Weekend in Umeå
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
Guitars – The Museum, housing the best guitar collections in the world, is far from the only museum in Umeå. 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 all the popular museums, Umea is famous for its great music scene. There is a long list of well-known bands from around here, and the city’s various stages are frequently alive with their sounds. 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. Umea has everything from global clothing designers to local artisans. 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 two 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 Goteborg
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 ice cream galore. 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 your thing, 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 Vasterbotten 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 claim with a pinch of salt. Either way, you’ll enjoy this dish most authentically from one of the many benches on Radhustorget, 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
Whilst 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 open-air 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 Umeå and Scandic Umeå 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 cheese sandwiches from our breakfast buffet.
- IKSU (one of the biggest exercise facilities in Europe)
- Hamptjarnsstugan cottage
- Tavelsjoleden (hiking)
- Gammlia/Stadslidens ski trail
- Brantberget, a smaller hill in the city centre
One weekend Two cities
On the other side of the water you will 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 runs 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.
If you’ve seen enough museums (there are several popular museums here such as 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 sledding. All of this in such awe-inspiring nature that everyone should experience it at least once in a lifetime.