Östersund

Östersund is the seat of Jämtland County in Norrland in Sweden. It was founded in 1786, as the only Swedish city founded during the 18th century.

Understand

Östersund during winter, view over Frösön

Östersund is the only city in Jämtland, and its economic and political center. The city is famous for both its location to nearby nature as well as winter activities. Östersund profiles itself as "vinterstaden" (the winter city), and a lot of world cups in winter sports like biathlon and skiing are hosted in and around Östersund. As of 2014, Östersund is the home to roughly 60 000 inhabitants in the municipality.

Östersund (and Jämtland in general) have a long history with the Norwegian neighbours which is reflected in both tourism and trade. However most of the people living in Östersund are Swedish and of Jemtlandic descent. During both summer and wintertime there can be a lot of tourists in the city, especially during the annually "Storsjöcupen" (a football cup for youths) and the music festival "Storsjöyran". Östersund is residing next to Swedens 5th largest lake named "Storsjön", and a lot of establishments and events are thereby influenced by that name. The lake itself is excellent for swimming and bathing in the summer and iceskating or dogsled in the winter - and of course fishing.

The city centre is filled with everything you would expect from a city, like bars and pubs, restaurants, shopping malls and stores. In the outskirts of the city you'll find the usual residential areas and industries. Östersund is also home to a lot of sights and museums, ranging from arts to cultural sites and activities. The weather in Östersund is very varying, from cold and dark winter nights with auroras and stars to sunny summer days where you'll spot most of the people bathing in the sun. However there are one more or less constant element which is the wind. Because of the location of the city (next to a big lake) it can be quite windy and the temperature feels a lot colder, especially during the winter months.

It is always interesting to learn about the sea monster "Storsjöodjuret" that is said to be lurking in the lake.

Get in

By plane

Åre Östersund Airport

Åre Östersund Airport is located on Frösön, 9 kilometres outside the city centre. There are three airlines operating at the airport all around the year. Most of the flights are domestic, however there are also some direct flights to major destinations like Mallorca, Rhodos, Antalya and more. If you need to travel by air to other cities in Sweden apart from Stockholm or Umeå you'll need to change to another connecting flight at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

Stockholm Arlanda - Östersund:


Umeå - Östersund

Transportation to and from the airport is very easy, with several bus lines and taxis providing shuttle services to the city centre.

By train

SJ (the national train line) has regular service between Östersund and many cities in Sweden. Price and time wise it's more expensive than flying, but if you wish to see the country, a good option indeed. Expect times to and from Stockholm to run anywhere from 5 hours on the X3000 (their high speed train) to 6.5 hours on a slightly slower train. Also keep in mind that Swedish rail traffic has seen severe disruptions in service due to snow the last five years with trains being delayed for several hours and cancelled.

Another nice way to go to Östersund is by the Inlandsbanan. It's a slow diesel train that starts in Mora and ends in Gällivare. They make a stop in Östersund, so you can get on and off the train. The train is rather touristic, but it's a very special way to get to Östersund.

If you are traveling from locations around or in Trondheim (Norway) you can ride with "Nabotåget". A beautiful journey starting in Trondheim and ends in Östersund, and an perfect opportunity to see great mountains and vast nature landscapes.

By car

The route E14 connects Östersund to several cities in both Norway and Sweden. You can reach E14 both south and north from Sweden, as well as from the area around Trondheim (Norway). From Östersund you are also able to travel to most (if not all) major destinations and villages in Jämtland.

By bus

There are several buses that connects Östersund with the rest of the country. If you happen to be in the north of Sweden, you can use the buses operated by Länstrafiken i Västerbotten. From Stockholm and more southern parts there are several companies providing direct way travels, for example Swebus.

By boat

There are no boats connecting the city to other remote places in the country. However there are some boat traffic for traveling in Jämtland on the lake of Storsjön.

Get around

By bus

Stadsbussarna, "The city buses" in Östersund

Östersund has a fairly extensive, inexpensive bus system, although you might have a long wait ahead of you if you plan to move about after 21:00, or on Sundays. You can buy single tickets on the bus, or pre-paid cards are a great deal if you plan on a longer stay. These can be purchased at the main bus station in town, located on Kyrkgatan, or in one of the many kiosks and shops around the city center.

By foot

During summertime the city is easy to get around in by foot, at least the city center and its surroundings. By winter the city is still very walkable, however due to heavy snow and the fact that Östersund is built upon a height (thereby tilting) it can be quite slippery. A good way to avoid any accidents are by equipping your boots with stud/nails during the winter months.

By bicycle

If you have a bicycle it's even better, and a great opportunity to explore the countryside outside the city. Most of Östersund have separate roads for bicycles, so watch out for them and keep in mind to use them while traveling by bike. Bikes can be rented on numerous locations or if you're staying for a longer time bought on flea markets.

By taxi

Taxi is quite expensive in Östersund like the rest of Sweden. However there are many companies providing taxi service in and around the city. To save some money you might want to share the cab with some friends. Expect to prebook your taxi as you will find it hard to wave a cab in from the street. Avoid going with unregistered "taxi drivers" asking you if you want a ride somewhere (which is common outside nightclubs and pubs after closing), instead use reputable companies like Taxi Östersund or Taxikurir.

See

Do

Take a walk along the lake with its beautiful view.

Take a boat trip around the lake - the 5th largest in Sweden.

Badhusparken is a popular area

Sleep

Budget

There are two Hostelling International (HI) locations in Östersund: STF Östersund Ledkrysset and STF vandrarhem Östersund Jamtli.

STF Östersund Ledkrysset is located in the center of town and has double and twin rooms as well as dormitory beds. Serves breakfast, dinner and has a small shop. Free internet access. They can be reached by phone at: +46 (0)63 10 33 10.

STF vandrarhem Östersund Jamtli is pretty close to the center of town, and they can be reached by phone at: +46 (0)63 12 20 60.

If you travel with friends and need a place to stay for a couple of nights, you can also find a room at Östersund camping, which is 3 km away from the city center. There is a good bus connection, so it is not a big deal to take a bus and get to any point in Östersund.

Mid-range

Hotel Algen, located near the train station, has nice, large rooms, a sauna, and a good breakfast. Weekend costs are around 694 SEK.

Splurge

Scandic hotel is one of the most expensive hotels there, but it is centrally located and you will experience its advantages. Starting from 900 SEK per night.

Clarion Hotel Grand is Östersund's largest hotel with 176 rooms including 8 suites. It also has an indoor pool and sauna, as well as a popular restaurant. Prices vary but typical weekend rate for a double room is from around 1100 SEK to 1600 SEK.

Go next

Östersund is quite far from other major cities (as in a few hundred kms). On the other hand, there's plenty of wilderness to explore around the city, free to access. Have a look at Hiking in the Nordic countries for some useful tips. If you travel around the lake Storsjön, keep your eyes open — you may see the Lake Monster!

Routes through Östersund

Trondheim Krokom (22 km)  W  E  Bräcke (71 km) Sundsvall
Gällivare Strömsund (101 km)  N  S  Sveg (187 km) Karlstad


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 02, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.