Gävle in Sweden, the capital of the North

Maybe not the place that immediately comes to mind when you think about holidays, but there are good reasons to visit Gävle in Sweden.

First of all, it is only an hour and a half by train from Stockholm, which in a country as large as Sweden is almost near.

It is the capital of Norrland, the Swedish region that extends beyond the Arctic Circle, which many see as an almost wild land.

It is a university city mainly from the 1800s, the city actually dates back to the 1400s, but after a fire in 1869 there is very little left of the original buildings. When wood is the main material used in construction, fires are particularly destructive. 

What remains is south of the river and is called Gamla Gefle and is a typically Scandinavian place. However, as well as being a not too far base for exploring the outskirts of the Swedish ‘wilderness’, Gävle has some attractions of its own.

What to find in Gävle in Sweden?

For example it is the hometown of Joel Hägglund who might mean nothing to you but he is more famous as Joe Hill. This is a Swede who emigrated to the United States, became an organizer in the trade unions and was wrongly accused of murder and executed in 1915. He obviously became a martyr and hero of American folk. If you are in Gävle you can visit the house where he was born transformed into a museum.

Gävle in Sweden also has a great railway museum called Sveriges Järnvägsmuseet where you will find both large locomotives you can ride on and miniature trains. An earthly paradise for enthusiasts.

Another great museum is the region museum or Länsmuseum Gävleborg which contains exhibits on the area’s history and culture. For lovers of the genre there is also a museum dedicated to prisons. 

Strangely Gävle also has a whiskey distillery, a recent thing, in fact only opened in 1999. You can still visit it by booking directly on the site (it has an English version). Gävle in Sweden can be comfortably explored in one day if you pass before or after a tour of northern Sweden. If you go in the period before Christmas do not miss the giant straw goat that is made every year and is quite unique.

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