AB Volvo and Volvo Cars each operate a engine manufacturing plant, making Skövde into one of the world's larges producers of engines for cars, trucks and buses, with more than 5,000 workers. The plant is known world-wide for producing the most industrial diesel engines in the world for AB Volvo and also for producing compact inline 5 cylinder petrol engines for Volvo Cars.
The Swedish military has had a large presence in the town for many years and today there are two regiments, a military academy and several military support functions based in Skövde. Parts of the army base are open to the public.
The overall impression is that Skövde is a friendly town to visit and people are less stressed than in larger cities. Dress codes and such are less important and can give the visitor an impression of a more laid back culture. Communication in English poses no problem but a few phrases in Swedish are always appreciated.
The neighbourhoods close to the town centre are amongst the nicest to walk around, whilst the ones further out are what you might call a little scruffier. There isn't alot in those parts to attract tourists however.
Situated three hours south west of Stockholm by train and one and a half hours north east of Gothenburg by train, Skövde is perfectly suited to discovering the Swedish countryside and small towns. Public transport is covered by Västtrafik which is efficient at moving people from A to B but is a little pricey. Purchase your bus and train tickets at the train station which is in the middle of town.
The main station lies directly in the city centre.
The bus station is connected to the rail station.
Driving from Gothenbourg takes aprox. 2 hours, go on E20 to Skara and then go on road 49 to Skövde. From Jönköping it takas aprox. 1,5 hours, just drive a few kilometres on road 47 and then go by road 26 all the way to Skövde.
There is a well developed bus network serving almost every district and suburb of Skövde. You can access the bus map on this webpage. http://www.vasttrafik.se/Global/Kartor/kartor%20aug%202012/linjenatskartor/Sk%c3%b6vde_A4_2012.pdf
Due to a city wide garden scheme, parts of Skövde come alive with colour in the Spring and Summer months. Tulips are ubiquitous but there are many others beside.
Skövde goes all the way back in history to the medieval age. Of the medieval houses nothing remains, as a fire in 1759 burned down the entire city except for some houses called Helensgården. These small red houses are right in the middle of town behind the town square and there is a pleasant enough park to sit in with a coffee and snacks bought from the small cafe that's in one of the houses.
Most importantly though, Skövde is situated in the middle of an area in Sweden rich with cultural and historical places of importance, some dating back almost a thousand years. In this sense Skövde is the perfect place to use as your starting point for several day trips to neighbouring towns and villages.
Shopping in Skövde is no different to shopping anywhere else in Sweden. All the major chains are here, like H&M, plus a few more upscale boutiques. The alcohol store (systembolaget) is in the middle of town in the Commerce building. It closes at 3pm on Saturday and is closed on Sunday.
Rådhuset Cafe sitting right on the town square serves surprisingly good coffee and sandwiches. Inside the cafe there are exhibitions of photography and paintings. Central Skövde can at times make you feel like you are surrounded by banks but Rådhuset helps keep the town social and friendly. It's always busy too - even in the winter months.
Hertig Johans Gata and S:t Sigfrids Gata are the centre of the Skövde entertainment scene. The several bars and restaurants get rowdy late at night but the food is good and the alcohol cheaper then in the bigger cities. For an older crowd try the Bishops Arms Pub in the town square.
Skövde offers a wide variety of accommodation with hotels in the town center and at least one camp site just outside of the town. Among the notable hotels are Scandic Billingen and First Hotel Billingehus, as well as Knistad Country Club.