Dalarna, latinized form Dalecarlia, is a province and county in the region Svealand, in Sweden. It has a population of almost 280,000; nearly half of them in the southeastern twin cities Borlänge and Falun. Except those cities, most villages and towns of Dalarna are small, and known for being an archetype of Swedish folk culture; especially around lake Siljan. Northern and western Dalarna have vast forests and tall mountains for outdoor life.
Dalarna is Svealand's largest province, where the scenery differs a lot between the mountainous wilderness in the northwest, and the flat southeastern farmlands.
|Västerdalarna (Vansbro, Malung, Sälen and Älvdalen)
The forested, mountainous border to Värmland and Norway contains ski resorts and wildlife.
|Siljansbygden (Mora, Orsa, Rättvik, Leksand, Gagnef, Tällberg and Gesunda)
The towns and villages around Lake Siljan are known for many icons of Swedishness.
|Dalabergslagen (Avesta, Borlänge, Hedemora, Falun, Ludvika, Smedjebacken, Säfsen, Säter)
A mining and metalworking district in southern Dalarna, with most of the population.
- Avesta, small town where you'll find the largest Dala Horse in the world
- Borlänge, a blue-collar town and friendly rival of its sibling Falun
- Falun, known for its copper mine, and two of its by-products: red paint and sausage.
- Leksand, famous for its Midsummer celebrations and ice hockey team
- Mora, home of the Dala Horse
- Orsa, with nice small-scale skiing and Europe's largest bear park
- Rättvik, with great views over lake Siljan
- Vansbro, known for its annual river swimming contest
Dalarna is an important province in Swedish history. In contrast to many other provinces, Dalarna was devoid of a noble elite, and foreign influence was small. Several uprisings against foreign and domestic rulers have started in Dalarna. The most famous is the Liberation War of the 1520s, where Gustav Vasa travelled to Dalarna to stage an uprising against the Danish rulers of Stockholm. The truth of his legendary adventures in Dalarna is disputed; nevertheless, they are commemorated by Vasaloppet, an annual ski race.
In the 19th century, Sweden's nationalist movement sought to define a Swedish identity. They perceived the folk culture of Dalarna, especially in Siljansbygden, to be purely Swedish, and it was ascended to an archetype (and, in some cases, stereotype) of Swedish national identity. Falu Rödfärg (the red paint typical to Swedish farmhouses), Midsummer celebration are some Swedish icons originating from Dalarna. While the Dala Horse, dalahäst, has been a handicraft object since the 17th century, it became a symbol of Sweden only in 1939, at the New York City World Fair. This phenomenon can be compared to Bavaria, which is the origin of many icons of German culture.
Dalarna has a thriving pop music scene, with the Peace and Love festival in Borlänge, and acts such as HammerFall and Miss Li.
As in the rest of Sweden, everyone, except the elderly, speaks some English. When it comes to local language, Dalarna has a special-sounding dialect. The dialect of Älvdalen is usually considered a language distinct from Swedish.
Resrobot is a search engine for all public transport inside Sweden.
Flights to Borlänge go from Stockholm, tickets can be booked online at the site of the airline Skyways. Borlänge can also be reached by air from Malmö, Gothenburg and from Oslo, the capital of Norway. Tickets online at Direktflyg. All airline sites have booking services in English.
Most cities are reachable by rail, either operated by SJ or by the regional company Tåg i Bergslagen. Tickets for both can be bought at the website of the Swedish railway company SJ.
Going by bus is usually slightly cheaper than by train. You can buy tickets at the website of Swebus Express (Available in English).
Travelling within cities is by bus, and the ticket can be used multiple times in one hour.
- Falun copper mine. Known as the Great Copper Mountain, the millennium-old mine and its surroundings are on the UNESCO World Heritage List since December 2001 and a must-see when in Falun.
- Dala Horse factory in Nusnäs, Mora
- Santaland in Gesunda
Information and rental adresses are found in this region south of Malung
- Winter sport. In the northern part of the province there are several popular ski-resorts, such as Sälen and Idre. There's also a pretty big alpine resort i Borlange, called Romme Alpin.
- Vasaloppet, a cross-country ski race, is a leg of the Swedish Classic Circuit.
- Vansbrosimningen in Vansbro.
- Dalhalla, in an old quarry outside Rättvik, ranks as the fourth best outside-arena in the world (by Austrian Magazin Festspiele). During the warmer half of the year lots of concerts and theatre plays are shown here.
- Kupolen. The largest shopping-mall in the province with over 80 stores and several more nearby, located in Borlänge.
- Dala Horses in Nusnäs, Mora.
- Mora knives.
There are dishes from all over the world available at restaurants. Domestic and international fast-food companies are well established.
A local specialty of Falun is the falukorv, a big sausage. Hard bread, knäckebröd is made around Dalarna, more famous for its role as a cornerstone of Swedish cuisine, than its taste.
The forests provide game and berries, and there are many places for foraging.