Sweden’s most famous rune stone, the 9th-century Rökstenen, is near the church at Rök (just off the E4 on the road to Heda and Alvastra, 25km from Vadstena). It’s a monumental memorial stone raised to commemorate a dead son and features the longest runic inscription in the world. It’s an ancient, intricate verse so cryptic that scholars constantly scrap over its interpretation. The outdoor exhibition and stone are always open.

Buses are virtually nonexistent, though the scenic flatlands around Vättern make for perfect cycling.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Tåkern Nature Reserve

1.51 MILES

Situated adjacent to the striking Väversunda kyrka, this nature reserve and lake pulls in a diverse cast of birds. The adjacent visitor centre has plenty…

2. Väversunda kyrka

2.76 MILES

Located 15km southwest of Vadstena, just beyond the tiny hamlet of Skedet, this bizarre-looking church contains some interesting 13th-century wall…

3. Vadstena Slott

10.64 MILES

Overlooking the lake, and considered one of the finest early Renaissance buildings in the Nordic region, construction commenced on Vadstena Slott, the…

4. Vadstena klosterkyrka

11.06 MILES

‘Of plain construction, humble and strong’, the church was built in response to one of St Birgitta’s visions. After its consecration in 1430, Vadstena…

5. Sancta Birgitta Klostermuseet

11.1 MILES

The Sancta Birgitta Klostermuseet is in Bjälboättens Palats (a royal residence that became a convent in 1384). It tells the story of St Birgitta’s roller…

6. Motala Motor Museum

18.72 MILES

If you're a rev-head or just a lover of beautiful machines, this vehicle museum in a lovely lakeside spot is a must for its staggering collection of more…

8. Grenna Polkagriskokeri

22.4 MILES

Several sweet-makers in Gränna have kitchens where you can watch the town’s trademark red-and-white peppermint polkagris (rock candy) being made, but this…