Falun

Kristine Church and the Engelbrekt statue, Main Square

Falun is the administrative center of the Dalarna province in Sweden. It's the second most populous town in the area with about 37,000 inhabitants, about three quarters of the population of its close neighbor Borlänge with 50,000 inhabitants.

Understand

See also: mining tourism

Falun was built around the old copper mine, which was operational as early as the 11th century. The mine was an important resource during the years of the Swedish Empire and made Falun Sweden's second largest city around mid-17th century.

Since some fifteen years the mine is depleted, and now it's become a tourist attraction and made the UNESCO World Heritage List. Stora Kopparberg (now Stora Enso), the mining company, is still active although nowadays it's in the forest industry. It claims to be the world's oldest company, having existed more than a millennium.

The Dalarna province is by many considered to be the very essence of Sweden, with Dala Horses (see below) and traditional midsummer festivities. Falun has made some contributions to the Swedish heritage as well. Prime examples, and memories of the mining, are Falu Red Paint (Falu rödfärg) and the Falu Sausage (Falukorv). The red color of the copper was used to make a brownish red paint that has become hugely popular in Sweden. The archetypal image of idyllic Sweden somehow always seems to include a Falu red wooden cottage with white corners. The Falu sausage, thick and ring-shaped, is one of few food products protected by the EU through a "certificate of special character" which states what ingredients must be in a Falu Sausage. The sausage was originally made by meat from the thousands of oxen whose hides were used to make ropes for the copper mine. Today, pork as well as beef is used in the sausages.

Get in

Map of Falun

Falun is about 3 hours from Stockholm, and is reached most easily by road or train.

By plane

If you're in a hurry there is an airport at the neighboring city of Borlänge, about 20 minutes from Falun, serving Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Oslo in Norway.

By train

The train station is situated a five minutes walk from the city center and is served by the main train company SJ for connections to Stockholm. The local/regional connections are served by Tåg i Bergslagen/Tågkompaniet. Railway tickets can be bought at the SJ website or Tågkompaniet (only in Swedish) All tickets are available on both sites. You have to be prepared to change train or to a bus from the city of Borlänge for the last few kilometers.

By bus

There are very few bus connections from other cities.Swebus Express has 1-2 connections a day with Stockholm and Gothenburg. Buses stop at the railway station which is a five minute walk from the city center and the hotels there. Unless your bags are very heavy, save the taxi money and walk instead.

Get around

By bus

Falun is small enough to be explored on foot, however there is a local bus network handled by Dalatrafik. The price for a bus ticket is 22 SEK for adults and 17 SEK for children. Infants travel for free.

By bike

Bicycle is good way of getting around except for during snowy winter. Bikes for rental are available at:

By taxi

Taxis in Sweden are pricey. If you want to take a cab in Falun, you will most likely have to phone and ask for one to pick you up - you'd be extremely lucky to catch an available one on the street. Exceptions are the railway station where there is a taxi stand, and weekend nights downtown. Major taxi companies in Falun include:

By car

Parking is free on many streets and when there's a fee it rarely exceeds 6 SEK/hour.

See

Copper mine

The mining museum (yellow building), near the edge of the Great Pit. Central Falun is in the background.

The mine, known as the Great Copper Mountain, and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 2001 - a must-see when in Falun. The mine was an important source of copper for an entire millennium until mining ended December 8, 1992. Part of it is still open for visitors with a guide. The interesting tour, with English translation available upon request, takes about an hour and visitors are taken 65 meters underground.

Tours of the mine
May - September except July Daily, 10AM - 5PM
July Daily, 10AM - 6PM
October - April Weekends, 12.30PM and 2.30PM

Tickets are bought in the souvenir shop, and the price for adults is 100 SEK. Helmets and raincoats are handed out before the tour. Do not wear your best shoes or trousers, since the red, copper-rich mud in the mine causes stains. Shoe protection is available in the souvenir shop for 5 SEK.

There is also a mining museum in the area. It has exhibitions about the history of coins in Sweden (including the largest coins in the world), and scale models of mining inventions by medieval tech genius Christoffer Polhem. Entry fee 20 SEK.

The Great Pit (Stora Stöten) can be seen from the surface for free. It's the result of an enormous collapse in the mine in 1687, and with a depth of 95 meters and a diameter of 400 meters it's an impressive sight. Miraculously nobody was killed in the collapse since it occurred on Midsummer's Day when the miners were free from work!

Other attractions

Do

Ski jump sculpture, Lugnet. Hills in the background.

Annual events include:

Buy

Falu Maiden

Unlike the neighboring town of Borlänge, Falun doesn't have a dominating shopping mall outside the town centre. Thus the best shopping is downtown, mainly along the streets Slaggatan/Holmgatan and Åsgatan. If you're interested in local handicraft look for the Dalarnas Hemslöjd store by the main cobblestone square of Stora Torget, but be prepared for quite hefty pricetags. There's also handicraft and souvenirs available at the mine.

The most common souvenir from Falun and the Dalarna province is the Dala Horse (Dalahäst), a symbol of Sweden. This small wooden horse has been carved since the 17th century. It is usually orange or blue and decorated with kurbits painting, a symmetrical type of decoration. If you want a genuine one, expect to pay at least SEK 100 for the smallest kind.

If the Dala Horse feels too mainstream and you want a symbol of the town of Falun rather than a symbol of Dalarna, look for a Falu Maiden (Falujungfru). This lady is far from the fame of the Dala Horse and is not as easy to find in the shops. Look for the dress and the hat.

A third option is to buy a Kåre Goat. According to legend, the copper mine in Falun was discovered when the goat Kåre one day showed up at home with reddish dirt on his horns. Kåre's owner followed the goat into the woods the next day and saw him rub his horns in the ground, and thus the copper was found. A large wooden Kåre Goat stands on the mining area, overlooking road 50 towards Borlänge.

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under SEK 60
Mid-range SEK 60-120
Splurge Over SEK 120

Budget

Self-catering is always the cheapest way to get a meal in Sweden and there's plenty of food stores in Falun where it's possible to stock up. If you're starving in the middle of the night, run to the Statoil gas station which is open 24-7 and offers hot dogs and groceries. Fast food is also available at the many pizzerias, at the Swedish fast food chain Sibylla, at McDonald's near Lugnet or at Gandhis Gatukök at the main square.

Mid-range

For fairly cheap restaurant food, catch "Dagens rätt" ("Dish of the day"), available weekdays at lunchtime in most restaurants. Price around 65 SEK. Check if the price includes drinks; if not, you can save money by asking for tap water instead. A daily overview in Swedish of what dishes are served in the different restaurants is found here. Most of the listed restaurants here are also open in the evening with à la carte prices around 100 SEK for a meal.

Splurge

Drink

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is the best time for a night out. The bars below also serve as restaurants and offer Dish of the Day during weekday lunch hours.

Sleep

Camping

Falun, like all of Sweden, has the Right to access rule which allows anyone to camp for one night almost anywhere in the woods.

Budget

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under SEK 500
Mid-range SEK 500-1000
Splurge Over SEK 1000
Scandic Hotel Lugnet

Mid-range

Connect

Phone

The country code for Sweden is 46. The area code for Falun is 23, or 023 if you're calling from a Swedish phone. Mobile phones have numbers that start with 70 or 73, that is 070 or 073 if calling from a Swedish phone. When making international calls from a Swedish phone, dial two zeroes, 00, before the country code. The emergency number is 112.

Internet

Sweden is one of the most online countries in the world. The catch for visitors, however, is that there's a slight shortage of internet cafés since most people have good connections at home. An internet café/pool hall is on Falugatan 4, but it's a dark, dingy place. The best place to get online in Falun, as well as in many other towns, is the library (bibliotek). It is situated on Kristinegatan - walk towards the river from the main square and you're there.

Opening hours:

Go next

Carl Larsson's home, as portrayed by the artist himself in 1894.

Dalarna has many attractions. While the south-eastern part (Dalabergslagen) has the industrial heritage, Siljansbygden has the iconic folk culture, and Västerdalarna is great for outdoor life.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 22, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.