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Västerås, Västmanland
Västerås is beautifully located by Lake Mälaren.
Photo credit: Pia Nordlander / Västerås Marknad & Näringsliv AB

Västmanland county – magnificent nature and history dating back to the Iron Age

Västmanland boasts ancient sites and a varied nature covering hills, forests, lakes and protected wetlands. At the fringes of this natural wonderland, you'll find the charming city of Västerås, less than an hour by train from Stockholm.

With much to discover, Västmanland county serves up a wealth of experiences for culture fans and outdoor adventurers alike. The type of nature you can expect ranges from the deep forests of Bergslagen to the lakeside idylls of Mälaren Valley further south, with Lake Mälaren the jewel in the crown. ­­

Historically significant, there are as many as 20,000 known ancient remains in Västmanland – including graves dating back to the early Iron Age, found at the major attraction Anundshög.

The region's capital Västerås offers cultural and culinary experiences aplenty, along with accommodation to suit every taste.

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Hiking in Västmanland

Västmanland offers a lot of hiking trails and outdoor activities.

Photo: Roger Borgelid

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Hiking in Västmanland

Photo: Roger Borgelid

Jonas Vildmark Bushcraftcenter

Photo: Babek Toloe

Jonas Vildmark Bushcraftcenter

Photo: Jonas Landolsi

Wild Sweden, Västmanland

Photo: John van Helvert

Wild Sweden, Västmanland

Photo: Simon Green

Experience Västmanland's nature – via Bergslagen, Mälaren Valley and beyond

Västmanland's varied nature leaves little to be desired in terms of outdoor experiences. Take a hike to discover the beauty of Mälaren Valley and beyond. The 250-kilometre long Bruksleden trail will take you along lakes and through meadows and forests from Västerås all the way to Avesta, Dalarna.

Bergslagen and its rich forests, located in the northern parts of the county, have plenty to offer in terms of outdoor activities. Take it all in on two wheels or on foot – or opt to ‘just be’ in these perfect forest-bathing settings. There's also ample opportunity to discover the area on guided tours – at the Jonas Vildmark Bushcraftcenter, you can book a range of nature survival courses and experiences. Over in Skinnskatteberg, wildlife safari organiser Wild Sweden specialise in experiences that allow you to observe animals such as beavers and wolves in their natural habitat.

Svartådalen, with its river and wetlands, is popular with wild swimmers and anyone seeking respite in nature. A birdwatcher's paradise, it attracts sea eagles, barn owls, black terns and great bustards.

Landsberget hill, situated just south of Fagersta, is one of the region's most popular outdoor destinations. Studded with caves and cliffs, its ideal for a spot of climbing and cycling and many choose to come here for a day's hike. This is also where you'll find Västmanland's famous ‘hammock forest’ – a relaxing oasis on the hill top with marvellous views and colourful hammocks suspended from trees.

Björnön island, just outside Västerås, is another magnet for nature lovers, who come here for hiking, beach-dwelling and kayaking. Set off independently in a rented kayak across the waters of Lake Mälaren or join a guided excursion courtesy of Björnögården.

Don't miss Hälleskogsbrännan – a nature reserve that has come alive again following a devastating fire in 2014. It's fascinating to discover nature's ability to recover and how the landscape has changed and continues to evolve.

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Hälleskogsbrännan, Västmanland

At Hälleskogsbrännan nature reserve, you can see the consequences of the fire in 2014 and how nature is recovering.

Photo: Roger Borgelid

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Hälleskogsbrännan, Västmanland

Photo: Roger Borgelid

Björnön island

Photo: Roger Borgelid

The hammock forest, Västmanland

Photo: Eveline Wahlfeldt

Anundshög, Västerås

Photo: Clifford Shirley / Västerås Marknad & Näringsliv AB

Västerås, Västmanland

Photo: Aktivt Uteliv / Västerås Marknad & Näringsliv AB

Västmanland – a culture and history hotspot

There's culture of many kinds in Västmanland, much of which is dotted around the city of Västerås. Don't miss the world renowned Västerås Abbey the oldest parts date back to the 13th century. There are some 163 well-preserved gravestones to discover, including that of Erik XIV, who was famously buried here, allegedly killed with arsenic-poisoned pea soup.

The Anundshög area and Badelunda ridge – a 25-minute bike ride from Västerås – count among Sweden's most significant ancient sites. Here you'll find the country's largest burial mound – created at some point between 400-1050 AD – and many other ancient remains, including rune stones and ship settings.

Norberg's history as a mining community is evident in ‘Blå Grottan’ – the ‘blue cave’ – at the foot of Klackberg hill and is also well worth a visit.

As for art, Västerås konstmuseum is a must-visit with its curated collection of Swedish and Nordic contemporary art. Also consider Galleri Astley in Skinnskatteberg, which has a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions, alongside its permanent display of Ernst Niezvestny's sculptures and a beautiful sculpture park.

Open summertime, the Sculpture Park in Ängelsberg – a beautiful village with UNESCO-listed ironworks – will have you wandering among contemporary artworks by an interesting mix of Swedish artists.

Royal Warrant holder Skultuna has created brass items since 1607. Its factory shop combines shopping and culture by way of a museum dedicated to the brass mill, and there's also a cafe in this Mälaren Valley destination.

Music lovers are in for a treat by way of the opera house in Skäret, known for its world-class performances and stunning location on the shores of lake Ljusnaren just outside Kopparberg.

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Färna Herrgård, Västmanland

Färna Herrgård offers accommodation, a spa and a restaurant. The menu at the restaurant is focused on produce from their own vegetable garden and locally produced ingredients.

Photo: Maria Lager

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Färna Herrgård, Västmanland

Photo: Maria Lager

Köpings Musteri, Västmanland

Photo: Jonas Bilberg

Fine-dining at Frank, Västerås

Photo: Digiwise AB

Grythyttans Gästgivaregård

Photo: Grythyttans Gästgivaregård

Bryggerikrogen restaurant, Nora

Photo: Frida Edlund

The flavours of Västmanland – and the region's best restaurants

In line with Sweden's love of sustainable dining, Västmanland takes full advantage of the produce on its doorstep. Färna Herrgård is celebrated for its slow food inspired menu, with a fair share of its dishes based on foraged ingredients and produce from its own vegetable garden.

Cider and juice maker Köpings Musteri boasts Sweden's oldest commercial organic orchard. Join a juice and cider tasting session, and don't miss the farm shop’s homemade apple and berry products.

Over in Västerås, you'll find a number of cafes and restaurants that feature in the White Guide. Fine-dining option Frank serves a 4-course ‘secret’ menu – all you have to do is choose whether you want your dishes based on fish, meat or vegetarian ingredients.

Situated on the shores of lake Mälaren, Pråmen is of equally high calibre, with a menu based on local ingredients and freshly caught fish, straight from the lake.

Located on the fringes of the county in Örebro (but within Västmanland province) do consider Grythyttans Gästgivaregård – a fine-dining establishment that features on the Swedish foodie map – and Nora-based Bryggerikrogen restaurant, which prides itself on serving the best of the region's delicacies, along with local craft beer and natural wine.

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Steam Hotel, Västerås

Steam Hotel opened in 2017 in an 18-story building and 100-year-old steam power plant in Västerås. The hotel combines luxury and relaxation with action and fun.

Photo: Steam Hotel

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Steam Hotel, Västerås

Photo: Steam Hotel

Kolarbyn Ecolodge, Västmanland

Photo: Mikaela Larm

Sala Silver Mine, Västmanland

Photo: Rapp Foto

Kokpunkten, Västerås

Photo: Kokpunkten

Fallängetorp, Västmanland

Photo: Roger Borgelid

Norrängens Alpacka

Photo: Paul Nicholls

PRACTICAL INFORMATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO VÄSTMANLAND