Weekend in Umea
Despite being full-to-bursting with culture, Umea somehow also makes room for plenty of cosy coffee shops, restaurants, magnificent scenery and trendy shopping. It's the ideal destination for your long weekend, whether your heart's set on the Norrland Opera, the most modern Ikea in Sweden, or both. If one city isn’t enough for you, why not take a return trip over the Kvarken archipelago to Vasa and fit two cities into the same weekend?
shopping, culture and nature around the corner
You don’t need to look far to find culture in Umea
You’ve probably heard this before, but this cultural capital of Norrland is teeming with music, art, theatre, dance, local crafts and creativity. Umea is actually the Swedish municipality that invests the most in culture, so it's perhaps no coincidence that Sweden's 13th largest city offers a big-city style cultural life.
Music and museums
In addition to the world’s best guitar collections at Guitars The Museum, Umea is packed full of museums. Other museums include a Museum of Women's History, the Swedish Ski Museum, the Västerbotten Museum, the Tráhppie Sami culture centre, and Bildmuseet (Museum of Visual Arts) – crammed with contemporary art and design. For 25 years, it's been possible to travel by car or bike to beautiful Umedalen and visit one of Europe's best sculpture parks, with over 150 different works.
As well as its popular museums, Umea is also famous for its rich music scene. The list of famous bands from here is extensive and the city’s various stages are never quiet for long. Everything from the Norrland Opera to any of Umea’s youthful, avant-garde festivals.
Shopping from Norrland, Smaland and the United States.
A trip to town wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping. Along with one of the country's largest universities comes some of the country's trendiest, young and discerning shopping. You'll find everything from global clothing designers to local artisans in Umea. Everything from small shops to classic department stores.
A full day at Ikea in Umea
If it gets cold outside (which it can get in Vasterbotten), we recommend the hottest shopping centre in town, Avion, with over 80 shops and only 2 kilometres from the city centre. Ikea takes pride of place next to the shopping centre where many an hour can be spent, but don’t forget to round it off with some classic meatballs. Luckily they are open until 20:00 on weekdays and 18:00 at the weekend.
Shopping tips in Umea
- Burmans (Sweden’s oldest record shop)
- Avion, a shopping centre with over 80 shops
- Tráhppie (Sami handicraft)
- Forslunda, one of many farm shops in the area
- Ikea (contemporary Sweden)
Coffee in Umea
After a satisfying dose of culture, you’ll probably hear your stomach start to rumble and luckily, Umea is a true coffee drinker’s haven. If you look up Umea in the prestigious White Guide, you’ll find loads of great coffee houses. Like Costas of Sweden, whose owner has won the World Barista Championship. Nya Konditoriet which is actually the city’s oldest café. Or Kulturbolaget, where you can enjoy a nutritious lunch if you’re looking for more than coffee.
Take the bus to Gothenburg
One of the city’s most famous cafés is located at the old prison, which in addition to criminal history and old architecture, also offers coffee, hammocks and loads of ice cream. The locals still call it Kafé Goteborg as this was its name until 2016, when it was changed to the more apt Kafé Gamla Fängelset (Old Prison Café).
Food from all over the world
If fast food isn’t for you, Umea offers a vast array of culinary experiences. Whether you prefer Italian, French, Indian, Japanese, or local fare from Norrland, you can count on plenty of local ingredients on the menu. Restaurateurs don’t scrimp on the trout, roe or Västerbotten cheese here.
The Naples of Norrland
Did you know that Umea is famous for its rolled pizza? Imagine a rolled-up pizza, filled with salad and dressing. According to Umea locals they invented this dish, although others take this with a pinch of salt. Either way, you’ll enjoy this dish most authentically from one of the many benches on Radhustorget square, because it's here and from the square’s various food carts that the pizzas have been served since the mid-1990s.
Sports and exercise
While our hotel gyms are excellent, they don’t quite measure up to IKSU, one of the biggest sports facilities in Europe. IKSU stands for Idrottsklubben Studenterna i Umea (student sports club in Umea), but you don’t have to be a student to get in. Fine-tune your beach body here, do some spinning or swim a lap in the pool.
On the ski trail
If you like outdoor sports, Umea and its surroundings have plenty of beautiful natural scenery to offer. Take your pick from long running trails, hiking trails, canoe rentals and miles of cycle paths. Guests at Scandic Plaza Umea and Scandic Umea Syd are always welcome to borrow one of our bikes free of charge.
If you prefer snow and sledding, we recommend an outing to Hamptjarnsstugan cottage and the breathtaking sledding hill. The hill offers outdoor activities, ski trails, barbecue areas and rest cabins galore. If you let us know beforehand, we’ll pack you a few sandwiches from our breakfast buffet.
- IKSU (one of the largest exercise facilities in Europe)
- Hamptjarnsstugan cottage
- Tavelsjoleden (hiking)
- Gammlia/Stadslidens ski trail
- Brantberget, a small ski slope in the city centre
One weekend Two cities
On the other side of the water you’ll find Osterbotten’s capital city, Vasa, or Vaasa in Finnish. The journey here takes you through Kvarken’s magnificent archipelago (a World Heritage Site) and the trip itself is really something to behold. Wasaline ferries run between the cities several times a day, so you can easily decide whether you prefer a day trip or want to stay overnight. At Scandic Vaasa you stay right in the city centre and in true Finnish spirit, there's a sauna in almost every room. At Scandic Waskia you can get a room with a sea view. Our hotel is located close to the Wasaline terminal and right next door to Tropiclandia Spa.
If you’ve seen enough museums (there are several popular museums here including the Ostrobothnian Museum and the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art), we quite simply recommend Kvarken. Take the car to Bjorko island or a boat to the Mickelsorarna islands. You can hike, paddle and swim in the archipelago, or in the winter, ride snowmobiles or experience dog sledging. All of this in such awe-inspiring nature that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.