The countries of Scandinavia have real seasons... while much have the world experience winters, the Nordic countries (along with those that site above the 59th parallel across Asia and America), experience very cold winters and plentiful snow down at sea level, then the spring beaks and everything comes alive. There is a buzz of human activity to make the most of wonderful warm (relative term) and sunny (hopefully) days; the hive of activity is further compounded with the knowledge that summer is short and summers can be bad, and inhabitants can be back into Autumn and Winter quickly.
Sundvall, in central Sweden, experiences a climate that is exactly that. Summer can be wonderful, autumn is just beautiful, winter can be severe and long, but snow is usually plentiful, and the follow-up spring completes the cycle of nature.
A highlight of a Summer in Sundsvall (and across Sweden) is the Midsommar (Midsummer) celebrations while a winter highlight is the Christmas Market (Julmarknad) also held at Norra Berget.
Sundsvall considered the capital of Norrland (Northern Sweden) and beautifully set on the Selångerån River running between Norra Berget (North Mountain) and Södra Berget (South Mountain).
With a very pretty town centre, magnificent architecture and a great layout, Sundsvall is a Västernorrland county gem.
Sundsvall, which was first chartered in the early 1600s, has experienced several devastating fires but like a phoenix, Sundsvall rose out of the ashes and the beautiful architecture of the town is the result of rebuilding after the most recent, 1888, fire.
Sundsvall grew as a centre for the Swedish forestry industry and the town is reputed to be where Swedish industrialisation started with the introduction of steam-powered sawmills.
The fire and resulting rebuild also provided Sundsvall with its mascot, the Dragon. The oriental Dragon was chosen by those in charge rebuilding the city for its protective powers and many buildings are adorned with this figure of courage and power; as well as many others throughout the streets. In fact, in July, the residents honour the mythical creature with an annual street festival, (Gatufesten).
Sundsvall provides the perfect base for exploring the High Coast (Höga Kusten) north of Sundsvall and also if wanting to tour westward to Östersund and further into Jämtland and the mountains like Äre near the Norwegian border.
Norra Berget features a magnificent open-air museum (Friluftsmuseet) with an extensive array of period buildings dating back to several hundreds of years and even has a church barn from the 1300s. A very popular place during summer, Norra Berget takes on a very special charm over the colder months with snow covering the ground and buildings.
Many of Sundsvall's events occur up on Norra Berget, Midsommar is one not to be missed, and the area surrounding the outdoor museum is filled with a vast network of walking and hiking tracks.