Rättvik, Dalarna, Exploring Sweden

Rättvik, Dalarna – Exploring Sweden

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 for 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 at 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 a swim, or maybe even fishing. Once you are done with 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 1470s.


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

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 of different ages and come 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 meters 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.

An interesting curiosa is that Engelbrekt was the third steamer to traffic Lake Siljan. The first was 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 meters. The tower itself was constructed in 1898 and it is 28 meters 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) 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

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I look forward to exploring Sweden, once we’re able to travel freely again. Thanks for the inspiration in all your guides, I’m adding a number of places to my list 🙂

    1. Jesper

      We all long for the time when we can get back out and explore again. We have been fortunate to be able to explore so much of our own country during this year and we are happy to hear that we are able to provide you with some inspiration. There are a lot to see in Sweden and we can really recommend you to go and then to see more than only Stockholm. 🙂

  2. Léa

    I’m so glad you stopped by one of my blogs. It enabled me to find you. These photos are stunning and I have had an interest in Sweden that dates back to my early childhood. My father was Swedish. I’ve long wished to visit and perhaps one day… I follow another blog by an artist in Sweden and her name is Anna Bolin. However her blog is mostly about her art. She lives in a small village and I belive the name of it is Trosa? We have followed each other for years and began emailing each other directly and she has referred me to some books that I adored and also gave me some youtube links for music. I love it all.Thank you for the beautiful window into your country.

    1. Jesper

      Hello Léa, nice to see that you found your way here as well 🙂

      Fun that you mention Trosa, my home town is actually Vagnhärad (the neighbouring locality). We are, however, currently residing in Stockholm.

      We hope that you get to explore Sweden one day. There are many places we can recommend visiting, Trosa being one of them. We are now during the pandemic trying to expand our series Exploring Sweden as much as possible, here we write about a places around the country that we have visited. 🙂

      Which part of Sweden would you visit if you got the chance? 🙂

      1. Léa

        I’ve lived in a near major cities most of my life, including six years in NYC. When I moved to France I found the sweetest little village on the Mediterranean and it is home. Although I’ve enjoyed some of it, the small village life is what I love. When I finally get to Sweden, I hope to visit the villages there. I’m sure Stockholm is wonderful, but it isn’t what I want to see. I want to explore and meet the people who are open to meeting me and sharing what it is like to live there. The books Anna had me read were a series of four by a man named Vilhelm Moberg. I couldn’t put them down. My father’s family went to America through Canada and scattered. I must mention they came in waves over many years and some returned to Sweden. I even have journal pages by an ancestor who crossed America in a covered wagon and some genaology information. Some is in Swedish and some has been translated. I love to visit small places that show the real face of the area. I also love visiting cafe’s and places that give poets and musiciens an opportunity to be heard. Thank you and I look forward to more learning about Sweden. 🙂

        1. Jesper

          Interesting, I have been doing some heritage research as well and been able to build a family tree of over 12k individuals. Several distant relatives have emigrated and I have bene able to get in contact with a few of their descendants. So it is really fun when finding the connections.

          Smaller villages and towns do for sure really give a better picture of a country. Sadly they tend to be harder to get. We fell in love with the northern part of Sweden this summer during a long road trip. The nature really is something else once you don’t have so many people and all the noise around. 🙂

          But I can agree, Stockholm is not the best place to visit if you want to get to know Sweden. 🙂

          1. Léa

            I did a bit of tracing my roots and actually found some of my father’s relatives back in 2005. I wish I had known them sooner. My great-aunt was living in a small midwestern town and her father had donated the land for the Old Swedish Cemetery.
            Trosa is on my list of places I would like to see and finally meet Anna and see some of her work up close.
            I’ve no doubt that Stockholm is no more representative of Sweden than New York is of America or Paris of France.
            Perhaps I could find an old village where some of my dad’s family had lived. I believe that some were farmers like my paternal grandfather, Emmor, who I never had the chance to meet. I did see a photo of him but that was all. 🙂

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