Falun was built around the old copper mine, which was operational as early as the 11th century. The mine was an important resource during the years of the Swedish Empire and made Falun Sweden's second largest city around mid-17th century.
Since some fifteen years the mine is depleted, and now it's become a tourist attraction and made the UNESCO World Heritage List. Stora Kopparberg (now Stora Enso), the mining company, is still active although nowadays it's in the forest industry. It claims to be the world's oldest company, having existed more than a millenium.
The Dalarna province is by many considered to be the very essence of Sweden, with Dala Horses (see below) and traditional midsummer festivities. Falun has made some contributions to the Swedish heritage as well. Prime examples, and memories of the mining, are Falu Red Paint (Falu rödfärg) and the Falu Sausage (Falukorv). The red color of the copper was used to make a brownish red paint that has become hugely popular in Sweden. The archetypal image of idyllic Sweden somehow always seems to include a Falu red wooden cottage with white corners. The Falu sausage, thick and ring-shaped, is one of few food products protected by the EU through a "certificate of special character" which states what ingredients must be in a Falu Sausage. The sausage was originally made by meat from the thousands of oxen whose hides were used to make ropes for the copper mine. Today, meat from pigs as well as beef is used in the sausages.
Falun is about 3 hours from Stockholm, and is reached most easily by road or train.
Railway tickets can be bought at the website of the Swedish railway company SJ.
Buses are generally the cheapest way of reaching Falun from other cities. The biggest intercity bus company is Swebus Express - unfortunately the site lacks an English version. Buses stop at the railway station which is a ten minute walk from the city center and the hotels there. Unless your bags are very heavy, save the taxi money and walk instead.
Falun is small enough to be explored on foot, however there is a local bus network handled by Dalatrafik. The price for a bus ticket is 20 SEK for adults and 15 SEK for children. Infants travel for free.
Bicycle is good way of getting around except for during snowy winter. Bikes for rental are available at:
- Cykel & Fjäll, right by the main square, ☎ +46 23 63862, .
Taxis in Sweden are pricey. If you want to take a cab in Falun you will most likely have to phone and ask for one to pick you up - you'd be extremely lucky to catch an available one on the street. Exceptions are the railway station where there is a taxi stand, and weekend nights downtown. Major taxi companies in Falun include:
- Koppartaxi, ☎ +46 23 63000, .
- Taxi Kurir, ☎ +46 23 15300, .
- Taxi Falun, ☎ +46 23 18900, .
Parking is free on many streets and when there's a fee it rarely exceeds 6 SEK/hour.
The mine, known as the Great Copper Mountain, and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 2001 - a must-see when in Falun. The mine was an important source of copper for an entire millennium until mining ended December 8, 1992. Part of it is still open for visitors with a guide. The interesting tour, with English translation available upon request, takes about an hour and visitors are taken 65 meters underground.
|Tours of the mine|
|May - September except July||Daily, 10AM - 5PM|
|July||Daily, 10AM - 6PM|
|October - April||Weekends, 12.30PM and 2.30PM|
Tickets are bought in the souvenir shop, and the price for adults is 100 SEK. Helmets and raincoats are handed out before the tour. Do not wear your best shoes or trousers, since the red, copper-rich mud in the mine causes stains. Shoe protection is available in the souvenir shop for 5 SEK.
There is also a mining museum in the area. It has exhibitions about the history of coins in Sweden (including the largest coins in the world), and scale models of mining inventions by medieval tech genius Christoffer Polhem. Entry fee 20 SEK.
The Great Pit (Stora Stöten) can be seen from the surface for free. It's the result of an enormous collapse in the mine in 1687, and with a depth of 95 meters and a diameter of 400 meters it's an impressive sight. Miraculously nobody was killed in the collapse since it occured on Midsummer's Day when the miners were free from work!
- Dalarnas Museum, Stigaregatan 2, downtown, ☎ +46 23 765500, . Closed Mondays. Has several exhibits about the province and its history. Its main attraction is the reconstructed 1910 library and studyroom of famous writer Selma Lagerlöf, portrayed on the Swedish 20 crown bill. 40 SEK for adults.
- Kristine Church, by the main square. Open daily, 10AM-4PM. Built in 1655 and was one of the prerequisites for Falun to get city rights. The renaissance church has two organs, from 1906 and 1982.
- Church of the Great Copper Mountain, near the corner of Kyrkbacksvägen and Seminariegatan. Open M-F 10AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 9AM-6PM. The oldest building in Falun. It was most likely built during the 12th and 13th centuries. In the cemetery outside rests Fet-Mats Israelsson, a miner who was killed in a cave-in at the mine in 1677. He was discovered 42 years later, and since the conditions in the mine had preserved his body, his former fiancée immediately recognized him. Fet-Mats' corpse was put on display as an attraction for visitors - it wasn't until 1930 that he was finally laid to rest.
- Tourist Office, Trotzgatan 10-12, ☎ +46 23 83050, . This office can help with almost anything tourist-related.
- The Lugnet sports area in the north-eastern part of town offers many possibilities for sports, including in- and outdoor swimming pools, hiking and cross-country skiing. There is also a sports museum on the premises. The National Ski Stadium is in Lugnet. Its ski jumping hills can be seen from far away and have become a symbol of Falun. The hills area offers a café, a nice view of town, and a hint of just how insane you need to be to become a ski jumper. To get to the hills, keep going straight ahead after the Lugnet roundabout and follow the "Hopptorn" signs.
- The lake Runn provides many places to swim. With its many islands it's also popular among boat owners. Canoes and cayaks can be rented at Runns Sjöbod. Prices between 300 and 500 SEK depending on size. Phone (+46) 73 9907422 or (+46) 73 9874701. E-mail [email protected]. Another option is Främby Udde Camping, see the Sleep section. During winter you can instead rent skates and go tour skating, a popular winter activity.
- The cinema in town is on Östra Hamngatan just below the main square. Look for the rotating neon owl on the roof. Movies are normally in English with Swedish subtitles, except for children's films which are dubbed.
- The town's bowling alley is on the bottom floor of Scandic Hotel Lugnet (see below). Lane rental is 120 SEK per hour daytime, 155 SEK in the evenings and on weekends. Preferably book in advance on +46 23 24320. Friday and Saturday nights the place adds music and disco lights to make it all more fun.
Annual events include:
- The Runn Days (Runndagarna), on and around lake Runn. Has a winter edition one weekend in mid-February (2007: February 17-18), with tour skating, curling and other ice activities. The summer edition takes place on a weekend mid-August and features boat trips, music and general fun.
- The Swedish Ski Games (Svenska Skidspelen). World Cup competitions of cross-country skiing. Takes place in the Lugnet area in March (2007: March 24-25).
- The Falu Party (Falukalaset), turning downtown Falun into a large market with vendors, carousels and entertainment. It takes place in early June (2007: May 30-June 3).
- The Copper Meet (Kopparträffen). Big meeting for motorcycle entusiasts, around 500 riders gather every year. Includes a motorbike cortege through town, down into the Great Pit at the mine (no, it's not a lemming suicide, there are roads down to the bottom). Held late July every year (2007: July 21-22, cortege on the first day).
- Falu Cruising. A vintage car procession through town, bringing car enthusiasts and almost everybody else out to watch the cars and the people in them. Arranged late July every year (2007: July 25). Starts at 6PM and goes on until midnight.
- Falu Autumn Market (Falu höstmarknad), again turning the central parts into a market. Held late August/early September (2007: August 31-September 1).
Unlike the neighboring town of Borlänge, Falun doesn't have a dominating shopping mall outside the town centre. Thus the best shopping is downtown, mainly along the streets Slaggatan/Holmgatan and Åsgatan. If you're interested in local handicraft look for the Dalarnas Hemslöjd store by the main cobblestone square of Stora Torget, but be prepared for quite hefty pricetags. There's also handicraft and souvenirs available at the mine.
The most common souvenir from Falun and the Dalarna province is the Dala Horse, a symbol of Sweden. This small wooden horse has been carved since the 17th century. It is usually orange or blue and decorated with kurbits painting, a symmetrical type of decoration. If you want a genuine one, expect to pay at least SEK 100 for the smallest kind.
If the Dala Horse feels too mainstream and you want a symbol of the town of Falun rather than a symbol of Dalarna, look for a Falu Maiden. This lady is far from the fame of the Dala Horse and is not as easy to find in the shops. Look for the dress and the hat.
A third option is to buy a Kåre Goat. According to legend, the copper mine in Falun was discovered when the goat Kåre one day showed up at home with reddish dirt on his horns. Kåre's owner followed the goat into the woods the next day and saw him rub his horns in the ground, and thus the copper was found. A large wooden Kåre Goat stands on the mining area, overlooking road 50 towards Borlänge.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Budget||Under SEK 60|
|Splurge||Over SEK 120|
Self-catering is always the cheapest way to get a meal in Sweden and there's plenty of food stores in Falun where it's possible to stock up. If you're starving in the middle of the night, run to the Statoil gas station which is open 24-7 and offers hot dogs and groceries. Fast food is also available at the many pizzerias, at the Swedish fast food chain Sibylla and at McDonald's downtown.
For fairly cheap restaurant food, catch "Dagens rätt" ("Dish of the day"), available weekdays at lunchtime in most restaurants. Price around 65 SEK. Check if the price includes drinks; if not, you can save money by asking for tap water instead. A daily overview in Swedish of what dishes are served in the different restaurants is found here. Most of the listed restaurants here are also open in the evening with à la carte prices around 100 SEK for a meal.
- American Takeaway, Holmgatan 16, ☎ +46 23 22044, . Offers a lunch buffet and tasty pan pizzas - the best one is Mex-style, called El Taco. Not just takeaway, despite the name. Has a US-style interior with interesting red metallic sofas.
- The Kings Arms, Falugatan 3, ☎ +46 23 711344, . Downtown pub/restaurant with good food. Dish of the Day 70 SEK.
- Tzatziki, Myntgatan 33B, ☎ +46 23 10980. Greek restaurant, specializing in coal-grilled food. Dish of the Day 65 SEK.
- Hammars konditori, Åsgatan 28, ☎ +46 23 39039 ([email protected]), . 11.30AM-3PM. Worth a visit just to see the cosy interior of the building which was built in 1776. They serve a lunch buffet on weekdays and Saturdays with baked potato, sallads, pies and soup.
- Mariann's Saloon, Slaggatan 13, ☎ +46 23 20101 ([email protected], fax: +46 23 20101), . Western/Mexican style restaurant and pub. Dish of the Day 65 SEK.
- Åhlens Café & Restaurang, Åsgatan 21, ☎ +46 23 711427. Convenient for shoppers since it's found on the top floor of the Åhléns department store. Dish of the Day available.
- Restaurang China Thai, Östra Hamngatan 20 (inside the Falan shopping galleria), ☎ +46 23 28850. Asian restaurant with a popular lunch buffet.
- Etc: kök och bar, Slaggatan 1 (inside the Falan shopping galleria), ☎ +46 23 790720. Another lunch alternative found inside the Falan galleria, next to China Thai. Dish of the Day available.
- Kopparhatten, Stigaregatan 2 (same building as Dalarnas Museum), ☎ +46 23 19169, . The place to go for hungry vegetarians in Falun. The lunch buffet for 70 SEK is popular among meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
- Rådhuskällaren, Slaggatan 2, ☎ +46 23 25400, . Offers Dish of the Day in the town hall cellars. Summertime it moves outside and is one of the nicest places to eat lunch if the weather is good.
- Geschwornergården, Gruvgatan 55 (by the Great Copper Mountain mine), ☎ +46 23 711923, . The place to go if you suddenly get hungry while visiting the area around the mine. It shares management with the Banken restaurants. Make sure you get a seat outside if the sun is shining. Dish of the Day 65 SEK..
- Banken Två rum & kök, Stadshusgränd 2, ☎ +46 23 26025, . The best and most expensive restaurant in town. Make sure to book your dinner table in advance and be prepared to pay at least a couple hundred crowns per dish. It is run in close cooperation with neighbouring Banken Bar & Brasserie (see below), but it has its own entrance from Stadshusgränd.
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is the best time for a night out. The bars below also serve as restaurants and offer Dish of the Day during weekday lunch hours.
- Systembolaget, Åsgatan 19, ☎ +46 23 12300. Not a bar but the only alcohol store in town, due to the Swedish government monopoly on alcohol. If you want to do it the Swedish way and save some money by having a pre-party before going to the bar, this is where to shop.
- Harrys, Trotzgatan 9 (same building as First Hotel Grand), ☎ +46 23 794887, . The most popular night club in town. Main entrance from Åsgatan, arrive early if you don't want to pay the cover charge. Wednesdays often feature the "two for one" offer, where you get two meals or drinks for the price of one. Book a table in advance if you want to eat since it's quite popular. The Saturday crowd is slightly younger than the one on Friday night.
- Club Etage, Holmgatan 22 (top floor of the Jungfrun shopping galleria, use elevators at the bottom floor), ☎ +46 23 63131, . (Closing time 2AM on weekends.). Downtown restaurant and night club. Look for the skytracker lights in the sky and you'll find it.
- Banken Bar & Brasserie, Åsgatan 41 (Old bank building on the corner of Åsgatan and Stadshusgränd.), ☎ +46 23 711911 ([email protected]), . (Closes at 1AM on weekends). If you prefer sipping on a beer in a somewhat more quiet area, Banken is a good choice.
Falun, like all of Sweden, has the Right to access rule which allows anyone to camp for one night almost anywhere in the woods.
- Lugnet Camping & Stugby, Lugnetvägen 38, ☎ +46 23 83563 ([email protected]). Available for those who prefer their camping a bit more organized. It offers tent sites, camp sites with electricity and even well-equipped cabins. tent site 95 SEK, camp site with electricity from 160 SEK, cabin (five beds) 650 SEK.
- Främby Udde Camping, Främby Udde 20 (about 3 kilometers outside the town centre. Follow Sturegatan south-east until you see signs for Främby udde), ☎ +46 23 19784 ([email protected]), . Lakeside campsite with swimming, boat trips, miniature golf and canoe/cayak rental. Price for a campsite around 150 SEK..
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||Under SEK 500|
|Splurge||Over SEK 1000|
- Cabins, ☎ +46 23 83050, . Available for those who prefer the countryside and plan to stay at least a few days. During high season (late June, July and early August) minimum time of rental is one week, from Sunday to Sunday. Only consider this option if you have access to a car. Prices vary from around 1500 SEK/week for a small cabin during low season, to around 4000 SEK/week for a larger one during high season. Each cabin normally houses three people or more.
- Falu Fängelse, Villavägen 17, ☎ +46 23 795575, . The former town prison has been modified and is now a hostel. It is situated in a quiet part of town, walking distance from the centre. Prices per person vary from 210 SEK for a dorm bed (2-, 3- and 4-bed rooms) to 300 SEK for a single room. Bring your own sheets or rent for 55 SEK..
- Lindsberg Vandrarhem Falun, Lindsberg 10, ☎ +46 23 43030, . Ecological hostel and course center in the Bergsgården World Heritage area a few kilometers outside the city center. Free wireless internet in rooms, lobby and library. Prices range from 130 SEK (per person in double room or dorm) to 170 SEK (for private room).
- STF Vandrarhem Falun, Vandrarvägen 3, ☎ +46 23 10560 ([email protected]), . The STF hostel in town is situated about 3 kilometers east of the town centre, which makes it a not-so-attractive option if you don't have a car or a bike. Prices from SEK 190 for a dorm bed to SEK 250 for a single room (there is a 50 SEK discount for STF members). Same rules for sheets as above..
- Hotel Falun, Trotzgatan 16, ☎ +46 23 29180, . Family run hotel with 24 rooms featuring cable TV, phone, WC and a sink. Some have their own shower, the others have showers in the corridor. Some rooms have cooking equipment. Prices vary with season but start at 490 SEK for a single or 590 SEK for a double.
- First Hotel Grand, Trotzgatan 9, ☎ +46 23 794880, . Downtown four-star hotel with direct access to the night club Harrys. Singles from 618 SEK, doubles from 718 SEK.
- Park Inn Bergmästaren, Bergsskolegränd 7, ☎ +46 23 701700, . Centrally located in the same area as Hotel Falun and First Hotel Grand. Singles from 600 SEK, doubles from 790 SEK.
- Scandic Hotel Lugnet, Svärdsjögatan 51, ☎ +46 23 6692200 ([email protected]), . Situated near the Lugnet sports area about 10 minutes walk from the city centre. The building itself has an interesting design with windows made to resemble a ski jump ramp. Singles and doubles from 750 SEK.
The country code for Sweden is 46. The area code for Falun is 23, or 023 if you're calling from a Swedish phone. Mobile phones have numbers that start with 70 or 73, that is 070 or 073 if calling from a Swedish phone. When making international calls from a Swedish phone, dial two zeroes, 00, before the country code. The emergency number is 112.
Sweden is one of the most online countries in the world. The catch for visitors, however, is that there's a slight shortage of internet cafés since most people have good connections at home. An internet café/pool hall is on Falugatan 4, but it's a dark, dingy place. The best place to get online in Falun, as well as in many other towns, is the library (bibliotek). It is situated on Kristinegatan - walk towards the river from the main square and you're there.
- Mon-Thu 10AM-7PM
- Fri 10AM-6PM
- Sat 10AM-3PM
- Sun 1-4PM
- In Sundborn, 10 kilometers outside Falun, you'll find Carl Larsson-gården. The 19th century home of national painter Carl Larsson is very popular among tourists, and the house and its surroundings is what inspired the famous painter as he created idyllic images that have come to symbolize Sweden. Guided tours are available daily between 10.00 and 17.00 in high season (May-September) and weekdays at 11.00 in low season. Entrance for adults is 90 SEK.
- If you're into downhill skiing Falun is about half an hour from Romme Alpin outside Borlänge. The Bjursås Ski Center, some 30 minutes from Falun, also has very nice ski-slopes. The huge ski resort Sälen is one of the most popular in Sweden. It's 200 kilometers from Falun, in the municipality of Malung. The second major ski resort in Dalarna, Idre, is about 240 kilometers from Falun. It is situated in the municipality of Älvdalen and mainly caters to families.
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