When one of my closest friends was planning her milestone birthday celebrations, she decided she didn't want to chance going abroad yet and started looking for a fun weekend away here in Sweden. It's difficult planning a getaway to suit a large group, but we came across Västerås as a city with something for everyone! Kokpunkten was the weekend's main attraction. Built in a steam power station from 1917, Sweden's largest water park has VR rides and a relaxing spa called The Voltage Lounge for over 18s only.
www.kokpunkten.se We booked to spend the day there and our kids had a blast whilst we pampered ourselves in the spa with a mix of music, aromas, food, warm baths, cold drinks and hot steam. We couldn't let them have all the fun though and made sure we tried out the rides and virtual reality goggles to see what all the fuss was about. 😅
A word of warning, the VR goggles are not for anyone who suffers from motion sickness! 🤢 I'm glad I tried it. It was cool to see aliens whizzing by as I splashed down the slide, but now I've done it, I don't need to do it again. 😄
I'd say the best part of our day was basking in the sun in the outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi whilst taking in the outstanding view over Lake Mälaren. 👌🏻 It was a freezing cold, clear day and I needed to top up my vitamin D before Sweden's long, dark winter hits.
Västerås is a compact city and you can easily walk around taking in the sights, in fact, I'd probably recommend walking instead of driving because they have a one way street system that would confuse even the most skillfull of drivers. As one of the oldest cities in Northern Europe, Västerås has been populated since the Nordic Viking Ages. Wander around the city and along the Black River (Svartån in Swedish) for the chance to capture instaworthy shots of the colourful timber cottages and lovelock bridges. You'll also spot a great contrast in Västerås' skyscraper boasting Sweden's highest Sky bar on the 27th floor.
As we've already mentioned, the Viking vibes can be felt strongly here in Västerås, and even more so when you take a short 10 minute drive outside of the city to Anundshög. Incase you didn't know, a tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves.
I admit I'm a fan of the TV show The Vikings and loved exploring Sweden's largest tumulus. Not much is known about who is buried here because archaeologists have never dug down to the actual graves, but each rune stone is supposed to represent an important viking and the mound itself is approximately 9m/30ft high and has a 64m/210ft diameter! The burial mound and stone ships in front of it are thought to have been built between 500 and 1050 A.D.
Most Vikings were sent to the afterlife in one of two ways—cremation or burial. Cremation (often upon a funeral pyre) was particularly common among the earliest Vikings who were fiercely pagan and believed the fire's smoke would help carry the deceased to their afterlife, but this mound is the most recognisable feature of Norse pre-Christian burial traditions. I would have loved to get some drone footage over the ships but Anundshög is right next door to Västerås airport and therefore in a no-fly zone. You probably get a great view of it on take off or when you're coming in to land there! 😉
All in all, a great weekend away was had and there certainly was something for everyone! Check out www.steamhotel.se www.elite.se and www.nombarmat.se for our hotel and restaurant recommendations.