On the shores of Lake Mälaren and in the province of Västmanland lies the city of Västerås. The city makes a nice weekend getaway as it is located approximately 100 kilometers north-west of Stockholm and it’s easily accessible by train from the Swedish capital.
Västerås: A Short History
The area was populated already during the Nordic Viking Age, which makes it one of the oldest cities in northern Europe. It was the second largest city in Sweden in the 11th century, and by the 12th century had become the seat of the bishop. The city is known for having the biggest burial mound in Sweden (Anundshög) as well as the oldest gymnasium in the country. It was here that King Gustav I together with the Riksdag decided that Sweden would convert to Protestantism and the city also has a very flattering nickname, the Cucumber City, as it was very popular to grown cucumbers here in the 18th and 19th centuries.
One Day in Västerås: Things to Do
We visited some friends in Västerås in summer 2015. At the time of our visit the Power Big Meet was being held. Now we talk cars, a lot of cars. And a lot of drunk people. The event is actually the biggest classic car show in the world – and it was interesting to see it. We didn’t participate actively but we couldn’t miss all those huge old cars on the streets and all the people who had arrived in the city just to witness all the fun.
So, what did we do? We walked, we ate, and we bathed. We walked in the new centre and the old one, we admired the castle and the river Svartån that flows through the city.
There are a lot of interesting sights especially in the old parts of Västerås. Kyrkbacken (the Church Hill) is the very oldest quarter of the city and it is filled with charming old wooden houses and narrow alleys. In this area one will also find the Botanical Gardens (a very lovely and tranquil spot for relaxation) as well as the cathedral that has parts dating back to the 11th century.
We also had time for a swim in Lake Mälaren, the third-largest lake in Sweden. The water was surprisingly warm (even though it was in June) and the beach was densely populated by young children and drunk car fans alike.
Västerås: How to Get There?
Believe it or not, Västerås has an international airport and it is possible to get there from at least Iceland, Spain, and Great Britain. There are regular train and bus services to many Swedish locations and the trains to and from Stockholm are very frequent.
The driving distance to Västerås from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
From Stockholm – 110 kilometers (1 h 13 min)
From Gothenburg – 376 kilometers (4 h 8 min)
From Malmö – 597 kilometers (6 h)
From Luleå – 873 kilometers (10 h 8 min)
From Linköping – 187 kilometers (2 h 16 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden