The Stockholm region has the highest density of runestones in the world. In the tour area Runriket you may dive into the history of the runestones at 9 sites located around the Vallentuna lake. The gateway to Runriket is located at Jarlabankes bro with an information centre, outdoor exhibition, experience park and a reconstruction of the Viking Age monument.

In a time of intrepid voyages, grand claims to power and a belief in change, this was the place that the Viking woman Estrid and her family called home for several generations. Find out about Östen and his voyage to Jerusalem, Holme who went to fight in Italy, and the great chieftain himself, Jarlabanke – who claimed to be the owner of all Täby.

A thousand years may seem a long time, but in this unique district, ancient history will feel like present day. Nowhere else in the world can boast as many well-preserved runic inscriptions as the area around the lake Vallentunasjön, inscriptions which help bring the characters of the Viking Age back to life. Take a tour around Runriket, “The Rune Kingdom”!

Life in Runriket during the Viking Age

The vast majority of people during the Viking Age lived as peaceful farmers and never travelled very far from their birthplaces. Almost everything they needed was produced on the farm or close to home. Any surplus could be traded for more exotic goods or for prestige items such as glass beads and fine textiles.

People from this area travelled primarily eastwards to present-day Russia and further south to the Mediterranean area to trade. A few of them took part in raiding parties to England and France, which is how certain families managed to accumulate great wealth and strengthen their dominance in their home districts.

Around this time in the early 11th century, Olof Skötkonung chose to be baptised, and as a result he became the first Christian king to rule over both Svealand and Götaland. Supported by the church, a new more modern society began to emerge with its epicenter in Sigtuna, north of Stockholm, and in the Mälardalen area.

Runestones as advertising

The 11th century saw an increase in Christian missions in what is now Sweden, and belief in the ancient Norse gods declined in favour of the new religion. At the forefront of this trend were the king and a number of ruling clans that welcomed the new social order. At this time, there were no communal churches; instead the first Christians raised runestones on their own land to proclaim their faith. Raising a runestone was also a way of displaying the inheritance rights to the family farmstead.

In a region full of heathens, it was important to position the stones so that they were visible to as many people as possible. They were considered extravagant works of art and painted in bright colours. However, over the years the colours have faded and nowadays only the inscriptions are coloured to improve legibility.

Inscriptions were often engraved on commission by expert engravers known as “runemasters”. They provide us with detailed information about Viking Age lifestyle. The texts on the stones were frequently tributes to a family member who had passed away. They also allow us an insight into contemporary foreign travel, bridge construction, burial mounds, farms and ownership rights.

Take the tour

Starting at Jarlabankes bro, the whole family can enjoy an introduction to Runriket. Let your children explore the experience park and visit the outdoor pavilion exhibition. The scenery around the lake is beautiful and you can find several attractive picnic areas near the historical sites.

You can take the tour round the lake on a bike, in a car or by public transport. The entire route is almost 35 km in length. All ancient monuments are clearly marked and additional information about the history and significance of each site is available in English on the numerous information boards. We provide multilingual guides who can describe Runriket in more detail and tailor a tour to your group. Please visit our website for more information.

Runriket is a partnership between Stockholm County Museum and the municipalities of Täby and Vallentuna.

Street address: 
Runriket is about 25 km north of Stockholm city and the gateway to Runriket, Jarlabankes bro, is located in Täby kyrkby. You can reach it by car, bus or with the Roslagsbanan light railway
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Destination Viking is a new travel experience concept. Partners from a number of countries have come together to develop a borderless tourism destination focusing on the Viking world.

Quality is a key word for Destination Viking - as a visitor you expect quality at every level, and we will deliver it. Quality means quality of activities, quality of presentations, quality of workmanship, quality of sites, quality of food, quality of souvenirs. In short: quality experience!