Gammelstad town church Swedish Lapland by Pecold ShutterstockGammelstad is one of Sweden’s best preserved church towns © Pecold, Shutterstock

The largest and best preserved of Sweden’s church towns, Gammelstad is home to rustic cottages huddled around a medieval church which make this UNESCO World Heritage Site unmissable.

One of Lapland’s top sights, Gammelstad, 11km northwest of Lulea, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1996. It is an outstanding example of what’s known in Swedish as a kyrkstad, a ‘church town’ consisting of over 400 timber cottages, which were used on Sundays and during religious festivals by people attending services in the spectacular late medieval stone church, Nederlulea kyrka, around which they are grouped. The cottages provided overnight accommodation for parishioners who lived too far away to make the journey to the church and back in one day.

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