As of 2016, 97,000 people live in the municipality; 75,000 of them in Gävle, which has an industrial heritage, large parks and a small university college. The old town with its colourful wooden houses is authentic.
Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN IATA) is the nearest international airport, with extensive global connections. It's 130 km south of Gävle and there's no need to travel via central Stockholm. Instead, take a bus or train towards Uppsala:
- by bus, take UL bus 801 from the bus station beneath Terminal 5. This takes 25 mins to Uppsala and runs twice an hour, 03:00 to 00:00. Change there for bus or train to Gävle.
- by train, take the SL commuter train (pendeltåg) from Arlanda Central station within the Sky City complex (not from Arlanda South or North - these only have expresses to Stockholm city). Trains take 18 minutes to Uppsala Central and run every 30-60 min between 05:00 and 01:00; some of them continue north to Gävle.
There are direct trains at least hourly from Gävle to Stockholm, taking 80 min via Arlanda Central and Uppsala. (Beware, if you buy a cheap ticket to Stockholm but get off at Arlanda Central ie the airport, you'll be surcharged.) Trains run north every couple of hours to Sundsvall (2 hr 15 min), Umeå and Luleå, including the Norrland sleeper trains. Direct trains also run to Linköping, Norrköping and Östersund. Regional trains connect with Dalarna region and Örebro.
- 1 Gävle Central station. The station is very close to city centre. It has five cafes, with more in nearby streets. There are ticket machines (but no staffed kiosk) in the station building and in the underpass to the platforms, and left-luggage lockers. Use IATA code QYU IATA for booking "flights" through Arlanda Airport. Exit the station west for local taxis & buses and city centre, exit east for out-of-town taxis and buses including rail replacement buses.
- 2 Furuvik railway station. Small station where only the regional Upptåget stops. Useful if visiting Furuvik Park, the combined zoo and theme park located next to the station.
SGS Bussen run to Gävle from central Stockholm, 4-6 per day, taking two hours. The bus stand is on the west side of Gävle Central railway station.
FlixBus services between Stockholm and northern cities such as Sundsvall call at Gävle Bro, a service area on the E4 highway at the western edge of town.
Major routes through Gävle are E4 south to Stockholm and north to Sundsvall, E16 west to Falun and eventually Oslo, and R76 south along the coast.
You can get about everywhere in town on bicycle. Walking is the obvious option in the compact city center, it takes less than 10 minutes to walk from the central Stortorget square to the pubs and restaurants of Söder. Most hotels are clustered around these two areas too. The train station is at the eastern end of the central shopping district.
Gävle has an excellent bus network X-trafik connecting most suburban areas with city center. Lines #1-4 are express services while lines with higher numbers usually take longer routes. Line #13 starts departing for Läkerol Arena, the hockey stadium, a few hours before a match. All buses stop at Rådhustorget in central Gävle.
Taxi service is usually reliable and can show up on short notice (15 minutes or less), although on busy weekends you might have to wait up to 45 minutes. A typical ride will cost you 130-160 kr. As in most places in urban Sweden, taxi drivers speak good English.
- TaxiKurir Gävle, ☏ . Smart phone app offers address based routing and calculates price according to them.
A few blocks is all that remains of Gamla Gefle, Gävle's old town, after several devastating fires and excessive demolition in the 1960s. It's on the south side of the Gavleån river, and makes for a nice afternoon walk. The Art and Prison Museums are also here.
- 1 Regional Art & History Museum (Länsmuseet Gävleborg), Södra Strandgatan 20 (just S of river, facing the police station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 11:00-18:00, Sa Su 12:00-16:00. The county’s regional history and art museum. Free.
- 2 Swedish Prison Museum (Sveriges Fängelsemuseum), Hamiltongatan 1-3. W 12:00-18:00, Th-Su 12:00-16:00. In two buildings. Start in the main block, the 19th-century two-storey former jail. Then the annex on nearby Timmermansgatan depicts its 18th-century predecessor. Adult 80 kr.
- 3 Gävle Train Hall (part of Swedish Railway Museum), Karlsborgsgatan, Rälsgatan 1 (north edge of town centre), ✉ email@example.com. Old locomotives in engine shed. The Train Hall is part of the Swedish Railway Museum. It hosts one of Europe's largest collection of old locomotives and rail cars, including a 1980 working replica of the Novelty, the engine that lost to Rocket at the Rainhill Trials in 1829. The main museum is on a separate site on the southern edge of town. The Train Hall and the rest of the museum are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adult 60 kr.
- 4 Joe Hill Museum, Nedre Bergsgatan 28. Sa 12:00-16:00. This was the birthplace in 1879 of Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, better known as Joe Hill. In 1902 he emigrated to the USA, where he became a labor organizer, song-writer and activist for "Industrial Workers of the World", the "Wobblies". In 1914 a Salt Lake City grocer and his son were shot dead by two intruders; Joe Hill came to a local doctor that evening with a gunshot wound to his chest. He was eventually convicted of the murder, and executed by firing squad in Nov 1915. The prosecution case was shaky and his many supporters believed he was shot for being a "wobbly", but his refusal to convincingly explain his wound sealed his fate. Free admission, donations welcome.
- The Gävle Goat or Gävlebocken is a large straw goat, built annually in Castle Square for the first Sunday in Advent, to promote Christmas shopping. Alas it has only a slim chance of lasting until Christmas, as it is more often than not burnt down by vandals.
The countryside around Gävle is good for outdoor life, especially during summer. Canoeing on the numerous lakes is popular. Fishing is free in the Baltic Sea, but requires a license in the lakes.
- 1 Boulonger Park (Boulognerskogen). Large park along the Gavlegån river at the western edge of the city. Popular in summer for strolling, jogging and family picnics.
- 2 Gävle Concert Hall (Gävle Konserthus), Kungsbäcksvägen 22 (W edge of centre), ☏ . Gävle's symphony orchestra gives regular concerts at the main concert hall, often with guest artists. Most tickets 300 kr.
- 3 Mackmyra Whiskyby (Whiskey Village), Kolonnvägen 2 (W edge of town near E4 / E16 intersection), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-21:00. Mackmyra is a distillery that introduced the first Swedish whiskey in 1999, now with branches across the country. The distillery offers weekly tours with tasting sessions, book via email. Also a restaurant.
- 4 Furuvik Park (On Hwy 76, 12 kilometres SE of Gävle). Daily 19 May - 18 Aug (plus 25 Aug) 2018; 10:00-19:00. Small theme park and arcade for toddlers as well as a small zoo and Cold War-era coastal defence installation and museum. Day ticket adult 250 kr, child 210 kr.
There are a few enclosed shopping malls downtown, but most stores are along the main drags downtown and south.
The dining scene in Gävle is evolving rapidly and excellent restaurants have opened. There are also many mid-range places that will serve you tasty and filling food for a decent price. If you're looking for lunch options for a group and can't decide, there is a large food court in the central shopping mall, Galleri Nian.
There's a number of hot dog and falafel stands clustered along the main square, Stortorget, with meals ranging from 30-60 SEK.
- 1 AMO Safwan, Brynäsgatan 1, ☏ . By far the best falafel in town. This take-away stand offers a cheap and filling meal. From 50 SEK.
- 2 Pigalle, Södra Kungsgatan 32, ☏ . M-F 08:30-16:30. This is the classic lunch restaurant in town, have served almost the same menu since 1958. A great place for authentic Swedish traditional food known as husmanskost.
- 3 Church Street Saloon, Kyrkogatan 11 (50 m from city square on side street, past McDonald's), ☏ . M-F 17:00-00:00, Sa 11:45-00:00. Serves American-western style food and flair, kitschy but great food. Crowded most weekends, expect to wait up to an hour if you are coming in late, no reservations.
- 4 Limon Kök & Veranda, Södra skeppsbron 13, ☏ . Canal-side restaurant and bar with a slight Middle Eastern flavor, very popular during summer.
- 5 Neo Neo, Norra Strandgatan 15-17, ☏ . A creative take on Japanese cuisine with excellent reviews.
- 6 Sarahs, Slottstorget 5, ☏ . M-F 11:30-14:00 & 17:00-22:00 (F to 23:00), Sa 17:00-23:00. Serves a seasonal menu inspired by classic Nordic cuisine.
- 7 Matildas, Timmermansgatan 23 (just off S Kungsgatan), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 17:00-22:00. Top contender for best restaurant in town, featuring seasonal Nordic cuisine. Menu from 350 kr.
- 8 Söders Källa, Södra Kansligatan 22, ☏ . M Tu 11:00-14:00, W-F 11:00-14:00 & 17:00-22:00, Sa 17:00-22:00. Classic Nordic cuisine with almost exclusively local and organic produce.
- 9 Restaurant Skeppet, Nygatan 45 (In the cellar of hotel Scandic CH), ☏ . First opened in 1946, this historic restaurant was revived in 2020 with a focus on refined Nordic cuisine.
- 10 Café Bogården, Västra Gränsgatan 1 (follow Kungsbäckvägen towards the University: nearest bus stop is Soldatkyrkan, served by bus #15), ☏ . M-F 08:00-15:00, usually closed during weekends. Perhaps Gävle's most unknown café. This small gem is tucked away in Villastan, the historic upper class garden city west of downtown. Serving a small but excellent selection of homemade pastries and classics such as egg and herring sandwiches, Bogården is a good choice to visit after a stroll among the majestic surrounding villas or in the nearby Boulogner park.
- 11 Épi Bageri & Café, Norra Kungsgatan 11, ☏ . Café and bakery that serves delicious pastries and sandwiches.
- 12 Elsas Coffeeshop, Västra Vägen 4, ☏ . Popular café that also serves sallads, pizza and a selection of beverages. With its south-facing location the café is very popular on sunny days.
- 13 Konditori Lido Söder, Södra Kungsgatan 10, ☏ . While there are several Lido cafés around town, this is the original one dating back to 1954. Has a large selection of pastries and also serves a very popular brunch on Sundays.
Most bars and clubs are within walking distance, so follow the crowds. There are several bars clustered in Söder along Södra Kungsgatan, most with a relaxed atmosphere. If you are a student at the university or manage to befriend one you should try out the student pubs at the campus. You must be either a registered student or get one to sign you up for the guest list. The main venue is Kåren, usually open twice a month and associated with dirt-cheap beer (around 25 kr) and students going wild.
- 1 Bilagan, Hattmakargatan 15 (one block behind Scandic hotel, to the left), ☏ . W-Sa 21:00-02:00. The only open-scene karaoke dive bar around here. No frills, cheap bear and quite rough but always with a tolerating atmosphere. You might even stumble upon a few really good singers that sometimes take to the stage. 40-50 kr 50cl draft/bottle beers.
- 2 Grillo, Kyrkogatan 14, ☏ . Summer-only bar, where most of the early 20s crowd hangs out.
- 3 TAK Skybar, Alderholmsgatan 7, ☏ . One of the best views in town, and the only skybar available.
- 4 Interpool, Södra Kungsgatan 20, ☏ . M-F 15:00-02:00, Sa-Su 13:00-02:00. The place for playing a game of billard in town. 60-70 kr 50cl draft/bottle beers.
- 5 Lion Bar Gävle, Hattmakargatan 4A, ☏ . By far the cheapest beer in town, appreciated by the clientele of hardworking drinkers. Karaoke on Wednesdays and weekends. Offers a small but surpringly decent menu of bar food. Draft beer from 40 kr.
- 6 Verovin, Norra Kungsgatan 11, ☏ . Small and highly dedicated wine bar with an extensive selection of world-class wines.
- 1 Gävle Vandrarhem AB (STF Vandrargem Gävle), Södra Rådmansgatan 1 (south side of town, turn left after 200 m on Södra Kungsgatan), ☏ . A youth hostel in the old town, walking distance from the railway station. 185-350 kr/night.
- 2 Clarion Hotel Winn, Norra Slottsgatan 9, ☏ . Central 4-star with sauna & restaurant.
- 3 Elite Grand Hotel, Kyrkogatan 28 (just outside railway station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. After being closed for almost 70 years the city's classic Grand Hotel have now been revived and brought back to much of its former glory.
- 4 Scandic CH, Nygatan 45 (one block north from train station, turn left), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 4-star hotel in town very close to railway station. 700-1300 kr/night.
- Järnvägshotellet, Centralplan 3 (opposite railway station), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: from 14:00. Comfy mid-range place, very central. You need your phone to check in, they'll send you the door code. Shared toilets and shower cubicles. B&B single 600 kr.
While Gävle is generally a safe city, main risk factors are petty theft and nightlife brawls, as well as winter driving outside the city.
Easy day trips from Gävle are:
- Älvkarleby is a small town 20 km south, where the river Dalälven reaches the Baltic Sea. There's a hydroelectric power station and the unusual Dragon Gate: a Chinese hotel with a museum of Swedish culture.
- Sandviken, about 27 km west, includes the Högbo Bruk recreation area.
- Uppsala with its ancient burial mounds, and University, is 40 min south by frequent train.
Another 30 min south brings you to Stockholm, with connections all over Scandinavia.
|Routes through Gävle|
|Sundsvall ← Söderhamn ←||N S||→ Tierp → Stockholm|