Västerås is by Swedish standards a quite large city, with 107,000 inhabitants in the city proper, which makes it Sweden's fifth largest, and a total of about 134,000 inhabitants in the municipality as a whole. Once in Västerås, almost every attraction is well within walking distance or can be reached in no time by public transportation. The city is not very touristy, which could be considered a good thing. This is one of the larger industrial cities in provincial Sweden, situated 110 km to the west of the capital. Västerås is also one of Sweden's oldest cities, having been established in the year 990.
The city name is derived from Västra (west) Aros (old Swedish name for river mouth), which relates to the estuary of the small river (creek) "Svartån" (Black River) crossing the city towards Lake Mälaren.
Bishop Johannes Rudbeckius founded Sweden's first high school (gymnasium) here in 1623.
Västerås has preserved a selection of older buildings, both by the creek and around (and north of) the city's small cathedral. They all give the town a bit of a small town atmosphere. Hundreds of old houses were demolished, roughly between 1950 and 1975, during one of the country's most thorough city modernization projects. There are however several modern buildings of some architectural interest. The downtown area is generally considered to have an "urban" feel, especially around Stora Gatan, mainly because of the skyscraper (nicknamed "Skrapan") with surrounding business, commerce and residential buildings.
Västerås is known for the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) electrical industries (formerly ASEA).
- 1 Stockholm Västerås Airport (VST IATA) (just 6 km from the centre of Västerås). using Ryanair from London Stansted. A town bus (941) connects with Ryanair flights.
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN IATA) between Stockholm and Uppsala. Nettbuss has direct buses from Arlanda to Västerås although not that frequent, so travelling via Uppsala or Stockholm can be an alternative to the direct bus.
- Skavsta Airport (NYO IATA) in Nyköping using Ryanair.
Bus station in city centre, next to train station. The main bus operator is Swebus Express.
Main road E18 from Stockholm.
- Västerås city is really small. Walk.
- The suburbs by VL bus or car.
- By bicycle. Västerås is famous for its cycle paths, 340 km of asphalt only for bicycling.
- 1 Anundshög (lies a few kilometers east of Västerås; take bus 40 towards Tortuna or go by car). A nice place for a picnic during the summer. Anundshög is an ancient burial mound, 14 m (46 ft) high and 60 m (200 ft) across, making it the largest in Sweden. Next to the mound there are two big stone ships.
- 2 The Turbine House (Turbinhuset), Slottsgatan 2, ☏ . One of Sweden's first power plants, constructed in 1890 by ASEA. Has a museum which is shown to visitors by appointment.
- 3 Vallby Open Air Museum (Vallby Friluftsmuseum) (2 km north of Västerås), ☏ . 10:00-17:00 daily. Displays the cultural heritage of Västmanland. Free.
- 4 Västerås Castle (Västerås slott), ☏ . Famous for the Parliamentary decision of 1527 when King Gustav Wasa abolished Catholicism in Sweden, making Sweden a protestant country. The Västerås castle was erected around 1200, but what is seen of the castle today was built by Gustav Vasa mid-1500. The castle is a rather ugly building clearly meant for defence and not to impress by look. Nowadays it contains a conference hall, restaurant and a minor exhibition.
- 5 Västerås Cathedral (Västerås Domkyrka), Västra Kyrkogatan 6, ☏ . The oldest parts of the cathedral were built around 1200. The oldest son of Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV, is buried in the church. Erik XIV is mostly famous because he was killed by poisoned pea soup. Summertime appointments for guided tours can be made between 11:00 and 13:00 at the tourist office.
- 6 Västmanland County Museum & Västerås Museum of Art (Västmanlands läns museum & Västerås konstmuseum), Karlsgatan 2, ☏ . Tu Th F 10:00-17:00; W 10:00-20:00; Sa Su 12:00-16:00. Two museums which share an address. Free.
- Djäkneberget close to the Cathedral has a nice park featuring hundreds of stones with inscriptions (quotes and names of people) from the enigmatic Sam Lidman that founded the park in the 19th century.
- 1 Kristiansborgsbadet, Vallgatan 8, ☏ . A bathing facility with a traditional 25-m pool and a separate section with moist and dry sauna, and cold bath (Romerskt bad).
- 2 Lögarängsbadet, Sjöhagsvägen 1, ☏ . Another bathing facility. Located a couple of kilometers west of Västerås. Good for children.
- 3 Prison Island, Kopparbergsvägen 13, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th 10:00-19:00; F Sa 10:00-21:00. An indoor adventure facility challenging creativity and cooperation in group exercises.
- 4 Västerås Concert hall (Västerås konserthus), Kopparbergsvägen 1, ☏ . Houses some 200 events annually.
- Västerås Summer Meet. First weekend in July. A major show for classic American cars.
- 1 Krukmakeriet, Vattugränd (It's located close to the cathedral just next to Black River. Take a walk from Stora Torget, head north on the left hand side of Elite Stadshotell, cross the road after 100 m, turn left til you get to the river and then turn right. You will see the "Krukmakeriet" on the right hand side after a couple of hundred meters), ☏ . F 12:00-18:00, Sa 12:00-15:00. If you're interested in crafts, there's a beautiful pottery along Black River called "Krukmakeriet". It's open on Fridays and Saturdays and you will probably buy from the potter herself. She makes everything by hand and uses techniques like stoneware and raku. You will find everything from small candleholders to pieces of art.
If you have a tight travel budget and also want to avoid famous hamburger chains, try to grab a Kebab on a plate at either Hemdals or Sippan. Otherwise choose the vegetarian lasagna at Cafe Gränden, Sturegatan in the city centre.
Some of the city's most classic and oldest restaurants are restaurant Stadskällaren, Stora Torget, and Piazza di Spagna on Vasagatan. The latter is worth a visit just to meet the always friendly staff.
- 1 Choy's garden, Smedjegatan 2, ☏ . At Smedjegatan 5 is a nice place with friendly staff, Thai-Chinese food, but they have sushi too. The curry beef worth a try. At the end of the meal they present you with a fortune cookie. Mains 100-250 kr.
- 2 Gideonsbergsgrillen, Gideonsbergsgatan 3, ☏ . It's actually just a hamburger stand, but it is cheap and delivers awesome burgers for the price. For 75 kr you get a 200-gram burger with fries and lots of toppings.
- 3 Café Gränden, Sturegatan 13, ☏ . An Italian style café and restaurant; free salad accompanies the sizeable portion of food. Lunch menu 70 kr.
- 4 Kalle på spången, Kungsgatan 2, ☏ . A nice cafe/restaurant with light food. Around 75 kr for a salad (as a main dish).
- 5 Soya sushi, Sturegatan 20B, ☏ . Average sushi place, with quite cheap sushi plates, it's small, but you can sit down and stare at the busy street or take it away. Quite popular lunch place. Sushi plates 80-150 kr.
- 6 Spicy Hot, Sturegatan 20A, ☏ . Quite good Thai food with low prices. Lunch menu around 80 kr otherwise mains between 80 and 180 kr.
- 1 Bishops Arms Pub, Stora Torget 2, ☏ . Has numerous draft beers and hundreds of different whiskeys.
- 2 The Circus, Stora Torget 3, ☏ . A pub in a genuine old Frensh style.
- 3 Pitcher's, Torggatan 4, ☏ . A nice sport pub.
- 4 Sky Bar, Kopparbergsvägen 10 (Inside "Hotel Plaza"), ☏ . Sweden's highest located pub bar.
If you are planning on staying the night and want to experience something slightly different, one of the special hotels by the artist Mikael Genberg is recommended: The Hotel Woodpecker is a single room tree house in the middle of the Wasa Park. The cost per night is around 1000 kr. The same artist is also responsible for a unique one-room hotel in the lake! The bedroom is underwater.
- 1 Hotell Arkad, Östermalmsgatan 25, ☏ .
- 2 Elite Stadshotellet, Stora Torget, ☏ .
- 3 First Hotel Plaza, Karlsgatan 9 (350 m from Central Station), ☏ . Modern hotel in the city's tallest building. Rooms are generic but spacious, and it's easy to find your way back to the hotel from anywhere in town. South-facing rooms have a view of Lake Mälaren.
- 4 Valsaren, Metallverksgatan 2, ☏ . A small but cozy 3-star hotel, 15-20 minutes walk from the center, in the Science park of Västerås. Average prices, but breakfast and afternoon snacks are included. 650 - 900 kr/night.
If you walk along the river down to the lake you will find a little ferry port on your left side. Boats take you to some of the islands in the lake such as Elba or Ridö. It's a nice way to spend a day or a half.
Björnö is the city's main island. It's easy to find, as there are signs everywhere. It's connected to the main land with a little bridge. There is a nice beach, walking tracks and the possibility to hire kayaks and other boats at Björnögården. In the winter you can rent skies and skates.
Another really nice island is Ängsö, 15 km out of town. Take E18 West, towards Stockholm till the Airport Exit, from the roundabout just follow the signs saying "Ängsö". It's a beautiful island with a little castle, a church, a small cafe where you sit right by the water, and lots of hiking and bike tracks through the beautiful landscape. There's tons of space to relax on the cliffs by the water all by yourself, have a barbecue or swim. A must, when you're in town!
If you have half a day or so and transportation is arranged, you can visit the silver mine in Sala about 32 km to the north on 67. Just follow the signs to Sala and the "Silvergruvan" is on the left. They give tours each day down into the mine. It's quite an experience for adults and kids.
|Routes through Västerås|
|Karlstad ← Hallstahammar ←||W E||→ Enköping → Stockholm|