Gammelstad, Sweden – Not many cruise ships visit the far north of Sweden, but some do cruise up the Gulf of Bothnia to visit towns like Luleå. Back in 2009, I has the pleasure of visiting six towns and historic sites along the coasts of northern Sweden and Finland. One of the sites was Gammelstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that represents the best-preserved example of a “church village” in Sweden.
Villages like Gammelstad were once found throughout northern Scandinavia. I stepped inside one of the 424 wooden houses that radiate from the early 15th-century stone church in Gammelstad. I enjoyed Swedish coffee and cakes and the cozy charm of the cottage, and its delightful owners.
The cottages were used only on Sundays and during religious festivals to house worshippers from the surrounding countryside who lived too far away from home to return on the same day.
Gammelstad is fewer than 20 minutes by car or bus from where cruise ships dock in Luleå. You may never make it there by ship, but you can check out the short video for a peek at inside one of the old cottages in this cute little village.