One with serene nature around Sundsvall

Guest post by Anna Balciune

In Part 1 we visited Gothenburg and Sundsvall. Let’s now visit my favorite getaways to nature around Sundsvall! Each of these are located in different directions from the city and are easy to access by car.

Sweden is way more than its beautiful capital or its biggest cities.

Peace of mind by the rushing waterfall Västanåfallet

Only 15 minutes-drive north from Sundsvall, Sweden’s second largest waterfall. Västanåfallet is a sublime place to relax. Come here for a promenade, meditation to a sound of falling water, some event or a picnic.

Romantic ride to old fishing villages Lörudden and Skatan

A short drive south by a coastal road Kustvägen leads us to old fishing villages of Lörruden and Skatan. Lörruden has a White Guide recommended restaurant on the seaside, serving delicious meals. In both Lörudden and Skatan you can also buy freshly caught, smoked fish and sea food.

Breathtaking Höga Kusten region. Skuleberget, Skuleskogen and Ulvön

Only 1.5 hour away from Sundsvall, the UNESCO-listed Höga Kusten (High Coast) region stretches its fields of endless greens and blues. It is the highest coastline in the world!

Höga Kusten bridge

Here, the national park of Skuleskogen is a place to nurture both body and soul. Trails of this park sum up to 30 km and give you a broad spectrum of experience: stunning tranquil forests, deep canyons, cliffs and mountain tops. Whether I tailor my visit for one day or one week, I still long to come back there.

If you only pass by and have no more than two hours, enjoy a cup of coffee with a view from the top of Skuleberget hill. It is accessible both by lift and hiking on foot.

In Höga Kusten you can also explore a serene Island of Ulvön. Looking pretty in traditional old Swedish fishing village architecture, Ulvön is considered to be an island of the extra-smelly delicacy called surströmmning. It is a lightly-salted and fermented herring. Odour is so strong that many airlines have classified it as an explosive and banned it!

Filming people’s reaction while opening a can of surströmmning is trending on YouTube, although it should never be opened as an ordinary can and neither should be eaten straight out of it.

In Ulvön, there is even an academy of surströmming, mission of which is to uphold the genuine tradition of making and eating this so-called delicacy. Would you dare to taste it the right way? Come to Ulvön if yes!

Döda Fallet aka the Dead Falls – a living monument to nature’s tragedy

Driving north-west direction by a river of Indal, you reach a place both magnificent and tragic. Once upon a time there was a waterfall here, known as Storforsen (the Great Rapids). It tumbled 35 meters out of Lake Ragunda along the Indalsälven river in Sweden.

Glacial debris had blocked the course of the Indalsälven at the falls for thousands of years, creating a reservoir of glacial meltwater 25 kilometers long, known as the Ragunda Lake. Yet in 1796, this mighty waterfall was silenced forever due to a combination of human interference and the power of nature.

This is one of Sweden’s most devastating natural disasters, site of which is called Döda Fallet (the Dead Falls). Taking a walk here gives you an out of this world feeling as you discover and touch what was under the water for thousands of years!

As it takes 1.5 hours to drive there, on a way I like to stop by two other places. One of them is Thailändska Paviljongen – the only Royal Thai Pavilion located outside Thailand. It is a memorial building for the King Chulalongkorn Rama V of Thailand who visited the region in 1897.

The Royal Thai Pavilion in Sweden

Second is a hill of Vättaberget. Here I enjoy the panoramic view of the lively river Indal, romantically rushing between the magnificent forests.

Well, please just don’t expect that all days in Sweden are sunny and warm. The more north you go, the longer and deeper the winter. Then, you can enjoy the winter activities! In Sundsvall, its neighbor cities and skiing resorts, the nearest being in Hassela. Vemdalen, Björnrike and Åre are bigger ones in the Swedish mountains, but also more far away from Sundavall.

Breathtaking panorama from the Vättaberget hill

Being curious enough to uncover the beauty… And fall in love!

All we saw along this digital journey with me is just a drop in the ocean of places to see in Sweden. I have been to more and still want to visit even more. Anyways, I hope that this little guide through my favorite places near home was enough to get a feeling of Sweden’s beauty.

What I learned while living in Sundsvall is that the charm of this city consists of small details. Not everything is marvelous here and some days it can be hard to not complain about the harsh weather. Love for this part of Sweden will rarely come at first sight. It can gradually start to bloom in your heart with each newly uncovered place. Person. Tradition.

If you are curious enough, here you will certainly find your unique smultronställe – translated as ‘a wild strawberry patch’ but meaning an idyllic and very treasured place for solace and relaxation.

About the author:

Anna is a certified career and life coach for young women in traditionally male-dominated fields such as STEM. She is a senior engineer and a board member of labor unions for graduate professionals at a global telco, as well as a wife and a mum. Anna spent her last decade studying & working in several EU countries, and is now based in Sweden.

Text and pictures credit – Anna Balciune

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