Falun: home of Sweden’s most famous colour

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Ski jumping, copper mining, many houses in red and white – Falun is the heart of the traditional region of Dalarna in Sweden’s geographical centre. Here you can explore the historical culture and nature of Sweden’s former second-largest city in the footsteps of miners and ski world champions. Find out everything you need to know about travelling to Falun here.

Why holiday in Falun?

Falun: Holidays
Falun is a great place for a winter holiday.

Falun’s history traces back to the 11th century, when copper mining began in the surrounding region. From the 14th century, a small settlement developed around the local market square, which grew more and more over the decades until it ultimately became the second largest town in Sweden in the 17th century – and the copper mines were responsible for two thirds of the world’s copper production.

After large parts of the mine collapsed in 1687 and two fires in 1761 almost completely destroyed the town, Falun lost its importance. A new boom came with the connection to the railway network in the 19th century, which brought new factories to the town. Nowadays, the town is primarily an administrative and educational centre. However, visitors can still marvel at the historic copper mines and quarries – the birthplace of the world-famous Falun red (or Falu red), the colour of the typical Swedish country house – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But the city is also ideal for a winter holiday. Falun is a winter sports centre – both for amateurs and professionals. The Nordic World Ski Championships have been held here four times and the town still hosts the World Cup for cross-country skiing. For amateurs, the area around Falun offers a variety of cross-country ski trails and pistes, which turn into beautiful hiking trails in summer.

Where is Falun?

Falun is located in the historic province of Dalarna in the heart of Sweden. The town in central Sweden lies on the river Faluån, which divides the town at one point, and between the lakes Varpan, Tisken and Runn. Together with the nearby town of Borlänge, Falun forms the largest metropolitan area in Dalarna with a population of around 100,000.

The next largest city is Gävle on the east coast of Sweden, about 90 kilometres away by car. Uppsala is around 190 kilometres away by car and the Swedish capital Stockholm is 230 kilometres away. A little closer is Örebro, which can be reached in around 180 kilometres. Oslo in Norway is a little less than 400 kilometres away.

Weather in Falun

Falun has typical Swedish weather with warm summers, cold winters and lots of precipitation. The best time to visit is from May to September, as the temperatures are mild and warm. In July, the warmest month, temperatures reach an average of 21° Celsius. The coldest month is January, when average temperatures drop to -3° Celsius, but even in December and February temperatures are usually below freezing – which makes Falun very attractive for winter sports fans, and northern lights can also be seen in the sky from time to time.

Sights and activities in Falun

Falun copper mine and mine

The historic copper mine and the associated mine are at the top of the list of things to see in Falun and Dalarna. It has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2001. In the past, the “Stora Kopparberget” mine was the largest copper mine in the world and one of the largest employers of people in the whole country. Falun’s national importance was closely linked to it – two thirds of the world’s copper was once produced here, and the typical red colour of Swedish houses also originated here – the Falu red was a by-product of copper production.

Today, you can take a 1.6 kilometre walk around the site of the former mine, during which you can enjoy the view of the mine and learn lots of interesting facts about various topics relating to copper mining from the many information boards. The site also includes a mine museum and a craftsmen’s village – guided tours of the mine can also be booked at the visitor centre, and guided tours are also available in English during the main season. You pay a small fee at a machine to enter the site.

By the way: German miners were also employed at Falun. And they not only contributed their expertise in this area – the Falukorv, the “Falun sausage”, was also created thanks to German skills in sausage production.

Ski jump and Lugnets ski museum

Falun is certainly well known to winter sports fans, as it regularly hosts cross-country skiing world cup events. The Nordic World Ski Championships were also held on the local ski jumps and cross-country ski trails in Falun in 1954, 1974, 1993 and 2015 and will return there in 2027. The large ski jumping hills are part of the Lugnet complex, which offers various sports and leisure facilities, including not only the ski jumping hills but also a cross-country skiing stadium, an ice rink, an indoor swimming pool and an indoor tennis centre.

We particularly recommend visiting the large ski jumping hill – the largest one of its kind in Sweden – which you can also climb to the top and enjoy the view over Falun and its surroundings from there. On the upper floor is Lugnets Skidmuseum, a museum that presents information about the tradition of winter sports in Falun – with a particular focus on the world championships held here.

Falun: Ski jumping
The world champions in ski jumping have been crowned four times in Falun.

Dalarna Museum

Falun is located in the heart of the historic province of Dalarna, which is often described as one of the most typical Swedish regions. Here you will find beautiful forests, large lakes, mountains and of course many red wooden houses – basically a “Sweden in miniature“. Falun is home to Dalarnas museum, a museum dedicated to the history and culture of the traditional region and its people. In many different exhibitions and collections, visitors can learn about the traditions and folklore of Dalarna – from architecture, art and music to the world-famous Dala horses.

Falun: Dalarna museum
The Dala horse is a popular souvenir from Falun and Dalarna.

Accommodation in Falun

Camping in Falun

If you want to get to know the impressive nature of the region around Falun, you can opt for a holiday on a campsite. Camping is very popular in Scandinavia as it is often inexpensive and close to nature (more information here: Camping in Sweden). In addition, campsites often offer many services, such as cycling and hiking routes, the hire of hikers’ cabins, restaurants and relaxation facilities. The campsite in Falun itself offers an outdoor pool, a sauna and a whirlpool.

There are more campsites all around Dalarna – the region is a popular holiday destination. Wild camping is also permitted in Sweden, i.e. camping in the great outdoors for one or two days, which can be an exciting alternative to the traditional camping holiday.

Hotels in Falun

If you want to stay in a relaxed hotel, Falun has a wide choice. Whether hostel or star hotel, everyone can find the right accommodation. Highlights in Falun include the historic and traditionally furnished First Hotel Grand Falun, which dates back to 1862 and is located just five minutes from the main railway station, or the elegant Clarion Collection Hotel Bergmästaren, which boasts a wide range of culinary delights.

Travelling to Falun

Travelling by plane

There is currently no airport near Falun with regular flights, which is why travelling by plane is only possible as far as Stockholm. The airports in Stockholm are excellently connected to Europe, and it is also easy to travel on from Stockholm to Falun – whether by train, long-distance bus or hire car.

Travelling by train

If you want to travel by train and get to know the Swedish regions from the comfort of your seat, there are good train connections to Falun. There are direct connections from Stockholm or connections with a change of trains, which allow you to reach the traditional town in around three hours. Sweden is excellently connected to the rest of the European train network.

Travelling by car

Falun is also easily accessible by car. As it is not too far in the north of the country, the journeys are not that long. Falun is located on European Route 16, which connects the town with Gävle. European route 4 also runs through Gävle, which starts in southern Sweden and leads via Stockholm to the north of the country.

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