Perched on the north shore of Lake Mälaren, Västerås is one of the oldest cities in Northern Europe. It’s been inhabited since at least the Nordic Viking Age and by the 11th century, it was the second-largest city in Sweden. Västerås is home to a monumental cathedral and on the doorstep of centuries-old archaeological sites.
Things to do in Västerås
Dominating the centre of Västerås is the Västerås Domkyrka, a five-tiered cathedral that dates back to the 13th century and exhibits a Scandinavian Brick Gothic style. Gaze up at the copper roof and the steeple designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, then admire the triptychs, pulpit and organ that decorate the interior.
For insight into Swedish life during the 19th century, head to the open-air Vallby Friluftsmuseum. Wander between the traditional cottages and huts or attend one of the artisan demonstrations that range from glassmaking to carpentry. The museum also features a farmyard where you can get up close to Jämtland goats and an alfresco cafe.
Västerås is an ideal base for visiting Sweden’s largest burial mound, Anundshög, which some historians believe is associated with the legendary King Anund. See its 11th-century rune stone and the two 1st-century ship settings before following the walking trail that leads across the Badelunda Ridge to the 13th-century Badelunda Kyrka. South of Anundshög is the 2,000-year-old stone maze known as the Tibble Labyrinth.
Getting around Västerås
Västerås is just over an hour’s drive from Stockholm and Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Stockholm Västerås Airport is just 10 minutes away and has low-cost flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect to the Västerås railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Västerås can easily be explored on foot.