For students and workers alike, Sweden’s fourth-largest city is famous for one mode of transport in particular: the bike! Even if you don’t use it every day, the cityscape shows that Uppsala is a cycling city with a capital C. So where can you take your two-wheeled friend for a ride? We have listed four of Uppsala’s treasures that can be visited by bike.
The best in tests
If there’s anything that Uppsala as a cycling city has been negligent in, it is not its promotion of cycling. For a long time the municipality has retained its place near the top of the list of best cycling cities, and in 2018 Uppsala came first in the so-called Municipal Velometer list. To secure this sought-after prize, the municipality has made efforts to increase the number of fast cycle lanes and arranged for cycle paths to be cleared and gritted properly during the winter.
So we’ve listed below four excursions in Uppsala and its environs that are doable by bike. All are intended as day trips, and the bike ride itself takes between 30 minutes and an hour, in one direction from the central station. Do you need to hire a bike? Ski Total on Dragarbrunnsgatan is a stone’s throw from the station.
1. Ulva Kvarn – the handicrafts mecca by the river
Cycling time: 35 min.
To the north-west of central Uppsala, the hard-working pedal-pusher is rewarded with a scenic hide-away. Ulva Kvarn is the success story of a group of creative handicraft artists. Over 30 years ago they wanted to establish a place where they could get together to produce and work on their crafts. With a little help from the municipality, they found and fell in love with the buildings belonging to the old mill in Ulva, and in the blink of an eye the first business was set up only a year later.
Today, there’s a fantastic mixture of different kinds of creative talent, including a Croatian tavern, a silversmith, and the first workshop: Glashyttan Ulven. The Café Ulva Kvarn serves kaffe med dopp, literally “coffee with a dip”, which goes very well with the other kind of dip that you can take in this beautiful part of the Fyrisån.
2. Linnés Hammarby – a breath of fresh air from the 1700s
Cycling time: 40 min.
Around 13 kilometres outside the city, you come to an oasis in bloom, a long way from the noise and fumes of the city – Linnés Hammarby. At least, this was how Carl von Linné knew it. He purchased the Hammarby farm in the Uppland urban area of Danmark (yes, that’s what it’s actually called) to get away from Uppsala’s unhealthy air and noisy atmosphere. There he was allowed to create his own relaxing environment far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Apart from a botanical garden, he had a museum built in stone, which today goes by the name Linnés naturaliemuseum.
In 1879 the farm was bought up by the Swedish state and it currently comprises a cultural reserve as well as a museum, which provides a unique insight into Linné’s life – his persona as both scientist and private person is brought to the fore. You could easily spend a gorgeous spring or summer day here, admiring the beautiful farm and Linné’s old collections, enthusing about the cultural reserve where methods from bygone days are used for cultivating pastures and hop farms, or just enjoying a cake from the café in the apple orchard.
3. Fjällnora – the visitors’ centre for lovers of outdoor pursuits
Cycling time: 1 h 15 min.
For the really audacious, a somewhat longer bike ride to the no less energetic destination of Fjällnora is recommended. The journey may be long, but after about 75 minutes, all your pedalling will be rewarded with a visitors’ centre that has everything. Jump straight off the pier into the water or enjoy a hot tub, fish your own lunch or have a bite to eat in the café, go for a walk along one of the hiking paths, or find a nice glade nearby to sit and read a book.
Those who are really reckless can challenge themselves on the adventure course, which lets them climb and clamber high up among the tree tops. For those who prefer lakes to larking around in trees, there are canoes for hire, and a playground for the little ones. In the winter, you have the option of hiring skis, skates and sledges for a fun-packed day in the snow.
Jump straight off the pier into the water or enjoy a hot tub, fish your own lunch or have a bite to eat in the café.
4. Fullerö backar – the fail-safe destination
Cycling time: 35 min.
If you take a map of Uppsala and draw a vertical line upwards from the central station, it will probably pass through the hills of Fullerö backar. It lies directly to the north of our starting point. This nature reserve not only boasts a delightful green area in blossom along the River Fyrisån, but also an impressive burial field which dates back to the Iron Age.
The field consists of a number of different rock formations. Most are made up of some 50 stone circles, which are situated at the top of the hill. So pack your picnic basket – as you smell the fragrant lily-of-the-valley and wood anemone, and listen to migratory birds flapping their wings, you get a sense of history in the making.