Let’s examine the top things to do in Gavle.
Gavle, a small city in Norrland, outperforms its size in terms of museums, family attractions, parks, and cultural venues. In December, if you move quickly, you might also see the Gavle Goat. This enormous straw Christmas monument rarely lasts until the end of the month since it is typically vandalized as part of an unofficial Christmas custom.
Never pass up the opportunity to encounter a moose at a farm in the nearby countryside. The city is located just a few kilometers east of the Bothnian Sea, which is dotted with small islands and is surrounded by unending wilderness. Villages like Bonan, ancient fishing communities with a history dating back hundreds of years, are hidden in this seascape.
1. The Gavle Goat
Since 1966, a 13-meter-tall straw Yule goat has been erected in Slottstorget every December.
It’s a sight to behold, but you must act quickly.
Considering that the goat has been destroyed in some way in all but 12 of those years.
This custom is strange because the goat isn’t intended to be burned; instead, it’s meant to remain here until Christmas is over before being put back into storage.
Although burning it is forbidden and has resulted in arrests, someone nonetheless attempts it every year and usually succeeds.
The 2014 goat was the final one to survive Christmas after surviving three arson attempts.
A large park located on a loop in the Gavlean is accessible by foot from the city’s core.
It was established in 1865 and was given the name Bois de Boulogne after the Parisian park of the same name.
The park’s pine, beech, and birch woodland, which has many tranquil glades, is accessible via a trail next to the river that has informational signs.
The bathing areas along the river have undergone significant improvement in the last few years.
Visit to take a refreshing swim and take advantage of the amenities, which include a cafe, disc golf course, playground for kids, barbecue pits, and the “Musicerande änglar” sculpture group by the great Carl Milles.
3. Swedish Railway Museum
The Swedish Railway Museum, which serves as the country’s main rail center and possesses one of Europe’s best fleets of locomotives and other rolling stock, moved from Stockholm to Gavle in 1970.
The museum’s collection includes dozens of locomotives, most of which are steam-powered, and it allows visitors to explore 150 years of Swedish railroad history through six halls and an outside yard.
The Prins August locomotive, built by Beyer, Peacock & Co. and delivered in 1856, is one of the stars of Hall 1.
Additionally, there are 150 carriages, many of which can be entered, as well as tons of railroad-related memorabilia, including tools, instruments, models, textiles, crockery, and old photos.
If you’re a true train aficionado, you can make arrangements in advance to see the several old locomotives and coaches that are part of the collection but are kept in storage at the depot.
4. Gamla Gefle
On the right bank of the Gavlean is where you’ll find Gavle’s oldest neighborhood.
When you arrive, you’ll notice that the city’s organized grid layout has been reduced to a few narrow cobblestone roads.
In this area, which preserves a medieval street plan, no vehicular traffic is permitted.
Most of the structures date from the 18th and 19th centuries, however others are a little more recent.
These are charming flowerboxes or miniature gardens in front of one- or two-story weatherboard homes that have been painted in a variety of colors.
This 1900-opened animal and amusement park is a short distance east of Gavle. Three of the 17 rides in the amusement park are roller coasters.
With a 32 million Kronor investment, the most recent, “Fireball,” opened in 2017. It represents the park’s largest investment to yet.
Additionally, Furuviksparken has a 50-meter swimming pool and a smaller adventure pool for children, both of which are surrounded by vegetation.
The zoo in the park has animals from all over the world, including mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds. There are also special events scheduled throughout the day, including pony rides for children and feeding times for orangutans, chimpanzees, lemurs, and kangaroos.
Major musical acts perform at the park’s stage on summer evenings; this custom dates back to the era when Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Armstrong gave performances there.
6. Swedish Prison Museum
There was a petition to stop its demolition after the Gavle County Prison was shut down in 1986, and the Swedish Prison Museum eventually relocated there.
The prison was one of the first to be built when the Swedish Parliament approved a reform measure in 1844, and it was built in 1847. The older, two-story Castle Prison, built in 1732 and later utilized as staff housing for the County Prison, is located inside the complex.
You will be taken on a thorough and frequently gory journey through Sweden’s criminal history, through the eras when offenders were publicly punished at pilgrimages or hanged.
Three of the cells, 35, 38, and 40, have been preserved in the same condition as they were in 1850, 1900, and 1986, respectively. This attests to the evolution of prison conditions.
7. Lansmuseet Gavleborg
The county seat of Gävleborg, Gavle, features a museum that documents its history and culture.
You can pore over the collection of artwork, ceramics, silverware, fabrics, furniture, archaeological artifacts, and photos.
The painting collection is particularly strong and diverse, spanning from the “Gothenburg Colourists” of the 20th century to well-known court painters like Alexander Roslin from the 18th century.
Additionally, you can delve a little deeper into some fascinating periods in the city’s history, such as the early 1800s when Gavle served as Sweden’s principal port.
The museum is currently undergoing renovations, but it will reopen in October 2017.
A real town with exclusive fishing rights on the Norrland coast existed in the early modern era not far from Gavle’s city center.
For city inhabitants seeking clean water, rustic charm, and fresh air, Bönan evolved into a popular summer destination in the 19th century.
Since the 1950s, the fishing sector has diminished, but a few boats continue to bring back freshly caught herring, which you can purchase straight from the fishermen.
Visit the historic lighthouse, meander through the picturesque village, go swimming at the beach if it’s warm enough, and sample some buckling (hot-smoked herring).
9. Kybacka Farm
The largest deer species in the world can be seen up close at an educational farm a short distance into the countryside southwest of Gavle.
At this farm, there are two tours offered each day that take you into the moose paddock, educate you about their habits and diet, and let you pet the calm ones.
From a distance, you can see many more in the forest, including Dennis, a half-ton moose bull whose favorite food is bananas.
Slices of cakes produced on the farm are served in its own restaurant and cafe.
Watch the website to keep up with the varying opening hours.
10. Hemlingby Friluftsomrade
Hemlingby Friluftsomrade (open-air area), a verdant haven on Gavle’s southern outskirts, is the city’s favored location for jogs, bike rides, and other outdoor exercise.
In the winter, the entire terrain is covered in snow, and there are both long and short cross-country ski paths, as well as frozen ponds for skating.
The visitor center, which also includes a café serving traditional favorites like mackerel and herring at lunch or merely coffee and cake at other times, also rents out any necessary equipment when it snows.
You can take advantage of the outdoor pool and BBQ areas throughout the summer and go on a nature trail to see bunnies and lambs in the fields.
11. Gavle Konserthus
The city’s concert hall debuted in 1998 in a particularly picturesque location on the Gavlen’s right bank.
This building, which has an oval design and is covered with blue tiles and copper plate, stands on the edge of the Boulognerskogen and looks over Carl Milles’ “Musicerande anglar.”
The Gavle Symphony Orchestra, one of Sweden’s oldest and best orchestras, was given its first permanent home when the Konserthus was built, 76 years earlier in 1912. You can check the schedule in advance to see if there are any performances, bands, operas, or recitals that catch your eye. The hall’s meticulously designed acoustics are ideal for symphonic or popular music.
There is a compelling incentive to visit the city’s industrial suburb of Brynas.
Two magnificent 19th-century gas holders that were here in the Atlas area have been transformed into a cutting-edge mixed-use cultural center.
These are fashioned from brick and resemble Byzantine temples because they still have all of their exterior brickwork in tact.
Before undergoing a comprehensive renovation, they were first utilized for plays in the 1980s after being deactivated.
Today, plays, TV shows, concerts, festivals, fairs, DJ sets, conferences, and much more frequently take place at the Gasklockorna.
13. Joe Hill Museum
You can read about the brief but eventful life of Joe Hill, an immigrant who rose to prominence in the American labor movement at the turn of the 20th century, in Gamla Gefle.
He was born Joel Emmanuel Hagglund, and the modest painted house where he was raised is now a museum dedicated to his life.
Up until his execution for murder in 1915 under questionable circumstances, Joe Hill was an activist, poet, and songwriter.
His life’s accomplishments are displayed in the museum, which also features a cafe, a small garden, and outdoor performances during the summer.
14. Limon Island
You may board the M/S Drottning Silvia for a trip to the island of Limön in the Gavle archipelago almost every day during the summer.
The Sodra Skeppsbron quay serves as the departure point for this, and the tourist information office can provide you with the timetable.
You’ll steer your ship toward Limon, a little fishing village that, like Bönan, developed into a vacation destination in the 1800s.
With its shaky docks and houses made of wood, the harbor resembles a movie set. It also has a cafe.
On the island, visitors can reconnect with nature by going fishing, hiking through the forest, and swimming at remote beaches.
The word “lime” is the source of the island’s name, and because of its seclusion and lime-rich soil, Limon is home to a number of rare plant species.
15. Brynas IF
At the Gavlerinken Arena, you may see one of Sweden’s national sports from September to April.
Brynäs IF, a team that consistently ranks among the best in the Swedish Hockey League, has its home here.
They’ve won the championships 13 times, and in 2017, they advanced to the playoff finals before losing to HV71 by a razor-thin margin. You can count on excitement because three of the top ten scorers from the 2016–17 season skate for Brynas IF. There are 52 games scheduled between September and the end of the regular season in March, so if you’re staying in town for more than a few days, you should be able to catch one.