Birgitta (1303–73) came to the village of Vadstena as a lady-in-waiting to King Magnus Eriksson and his wife, Blanche of Namur, who lived at Bjälbo Palace. Married at 13, she gave birth to eight children, and had the first of her many visions while living at the palace. Such was the force of her personality, she persuaded her royal employers (to whom she was vaguely related) to give her the palace in order to start a convent and a monastery. To obtain papal approval for the monastery, she set off for Rome in 1349, but the times were against her – the pope was in Avignon, France. She spent the next twelve years in Rome, having more visions, pressing for his return but dying before she could return to Vadstena. She was canonized in 1391, a final vision having already told her this would be the case. Her daughter, Katarina, carried on her work and brought about the building of the monastery and abbey; she too became a saint and her remains lie in the same coffin as her mother’s.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

The ICEHOTEL, constructed from snow and ice each year, has long been Swedish Lapland’s blockbuster attraction. It features in our list of the top 21 things to…

19 Apr 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
Trail-running in the stunning Swedish countryside

Trail-running in the stunning Swedish countryside

Ros Walford goes leaping over granite rocks to give you the lowdown on Sweden’s only coastal trail-running race.  What is this strangely named Icebug Xperie…

09 Nov 2015 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

09 Oct 2015 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month