The meadows at Steninge Castle are in full bloom. A yellow sea of goldenrods sways in the wind in the castle garden and Lake Mälaren glitters at the foot of the castle. It is no wonder that at the end of the 17th century, Carl Gyllenstierna chose to build his magnificent castle right here on this site, a place with the possibility of boat connections to both Stockholm and Sigtuna. Today the castle is privately owned, but nevertheless offers a beautiful castle park, a really good Christmas market, cozy Steninge Bruk restaurant and café, a commercial garden and a well-stocked design shop.
Sweden's time as a great power during the 17th century was characterized by war, expansion and economic growth. Sweden's standard of living increased and many castles were built around the Mälardalen by prominent men in the court. Carl Gyllenstierna was one of those who during these years had a meteoric career at court, partly (according to the history books) due to his favorable appearance. Being good-looking in the 17th century must have been well-paid, as in 1681 Carl was able to commission the well-known architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger to design the new Steninge castle. The same architect who also designed Stockholm Castle. Not so bad for a chamberlain to Hedvig Eleonora?
Nowadays, Steninge Castle is privately owned and unfortunately the interior of the castle is not shown to the public. However, the well-kept English castle park and baroque garden are open to visitors and you get a lovely castle feeling just by sitting down at the outdoor terrace by the stone walls of the old barn and having a coffee with a view towards the castle. It is noticeable that Tessin was inspired by the architecture that he experienced during his travels to Italy and France. Steninge Castle could easily blend in among the beautiful villas on Lake Como. By the way, if you look closely at the lake side of the castle, you can still see the shining star of the Golden Paths up on the castle facade, even though that family didn't actually own the castle for more than 31 years.
Steninge Castle is a popular excursion destination all year round, but this weekend at the end of May when we visited the castle there were plenty of visitors. The tables outside were a good distance apart and there was no crowding anywhere. Before we left here, we had time for both a coffee, a walk in the castle park and a little shopping spree in the design store. It turned out to be a stylish storm lantern from Stelton that will adorn our balcony during late summer evenings, although I would have very much liked to have also bought some china home to the apartment.
A tip for those who like flowers: Here in the park grows the unusual and protected "timeless" crocus, which got its name after it seems to bloom in autumn when everything else has stopped blooming.
How do I get to Steninge Castle?
Steninge Castle is 4 miles (30 minutes by car) north of Stockholm, 1 mile outside Sigtuna. It costs nothing to visit the castle park, the castle barn or the Christmas market.
Map (opens in Google maps)
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