The city of Falköping most likely emerged during the 15th century but earlier the town was an important site of pilgrimage due to its 12th century church dedicated to Saint Olaf (Sankt Olof). The city was heading for a shut-down during the 16th century and was even burnt to the ground by the Danish during the Northern Seven Years' War. However the city survived as one of the smallest cities in the kingdom.
The city is located where the Western Railline (Västra Stambanan) between Stockholm and Gothenburg meets the railline from Nässjö via Jönköping to Falköping. The city has never been a major industrial town and has existed as a mere service centre for the surrounding rural landscape, known as Falbygden, now Falköpings kommun.