a commute to other municipalities, mainly to Nyköping and Södertälje.

Historical Buildings

There are a few historical buildings of importance still standing in Vagnhärad.

Vagnhärads Kyrka

The church in Vagnhärad is the most prominent building you will see when you arrive. It dates to the 13th century but has been extended over the centuries. The interior includes a few artifacts from the Middle Ages. It was once the center of Vagnhärad parish but is today a part of Trosa Parish that is the final merger of the parishes of Trosa, Vagnhärad and Västerljung.

Trosa Lands Kyrka

The parish border between Trosa and Vagnhärad is not always so easy to understand. Trosa was split into two parishes, one for the town and one for the surrounding area. Trosa Land is the church for the surrounding area and the locality of Vagnhärad has now grown to kind of include this church as well.

The church of Trosa Land also dates to the 13th century and looks very similar to its brother.

Vagnhärad Station

The station building in Vagnhärad has a royal past and the three crowns can be found on its outer wall. The Castle of Tullgarn is located outside of Vagnhärad and was once the royal summer residence. The Swedish King Gustaf V used his own private train wagon to get to Vagnhärad and had a royal waiting hall in the station building.

The station building dates to 1913 and it was inaugurated by the king himself when he was the first person to disembark the train.

Sports

There are several possibilities for sports in Vagnhärad and the biggest are by far floorball and soccer.

Hedebyhallen and Lånestahallen

Hedebyhallen is the main indoor sports hall in Vagnhärad. During the days it is mainly used by the school, but during evenings and weekends it is the sight for floorball for all ages. This is the home of the local floorball club Trosa Edanö IBK. Their men’s team plays in the second division, which is the fourth-tier league in Sweden. The women play in the third-tier league. In addition, there are several youth teams.

Lånestahallen is the new indoor sports hall, or tent which might be a better description. It was built to extend the municipalities access to sport halls as it was outgrowing the previous capacity.

Häradsvallen

The local soccer team Vagnhärads SK once called Häradsvallen its home. VSK was a club that had a history dating back to 1921. Häradsvallen is a collection of four soccer fields that today is used by the team Trosa Vagnhärad SK. The main football field also welcomed the Brazilian Men’s Soccer Team in 2007 during their visit to Sweden for friendly games. The team used the fields for a practice prior to the game against Ghana at Råsunda in Stockholm. Players that visited Vagnhärad included Ronaldinho, Káká, Robinho, and Gilberto Silva. Even though the organizers tried to keep it quiet, it didn’t take long for the locals to flock around the fences to get a glimpse of the stars. As you might guess, rumours travel quite fast in small towns and villages).

Safiren

Looking for an indoor swimming pool? Safiren is the local bath, with three swimming pools. One 4-lanes-wide and 25-meter-long pool, a hot water pool and a kid’s pool. Safiren was once a blue building and the name translates to sapphire, but the building has since its renovation been white. The building also includes the largest gym in Vagnhärad.

Hiking

There are several hiking options in and around Vagnhärad. Good paths can also be found outside of the main hiking routes.

Sörmlandsleden

Sörmlandsleden is a network of hiking trails all around the province of Södermanland. In the area around Vagnhärad this trail gives you access to nature for a day or two. Bring a tent if you want to spend the night in the wild. Remember to be careful as there are both moose and wild boar in the forests.

Vagnhärad Runt

Vagnhärad Runt is a 5.5-kilometer-long walking route around the center of Vagnhärad. Explore the historical sights, the burial mounds, and the different stone formations left by the last ice age. The trail provides a perfect route along some of the locality’s main sights.

Read more here: Walking Trail Vagnhärad Runt

Å-promenaden

Å-promenaden is the short version of Vagnhärad Runt. This is the walk along the river Trosaån and follows the same route as Vagnhärad Runt.

Nature

Nature will never be far away and a walk in the forest can really be relaxing.

Lånestaheden Nature Reserve

Lånestaheden Nature Reserve is close to the center of Vagnhärad and includes an area that is rich in ancient remains. The reserve covers an area of almost 30 hectares and was established in 2015. The easiest way to explore the reserve is by following the walking route Vagnhärad Runt.

Husby Park

Husby Park is the area in the valley along the river Trosaån. You will find it below the bridges of the main road and the railway. The area is known as the ravine and was the site of the landslide in 1997 that saw several houses fall into the river. The green area along the river is popular for feeding the birds (mallards) or just strolling around. You can still find the old foundations of the mill Husby Kvarn next to the river.

Lake Sillen

The river Trosaån has its origin in Lake Sillen, a bit to the west of Vagnhärad. The lake stretches all the way from Vagnhärad to Gnesta and has several beaches for swimming during warm summer days.

Sights in the Area

There are several sights in the area around Vagnhärad, from the royal palace to a historical farmstead.

Tullgarn Palace

Tullgarn Palace is a royal summer palace located to the north-east from Vagnhärad. The palace was built in the 1720’s and was the summer residence of King Gustaf V and his Queen Victoria from the end of the 19th century and a few decades forward. The palace replaced an old Renaissance castle and has been in the possession of the Swedish crown since 1772.

Trostorp

Trostorp is the local heritage museum and it is located between Vagnhärad and Trosa. It functions as an open-air-museum but can also be rented for events. If you visit, keep your eyes open if there is an ongoing event or not. Otherwise, there are eight historical buildings to explore.

Many of the buildings date to the 18th and 19th century. There is also a cabin built in 1758 that was moved here from Åbro in the 1940’s.

If you visit, do not forget to take a walk along the road below the farmstead. Here you will find three of the area’s best-preserved rune stones.

Excursions from Vagnhärad

Day trips from Vagnhärad are easy and there are many towns and cities within reach.

Trosa

Trosa is a town that is located less than 10 kilometers away and easy to reach with the local buses. It is a picturesque small town with a history dating back centuries. There is also a nice bike and walking path between Vagnhärad and Trosa for the ones that have a bit more time at their disposal.

Read more here: Trosa, Södermanland – Exploring Sweden

Nyköping

Half-an-hour on a southbound train and you will end up in Nyköping. This is a medium sized town and the capital of the province of Södermanland. Its history includes some important royal events that are still remembered at the castle.

Read more here: Nyköping, Södermanland – Exploring Sweden

Södertälje

Half an hour on the train or bus north you will find Södertälje. This is the home of the truck manufacturer Scania and an important industrial hub for Sweden. But there are still many more things to explore here, and the city has a long and rich history.

Read more here: Södertälje, Södermanland – Exploring Sweden

Stockholm

Less than an hour by train and you will get to the Swedish capital Stockholm. Vagnhärad is a perfect base for anyone that wants to explore Stockholm but doesn’t want to stay in the big city.

Read more here: Stockholm, The Capital – Exploring Sweden

How to Get to Vagnhärad?

There are several means of transportation you can use to get to Vagnhärad. Car, bus, and train are probably the most likely means of transportation.

Car: driving either south from Stockholm (or north from Linköping or Nyköping) along the E4 is probably the easiest way to get to Vagnhärad by car.
Bus: there are regional buses going to Vagnhärad from the towns close by. These are Södertälje, Nyköping, Trosa, and Gnesta.
Train: Southbound trains from Stockholm and Södertälje towards Norrköping and Northbound trains from Norrköping and Nyköping towards Stockholm.

The driving distance to Vagnhärad from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

From Stockholm – 66 kilometers (45 min)
From Gothenburg – 410 kilometers (3 h 47 min)
From Malmö – 552 kilometers (4 h 58 min)
From Luleå – 963 kilometers (9 h 29 min)
From Linköping – 139 kilometers (1 h 21 min)

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

This post was first published 2016-07-03, but has since been updated

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