Sandviken: A small town with a big appeal
By Xander Brett | Photos: Visit Sandviken
Sandviken, in Gävleborg county just north of Stockholm, made its name as a technological powerhouse. For over a century, the engineering company Sandvik has operated out of the small east-coast town, and Microsoft recently built the world’s most sustainable data centre here. Residents, however, believe it has untapped tourism appeal.
In 2018, Britney Spears came to Sandviken to play a nineteen-song set at the Göransson Arena. For a brief moment, the 23,000-strong settlement, famous for technology, became a cultural destination. Now, five years on, many believe that it should still be in the guidebooks.
Eva Hofstrand, Sandviken’s head of tourism, describes the town in three words: close, accessible and sustainable. Located to the west of the city of Gävle, which is under 200 kilometres from Stockholm, the town lies away from the sea, surrounded by cycling and hiking trails. Less than half an hour from Sandviken town centre is the Kungsberget ski destination, with 3,500 beds.
There is also much to discover historically, and the nearby visitor areas Högbo and Gysinge Bruk offer dining and accommodation on site. Högbo Bruk, says Hofstrand, even includes a fragrance design centre, where beauty products are created from materials from the surrounding landscape.
Cultural attractions include the Rosenlöf Printing Museum, founded in 1890, and the unique chance to visit an axe forge in the nearby village of Storvik. Storvik is a 15-minute drive from Sandviken, and you can buy hand-crafted axes to take away with you… provided, of course, you leave them out of your hand-luggage on the flight home!
Sandviken is an hour-and-a-half drive north from Arlanda airport, past the city of Uppsala. On arrival, Hofstrand says her favourite weekend involves wild camping in the town’s surrounding nature. “My family keeps a roof tent on top of the car,” she explains. “But, if you don’t want to pitch wild, you can take a spot at Årunda Strandbad, a campsite about 15 kilometres south of Sandviken. Årsunda sits on the shores of Lake Storsjön, known locally as Sandviken Riviera.” But the bustling French Riviera this is not. Instead, its peaceful atmosphere and quiet shores are perfect for winding down on a quiet afternoon.
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