A nature haven with a lot to offer
TEXT: EMMA RÖDIN | PHOTOS © SANDVIKEN
There might be plenty of regions in this world brimming with culture and activities, but few of them compare to the incredible breadth offered in Sandviken and the surrounding areas. With a fascinating history and genuine vibe, this easy-on-the-eye region is one you definitely do not want to miss.
Being the birthplace of world-renowned engineering company Sandvik (perhaps the name gives it away), Sandviken has always enjoyed a noticeably worldly quality, though with visitors historically mostly stopping over for business rather than pleasure. Today, while the Sandvik group still plays an important role for the area itself, Sandviken has plenty more to offer families and adrenaline-seekers alike, and has in the last few decades experienced a spectacular transformation.
Made in Högbo
Partly to thank for the region’s success is Högbo Bruk, historically known as the beating heart of Sandviken itself. Being the epicentre of iron forging for hundreds of years, it took a pioneering role in the industry in the 1800s. Fast-forward to today and Högbo Bruk is an outdoor paradise, loved as much for its beautiful nature as for its craftsmanship and food.
“There is enough to see and do here to never get bored, and I think people really value that variety,” says Eva Hofstrand, head of tourism at Sandviken. “You can stroll around and visit little farm shops selling quality vegetables and cheese, or head to the glass-blowing workshop if that takes your fancy: and what’s more, is that all of this wonderful, local produce and talent sits under the brand ‘Made in Högbo’, which we are very, very proud of.”
Högbo Bruk also hosts great mountain bike tracks, a picturesque lake for swimming, canoes for rental, high-quality forest tracks for running and skiing, and a gym – to mention just a few things. Then there is Högbo Brukshotell, which should also not be overlooked. Head to the spa to enjoy a relaxing treatment after a day packed with activities, or sit down in the restaurant for a gourmet dining experience made with local produce, perhaps finishing off with a taste of the restaurant’s famous dessert buffet.
Aptly, visitors to Sandviken, which translates loosely as ‘sandy bay’, are likely to be seen soaking up the sun by Lake Storsjön in summer, but can just as well be spotted skiing down the slopes of Kungsberget in winter. Kungsberget is Sweden’s fastest-growing ski resort and boasts an impressive 22 slopes, 12 lifts and nearly 2,000 beds. “Kungsberget manages to offer people that great-quality skiing they crave, but without much hassle to get there,” explains Hofstrand. “The resort is just under two hours’ drive from Arlanda airport, which is incredibly convenient for a lot of people.”
A cultural hub
Another attraction that represents Sandviken well is Göransson’s Arena, which was financed and gifted to Sandviken in 2009 by the Göranssonska foundation (originating from Sandvik founder Göran Fredrik Göransson.) The arena can hold up to 10,000 people and is regularly used for events ranging from musical concerts to great sporting acts. Previous happenings include shows with Bryan Adams, 50 Cent and Scorpions, as well as the Sandvik Group’s 100-year anniversary and the 2017 World Cup in bandy.
“Göransson Arena has been a marvellous addition to Sandviken. It’s a great magnet for national as well as international visitors,” says Hofstrand. Göransson’s Arena is not the only place to enjoy music in Sandviken though. The region is well-known for its musical talent, annually presenting a popular jazz and blues festival as well as boasting its own symphony orchestra.
A sight to remember
Another place worth experiencing when spending time in Sandviken is the Färnebofjärden National Park, a unique river landscape in a remarkably beautiful part of the lower Dalälven river. Here, lakes, rapids, wetlands and forests form a mosaic of special environments that has been rewarded with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), due to its high biological and cultural value. It is a stunning area where marshlands and evergreen forest meet the southern deciduous forests with hints of oak and linden trees, while also enclosing more than 200 islands and skerries. The national park is rich in birds and fish, and from a nature conservation standpoint, there is no question why this area is one of the most valuable of its kind in Sweden.
With an already well-established cultural and natural scene, Sandviken always strives to improve and expand, while continuously maintaining a sustainable and genuine approach. This year will see the launch of Högbo Bruk’s own bakery and butchery, and there is currently an electric road for cars being tested, which has the potential to expand further. All in all, Sandviken has a great deal to offer within close proximity of many key transport points, and once there, it is all right at your doorstep. So, what are you waiting for?