Along with the Latvian city of Riga, Umea in northern Sweden jointly hosts the European Capital of Culture 2014 – and if you plan on visiting this year, you’re in for a real treat!
Umea exudes a cool youthful vibe, thanks to its status as one of Sweden’s university towns. Nicknamed the Town of Silver Birches, Umea boasts a lively nightlife scene, a great selection of eclectic shops and a thriving arts scene. It’s also one of our hottest travel destinations for 2014!
Discover Umea’s Bildmuseet – This museum is considered a real gem in Sweden, featuring contemporary art from both national and international artists. An engaging collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, graffiti, installations and photos await,
Explore the Art Gallery Blickpunkten – In a city dominated by the arts, the superb exhibitions at the Art Galleri Blickpunkten really stands out. Known locally as the Ceramic House, this is a lovely old timber building in Robertsfors and professional art exhibitions await in a packed annual calendar.
Check out Europe's first elk farm – Get up close and personal with tame elks, aka the King of the Forest, at the Älgens Hus.
Admire the Backen Church – Umea’s historical heritage is amply represented within the Backen Church, which opened in 1508. In fact this is Upper Norrland´s second biggest medieval church and an important part of the picturesque Ume river valley.
Wander the Arboretum Norr – Take a walk amongst the stunning river landscape which envelops the Baggböle Manor Home, which is home to some 5,000 trees and shrubs, representing around 150 different species.
Stroll along the Beach promenade – The Ume River dominates the city that took its name, and visitors can walk a 5km stretch of pristine greenery. Hugging the enigmatic Ume River, it snakes from Lundåkern to Sofiehem, passing through the city center and is a great way to get to known Umea.
Experience the Guitar Museum – A must for all music fans; this superb museum was set up by local brothers Samuel and Michael Åhdén. This museum boasts one of the biggest privately owned guitar collections. And for 2014 the museum is open to international visitors where you are encourages to immerse yourself in the interactive exhibitions.
Get the cheese-sweats – Check out Ostens Lager which is home to the seriously impressive Cheese Store where you can join a guided walk and see just how the world-renowned Västerbotten cheese is made! All your senses will be overwhelmed by the 100,000 or so maturing cheeses. A taste test is obligatory!
Check out the Umedalen Sculpture Park – Art comes to life at this prestigious sculpture park which was established in 1994. Over 200 prominent artists, both Swedish and international, have featured here, which is open over the summer and offers free admission.
Hike the Balbergets Naturreservat – Get some fresh Swedish air courtesy of this pristine nature reserve, which offers some superb trails for walking the countryside around the Bjurholm area; and walkers are rewarded with a stop off at the delightful cabin atop the hill.