I'm born and raised in Sundsvall, still live here today and I'd tell you all without hesitation that Sundsvall is one of the safer cities you'll ever visit. If you ask someone who has visited Sundsvall or a local here what to watch out for, they would probably say the bus station – but the reason for this is because it's a place where homeless people, drug abusers and alcohol abusers meet. These people will rarely bother anyone except for being loud at times. And they are so few that anyone visiting Sundsvall for more then a few days will recognize them. Remember, Sundsvall is a small city!
Perhaps you'll hear that the suburb Nacksta is particularly bad, this is nothing but a misconception by those who do NOT live in Nacksta. I heard it all the time before, to the point where I believed it to be true. Now I live in Nacksta and I feel very safe. It's an area with a lot of immigrants, senior citizen and students.
Pickpockets? I have never heard of it being an issue in Sundsvall. There are never any crowds of people, the streets are very open so pickpocketing must be extremely difficult. And I see people all the time leaving their bags and whatnot behind on the bus station while checking the bus departure times etc., it's not an issue at all. Use common sense.
Walking around alone at night? No problem. I do it all the time and I'm by no means a big guy. You'll never have to worry, not even at the bus station. It's a very calm city and the worst thing that can happen is that you stumble upon someone who's drunk. But honestly, it has never happend to me and I've never heard of anyone being afraid of walking in the night in Sundsvall.
1. In Stadshuset (at the main square, a large white/beige building) you'll find the tourist center.
2. If you want to shop, visit Birsta (take the bus, it's cheap and just a 20 minute ride). It has plenty of stores and is the go-to-place for basically anyone in Sundsvall. There are of course stores in downtown as well, in the old stone houses, but Birsta is by far the place that has much more to offer.
3. You should never visit Sundsvall without making your way up to Norra Berget and Södra Berget (the two mountains). It's possibly to walk up to Norra Berget as well as Södra Berget, but it might be difficult to find your way up. But there are busses (and taxis if you can afford one).
4. If you ever need help, ask anyone on the street. Swedish people know English, even a lot of the older people in Sweden know English. And people in Sweden, Sundsvall is no exception, is generally very helpful. Since Sundsvall is such a small town and a lot of people live outside of town so they have cars, I wouldn't be surprised if you could hitch a ride easily as well. (I have a friend who does it all the time)
5. When to go out and have a drink? First of all, even a beer is quite expensive compared to most other countries. For a regular tap beer in Sundsvall you'll pay around 45-50 SEK. Second of all, if you want peace and quiet when drinking, any day except Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is fine (if it's open of course). By the end of each month it's usually pretty quiet at the different bars and clubs as well, at least before people get their paycheck again (around 25th every month). The first weekend after the 25th is usually the go-to weekend if you want to have a lively time in Sundsvall.
6. Go outside of town as well. If you know someone with a car, have that person take you on a little drive around the city, the roads to Matfors, Attmar, Njurunda, Alnö etc. etc. There are plenty of beautiful places in Sundsvall, some very tourist friendly (like Alnö). As with most cities I'd imagine there are places you should visit that no one might think of, like Klampenborg if you enjoy nature, a small island on the peninsula of Essvik (just south of Sundsvall).
I can't think of anything else to add so I'll stop there. I can't emphasize enough how safe Sundsvall is. It has "internal" issues, like no jobs for the youth, alcoholism and drug abuse. But you're not very likely to experience these problems.
Sundsvall is generally a very safe town but you should note that most cases of violence (about 70 annually) take place on Storgatan or near the (ugly) bus station.
Always be careful especially on Friday and Saturday nights when the centre is full of toxicated party people. 99,9% are happy and friendly but if you are the anxious type, don´t walk home late hours alone, avoid the tunnels and don´t mess with drunk people. Just walk away and you will be safe.
Most cases of theft are related to bicyles.
Wishful thinking: The Police force could be more visible in the centre and the street lights could be improved.
I think the legal drinking age in Sweden is 19 but I'm not sure. You have to be 20 to buy alcohol at the Systembolaget (liquor store), and they do check for ID every time so don't think they won't catch you if you're too young. Also, on Friday, the Systembolaget is completely packed with people and the lines are very long, so buy your booze before then.
Different bars have different ages for admission. At the Dublin, it's only 18, but in some places, such as Oscar's, it can be as high as 23. If you're with a group, you might be able to sneak in, but most places check for ID at the door.
In bars, cover and drinks can be expensive (depending on the bar). Usually, the nicer the bar, the more you have to pay. The Karhuset is quite cheap, but Melody's is very expensive. One thing that my party crew and I often did whenever we went out at night, was that we'd pay one person 100 SEK each, and that person would get all our drinks with that money. It reduced the amount of people going to buy drinks, and everyone in our group got their drink at the same time. And since different people drank different amounts, it ended up being cheaper for those who drink more.
Be careful about vandalism if you have a car. I don't think it's a major problem in Sundsvall, but the Dutch boys in my group had a car, and it got wrecked a few times. Apparently, some thieves stole parts of the outside of the car, but I don't know all the details of what happened.
Also, if you're driving in the winter, drive slow and be careful of ice and other winter weather conditions.
Even though Swedes in general are honest people, you still have to be careful with your wallet and things like that. Even if the chances of getting pick-pocketed in Sundsvall are much lower than in bigger cities, it's still smart to use precautions.
Even if you forget your wallet or anything happens, a Swedish thief will likely only take the money and leave the cards. They know that credit card numbers can be cancelled by the owner, or tracked down by the police, so they don't bother using them. Don't carry too much cash at once.
In January, the sun sets as early as 4:00pm. So do all your activities before then. I don't recommend walking alone at night except in the downtown area (there are lots of people there).
The weather is unstable in the winters! sometimes the snow come in October! In december and januari the temperatures sometimes are below -30 celsius!
The picture is taken october 2002!
Don´t hang around navet (the bus station)by youre selfe duaring the night. But probably swedish towns must be kinda safe compare to other places.