With a great location halfway up Sweden at 62.4 degrees north, Sundsvall is considered the capital of Norrland (Northern Sweden) and beautifully set on the Selångerån River running between Norra Berget (North Mountain) and Södra Berget (South Mountain). Located on the east coast, the city is situated on a natural bay protected from the extremes of the Baltic Sea by the island Alno, a bridge-connect suburb of the city.
The natural valley is formed by Norra Berget (North Mountain) and Sodra Berget (South Mountain) provides two focal points for the city of 54,000 (92,000 in the municipality) which is big enough for ‘city life’ but not too big to lose its country feel.
The town grew as a centre for the Swedish forestry industry and the town is reputed to be where Swedish industrialisation started with the introduction of steam-powered sawmills. Today Sundsvall is a Västernorrland county gem with its pretty town centre, magnificent architecture and a great layout.
Sundsvall, which was first chartered in the early 1600s, has experienced several devastating fires but like a phoenix, Sundsvall rose out of the ashes and the beautiful architecture of the town is the result of rebuilding after the most recent, 1888, fire.
The fire and resulting rebuild also provided Sundsvall with its mascot, the Dragon. The oriental Dragon was chosen by those in charge rebuilding the city for its protective powers and many buildings are adorned with this figure of courage and power; as well as many others throughout the streets. In fact, in July, the residents honour the mythical creature with an annual street festival, (Gatufesten).
Sundsvall provides the perfect base for exploring the High Coast (Höga Kusten) north of Sundsvall and also if wanting to tour westward to Östersund and further into Jämtland and the mountains like Äre near the Norwegian border.
Norra Berget features a magnificent open-air museum (Friluftsmuseet) with an extensive array of period buildings dating back to several hundreds of years and even has a church barn from the 1300s. A very popular place during summer, Norra Berget takes on a very special charm over the colder months with snow covering the ground and buildings.
Many of Sundsvall's events occur up at Norra Berget, Midsommar is one not to be missed, and the area surrounding the outdoor museum is filled with a vast network of walking and hiking tracks.