Vasteras is Sweden’s fifth largest municipality, located on the shore of Lake Malaren, with Scandinavia’s largest inland harbor, only 100 km or 53 minutes by train from Stockholm.
First-time visitors can enjoy any of the following things to see and do.
Vasteras aspires for a vote as Sweden’s “City Center of the Year” in 2013 and has a lot speaking for it. The city has several pedestrian walkways and a total of seven indoor shopping malls, including top-modern Kvarteret IGOR with 11,000 sqm of boutiques. And H&M, with 1700 branches worldwide, opened its first shop in Västerås in 1947.
Vasteras Art Museum, which is situated in the house Karlsgatan 2 (after its street address), has co-created a map of public art in Vasteras. The ASEA Stream by BG Broström (1947-2004) is located on the main square Stora Torget and shows several men with their Unicabox lunch boxes on their way to work.
For more art, visit the 4200 sqm cultural house CuLTUREN in Kopparlunden outside downtown Vasteras.
With the explanation “worth making a detour for”, Vasteras Cathedral received three stars by Guide Michelin. Dating back to the 11th century, it has one of Sweden’s largest 17th century organs, neo-Gothic 17th century template painting, and a 92 meter high spire. There are guided tours in summer and organ concerts at lunchtime every Saturday.
The Botanical Garden
Located next to the City Library, near the cathedral, the Botanical Garden has small, pretty gardens and the oldest horticultural school in Sweden.
Vasaparken is the place to go for tranquil walks and reflection. The park is situated opposite the railway station and partly bordered by the river.
Across the river, opposite Vasaparken, is Vasteras Castle, which dates back to the 13th century when King Gustav Vasa rebuilt it into a royal residence.
Church Hill was a poverty-characterized area in the 17th century and is now a charming part of Vasteras with winding lanes and well-preserved buildings. Ideal for historical walks.
Life on the Lake
As a city with the largest lake side port in the Nordic countries, Vasteras is the gateway to over 100 islands in the archipelago. If you’re a group traveling together, why not rent a rib boat to discover the area from the water.
Where to Stay
First Hotel Plaza
Centrally located on the square Aseatorget only a few minutes walk from the central station, First Hotel Plaza is one of the most easily accessible hotels in Vasteras. The hotel is situated inside the high-rise building of Skrapan (The Scraper), which also houses apartments and a shopping mall with shops, cafés and restaurants.
The hotel has 203 rooms and suites. At 18-20 sqm with more than enough space, comfortable bed, bathroom with bathtub, large desk, two telephones (whereof one in the bathroom), free Wi-Fi, and view over the square below and the lake, my Standard room had no faults. Those looking for something more spacious can book one of the Superior Rooms, Deluxe Rooms or Suites.
In the evening, bistro restaurant “Karlsson på Taket” serves an à la carté menu accompanied by views over Lake Malaren. In 2010, chef Tomas Rehman was awarded the best chef in Vasteras, so you’re in good hands. On the 24th floor above, Sky Bar is one of Sweden’s highest cocktail and piano bars.
Another great benefit with staying at First Hotel Plaza is the Spa and relax facility on the 25th floor. Not least, the glass-walled elevator with equally beautiful views that preceeds any sauna session or spa treatment.
For classic luxury combined with modern comfort, consider Elite Stadshotellet. The hotel is situated in one of Sweden’s most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, which was designed by architect Erik Hahr and completed in 1907. The building truly stands out at the main square Stora Torget and has become a central meeting point for guest and locals, partly thanks to the onsite gastro pub Bishop’s Arms. The British-inspired pub is well-visited for its wide range of whisky and beer. One would probably need to spend weeks there to try out every sort.
Inside the elegant hotel lobby, guests receive warm welcomes and courteous service. With 137 rooms, categorized as Standard, Superior, Deluxe or Suite, and suitable for both rest or work, Elite Stadshotellet can provide for a range of wants and budgets. All rooms have shower or bath, hairdryer, cable TV, telephone, and wireless Internet via the Cloud. Not least, a much appreciated Pillow menu. Depending on needs and preferences in terms of comfort, every guest can choose a pillow or two from the menu, and then borrow it from the reception. There are fluffy and luxurious down pillows, fibre pillows, formable pillows, ergonomic pillows, and extra soft pillows.
My double room on the second floor had wooden floors, white walls, minimalist interior, orange details, and a second-floor view of the cathedral. The hotel writes: “…with our beautiful rooms, high quality service and exquisite food, we hope to be able to exceed your expectations.” They did.