The symbol of Gävle, the yule straw goat, is bizarrely famous for having been burnt down or vandalized more than 30 times during the last 50 years.

Gävle, archaic spelling Gefle or Gavle, is the seat of Gävleborg County, the gateway to Norrland, and a major port at the Baltic Sea.

Some 93.000 people live in the municipality; 71.000 of them in Gävle itself, which has an industrial heritage, large parks and a small university college. The old town with its colourful wooden houses is authentic.

Get in

Being a railway hub in southern Norrland, Gävle can be reached by a variety of trains from all over Sweden. Stockholm is only 1h 20m away with the fast X2000 trains, continue north and you will reach Sundsvall. Direct InterCity services are available from Linköping, Norrköping and Östersund. Regional trains connect with Dalarna region and Örebro while frequent commuter trains head out towards most nearby towns. Night trains to and from Norrland also call at Gävle. Gävle Central station is a quick walk east of city center.

Stockholm-Arlanda Airport is the nearest international airport, 130 kilometres south of Gävle. Many trains run between the airport and Gävle.

Cheaper coach services are also available from most coastal cities and towns in Norrland as well as Stockholm. Most of them depart from just outside the train station, however a few "express" buses only make a quick stop-over at Gävle Bro, a service area by the E4 highway.

Gävle is also a junction of several inter-country highways, e.g. E4, R67, R68, R76 and R80 so driving is easy.

Get around

Gävle has an excellent bus network 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 (15min or less), although on busy weekends you might have to wait up to 45 minutes. A typical ride will cost you somewhere between 130-160 SEK. As in most places in urban Sweden taxi drivers speak good English.

You can get to about everywhere in town on bicycle. Walking is the obvious option in the compact city center, it takes less than ten 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.


Old Town of Gävle

The Gävle Goat, Gävlebocken, is arguably the city's most famous landmark. During the Christmas season local business owners have a large straw goat built in Castle Square. The goat often is victim of a fiery death by pranksters. Be aware that burning or otherwise vandalizing the goat is a crime, though locals might deceive foreign travellers to carry on the "tradition".

A few blocks is all that remains of Gamla Gefle, Gävle's old town, after several devastating fires and excessive demolition in the 1960s. Located on the south side of Gavleån it makes for a nice afternoon walk, there's several art galleries and workshops worth a quick visit.


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.


There are a few enclosed shopping malls downtown, other than that most storefronts are located along the main drags in downtown and south.


Gävle fire station (brandstation)

Gävle provides good opportunities for eating, although there are few really high-end places you will find plenty of places that will serve tasty and filling food. If you are looking for lunch there are several good options around the city square, but if you can't decide there are always the large food court located in the central shopping mall, Galleri Nian.


The coffee brand Gevalia bears the latinized name of Gävle.

Most bars/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 20 SEK) and students going wild.


Go next

The easiest way to leave is by taking one of the numerous trains heading south to Stockholm, Uppsala and Arlanda Airport. Prices vary greatly. X2000 trains are fastest reaching Stockholm in as little as 1h 20m. Be sure to indicate first or second class and be flexible on times. Don't be afraid if you must take a connection in towns such as Tierp, Uppsala or Märsta. Trains from Upplands Lokaltrafik are slower and you need to change trains to suburban rail to reach Stockholm city center, they are however a bit cheaper. In the busy season, allow plenty of time for arrival of your train as Arlanda can get very crowded. Daytime buses are slower but can be as cheap as 95 SEK for youth and students.

Routes through Gävle

Stockholm Älvkarleby  W  E  Söderhamn Sundsvall

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, April 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.