Skelleftea might be most well known for the its contribution to sport, but this Swedish power-house has far too much energy to be so easily pigeon-holed. With a rich industrial past Skelleftea has now evolved into the home of a flourishing computer industry, inspiring the shift from traditional wooden to impressively designed brick houses. But despite its excitement for industry, Skelleftea still boasts some of the finest natural landscape in all of Sweden.
Skellefteå sits on the fringes of Lapland surrounded by dense forests and fast-flowing rivers, so it’s an appealing place to head for a blast of Scandinavian wilderness. Smart places to stay include Rum För Resande (Klockarbergsvägen 1A), a well-priced nine-room property with local character, and the larger Stiftsgården Hotell (Brännavägen 25), where perks include designer furniture, a free sauna and an organic breakfast buffet. Also worth knowing about are the 110-room Medlefors Folkhögskola (Medleforsvägen 2), which offers free bikes to guests, and the tasteful four-star Hotell Aurum (Gymnasievägen 12).
Offering a mix of Swedish and international chains alongside some independent boutiques and no less than three city centre shopping malls, Skellefteå gives plenty of opportunity for travellers to pick up local souvenirs, regional products and everyday goods. Good options for gift-shopping include Handelsgården (Stationsgatan 12), a craft shop run by local artisans that doubles as a deli and café, and Åhléns (Nygatan 46), a fashion store full of Swedish items such as lamps, cushions, clothes and accessories. If you’re here over the summer, there’s a traditional market held in the ‘church town’ of Bonnstan – one of Skellefteå’s biggest tourist draws – each Saturday.
This is a part of the country where classic Swedish foods such as elk meat, salmon, potato dumplings and cloudberry jam (not to mention the near omnipresent Västerbottensost cheese) help turn a trip into a culinary experience worth the name. There’s a great cheese shop in town – Sonias Deli-Bod (Östra Nygatan 93) – but for a memorable meal out, there are some strong options. They include the restaurant at Stiftsgården Hotell (Brännavägen 25), where you’ll find everything from grilled Arctic char to cured reindeer, and the French-influenced Bryggargatan Restaurang & Bistro (Strandgatan 32).
The region has long links with the art of storytelling, and this week-long storytelling festival gives guests the chance to listen to skilled local storytellers. The festival aims to highlight the importance of stories, and features seminars, workshops, café sessions, music, competitions and more.
One of the largest summer events in this part of Sweden, Stadsfesten draws tens of thousands of visitors to Skellefteå’s town centre over the five days it takes place each year – the programme focuses on live music, food, street performers and funfair entertainment.
There’s a nationwide public holiday on 6 June each year, celebrating the foundation of modern Sweden in the 1500s. In Skellefteå, as elsewhere in the country, it’s a chance to unwind and enjoy a relaxed summer atmosphere.
Said to be the country’s largest free music festival, Tråstockfestivalen runs over three days and gives the chance to see some great local talent on stage – the bands and artists are predominantly Swedish, although international performers do appear. Genres range from country to punk.
A culinary fair that attracts more than 50,000 visitors each year, Matfesten showcases what makes northern Sweden an exciting prospect for foodies. It takes place over four days in various parts of the city centre and also incorporates a number of folk performances.
This is a Summer only destination