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Gävle

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The symbol of Gävle, the yule straw goat, is bizarrely famous for having been burnt down or vandalized more than 30 times during the last 50 years.

Gävle, archaic spelling Gefle or Gavle, is the seat of Gävleborg County, the gateway to Norrland, and a major port on the Baltic Sea.

Some 93.000 people live in the municipality; 71.000 of them in Gävle itself, which has an industrial heritage, large parks and a small university college. The old town with its colourful wooden houses is authentic.

Get in[edit]

Being a railway hub in southern Norrland, Gävle can be reached by a variety of trains from all over Sweden. Stockholm is only 1h 20m away with the fast X2000 trains, continue north and you will reach Sundsvall. Direct InterCity services are available from Linköping, Norrköping and Östersund. Regional trains connect with Dalarna region and Örebro while frequent commuter trains head out towards most nearby towns. Night trains to and from Norrland also call at Gävle. 1 Gävle Central station is a quick walk east of city center.

Stockholm-Arlanda Airport is the nearest international airport, 130 kilometres south of Gävle. Many trains run between the airport and Gävle.

Cheaper coach services are also available from most coastal cities and towns in Norrland as well as Stockholm. Most of them depart from just outside the train station, however a few "express" buses only make a quick stop-over at Gävle Bro, a service area by the E4 highway.

Gävle is also a junction of several inter-country highways, e.g. E4, R67, R68, R76 and R80 so driving is easy.

Get around[edit]

Gävle has an excellent bus network connecting most suburban areas with city center. Lines #1-4 are express services while lines with higher numbers usually take longer routes. Line #13 starts departing for Läkerol Arena, the hockey stadium, a few hours before a match. All buses stop at Rådhustorget in central Gävle.

Taxi service is usually reliable and can show up on short notice (15 minutes or less), although on busy weekends you might have to wait up to 45 minutes. A typical ride will cost you somewhere between 130-160 SEK. As in most places in urban Sweden taxi drivers speak good English.

You can get about everywhere in town on bicycle. Walking is the obvious option in the compact city center, it takes less than ten minutes to walk from the central Stortorget square to the pubs and restaurants of Söder. Most hotels are clustered around these two areas too. The train station is at the eastern end of the central shopping district.

See[edit]

Old Town of Gävle

The Gävle Goat, Gävlebocken, is arguably the city's most famous landmark. For the first Advent Sunday, local business owners have a large straw goat built in Castle Square, to promote Christmas shopping. The goat is often victim of a fiery death by pranksters; as it is more likely than not to burn down before Christmas, it is a rare sight, even in season. Be aware that burning or otherwise vandalizing the goat is a crime, though locals might deceive foreign travellers to carry on the "tradition".

A few blocks is all that remains of Gamla Gefle, Gävle's old town, after several devastating fires and excessive demolition in the 1960s. Located on the south side of Gavleån it makes for a nice afternoon walk, there are several art galleries and workshops worth a quick visit.

  • 1 Swedish Railway MuseumRälsgatan 1 +46 10-1232100, e-mail: . The national railway museum, hosting one Europe's largest collection of old locomotives and rail cars, including a 1980 working replica of the Novelty, the engine that lost to Rocket at the Rainhill Trials in 1829.
  • 2 Joe Hill MuseumNedre Bergsgatan 28. Located in the Old Town and dedicated to the famous American labor organizer, Joe Hill, who was born and raised in Gävle as Joel Emmanuel Hägglund. Open Saturdays 11-15. Free admission, donations welcome.
  • 4 Swedish Prison Museum (Sveriges Fängelsemuseum), Hamiltongatan 1-3. Entrance 60 SEK.

Do[edit]

The countryside around Gävle is good for outdoor life, especially during summer. Canoeing on the numerous lakes is popular. Fishing is free in the Baltic Sea, but requires a license in the lakes.

  • 1 Furuvik Park (12 kilometres south-east of central Gävle). Furuvik features a small carnival and arcade for toddlers as well as a small zoo and cold war era coastal defense installation and museum.
  • 2 Boulonger Park. Inspired by the famous park in Paris this large and lush park along the Gavlegån river is the city's favorite getaway. Packed in the summer months by strollers, joggers and families on picnics.
  • 3 Gävle Concert Hall (Gävle Konserthus), Kungsbäcksvägen 22 +46 26-172900. Gävle has its own symphonic orchestra which gives weekly concerts at the main concert hall, often together with guest artists. Concert tickets starts at around 200 SEK.
  • 4 Mackmyra WhiskybyKolonnvägen 2 +46 26-541880. Gävle is home to Mackmyra, an award-winning distillery that introduced the first Swedish whiskey in 1999. At their distillery they offer weekly tours with included tasting sessions.

Buy[edit]

There are a few enclosed shopping malls downtown, other than that most storefronts are located along the main drags in downtown and south.

  • 1 Valbo köpcentrumValbovägen 307-309 (10 kilometres west from Gävle along E16 highway). 10AM-8PM. Similar to most other shopping centres but noted for being the first American-style shopping mall in Sweden, opened in 1971.

Eat[edit]

Gävle fire station (brandstation)

Gävle provides good opportunities for eating, although there are few really high-end places you will find plenty of places that will serve tasty and filling food. If you are looking for lunch there are several good options around the city square, but if you can't decide there are always the large food court located in the central shopping mall, Galleri Nian.

  • 1 Church Street SaloonKyrkogatan 11 (50 meters from city square on side street, past McDonalds),  +46 26-126211. M-Th 7PM-midnight, F 5PM-1AM, Sa 11:45AM-1AM. Serves American-western style food and flair, kitschy but great food. Crowded most weekends, expect to wait up to an hour if you are coming in late, no reservations possible.
  • 2 Épi Bageri & CaféNorra Kungsgatan 11 +46 26-128800. Award winning café and bakery that serves delicious pastries and sandwiches.
  • 3 MatildasTimmermansgatan 23 (Just off S Kungsgatan.),  +46 26-625349, e-mail: . Tu-Sat from 5PM. Top contender for best restaurant in town, featuring seasonal Nordic cuisine. Menus starts at 350 SEK.
  • 4 PigalleSödra Kungsgatan 32 +46 26-624044. The classic lunch restaurant in town, have served almost the same menu since 1958. This is the right place for authentic Swedish traditional food known as husmanskost.
  • 5 Sarah'sSlottstorget 5 +46 26-65 35 03. Serves a seasonal menu inspired by classic Nordic cuisine.
  • 6 Söders KällaSödra Kansligatan 22 +46 26-61 38 00. Classic Nordic cuisine with almost exclusively local and organic produce.

Drink[edit]

The coffee brand Gevalia bears the latinized name of Gävle.

Most bars/clubs are within walking distance, so follow the crowds. There are several bars clustered in Söder along Södra Kungsgatan, most with a relaxed atmosphere.

  • 1 BilaganHattmakargatan 15 (One block behind Scandic hotel, to the left),  +46 26-121638. W-Sa 9PM-2AM. The only open-scene karaoke dive bar around here. No frills, cheap bear and quite rough but always with a tolerating atmosphere. You might even stumble upon a few really good singers that sometimes take to the stage. 40-50 SEK 50cl draft/bottle beers.
  • 2 Fullriggaren SkybarAlderholmsgatan 3 (On Alderholmen, top floor of Fullriggaren),  +46 26-2228888. Arguably the best view in town, atleast the only skybar available.
  • 3 InterpoolSödra Kungsgatan 20 +46 26-605165. M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa-Su 1PM-2AM. The place for playing a game of billard in town. Open until 2 AM everyday. 60-70 SEK 50cl draft/bottle beers.
  • 4 Heartbreak HotelNorra Strandgatan 15-17 +46 26-183021. Tu 4PM-2AM, F-Sa 6PM-2AM. Just a few meters away from the city square is the largest nightclub in town. Most action is on the weekends, the younger crowd usually hangs around in the basement. 100 SEK or more for entrance on weekends.
  • 5 NästetSödra Kungsgatan 10 +46 26-60 06 64. Small and upscale bar that offers some of the town's best cocktails.
  • 6 VerovinNorra Kungsgatan 11 +46 26-122060. Small and highly dedicated wine bar with an extensive selection of world-class wines.
  • 7 VinkrogenNorra Köpmangatan 12 +46 26-122001. Gävles other wine bar with a good selection of high-quality wines and excellent food.

If you are a student at the university or manage to befriend one you should try out the student pubs at the campus. You must be either a registered student or get one to sign you up for the guest list. The main venue is Kåren, usually open twice a month and associated with dirt-cheap beer (around 20 SEK) and students going wild.

Sleep[edit]

  • 3 Scandic CHNygatan 45 (One block north from train station, turn left),  +46 26-4958400fax: +46 26-4958411, e-mail: . Arguably the best hotel in town, at least the most expensive. Located between the train station and city center. 700-1300 SEK/night.
  • 4 STF Gävle/Gamla GefleSödra Rådmansgatan 1 (South side of town, turn left after 200m on Södra Kungsgatan),  +46 26-621745. A youth hostel in the old town, walking distance from the railway station. 185-350 SEK/night.

Stay safe[edit]

While Gävle is generally a safe city, main risk factors are petty theft and nightlife brawls, as well as winter driving outside the city.

Go next[edit]

The easiest way to leave is by taking one of the numerous trains heading south to Stockholm, Uppsala and Arlanda Airport. Prices vary greatly. X2000 trains are fastest reaching Stockholm in as little as 1h 20m. Be sure to indicate first or second class and be flexible on times. Don't be afraid if you must take a connection in towns such as Tierp, Uppsala or Märsta. Trains from Upplands Lokaltrafik are slower and you need to change trains to suburban rail to reach Stockholm city center, they are however a bit cheaper. In the busy season, allow plenty of time for arrival of your train as Arlanda can get very crowded. Daytime buses are slower but can be as cheap as 95 SEK for youth and students.

  • Älvkarleby is the town where Dalälven reaches the Baltic Sea. Here you can see the hydroelectric power plant and the rather unusual Dragon Gate project: a Chinese hotel with a museum of Swedish culture.
  • Sandviken, about 27 km from Gävle, includes the Högbo Bruk recreation area.
Routes through Gävle
StockholmÄlvkarleby  W Tabliczka E4.svg E  SöderhamnSundsvall



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