Vasterbotten is a Northern province in Sweden. It is next to Angermanland, Lapland, North Bothnia and the Gulf of Bothnia. Culturally, Vasterbotten is considered Lapland. The Swedish province names no longer serve an administrative purpose, but they are kept as historical designations. The largest cities are Umeao and Skelleftea.
Traveling to Vasterbotten is fairly easy, you can fly from Stockholm to Umeao directly. If you prefer the train, there is a direct line from Stockholm to Umeao. However, to get to remote parts of the region its best to have your own vehicle, even though there are local and regional buses between towns. A ferry in the nearby port town of Holmsund connects with Vaasa, Finland.
Budget accommodation in Vasterbotten can be found in Umeao and Skelleftea. There is a university in Umeao, and often there are inexpensive student accommodations nearby. Look for the word “vandrarhem,” as that translates directly to “hostel.” Many Swedes speak English, so you can always ask passerby to point you to a hostel as well. Outside of the main cities, hostels are rare. Consider a guesthouse (“gasthus”) or bed and breakfast instead.
Once you have your accommodation sorted, you can start exploring this region. Vasterbotten is known for the cheese made in the province. In Umeao, the culture scene is thriving, and in 2014 it was a European Capital of Culture. The university library is given a copy of every book printed in Sweden, there are several museums including the outdoor museum at Gammlia, the sculpture garden, and the Museum of the Image, and there is a strong music and film culture.
Otherwise, the region is sparsely populated. It is home to the Nordic Sami people of Lapland, who first settled in northern Sweden around the 14th century, although not in any particular settlement. The coast was settled by Germanic tribes moving up the Bothnian Bay in the 14th century and onwards. The climate is subarctic and as a result has short, hot summers and long, cold winters. Outdoor sports are popular here, from hiking and canoeing in the summer to snowshoeing, skiing, dog-sledding, and ice skating in the winter. Lake Nydalasjon is the largest lake in the region; here you can fish, kayak, canoe, or swim. Another winter highlight in Vasterbotten is the Northern Lights, when daylight hours are scarce.
Vasterbotten is rich in outdoor pursuits and is northern Sweden’s culture capital. The province is an exciting place to settle and explore.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Västerbotten hostels. Welcome.