Umeå city hall

Umeå, called Ume by locals, is a city of about 110,000 located near the mouth of the Ume River and is the capital of Västerbotten County in Norrland in northern Sweden. The city's nickname is the "Town of Silver Birches".


Being the regional capital of Västerbotten, Umeå is also the educational and economic capital city of the region. With its strategic location along the E4 national highway, most transportation to the northern part of Sweden goes through here. With the completion of Botniabanan in August 2010, the traveling time from Stockholm will be greatly reduced. Umeå has the largest hospital in Northern Sweden as well as the largest university. Situated on top of a small hill overseeing the Ume river and downtown Umeå, they are by far the largest employers in the region. Due to the university, Umeå has one of the lowest average ages in the entire country with a lively night life and creative scene. Umeå has been awarded the title European capital of culture 2014.

Get in

By plane

The flight time from Stockholm to Umeå is one hour. Prices with SAS or Malmö Aviation start at 450 SEK one way and 279 SEK with Norwegian. A ticket to Luleå and Östersund costs from 500 SEK one way and the flights take 40 minutes. Air Baltic charges from 39 € per flight and City Airline prices start at 399 SEK.

Umeå Airport lies 4 kilometres east of the city center, on the edge of the city. Wifi is available at 80 SEK per hour. Transports to and from the airport include a special airport shuttle bus (40 SEK, goes to Vasaplan in the city center). Tickets can only be bought using credit/debit cards and your cellphone. The ticket includes a two hours transfer time within the city buses. Taxis operate fixed prices to destinations within the city and charge from 120 SEK and up.

By train

Railway connections to Umeå has increased drastically in the last few year since Botniabanan, the newly built coastal railway opened. SJ offers direct high-speed services from Stockholm, three on weekdays and one on weekends. Journey time is just over six hours. Several more services are available that requires a quick change in Sundsvall. There's also the more traditional overnight service, departing Stockholm 10:12PM, arriving next moring 6:45AM. Couchettes and regular sleeping carriges are available. Prices starts at 600 SEK one-way for a berth. It's possible to travel cheaper if booking a seat. Regional services are provided by Norrtåg connecting Umeå with Luleå, Lyckelse, Sundsvall and Vännäs.

Umeå has two train stations, Umeå C and Umeå Östra. The first one is closer to city centre while Umeå Ö is situated nearer the university campuses.

By bus

Bus routes are well developed in Umeå. It is the cheapest way to get around in Northern Sweden and a comfortable one as well. Don't be surprised if there is service onboard of the long distance routes or even free Wifi internet. Usually there are discounts for students and sometimes even a business class section (surcharge) with wider seats and simple meal included in the ticket price.

Linje 100 has 6 busses a day on the Sundsvall - Örnsköldsvik - Umeå - Skellefteå - Luleå - Haparanda route departing Sundsvall at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00. The Sundsvall - Umeå or Umeå - Luleå segments cost 295 SEK each.

Ybuss is a long distance bus company with 3 busses a day on the Stockholm - Umeå route departing Stockholm at 08:20, 12:40 and 20:40. The travel time is around 9 hours and the bus stops for a meal break half way. The tickets range is 330 - 415 SEK depending on if you have student discount.

Linje 31 has 3 nonstop busses a day to Tärnaby with one bus continuing to Mo i Rana in Norway. This 5.5 hour ride stops in Lycksele and Storuman along the way. One way ticket is 242 SEK. Tärnaby is Västerbottens biggest ski resort and lies on the border with Norway.

By boat

NLC Ferry Ab Oy runs ferries between Vaasa, Finland across the Gulf of Bothnia and Holmsund at the mouth of the Ume river. A one-way trip takes 4 hours. There are daily departures in each direction. The one way ticket price is €35 for adults.

By car

649km (403 miles) north on E4 from Stockholm. Note that driving in Norrland can be dangerous, especially in winter. Collisions with moose are a common cause of road accidents. During the latest years the road administration of Sweden (Vägverket) have invested much in upgrading road safety, which includes wild-life barriers/fences along major roads. This is by no means a guarantee, but it reduces the risk of moose-collisions. Other upgrades include 3-lane roads, where one direction is provided with two lanes to allow for safe passing of other vehicles while the other direction only has one. This changes from one direction to another along the road, so within a reasonable distance, the direction you travel in will have 2 lanes. It is recommended to have experience of driving in snow and poor visibility when driving in the winter, as even major roads get snow covered during days with lots of snow falling, just as strong winds in some parts cause snow to drift onto the road surface. All in all, though, the roads are kept free from snow or with a minimal surface layer of snow and ice, but note that roads away from the coast usually are snow covered during the entire winter, not being salted but rather just plowed for vehicle traffic.

Get around

By bike

Umeå has a lot of students and bikes are common. The city offers a wide variety of bike-friendly roads and bike-only bridges. It is often both easier and faster to get around by bike rather than by car or bus. Bikes can be rented at Cykel & Mopedhandlaren (Kungsgatan 101, +46(0)90-140170) or Umeå Camping If you plan on staying longer, buying a used bike is a good investment - with a bit of effort you can find a good used bike for as low as 400 SEK.

By bus

If you prefer to use public transport, the local bus system (run by Västerbottens Lokaltrafik) has Vasaplan as its hub in central Umeå and costs 23 SEK per ride for adults, 17 SEK for youth below 26 and 12 SEK for children below 18 (including one hour of free transfer). Buses tend to be very infrequent in summertime and as a general rule it is advisable to check the timetable before getting to the bus stop during all seasons - waiting for 10 or 20 minutes in a bus stop at -20 C is a potential health risk. Night buses are available on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets on the busses can no longer be paid with cash. All tickets have to be paid using credit/debit cards or using mobile phone.


View of Nydalasjön from the south end in feb 2013.




Being the city in Sweden with the youngest average age population, Umeå has a long tradition in sporting events. Although the local teams success in the Swedish leagues has faded, for the sport-bitten there is a variety of spectator friendly events to watch.


With 27,000 students, Umeå is Sweden’s fifth largest university city.


Work is quite hard to find in the city, even for locals. The biggest employers are the University, the Hospital and Volvo (which has a factory in the outskirts). Knowledge of Swedish as well as a work permit (not needed for Nordic or EU citizens) are essential in order to get a job at either.

Students (especially foreign/exchange students) will find it even harder to get a job, but have a chance at the pubs, student papers and at the Student Union. Additionally, a French or Spanish native speaker might just get a temporary job as a teaching assistant.


Most shops are located downtown (along Kungsgatan and Storgatan), in a fairly small area. Each neighborhood will have a small shopping center, with one or two supermarkets (ICA or Konsum/coop) and a few kiosks and fast food outlets. Two large shopping centers and hypermarkets are located at the outskirts - one, Strömpilen (with a shopping gallery, an electronics hypermarket and an ICA hypermarket), at the end of Sofiehem and the other one (with a Willy's supermarket, and a Coop supermarket) in Ersboda.






Nightlife is relatively good. Clubs and pubs are located either on campus or in a cluster downtown. The campus clubs are either student-only (admittance based on student-card) or offer entry fees discounts, whereas downtown clubs and pubs usually have a higher age limit for admittance. All pubs and nightclubs close at 2AM on weekends and usually at 1AM on weekdays. Admittance ranges between 25 and 100 SEK for a regular night (100 and up for concerts etc.).

On campus pubs:


Additionally, a number of events, such as Klubb Pingvin occur on a regular basis, with a traditional venue being the Plaza, Universum (on campus) or Norrlands Operan (the Opera House).







Stay safe

All parts of Umeå are very safe, there is no reason to be worried walking around at night.

Go next

Routes through Umeå

Stockholm Örnsköldsvik  W  E  Skellefteå Haparanda

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.