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. Västerås is also one of Sweden's oldest cities, being officially 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. Unfortunately 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 (cordially nicknamed "Skrapan") with surrounding business, commerce and residential buildings.
Västerås is known for the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) electrical industries (formerly ASEA).
- Västerås airport (IATA: VST) (just 4 miles/6km from the centre) using Ryanair from London Stansted. A town bus (941) connects with Ryanair flights.
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport (IATA: ARN) between Stockholm and Uppsala. From the airport take the bus (501) to Västerås.
Train station in city centre. The rail operator is SJ.
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 bus or car.
- Taxi for 100 SEK you cover the town. (Taxi Exact +46 21 170000)
- By bicycle. Västerås is famous for its cycle paths, 340 km of asphalt only for bicycling.
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 110km to the west of the capital.
If you are spending a day in Västerås we recommend that you start at the train station, and then walk through the Vasa Park, to the Museum of Art . Then continue to the Turbine House, which is one of Sweden's first power plants, constructed in 1890 by ASEA. From here you can view the castle , famous for the Parliamentary decision of 1527 when King Gustav Wasa abolished Catholicism in Sweden, making Sweden a protestant country. The Västerås castle was originally 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 is a museum.
Later on you may want to follow Svartån creek northwards to the older parts of Västerås (Stora Torget and the surrounding streets are especially nice), where you also find the old Cathedral dating back to the 13th century. The cathedral is definitely worth a visit. The oldest parts of the cathedral was 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 am and 1 pm at the tourist office. A stone's throw from the Cathedral lies Church Hill (Kyrkbacken), which is the only major part of central Västerås not destroyed by the building programs of the 1960s. Really nice surroundings, where you can walk on the small and winding lanes and look at some of the oldest buildings in Västerås and, if you like, visit local arts and crafts shops.
- 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 metres high and 60 metres across, making it the largest in Sweden. Next to the mound there is two big stone-ships.
If you like music you should try the jazz club Village or the new concert hall (tickets at Västerås tourist office housed in the same building, just a short walk from the railway station). Sadly the Village jazz club has recently closed due to financial problems, hopefully it will resurrect itself, but almost certainly not in its old building.
- ArosFortet (From city centre follow Kopparbergsvägen to the north, cross E18, then on the righthand side (about 2 km walking distance from city centre)). An indoor adventure facility challenging creativity and cooperation in group exercises.
- There is a quite new bowling facility with a restaurant on Torgatan 1 in the city centre. Book in advance especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.
- Kristiansborgsbadet. A bathing facility with a traditional 25 m pool and a separate section with moist and dry sauna, and cold bath (Romerskt bad). Recommended.
- 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.
- If you have kids try Lögarängsbadet west of Västerås (a couple of kilometers).
- If you have half a day or so and transportation is arranged, you can visit the silver mine in Sala about 32km 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 both for adults and kids.
- Power Big Meet. The world's greatest show for classic American cars. 2-4 July in 2015.
- Vallby Open Air Museum (Vallby Friluftsmuseum) (2 km north of Västerås). Displays the cultural heritage of Västmanland.
- Krukmakeriet (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 meters, 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). 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.
- Sjökrogen is easy to find if you follow the river all the way down to the lake. It's a nice place to sit outside, right next to the water. Enjoy a good meal or have a drink, just sit in the sun, relax to the view and watch the sailing boats or the small Mälaren ferries come and go.
- Bill & Bob's Krog. At Stora Torget is another good restaurant. Mains 99-246 SEK.
- Kalle på spången is a nice cafe/restaurant with light food. Prices around 75 SEK for a salad (as a main dish).
- Choy's garden. 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 SEK.
- Soya sushi. on Sturegatan, 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 SEK.
- Spicy Hot. is another one on Sturegatan, just next to Soya, quite good thai food with low prices. Lunch menu around 80 SEK, otherwise mains between 80 and 180 SEK
- Mongolian Barbecue - Oriental. at Torggatan 1 is an oriental "all you can eat" buffet restaurant, with quite good quality food, but it is more Chinese than mongolian. Lunch buffet is 79 SEK.
- Café Gränden. at Sturegatan 13 is an Italian style café and restaurant, free salad accompanies the sizeable portion of food. Lunch menu 70 SEK
- Gideonsbergsgrillen, Gideonsbergsgatan 3. It's actually just a hamburger stand, but it is cheap and delivers awesome burgers for the price. For 75 SEK you get a 200grams burger with fries and lots of toppings.
- Bishops Arms Pub has numerous draft beers and 100s of different whiskeys.
- Pitcher's is a nice sport pub.
- Bill&Bob is a nice large beer garden.
- Oliver Twist is a nice Irish pub. Recently closed, replaced by Wine & Beer.
- Harrys! is a pub and nightclub.
- Å is a pub and restaurant.
- Circus is a new pub in a genuine old Frensh style.
- Sky Bar is Sweden's highest located pub bar.
- Duo House is a Lebanese bar and restaurant.
- Sportsbar is a new sports bar and restaurant.
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 SEK. The same artist is also responsible for a unique one-room hotel in the lake! The bedroom is underwater.
- Hotell Arkad. Östermalmsgatan 25.
- Elite Stadshotellet. Stora Torget.
- First Hotel Plaza, Karlsgatan 9 (350 m from Central Station), ☎ +46 211 010 10. 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.
- Valsaren, Västerås, Metallverksgatan 2.. is a small but cozy 3 stars 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 SEK/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 just 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!
|Routes through Västerås|
|Karlstad ← Hallstahammar ←||W E||→ Enköping → Stockholm|