Vasteras old town in winter
travel tips

Västerås, Sweden: know before you go

Peta Wenzel

Contributing writer

Planning a trip to Västerås? Stay at Hotell Arkad, an eco-friendly hotel in the centre of town.

Västerås is Sweden's fifth largest city, and is one of the oldest cities in not only in Sweden, but in Northern Europe.

To get to Västerås from Stockholm will take an hour (approximately 100 kilometres / 62 miles) and is easily accessible by either road or train.

Below we have listed our top tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect visit to Västerås.

Strömsholm Castle in Västerås, Sweden on a sunny day

1. Västerås has activities for everyone

Once in Västerås, almost all attractions are within walking distance or can easily be reached by public transportation. Until recently, the city has been almost completely overlooked by tourists, however, it is fast becoming a popular destination due to its proximity to Stockholm.

There are lots of things to do in Västerås, including exploring historical sites from the Nordic Viking Age, and medieval churches and castles. Some sights not to be missed include Anundshög, the largest Viking burial mound in Sweden, Västerås Cathedral, Lake Mälaren's Archipelago, Strömsholm Castle, and the Vallby Friluftsmuseum (Open Air Museum).

 Lakeside promenade in Vasteras, Sweden

2. Everyone speaks English

In general, Swedes speak very good English so the language barrier is virtually non-existent. However, as in every country, knowing a few basic Swedish phrases go a long way. Here are some that will come in useful:

  • Hej – Hello

  • Hej då – Goodbye

  • Tack – Thank you

  • Ja – Yes

  • Nej – No

  • Välkommen! - Welcome!

Swedish semla bun filled with cream and dusted with icing sugar

3. Take the time to enjoy fika

Fika is a Swedish tradition where you take time out of your day to pause and enjoy a hot drink (normally coffee) and a traditional snack (cinnamon bun or cake). Fika occurs at various times throughout the day but mid-morning and mid-afternoon are the norm.

However, some enjoy fika at additional times of the day too! As such, you will see cute little coffee shops everywhere in and around the town. It may come as no surprise but Sweden has among the highest coffee consumption rates across the globe!

Flowers and cake for Midsomer in Sweden

4. Summer is the best time to visit Sweden

If you want to experience Sweden in all its summer splendour, time your trip for the national holiday of Midsommar. This event is held on the closest Friday to 23 June and is celebrated with flowers, dancing and food.

In summer you will enjoy long daylight hours (more than 18 hours of daylight) which are ideal for days out exploring. Also, all attractions are open to visitors during the summer months.

Timber buildings in Gamla stan part of Vasteras, Sweden

5. Sweden is expensive

All countries in Scandinavia are expensive, and Sweden is no exception! Accommodation will be your biggest expense, however, Airbnb’s are becoming more popular and offer better prices in general.

Eating out and drinking will be your next biggest expense. A tip to save money is to eat out at lunch and look for one of the many restaurants that offer a daily special (dagens lunch). They are usually around 100 SEK and will include a salad buffet, bread and butter, and water as well as coffee.

Sweden is also virtually a cash-free country so there is no need to exchange a lot of money prior to or on arrival. Credit cards and bank cards are widely accepted and the preferred form of payment.

Planning a trip to Västerås? Stay at Hotell Arkad, an eco-friendly hotel in the centre of town.

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Peta Wenzel

Author - Peta Wenzel

In 2017, Peta and Jonas from Exit45 Travels sold nearly everything they owned, took an adult gap year and began travelling the world. Today, they are still travelling.

Last Updated 8 January 2024

An aerial view of lake in Sweden in summer


Sparsely populated Sweden is known for its natural wonders. Cities tend cling to the coast and rivers, while inland you'll find towns, the occasional house, and a huge amount of forest interspersed with moors and lakes.