It is one of the earliest castles in Sweden and some parts are from 1300-hundreds. Erik XIV was a prison in this castle and during 1918-1926 the builders made many changes at the castle. You can rent Rikssalen for different parties or conferences. You can also get a guide around the castle.
Next to the Town Hall you can find the Västerås museum of art (Västerås Konstmuseum). The museum is located in the old court house of 1860. The museum exhibitions mainly cover contemporary Swedish and Nordic art. I haven't been into the museum myself, so I can't tell you that much more about the collection.
You can find a lot of information (all in Swedish) about the museum on the website mentioned below.
Well, at the tourist office you get free booklets about the city, the region and other cities in Sweden. They also sell souvenirs and help you a lot with that you want help with. They usually sell tickets to different events and things. Just go there before you plan to explore the city and they will help you with pleasure. They have been so helpful to me.
In the tourist office you have a shop with souvenirs from Västerås and also other places in Sweden. I guess they arent so cheap, but you can always buy something cheaper if your travelling budget is not so huge.
This is the most central beach in Västerås. It is about ten minutes from the center. It is so very close to the harbour of Västerås. Many of the inhabitants go and swim here. It is like a very big gras field and you have lots of space here for yourself and also for your family/friends.
This is a big building just for the culture for the inhabitants of Västerås, but of course if you are a torist you can visit it too. This shall be a meeting point for all kind of culture, all different kind of culture and it is already 8 yrs. It can be any kind of culture here from music to theatre or movies. Culturen has a restaurant and a café here too. So, just do a visit or check their website before you decide to go and participate in any event.
I found this kind of museums to be popular in Scandinavia -- at least in Sweden and Finland. This is a vast extension of land with a collection of old wooden houses from different parts of Sweden. There even was a bigger "luxury" house which portrayed the way the "wealthy" swedes used to build their houses a couple of centuries ago.
The museum is in the open, and the entrance is free. They even have a parking lot (free, too).
After this short introduction of Västerås, let's go into town and have a look around. Let me start with this statue called 'The ASEA-strömmen' (ASEA-current) which shows a characteristic Västerås view. You can see the workers cycling home from ABB (the former ASEA). The details in the statue are great, it looks so realistic, even the lunchbox of the workers isn't missing :-) The statue is located on the main square of Västerås (Stora Torget) and has been here since 1989. I really loved this sculpture, maybe because it reminded me a lot of my own trips on the bicycle, to and from work and also from school.
The sculpture was made by B.G. Broström. A fun detail is that he even included his own father among the bicyclists.
Summertime, there are several to chose from. One of the most popular (and regular) is to go to the island of Elba (yes!) with the old steamer Elba :-) There are bigger islands too and on those, you can swim, ride or just relax.
The castle might not be full of turrets and drawbridges, but it is older than it looks and was the scene for the famous "Västerås parliament" held here. Today, it is used as the home for the county governor and as the county museum.
It is common to find runestones all around Lake Mälaren and in other places, but nowhere else can you find both a runestone, five burial mounds and five ship settings in one and the same place. Not only that, but the main burial mound is the largest in Sweden, and you are allowed to climb it. The entire site is on the European Council's Viking Heritage Trail which maps significant viking places in the world. You can see more in my travelogue.
This statue takes a prominent place at the city hall. You have to look up though, otherwise you will miss seeing it, as it is high up in the sky. But if you look up, you can't miss seeing this gold coloured bull glittering in the sky. This statue 'The Bull' is from 1963 by Gunnar Runefelt. In popular speech it is also called 'den gyllene kalven' (the golden calf).
This is a picture of the proba, just south of the cathedral. Proba is the old Latin word for school jail, and that is what this place was for! The jail was build by Johannes Rudbeckius and the 'tenants' called it a 'terrible place'. The jail was used for students that didn't behave, but also for priests and civil servants who had made mistakes on the job. Wow, can you imagine a 'school jail' these days for misbehaviour???
The proba was used as a jail until 1801 and it is the only one of its kind remaining today.
This is the sarcophagus of King Erik XIV, son of Gustav Vasa. King Erik XIV was brought back to Västerås after having died in 1577. He was a prisoner of his brother, King Johan III. The legend goes that he has been poisoned with arsenic served in his pea soup..... Hmm, I can't help it, but when I hear the word pea soup I have to think of a typical Swedish tradition, lol. The ones that have read the local custom tips on my Sweden page know what I am talking about :-) Swedes traditionally eat pea soup every Thursday followed by pancakes. Hahaha, I wonder if that was already the tradition in those days ;-).....
Okay, let’s get back to the story.... King Gustaf III thought that Eric ought to have a worthy resting-place and ordered a marble sarcophagus. But when the grave was opened in the 1950's, it was discovered that the sarcophagus had been too short for the rather tall monarch, so the feet had been placed along side the legs. Phew, it seems not always that easy to be a King!
It's time to say goodbye to Kyrkbacken and have a look at the cathedral of Västerås. If you visit Västerås you have to take a look at the cathedral! The oldest parts of the cathedral are from the 1200's and it houses important artistic treasures as early as from the 8th century.
The cathedral was open when I visited Västerås and I could just go inside to have a look around in this beautiful cathedral. I recall that the cathedral wasn't opened all day long though, but unfortunately I can't really remember the opening times.
In the picture you can see the tower of the Cathedral. The tower has an almost Baltic style and is from the early half of the 1400's. Not really visible in this picture is the gilded spire from 1693, which carries a crown. The crown on the spire indicates that the church is used for royal burials. The church is the resting place for Gustav Vasa's son King Erik XIV.
IIt's fun to walk around in Kyrkbacken and just wander around through the winding streets of this old part of town. Kyrkbacken is not far from the city centre, it is just behind the cathedral, so it's not hard to find. Although the houses are old, it's not a museum; it still is a 'living' part of the city. But it does give a good impression of what life in town looked like a couple of centuries ago. The houses are small and low, the plank fences, the narrow streets, and the greenery gives you an idea how a medieval Swedish city must have looked like. All the old the houses have signs on them telling their history, and this makes it easier to imagine what life in those days must have been like.
Nowadays it is the working area of quite a few artistic craftsmen and it is great to have a look around in the little stores with their handicraft.