Located in the tourist region of Dalarna and divided by Faluan river, Falun is a residential town and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its old copper mine and the deep red paint Falu red, which is used on Swedish wooden cottages. Also recognized as a sports town, Falun has the symbol of a ski jump from Lugnet ski stadium. The sport complex at Lugnet has capacity for 58 sports and will host the Ski World Championships in 2015.
The town and surrounding area offer a variety of sights and activities. Choose between guided tours in Falun Mine, Sweden’s largest workplace in the 17th century, Carl Larsson-gården, former home of celebrated Swedish artist Carl Larsson, impressive renaissance work of the Kristine Church at the main square, nearby Lake Runn with 365 islands (ideal for bathing, kayaking and long-distance skating), Siljan lake area 30 minutes drive away, outdoor arena Dalhalla in Rattvik, and not least, a rich culture life.
I spent part of my visit in the County Museum of Dalarna to see the Art Gallery, the Print Arts Hall, and a permanent exhibition of Dalarna art, as well as exhibitions of Dalarna Horses, folk painting, and Nobel prize-winner Selma Lagerlöf’s study and library. With its unique history and tradition, the museum reflects Dalarna’s collective cultural heritage. On the premises, Kopparhatten Café and Restaurant serves an outstanding, mostly vegetarian lunch buffet and a selection of home-baked cakes and chocolate pralines.
I continued in the same theme with a walk along Slaggatan, known as Dalarna’s Design street because of its shops with fashion, interior, design and handicraft. The street strecthes straight ahead right through town and parallell with the river.
On number 20, Blå Snigel Handicraft has unique art handicrafts by local artists.
Neighboring Galleri Se, run by the association SE KONST (translated “SEE ART”) covers 40 sqm exhibition space with visual art.
Consider stopping for lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants along Slaggatan.
Where to Stay
Falu Prison Youth Hostel
A prison between 1849 and 1995, the property was bought in 2000 with the idea of developing a centrally located youth hostel. After six years of restorations and renovations, Falu Prison Youth Hostel was born.
On the ground floor, there’s a small reception, cozy common area with old-fashioned furniture, and a breakfast room. Floor one and floor two offer 86 beds in total; single rooms, double rooms, and four-bed rooms. Sofas, armchairs, tables, benches, magazines, a bookcase filled with old paperbacks and a guest computer make the first-floor hostel corridor more homely. There’s also a clean and well-equipped guest kitchen. Every floor has two shared toilets and showers, one for ladies and one for gentlemen. For those who want to learn more about the history of the building, there’s a prison museum with free entrance open daily.
Rules around cleaning, silence after 11pm, lost keys (which will be charged SEK 500 per key), and prohibition of smoking (a fire alarm will start at the slightest smoke and false alarm will be charged with SEK 7,000), assures that the place runs as smoothly as possible.
With high seasons during spring and autumn, the hostel has mixed guests (students from the university, workers, school classes and tourists) mainly from Scandinavia but also Italy, Germany and foreign students from all around the world.
Clarion Collection Hotel Bergmästaren
For a hotel stay, Clarion Collection Hotel Bergmästaren has a central location a few minutes walk (only 300 meter) from the railway station.
Clarion Collection lives up to its saying “A bit as coming home when you are away. A welcoming feeling for people who travel much”. They make guests feel at home partly by making sure they never need to go hungry, no matter the time of the day, without charging extra. After check-in, you can serve yourself some coffee or tea, or fresh fruit in the lobby. Between 3-5pm, there’s afternoon coffee with newly baked waffles or home-baked goods, and after 6pm a generous dinner buffet with salads, cold and warm dishes, dessert and fresh bread. They even go further than this by offering late-arriving guests a lighter evening sandwich, sparkling water and a fresh fruit. Besides this, there’s a cozy pub/lounge with cold beers, champagne, wine and espresso, and ice water is available 24/7.
In the morning, an organic breakfast buffet, including the hotel’s own Bermästaremüsli and a selection of nuts, seeds and dried fruits for a healthy meal, proves that guests can count on Clarion Collection Hotel Bergmästaren.
All rooms and suites, 85 in total, are classically furnished with convenient amenities, and has selected magazines and classic books on the bed shelves.
Considering everything that includes a stay at Clarion Collection Hotel Bergmästaren (there’s also a relaxation area with Jacuzzi, sauna and sunbeds), it’s no surprise to hear that the hotel has served as a temporary home for around a half million travelers.