Östersund is the only city in Jämtland, and its economic and political center. The city is famous for both its location to nearby nature as well as winter activities. Östersund profiles itself as "vinterstaden" (the winter city), and a lot of world cups in winter sports like biathlon and skiing are hosted in and around Östersund. As of 2014, Östersund is the home to roughly 60 000 inhabitants in the municipality.
Östersund (and Jämtland in general) have a long history with the Norwegian neighbours which is reflected in both tourism and trade. However most of the people living in Östersund are Swedish and of Jemtlandic descent. During both summer and wintertime there can be a lot of tourists in the city, especially during the annually "Storsjöcupen" (a football cup for youths) and the music festival "Storsjöyran". Östersund is residing next to Swedens 5th largest lake named "Storsjön", and a lot of establishments and events are thereby influenced by that name. The lake itself is excellent for swimming and bathing in the summer and iceskating or dogsled in the winter - and of course fishing.
The city centre is filled with everything you would expect from a city, like bars and pubs, restaurants, shopping malls and stores. In the outskirts of the city you'll find the usual residential areas and industries. Östersund is also home to a lot of sights and museums, ranging from arts to cultural sites and activities. The weather in Östersund is very varying, from cold and dark winter nights with auroras and stars to sunny summer days where you'll spot most of the people bathing in the sun. However there are one more or less constant element which is the wind. Because of the location of the city (next to a big lake) it can be quite windy and the temperature feels a lot colder, especially during the winter months.
It is always interesting to learn about the sea monster "Storsjöodjuret" that is said to be lurking in the lake.
Åre Östersund Airport is located on Frösön, 9 kilometres outside the city centre. There are three airlines operating at the airport all around the year. Most of the flights are domestic, however there are also some direct flights to major destinations like Mallorca, Rhodos, Antalya and more. If you need to travel by air to other cities in Sweden apart from Stockholm or Umeå you'll need to change to another connecting flight at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.
Stockholm Arlanda - Östersund:
Umeå - Östersund
Transportation to and from the airport is very easy, with several bus lines and taxis providing shuttle services to the city centre.
SJ has regular service between Östersund and many cities in Sweden. Price and time wise it's more expensive than flying, but if you wish to see the country, a good option indeed. Expect times to and from Stockholm to run anywhere from 5 hours on the X3000 (their high speed train) to 6.5 hours on a slightly slower train. Also keep in mind that Swedish rail traffic has seen severe disruptions in service due to snow the last five years with trains being delayed for several hours and cancelled. SJ also runs a seasonal night train service from Stockholm, mostly during the summer months and on major holidays in wintertime. If you are traveling from locations around or in Trondheim (Norway) you can ride with "Nabotåget". A beautiful journey starting in Trondheim and ends in Östersund, and an perfect opportunity to see great mountains and vast nature landscapes.
Another nice way to go to Östersund is by the Inlandsbanan. It's a slow diesel train that starts in Mora and ends in Gällivare. They make a stop in Östersund, so you can get on and off the train. The train is rather touristic, but it's a very special way to get to Östersund.
The route E14 connects Östersund to several cities in both Norway and Sweden. You can reach E14 both south and north from Sweden, as well as from the area around Trondheim (Norway). From Östersund you are also able to travel to most (if not all) major destinations and villages in Jämtland.
There are several buses that connects Östersund with the rest of the country. If you happen to be in the north of Sweden, you can use the buses operated by Länstrafiken i Västerbotten. From Stockholm and more southern parts there are several companies providing direct way travels, for example Swebus.
- Länstrafiken i Västerbotten, Storgatan 36, 921 23 LYCKSELE, ☎ . Buses from northern parts of Sweden to Östersund
- SweBus, ☎ . Buses from Stockholm and other major cities to Östersund.
There are no boats connecting the city to other remote places in the country. However there are some boat traffic for traveling in Jämtland on the lake of Storsjön.
Östersund has a fairly extensive, inexpensive bus system, although you might have a long wait ahead of you if you plan to move about after 21:00, or on Sundays. You can buy single tickets on the bus, or pre-paid cards are a great deal if you plan on a longer stay. These can be purchased at the main bus station in town, located on Kyrkgatan, or in one of the many kiosks and shops around the city center.
During summertime the city is easy to get around in by foot, at least the city center and its surroundings. By winter the city is still very walkable, however due to heavy snow and the fact that Östersund is built upon a height (thereby tilting) it can be quite slippery. A good way to avoid any accidents are by equipping your boots with stud/nails during the winter months.
If you have a bicycle it's even better, and a great opportunity to explore the countryside outside the city. Most of Östersund have separate roads for bicycles, so watch out for them and keep in mind to use them while traveling by bike. Bikes can be rented on numerous locations or if you're staying for a longer time bought on flea markets.
Taxi is quite expensive in Östersund like the rest of Sweden. However there are many companies providing taxi service in and around the city. To save some money you might want to share the cab with some friends. Expect to prebook your taxi as you will find it hard to wave a cab in from the street. Avoid going with unregistered "taxi drivers" asking you if you want a ride somewhere (which is common outside nightclubs and pubs after closing), instead use reputable companies like Taxi Östersund or Taxikurir.
- Jamtli, Box 709, 831 28 Östersund (Take the city bus No. 2 towards "Lugnvik" (departing from the main station), hop off at Jamtli (4-5 stations).), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 11.00 - 17.00 (Tuesday - Sunday, Mondays closed except during high seasons in Summertime). Jamtli is an interactive museum about the history of Jämtland. Take the guided tour if you have a chance, the guide is very knowledgeable, and can speak both Swedish and English. The museum suits people of every age; so children can have a great time there. During summer and high season there are over 120 live actors performing and staging 19th century Östersund, very fun and learning to watch. You can also find restaurants, cafeterias, animals to visit and a lot of activities at Jamtli. The museum is divided into two parts, one inside (where the exhibitions are located, audio guides available) and one outside area. The former is live and open during summertime, however you are still able to visit the buildings during winter but without visiting them. Always free for children up to 18 years. 70 SEK for adults during winter, 240 SEK during summer (ticket is valid for two days).
- Frösö Zoo, Frösö Zoo, 832 96 FRÖSÖN (Take the city bus No. 5 towards "Frösö Zoo"), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 14/6 - 30/6: 10-16, 1/7 - 31/7: 10-18, 1/8 - 17/18: 10-16. Since 1960 Frösö Zoo has been one of Östersund's major attractions for tourists. Featuring over 700 animals from Tigers to Koalas and Sloths. The area also have restaurants, a tivoli, circus and Sweden's largest tropical house. Perfect for all ages, however there can be very crowded during high season by Swedes and Norwegians on holiday. Frösö Zoo also houses a lot of wild animals like lynx, bear and other Swedish wild life. Definitely worth a visit! Adults 200 SEK, Children 5-12 is 100 SEK.
- Moose Garden, Orrviken, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prebook in advance. The moose is an important part of Jämtlands cultural heritage. Described as "king of the forest" and seen on Jämtland's coat of arms, you can easily say it's the most famous animal in the province. On moose garden you get the chance and opportunity to pet and stand next to real moose - and even kiss one (if you dare). On moose garden there are over 20 elks and moose, and you can also find modern accommodation and a cafeteria. The owner and guide is very friendly and quite funny to listen to. Moose garden is located just 15 minutes away with car from the city.
- 1 Frösö Runestone, Frösön (Take the city bus No. 4 or No. 1 and jump of at "Bergsgatan"). Frösö Runestone is the most northern runestone in the world and the only one remaining in the entire region. The runestone is unique in several ways and over 1000 years old. The runestone mentions the Christianization of Jämtland and is an important part of Frösön's heritage. Free of charge.
Take a walk along the lake with its beautiful view.
Take a boat trip around the lake - the 5th largest in Sweden.
There are two Hostelling International (HI) locations in Östersund: STF Östersund Ledkrysset and STF vandrarhem Östersund Jamtli.
STF Östersund Ledkrysset is located in the center of town and has double and twin rooms as well as dormitory beds. Serves breakfast, dinner and has a small shop. Free internet access. They can be reached by phone at: +46 (0)63 10 33 10.
STF vandrarhem Östersund Jamtli is pretty close to the center of town, and they can be reached by phone at: +46 (0)63 12 20 60.
If you travel with friends and need a place to stay for a couple of nights, you can also find a room at Östersund camping, which is 3 km away from the city center. There is a good bus connection, so it is not a big deal to take a bus and get to any point in Östersund.
Hotel Algen, located near the train station, has nice, large rooms, a sauna, and a good breakfast. Weekend costs are around 694 SEK.
Scandic hotel is one of the most expensive hotels there, but it is centrally located and you will experience its advantages. Starting from 900 SEK per night.
Clarion Hotel Grand is Östersund's largest hotel with 176 rooms including 8 suites. It also has an indoor pool and sauna, as well as a popular restaurant. Prices vary but typical weekend rate for a double room is from around 1100 SEK to 1600 SEK.
Östersund is quite far from other major cities (as in a few hundred kms). On the other hand, there's plenty of wilderness to explore around the city, free to access. Have a look at Hiking in the Nordic countries for some useful tips. If you travel around the lake Storsjön, keep your eyes open — you may see the Lake Monster!
- Åre, Sweden's largest ski resort is about 50 km west. Double that to get to Storlien
- Trondheim, about 200 km west, one of Norway's largest cities with an impressive cathedral.
- Sundsvall, about 200 km east, a city about the same size located at the Gulf of Bothnia — also the High Coast world heritage is accessible from there.
|Routes through Östersund|
|Trondheim ← Krokom (22 km) ←||W E||→ Bräcke (71 km) → Sundsvall|
|Gällivare ← Strömsund (101 km) ←||N S||→ Sveg (187 km) → Karlstad|