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Västerås (pronounced roughly Vester-ohs) is in the southern part of central Sweden.
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. 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 110 km to the west of the capital. Västerås is also one of Sweden's oldest cities, having been 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. 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 (nicknamed "Skrapan") with surrounding business, commerce and residential buildings.
Västerås is known for the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) electrical industries (formerly ASEA).
phone: +46 21 39 01 00address: Kopparbergsvägen 1
Stockholm Västerås Airportusing Ryanair from London Stansted. A town bus (941) connects with Ryanair flights.
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) between Stockholm and Uppsala. From the airport take the bus to Västerås.
- Skavsta Airport (NYO) in Nyköping using Ryanair.
By trainVästerås Central Station is in city centre. The rail operator is SJ.
By busBus station in city centre, next to train station. The main bus operator is Swebus Express.
By carMain road E18 from Stockholm.
- Västerås city is really small. Walk.
- The suburbs by bus or car.
- Taxi for 100 kr 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.
AnundshögA nice place for a picnic during the summer. Anundshög is an ancient burial mound, high and across, making it the largest in Sweden. Next to the mound there are two big stone ships.
The Turbine Housephone: +46 21-39 01 00address: Slottsgatan 2One of Sweden's first power plants, constructed in 1890 by ASEA. Has a museum which is shown to visitors by appointment.
phone: +46 21 39 80 70Displays the cultural heritage of Västmanland.
phone: +46 21-480 04 67Famous for the Parliamentary decision of 1527 when King Gustav Wasa abolished Catholicism in Sweden, making Sweden a protestant country. The Västerås castle was 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 contains a conference hall, restaurant and a minor exhibition.
phone: +46 21-81 46 11address: Västra Kyrkogatan 6The oldest parts of the cathedral were 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 11:00 and 13:00 at the tourist office.
Västmanland County Museum & Västerås Museum of Artphone: +46 21 - 39 32 22address: Karlsgatan 2Two museums which share an address.
- 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.
phone: +46 21 - 39 19 09address: Vallgatan 8A bathing facility with a traditional 25-m pool and a separate section with moist and dry sauna, and cold bath (Romerskt bad).
phone: +46 21 - 39 19 05address: Sjöhagsvägen 1Another bathing facility. Located a couple of kilometers west of Västerås. Good for children.
phone: +46-21-351350address: Kopparbergsvägen 13An indoor adventure facility challenging creativity and cooperation in group exercises.
phone: +46-21-40 36 00address: Kopparbergsvägen 1Houses some 200 events annually.
Västerås Summer MeetThe a major show for classic American cars.
phone: +46 70-246 24 03address: VattugrändIf 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.
phone: +46 21-13 62 68address: Smedjegatan 2At 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.
phone: +46 21-14 64 67address: Gideonsbergsgatan 3It's actually just a hamburger stand, but it is cheap and delivers awesome burgers for the price.
phone: +46 21-18 98 27address: Sturegatan 13An Italian style café and restaurant; free salad accompanies the sizeable portion of food.
phone: +46 21-12 91 29address: Kungsgatan 2A nice cafe/restaurant with light food.
phone: +46 21-18 19 28address: Sturegatan 20BAverage 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.
phone: +46 21-18 17 40address: Sturegatan 20AQuite good Thai food with low prices.
phone: +46 21-10 28 50address: Stora Torget 2Has numerous draft beers and hundreds of different whiskeys.
phone: +46 21-13 65 00address: Stora Torget 3A pub in a genuine old Frensh style.
phone: +46 21-13 10 20address: Torggatan 4A nice sport pub.
phone: +46 21-10 10 10address: Kopparbergsvägen 10Sweden's highest located pub bar.
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 kr. The same artist is also responsible for a unique one-room hotel in the lake! The bedroom is underwater.
phone: +46 21-12 04 80address: Östermalmsgatan 25
phone: +46 21-10 28 00address: Stora Torget
phone: +46 211 010 10address: Karlsgatan 9Modern 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.
phone: +46 21-18 45 30address: Metallverksgatan 2A small but cozy 3-star hotel, 15-20 minutes walk from the center, in the Science park of Västerås. Average prices, but breakfast and afternoon snacks are included.
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, 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!
If you have half a day or so and transportation is arranged, you can visit the silver mine in Sala about 32 km 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 for adults and kids.