Härnösand is the southern gateway to the High Coast, a World Heritage site. However, it is not only the stunning nature north of the city that attracts visitors. Härnösand is a town with a long history. It has around 18.600 inhabitants and is the seat for Västernorrland County.
A Short History of Härnösand
Härnösand was founded in 1585 by the Swedish king Johan III. During most of the 17th century its main pursuit was fishing and as with several towns in Sweden it was several times severely damaged by fires. Härnösand was also one of the places burned and plundered by the Russians in 1721 during the Russian Pillage. The development of the town didn’t really start until the 19th century, mostly due to shipbuilding, seafaring, and banking.
Things to do and see in Härnösand
The town, with its waterfront, is pretty enough for a stroll. However, there are a few other places of interest.
Located at Murberget is Västernorrland’s Museum. In addition to indoor exhibitions it is an open-air museum with buildings from the 19th and 20th century.
Vårdkasberget is a hill located at Härnön a bit east of the center. It reaches 175 meters above the sea and is the local viewpoint. During the winter there is also three ski slopes here.
The construction of Hemsö Fortress began in 1917, but was not completed until the Second World War. Its importance grew during the cold war. The tunnels streches for kilometers underground and the fortress was built to sustain a nuclear attach.
The last soldiers left the fortress in 1989 and the museum opened in 2005.
High Coast Bridge
Located 24 kilometers north of Härnösand is the High Coast Bridge (Högakustenbron). Inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the bridge spans 1.867 meters across the river Ångermanälven. It is the third longest suspension bridge in Scandinavia after the Danish Great Belt Fixed Link and the Norwegian Hardanger Bridge.
The best viewpoint of the bridge is at the rest stop located on the nothern side of the river.
How to get to Härnösand
Flights: Sundsvall–Timrå Airport (SDL) is located 32 kilometers south of Härnösand and connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe. Another airport is the Höga Kusten Airport (KRF) 64 kilometers away and with more limited flight options.
Car: The town along the E4 highway that goes from southern to northern Sweden, with several connections inland.
Train: The northbound trains from Stockholm stop in Härnösandand.
Bus: Several long-distance bus routes along the Swedish northern coast have stops in Härnösand.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 326 kilometers (4 h 18 min) Gothenburg – 779 kilometers (8 h 31 min) Malmö – 1034 kilometers (9 h 51 min) Linköping – 621 kilometers (6 h 7 min) Kiruna – 813 kilometers (9 h 15 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden