Sundsvall: the picturesque stone town on the Baltic coast

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The city centre is considered one of the most beautiful city centres in the whole of Sweden, the Baltic Sea is right on the city’s doorstep and outdoor and hiking enthusiasts will also find excellent conditions here: This is the city of Sundsvall in the east of the country. Here, a picturesque cityscape meets diverse nature and exciting history – a trip to Sundsvall is much more than just a typical city trip.

Why should you travel to Sundsvall?

Sundsvall: Holidays
A holiday in Sundsvall combines a picturesque cityscape with beautiful nature.

The city’s eventful history is reflected in its townscape: Sundsvall has been through a lot in the past. In the 1880s, the town was considered the world’s largest trading centre for wood products and was extremely prosperous, but then in the hot summer of 1888 there was a catastrophic fire and the entire town burnt down within a few hours.

Two years later, the decision was made to rebuild the town – but this time in stone. The result was the magnificent new city centre, known as “Stenstan”, which earned Sundsvall first place in a 2017 survey of Sweden’s most beautiful cities.

But it’s not just the city centre that makes Sundsvall an unforgettable destination. The city is surrounded by beautiful and unspoilt nature on the Baltic Sea coast, which means that numerous outdoor activities of all kinds can be enjoyed against a fantastic backdrop. But the cultural offerings are also impressive, the city has some interesting exhibitions and museums – and the hometown of Sweden’s best-known brand of the cult dish Surströmming also has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine.

The Sundsvallbron, which spans Sundsvallsfjärden, is the third longest bridge in Sweden at 2109 metres in length and was awarded the “European Steel Bridge Award” as the best European steel bridge in 2016.

Where is Sundsvall located?

Sundsvall is located in the Swedish region of Västernorrland in the east of the country. The city is located directly on the Gulf of Bothnia, the northern extension of the Baltic Sea, and not far from the geographical centre of Sweden. If you follow the road, Sundsvall is roughly halfway between Stockholm and Umeå – it is approximately 375 kilometres to the Swedish capital and 260 kilometres further north to the centre of northern Sweden.

Weather in Sundsvall

The weather in Sundsvall attracts visitors with pleasantly mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine (up to 20 hours!) in summer and cool sub-zero temperatures including snow and northern lights in winter. The best time to visit the harbour town is from June to August, as the average temperatures here are up to 21° Celsius and there is little rain. The water temperature can also rise to 20° Celsius in the summer months, so outdoor enthusiasts can easily enjoy sports on, in and around the water.

Sights and activities in Sundsvall


A visit to the historic city centre of Sundsvall is a must. The harmoniously built neighbourhood from the late 19th century is still well preserved and invites you to stroll and explore. Around Stora Torget, the large square, there are around 600 magnificent and elaborate buildings modelled on the cityscapes of metropolises such as Berlin and Vienna. They are surrounded by wide streets, large public squares and spacious green areas.

One of the highlights in the stone city is the fountain in Vängåvan Park, which was built in 1886 and shows a variety of animals that were still largely unknown in Sweden at the time, such as lions and dolphins. The Hirschska Huset is also worth a visit. The spectacular neo-Renaissance building stretches across the entire western side of Stora Torget. It is also home to the city’s guardian: a golden dragon is attached to the top of the bell tower to protect the inhabitants from fire.

Other highlights include the Hedbergska Huset, which is reminiscent of the city palaces in Paris, the combination of Holmströmska and Granska Huset, and the neo-Gothic church Gustaf Adolfs Kyrka with its 81 metre high tower.

Sundsvall: Stenstan
The facades of the Stenstan in Sundsvall are reminiscent of European metropolises.


Four former warehouses form the Kulturmagasinet, the cultural centre and heart of the city. The city library is housed here, as is the Sundsvalls Museum, which introduces visitors to the history and development of the city. The Kulturmagasinet also houses a photography museum, a café and other modern art exhibitions.

Norra Berget open-air museum

The Norra Berget open-air museum is located – as the name suggests – on the 141 metre high northern city hill of Sundsvall. The mountain can be reached on foot directly from the city centre, the ascent follows stairs and footbridges, but also offers enough benches to enjoy the view. Once at the top, one of Sweden’s most beautiful open-air museums awaits: Norra Berget is lavishly and lovingly laid out and presents the history and culture of the city and region. In addition to the typical red wooden houses, there are also various animal enclosures, plenty of nature, playgrounds, cafés and a viewing tower.

Outdoor activities

The Baltic Sea, the city mountains, the forests and lakes around the city: Sundsvall offers plenty of space for all kinds of outdoor activities. In 2018, the city even received the “Outdoor Municipality of the Year” award. Swimming and canoeing are very popular here, but the area is even better known for its hiking trails. For example, the world’s northernmost pilgrimage route, the St. Olavsleden, starts in Sundsvall, where you can hike 560 kilometres from the Baltic Sea coast to the Atlantic coast in Trondheim, Norway.

The southern city mountain (“Södra Berget”) is a large nature recreation area that turns into a winter sports paradise in winter. Other highlights in the surrounding area include the volcanic island of Alnö, which lies off the coast of the city and is nicknamed the “Hawaii of Norrland”, as well as the Höga Kusten region with its granite cliffs and rocky islands, which is ideal for other outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking and cycling.

Sundsvall: Outdoor
Sundsvall attracts visitors with its diverse nature and outdoor activities.

Högom cemetery

Anyone interested in early history and archaeology should visit the Högom burial ground, which is located around two kilometres from the city centre. It is the largest burial ground in northern Sweden and has eleven burial mounds. You can also admire a runic stone dating from around 400-500 AD.

Accommodation in Sundsvall

Hotels in Sundsvall

As a popular tourist destination, Sundsvall offers a number of hotels for different budgets and preferences, so everyone should find the right hotel for them. You can decide whether you want to stay in a fancy star hotel, in a cosy B&B or in a simple but reasonably priced hostel.

Camping in Sundsvall

Camping is a popular holiday activity in Sweden and the rest of the Scandinavian countries (more information here: Camping in Sweden). You can choose whether you want to stay on a campsite or take advantage of the right of public access to experience nature up close while wild camping in Sweden. Campsites are generally also close to nature and often by the water, but also offer certain services and, above all, space. There are several campsites in the region around Sundsvall from which you can easily reach the coastal town.

Travelling to Sundsvall

Travelling by car

Travelling to Sundsvall by car or camper van overland is easy and uncomplicated. The harbour town is located on the European Route 4, which starts in the south of Sweden and leads via the capital city along the Baltic Sea coast to Tornio in Finland in the north. This makes Sundsvall an ideal stopover on a road trip.

Travelling to Sundsvall
The easiest way to reach Sundsvall by car is via the E4 motorway.

Travelling by bus and train

If you want to travel to Sundsvall and enjoy the Swedish countryside, you can travel comfortably by bus or train. There are various direct (long-distance) bus and train connections from many Swedish cities that regularly call at Sundsvall. From Stockholm, for example, Sundsvall is served by the X2000 high-speed train, which covers the distance in around four hours.

Travelling by plane

Those who prefer to fly on holiday can also reach Sundsvall by air. Although the local airport is only served by domestic flights, there are regular connections to and from Stockholm, which in turn is well connected to European and British airspace. Sundsvall Airport is located 17 kilometres north of the city and the city centre can be reached by bus, taxi or hire car. Alternatively, you can also fly to Stockholm and continue your journey from there by train or car.

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