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Revision as of 19:30, 10 March 2008

Umeå city hall

Umeå [1] is a city of about 110,000 located near the mouth of the Ume River and is the capital of Västerbotten County in Norrland in Northern Sweden. The city's nickname is the "Town of Birches".

Contents

Understand

Get in

By plane

  • SAS has between four and seven flights a day from Stockholm-Arlanda and one flight a day to Kiruna.
  • Malmö Aviation has three to five flights a day from Stockholm-Bromma
  • Flynordic has one to four flights a day from Stockholm-Arlanda

The flight time from Stockholm to Umeå is 50-60 minutes. Prices start from 400 SEK one way if tickets are bought in advance. In addition, students and young people (under 26) benefit from a fixed price of 500 SEK on most flights run by Malmö Aviation, and can get a 450 SEK flight "last minute" (if still available) from SAS.

Umeå Airport [2] lies 4 kilometres east of the city center, on the edge of the city. Transports to and from the airport include a special airport bus (35 SEK, goes to Vasaplan in the city center) and taxi.

By train

There is one night train from Stockholm. It takes between 10 and 12 hours and is operated by Veolia Transportation, is fairly popular amongst students and is very cheap (if you buy it in advance or manage to get a last-minute ticket, it can cost you as little as 300 SEK for an seat or 550 SEK for a berth in a couchette). Student and youth (under 26) discounts are also offered on this route (the cheapest ticket for a student is 199 SEK).

Umeå railway station is at the city centre. Note that the train may not run to Umeå on some Sundays, requiring you to take a bus from Vännäs (approximately 35 km away)

For train bookings you can use the Boka tåg website : [3]

By car

649km (403 miles) north on E4 from Stockholm. Note that driving in Norrland can be dangerous, especially in winter. Moose impacts pose a significant danger.

By boat

RG Line [4] runs ferries from Vaasa, Finland across the Gulf of Bothnia to the port town of Holmsund down the river. From Holmsund, take bus line 123 or 124 (35 SEK) to get downtown.

Get around

Since Umeå has a lot of students, bikes are common and the city offers a wide variety of bike-friendly roads and bike-only bridges. It is often both easier and faster to get around by bike than by car or bus. Bikes can be rented at Cykel & Mopedhandlaren (Kungsgatan 101, +46(0)90-140170) or Umeå Camping (Nydala, +46(0)90-702600). If you plan on staying longer, buying a used bike is a good investment - with a bit of effort you can find a good used bike for as low as 400 SEK.

If you prefer to use public transport, the local bus system (run by Ultra) has Vasaplan as its hub in central Umeå and costs 20 SEK per ride for adults, 10 SEK for children (both include one hour of free transfer). Buses tend to be very infrequent in summertime, and, as a general rule, it is advisable to check the timetable before getting to the bus stop during all seasons - waiting for 10 or 20 minutes in a bus stop at -20 C is a potential health risk. Night buses are available on Fridays and Saturdays for 40 SEK/hour.

See

  • Gammlia [5] is the city's open-air cultural showcase, centered around the Västerbottens Museum. Exhibits focus on the region's history, with art exhibits and musical performances as well. Free entry, closed Mondays.
  • Umeå Rådhus (City Hall) lies in the middle of Umeå. Behind it (on the north side) lies Rådhustorget (City Hall Square), the heart of Umeå's central shopping district. Rådhusesplanaden leads you from the square to Järnvägstorget (The Rail Square), next to which lies the train station as well as the long-haul bus station. Off to the side of Rådhusesplanaden you will also pass Umeå Stadsbibliotek (Umeå City Library) and Vasaplan (the hub of local bus traffic). In front of the City Hall is Rådhusparken and down by the waterfront is Trädgård i Norr (Garden in the North), which is a small flower park.
  • Björklöven [6] is the local ice hockey team.
  • Umeå Universitet [7] is the local university.
  • Nydalasjön is a beautiful lake with public paths and barbeque spots all around it. Popular for bathing in in the summer. The Nydala camping site is situated at the northern end of the lake and also has a pool that is open during the summer months.
  • Vänortsparken is a small park in central Umeå, next to Umeå Stadskyrka. The park contains art related to each of Umeå's sister cities around the world.

Do

  • Umeå International Film Festival, [8]. Yearly film festival, usually held in mid-September.
  • Umeå Jazz Festival, [9]. Yearly jazz festival, usually held in October.
  • Norrlandsoperan, Operaplan 5, +4690154300, [10]. The city has an opera house, and a quite famous opera company. Besides opera, the building hosts a large number of other events

Learn

With 27,000 students, Umeå is Sweden’s fifth largest university city.

  • Umeå University (UmU), [11]. Faculties include Humanities, Medical, Teacher Education, Science and technology, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, Restaurant and Culinary Arts, Institute of Design, Business and Economics, Environment, Physical Education and Sports and Technology.
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Forestry, Agriculture, Landscape planning and Garden science, plus the School of Environmental Studies.

Work

Work is quite hard to find in the city, even for locals. The biggest employers are the University, the Hospital and Volvo (which has a factory on the outskirts). Knowledge of Swedish as well as a work permit (not needed for Nordic or EU citizens) are essential in order to get a job at either.

Students (especially foreign/exchange students) will find it even harder to get a job, but have a chance at the pubs, student papers and at the Student Union. Additionally, a French or Spanish native speaker might just get a temporary job as a teaching assistant.

Buy

Most shops are located downtown (along Kungsgatan and Storgatan), in a very small area. Each neighborhood will have a small shopping center, with one or two supermarkets (ICA or Konsum/coop) and a few kiosks and fast food outlets. Two large shopping centers and hypermarkets are located at the outskirts - one, Strompilen (with a shopping gallery, an electronics hypermarket and an ICA hypermarket), at the end of Sofiehem and the other one (with a Willy's supermarket, and a coop supermarket) in Ersboda.

Eat

Budget

  • Fantastisk Grill, Umeå Universitet. Cheap kebab and hamburger meals for the students at the university. ca. 35 SEK.
  • Rådhusgrillen, Rådhustorget. "Rull"-kebab and -pizza, a local specialty. ca. 35 SEK.

Mid-range

  • Droskan, Öst på stan, [12]. Lunch restaurant with "husmanskost" (Swedish food). 75 SEK.
  • Frasses, Rådhustorget, [13]. Hamburger chain, try the garlic dip that only the Umeå franchises have. ca. 50-70 SEK.
  • MAX, Rådhustorget, [14]. Hamburger chain. ca. 50-70 SEK.
  • Mias Grill, Järnvägstorget. Hamburgers with generous portions of fries. ca. 50-70 SEK.
  • Queens, Vasaplan. Pan pizzas and hamburgers. Lunch buffet of pan pizza for a reasonable price. ca. 50-90 SEK.
  • Älvans Pizzeria, Tomtebo. A small pizzeria with the best kebabpizza around. 40-70 SEK.

Splurge

  • Restaurang Viktor, Vasagatan 11, 090-711115, [15]. Tue-Sat 18:00-23:00. Upscale restaurant. 300 SEK and up.
  • Rex Bar & Grill, Rådhuset, [16]. Upscale restaurant. 200 SEK and up.

Drink

Nightlife is quite low-key for such a student town. Clubs and pubs are located either on-campus or in a cluster downtown. The campus clubs are either student-only (admittance based on student-card) or offer entry fees discounts, whereas downtown clubs and pubs usually have a higher age limit for admittance. All pubs and nightclubs close at 2 AM. Admittance ranges between 25 and 80 SEK for a regular night (100 for concerts etc.).

On campus pubs:

  • Corona - a two-story, two-dance floors and two-pubs club located on campus. Minimum age is 20 (18 for local students). The club has been closed a number of times by the authorities for selling alcohol to minors, but it keeps reopening (under new management) in a few months. In the campus, in the back of the Universum building. 090-7869030
  • NH (Nationernas Hus) - the student pub run by the student union. Admittance for students only or on invitation basis (note that the invitation is quite easy to get). Club on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays only, late afternoon pub (EPP) on Fridays. Probably the cheapest beer in town (20-25 SEK for a glass). Minimum age is 18. Right next to Corona. 090-774099 [17]
  • E-Pub - the Business/Economics students' pub. In front of the Universum building.
  • Villan - another student pub, belonging to the Medicine Students' Union, located next to the hospital.

Off-campus pubs:

  • X3M, a popular club and possibly the most popular off-campus nightclub. Minimum age is 18 (except on Saturdays, when it is 21). Located Downtown, on V. Norrlandgatan 5,[18] 090-132380.
  • REX, an upscale nightclub located in the City Hall building. Usually open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and some Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 3 bars, 2 dancefloors, minimum age between 20 and 25, depending on night. Rådhustorget, +4690126050 [19].
  • O'Learys Bar and Restaurant, the local franchise of a nation-wide sports bar. Minimum age limit for the pub 19-21 (depending on nights). Kungsgatan 50A (downtown, on the main shopping street) 090-14 52 00

Additionally, a number of events, such as Klubb Pingvin [20] occur on a regular basis, with a traditional venue being the Plaza, Universum (on campus) or Norrlands Operan (the Opera House).

Sleep

Budget

  • First Camp Umeå, [21]. Cottages and camping. Close to university, only fifteen minutes by bike to city centre. Wireless internet connection available. Popular among students and workers all year around, families during the summer. Outdoor pool area closeby.

Mid-range

  • Ramada Hotel Botnia, Obbolavägen 125, +46 90-13 54 90. Located near the airport some 3km from the city center, but provides free car transportation to and from locations within the city; also bicycles. Originally the "Flyghotellet" or "Aviation Hotel", its decor is entirely aircraft-related.

Splurge

  • Scandic Plaza Umea Four stars hotel in centre.

Contact

  • The centrally-located library (Umeå Stadsbibliotek) has internet PCs for public use (10 minute limit).

Stay safe

Cope

Get out

  • Arboretum Norr Approximately 10 km upstream the Ume river from the city center, Umeå universitet, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet and Umeå kommun has laid out an arboretum with trees from places all over the world found on the same latitude. The best way to get there is by bike, following the Ume river. The scenery can be stunningly beautiful, especially in the fall.
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