Gävle, (archaic spelling Gefle) is the seat of Gävleborg County in southernmost Norrland on central Sweden's East Coast, with an industrial heritage, large parks and a small university college. Some 93.000 people live in the municipality. The old town with its colourful wooden houses is authentic.
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. Gävle Central station is a quick walk east of city center.
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.
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 (15min 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 to 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.
Gävlebocken is one of the citys most famous mascots. During the Christmas season local business owners contribute to construct a large straw goat in Castle Square. The goat often is victim of a fiery death by pranksters. 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's several art galleries and workshops worth a quick visit.
- Joe Hill Museum, Nedre 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.
- Regional Art & History Museum (Länsmuseet Gävleborg), Södra Strandgatan 20, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The countys regional history and art museum. Includes a colorful exhibition on Gävle's industrial history. Free admission.
- Swedish Prison Museum (Sveriges Fängelsemuseum), Hamiltongatan 1-3. Entrance 60 SEK.
There are lots of possibilities to go canoeing on the numerous lakes of Gävle's region. Fishing is a popular recreation as most outdoor activities are during the summer months as most Swedes exit the towns for cabins and camping in the countryside.
- Furuvik Park. Is a short drive south of town. Furuvik features a small carnival and arcade for toddlers as well as a small zoo and cold war era coastal defense installation and museum.
- 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.
- Gävle Concert Hall (Gävle Konserthus), Kungsbäcksvägen 22, ☎ . 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.
There are a few enclosed shopping malls downtown, other than that most storefronts are located along the main drags in downtown and south.
- Valbo köpcentrum, Valbovägen 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.
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.
- Bistro Nord, Centralplan 2 (Same building as the train station), ☎ . M-Sa From 4PM. This small and quite anonymous restaurant might just be the best one in town. Reservations are strongly recommended. Prices from 380 SEK and upwards.
- Church Street Saloon, Kyrkogatan 11 (50 meters from city square on side street, past McDonalds), ☎ . 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.
- Dalagrillen, Brynäsgatan 1. High-quality street food has finally reached Gävle. Dalgrillen serves up excellent pulled-pork burgers, fish n' chips and more to very reasonable prices. Prices starts at 55 SEK.
- Matildas, Timmermansgatan 23 (Just off S Kungsgatan.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sat from 5PM. Another top contender for best restaurant in town featuring seasonal Nordic cuisine. Menus starts at 350 SEK.
- Meat, Södermalmstorg 1, ☎ +46(0)26–610770, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sun 2PM-10PM. As the name hints this restaurant specializes in meat. A varied menu with heavy focus on local produce. From 150 SEK.
- Pigalle, Södra Kungsgatan 32, ☎ . 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.
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.
- Bankhuset (Northeast end of city square, entrance around the corner), Nygatan 18, ☎ . Recently rebranded and now trying to catch a more mature crowd; still a great upscale discoteque.
- Bilagan (One block behind Scandic hotel, to the left), Hattmakargatan 15, ☎ . 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 stumle upon a few really good singers that sometimes take to the stage. 40-50 SEK 50cl draft/bottle beers.
- Fullriggaren Skybar, Alderholmsgatan 3 (On Alderholmen, top floor of Fullriggaren), ☎ . Arguably the best view in town, atleast the only skybar avalible.
- Interpool, Södra Kungsgatan 20, ☎ . 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.
- Heartbreak Hotel, Norra Strandgatan 15-17, ☎ . Tu 4PM-2AM, F-Sa 6PM-2AM. Just a few meters away from the city square is the largest nightclub in town. Most action are on the weekends, the younger crowd usually hangs around in the basement. 100 SEK or more for entrance on weekends.
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.
- Elite Grand Hôtel, Kyrkogatan 28, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. After being closed for more than 60 years the city's classic Grand Hotel have now been revived and brought back to much of its former glory.
- Scandic CH (One block north from train station, turn left), Nygatan 45, ☎ , fax: +46(0)26-4958411, e-mail: email@example.com. Arguably the best hotel in town, at least the most expensive. Located between the train station and city center. 700-1300 SEK/night.
- STF Gävle/Gamla Gefle (South side of town, turn left after 200m on Södra Kungsgatan), Södra Rådmansgatan 1, ☎ . A youth hostel in the old town, walking distance from the railway station. 185-350 SEK/night.
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|
|Stockholm ← Älvkarleby ←||W E||→ Söderhamn → Sundsvall|