Adventurous family trips – By train from the coast to the Swedish mountains

Discover more of Sweden by rail together with the family. From Umeå on the Swedish northern east coast, the Bottnia Railway goes through the beautiful High Coast area, and in Sundsvall you change trains to the Mittbanan rail towards Storlien and perhaps even into Norway. From Sundsvall your first stopover should be Bräcke for Sweden’s best ice cream, the next stop: the children’s favorite town of Östersund on the shores of Storsjön and then on to the nostalgic country store in Krokom (Gamla Lanthandeln) and further to explore the mountains of Åre and Storlien.

The train journey described in this article is suitable for families with children who like to discover nature, swim in adventure pools, take a time trip back in time and do tricks with a bicycle. Attractions and activities are selected to be easily accessible from the train stations, either on foot or by bus.

This suggested hop-on-hop-off train journey starts in Umeå, for example for those arriving by the Wasaline ferry boat from Vaasa, bound for the region Jämtland Härjedalen via the city Sundsvall, but you can start your train adventure from any place you want. The train ride from Umeå to Sundsvall is around 330 km, and with the addition – Sundsvall – Storlien, the route is another 220 km.

Suggested stops: Umeå – Örnsköldsvik – Härnösand – Sundsvall – Bräcke – Östersund – Krokom – Undersåker – Åre – Storlien. We recommend that you plan approximately one day at each stop. Feel free to plan for some stops on your way to Storlien and a different set of stops on the way back.

Both legs of the journey: Bottniabanan (The Bottnia rail) between Umeå-Sundsvall and Mittbanan (the Middle rail) Sundsvall-Storlien are served by both SJ and Norrtåg and all departures can be booked through both companies.

See the tour with suggested sights in Google maps.

Adventurous family trips - By train from the coast to the Swedish mountains. Google Maps
Adventurous family trips - By train from the coast to the Swedish mountains. Google Maps
Curiosum Umeå
Curiosum Umeå

Take the bus from Wasaline terminal to Holmsund to central Umeå if you’re coming from Vaasa, Finland.


Experiment at Curiosum in Umeå

At Curiosum by the riverbank in Umeå, the whole family can explore science and technology. Curiosum is Umeå University’s science center where visitors are allowed to experiment, program, create, build, play, solve tricky problems, and join thrilling film adventures in the so-called dome theater.

Umeå Energicentrum Klabböle
Umeå Energicentrum Klabböle
Umeå Energicentrum Klabböle

Adventure playground with an energy them in Klabböle

A bit outside Umeå in Klabböle, you’ll find the Umeå Energy Center, a family-friendly attraction built around Umeå’s first power plant from the late 1800s. It’s easy to take the bus to Klabböle to enjoy the scenic environment with many historic buildings and activities for all ages, including guided tours of the Klabböle Power Plant Museum. Additionally, there’s a café-on-site with lunch and snack options. as well as an adventure playground for children.

Spend the evening together at one of Umeå’s pleasant restaurants and find cozy accommodation at a convenient distance from the railway station.

From Umeå, you can take the train to Örnsköldsvik. The journey takes about an hour.

Utsikt från Varvsberget i Örnsköldsvik
View from Varvsberget in Örnsköldsvik.

Heavenly bath and views in Örnsköldsvik

Sweden’s largest timber sauna and a super long water slide in Örnsköldsvik

Paradisbadet in Örnsköldsvik offers both adventure pools and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. For the youngest, there’s a tropical adventure pool in child-friendly format, while for older ones, the Magic Eye water slide is one of the longest in Europe, stretching 181 meters. Continue to the outdoor area, which partly has flowing water. In Paradiset Spa, the pace is considerably calmer with experience showers, Sweden’s largest timber sauna, jacuzzi, relaxation room, Tao Sensa, green room, salt cave, meditation and a range of other soothing activities such as Aufguss.

Walk or take the cable car up to varvsberget?

Do you want to see the exciting Lego-like building “Ting 1” and the whole of Örnsköldsvik from above? You then have two options to reach the top of Varvsberget. Either take the Paradisliften cable car, starting at the ski jump landing site near the city center, or hike on foot along a patch combined with stairs alongside the ski jump.

Spend the evening together at one of Örnsköldsvik’s pleasant restaurants and find cozy accommodation at a convenient distance from the railway station.

From Örnsköldsvik, you take the train to Härnösand. The journey takes about an hour.

Bilmuseum i Härnösand
Many cool cars at the car museum in Härnösand.

Stylish cars and experiments in Härnösand

Sweden’s largest car museum in Härnösand

The car museum was started about 10 years ago with 120 cars, and now it has grown to encompass over 2 000 cars, of which 270 are in the 11 different themed rooms. Here you can find all sorts of cars, from Rolls Royce to Trabant, including a multitude of 50s cars in various colors. Mr Calle Lundkvist, who started the museum, began repairing mopeds at the age of 14 and saved up for his first car. He then started a car workshop and a real estate company, but today, he is a museum guide along with his car enthusiast friends.

Technicus Härnösand
Technicus Härnösand offers tricky tasks for young and old.

Technicus makes the difficult easier

At Technicus in Härnösand, you can easily spend a whole day discovering and participating in themed days focusing on rockets, planets, planting, metals, or experiments. In the playground full of experiments, visitors gain deeper understanding of how technology and natural science are part of our culture and how they impact our lives on Earth. For example, try magnetic fishing and take an interactive trail around Nattviken.

Spend the evening together at one of Härnösand’s pleasant restaurants and find cozy accommodation at a convenient distance from the railway station.

Take the train from Härnösand to Sundsvall. The train journey takes about an hour.

Kulturmagasinet Sundsvall Anne Adsten
Visit the Museum and Library at Kulturmagasinet before going to Himlabadet (adventure pools) in Sundsvall. Photo: Anne Adsten

The beautiful stone city Sundsvall

In Sundsvall, you switch from the Botnia Railway to the Midland Railway. If you make a short stop, there are fast food restaurants around the station. If you choose to take a closer look at the beautiful stone city Sundsvall, a day at Sundsvall’s adventure pool is recommended or a hike to the northern or southern mountain. Sundsvall is called the stone city because of a great fire in 1888. Insurance money was used to build the city up again and this time with stone buildings. People in the center of town where mostly rich businessmen and they competed who made the most lavish stone house.

Heavenly bath in Sundsvall

Himlabadet features water slides, a climbing wall, and an extra warm large jacuzzi. A lift next to the tower makes the larger water slides accessible to everyone, such as the one called Black Hole. In complete darkness, the rider must hit light effects with their hands during the ride to collect points. Even the smallest visitors have water slides and can meet the Otter and friends in the children’s pool area. In Himlabadet’s circular pool, 120 cm deep, visitors can swim against or with the current, climb a climbing wall. There is also a Surfstream, a kind of artificial water wave that gives the sensation of surfing on real waves. In the relaxation area, there are different types of sauna baths, a hot and a cold pool.

Spend the evening together at one of Sundsvall’s pleasant restaurants and find cozy accommodation at a convenient distance from the railway station.

Take the train from Sundsvall to Bräcke. The train journey takes about 1.5 hours.

Glassbaren Bräcke
Don't miss the Ice Cream Bar in Bräcke. Photo: Anne Adsten

Sweden’s best ice cream in Bräcke

The next stop on the train journey is Bräcke, especially for all ice cream lovers. There, you can find Sweden’s best ice cream, an Italian gelato made from locally sourced milk. The queue for the Ice Cream Bar in Bräcke usually stretches far out onto the street to taste flavors such as banana coffee, browned butter, red grapes, and apple sorbet with cinnamon.

Bräcke also boasts one of Jämtland Härjedalen’s largest playgrounds with climbing frames, slides, swings, a zip line, as well as a barbecue hut and a boules court. Not far from the playground is Hotel Jämtkrogen with many wooden details and a clear animal theme in the decor.

Take the train from Bräcke to Östersund. The train journey takes about 1 hour.

Nationalmuseum Jamtli - gå upp till utställningarna
National Museum Jamtli - go up to the exhibits via a color tube. Photo: Anne Adsten

Children’s summer city Östersund

Östersund is the only city in Jämtland Härjedalen, and perhaps that’s why it has so many shops, restaurants, and cafés – most of them gathered along the pedestrian street and the big square. There are plenty of activities and sights, and it’s easy to take day trips in various directions by bus or train. For example, you can go to Bydalsfjällen in the so-called Oviksfjällen (Oviken mountains), visible from the city, and Frösön (the island opposite the city where some of the residents of the city live) to see the northernmost rune stone of Sweden, the jugend home of the Swedish composer Wilhelm Peterson Berger and the beautiful Frösö church.

Travel through time at Jamtli

Take a slide through the stomach of the Great Lake Monster into Jamtli’s exhibitions, where you can explore the history of the region through lots of hands-on-experiences. Start by walking around the mountain with a Sami theme, peek into the room below with the fantastic pictures by the Sami photographer Nils Thomasson, step into the Sami hut, and then continue to the Stone Age, further into the world of women, the dark passage, the world of men, play the game about the trades farmer era, and further into the Viking Age with exciting objects like the famous weave perfectly preserved for 1000 years, the Överhogdal Tapestry. Proceed to see the current exhibition at the National Museum Jamtli and maybe you want to try your hand at creating a piece of art in the studio. Then you can continue out to the lively square, shop at Gulleboden, get a driver’s license at the children’s traffic school, play on the boat Thomée, see what’s going on in the farms, and move on to the 1970s and see the theater “Five Ants Are More Than Four Elephants” and further towards the summer pasture and the children’s railway.

Jamtli in the summer is a paradise for both children and adults. Admission includes both indoor exhibitions, the art museum National Museum Jamtli, and Historyland.

Gammaldags cykel Jamtli Gulleboden
Barn för en dag Jamtli
Karusell Torget Jamtli
Jamtli utställningar
Storsjöbadet Östersund

Guaranteed monster-free at Storsjöbadet

Storsjöbadet is easily reached by bus from the city center. There are large adventure pools with a cave, currents, and water slides for both the youngest and the slightly older. There are also outdoor pools. For those who want to relax, there is a nice spa area.

Test the Multi challenge adventure house

Challenge each other inside Östersund’s adventure house Multi Challenge. Here you will find Boda Borg with tricky rooms where tasks must be solved to earn a coveted stamp. There are climbing walls, go-karts, a laser hall, bowling, play area, mini-golf, and more. When you get hungry, TiKi Grill Restaurant serves both lunch and à la carte.

Surfbukten Östersund Göran Strand
The Surf Bay is located between the bridges in Östersund. Photo: Göran Strand

Surf bay and Birger’s adventure playground

Surfbukten (Surf Bay) is the outdoor swimming area on Frösön within comfortable walking distance from Östersund city center via a footbridge. In Surf Bay, you’ll find slacklines, trampolines, beach volleyball, diving towers, piers, and an electrically driven line that allows you to wakeboard or water ski with various jumps.

Adjacent to Surf Bay is Birger’s Adventure Park, which challenges all senses for those young at heart. It’s a robust obstacle course with climbing opportunities built of timber logs. Birger is the green playful son of the Great Lake Monster, a character recognized by all children in Östersund because he often appears at events, has his own fairy tale books, and there is also a Birger plush toy. Throughout the Storsjö area, there are Great Lake Monster spotting sites for those determined to capture a photo of the elusive creature.

Spend the evening together at one of Östersund’s pleasant restaurants and find cozy accommodation at a convenient distance from the railway station.

Take the bus or train from Östersund to Krokom. The journey takes 20 – 40 minutes.

Gamla lanthandeln Krokom Anne Adsten
The old general store in Krokom. Photo: Anne Adsten

Old-fashioned toys at the old country store in Krokom

If you enjoy old-fashioned stores with candies and toys made of wood and tin, then Krokoms Old Country Store is the place for you. Here, you’ll aslo find artisanal food from Jämtland Härjedalen and local literature. During the summer, there’s outdoor seating by the shore of Krokomsviken bay. The owner gladly shares stories about Krokoms history, and if you’re lucky, she might even sing a song in the local dialect and play the guitar. There are no nearby hotels in Krokom, so make a stop and either go back to stay in Östersund one more night or continue west towards Undersåker.

Take the train from Krokom to Undersåker. The journey takes about an hour.

Vålådalens fjällstation Anne Adsten
Naturum Vålådalen Anne Adsten
Naturum Vålådalen Anne Adsten
Naturum Vålådalen samisk slöjd Anne Adsten

Hiking in the southern Årefjällen

Undersåker station is the gateway to southern Årefjällen with classic mountain villages like Edsåsdalen, Trillevallen, Ottsjö, Vallbo and Vålådalen. You can reach these villages via transfer services (book these well in advance) from the railway station in Undersåker. All villages in the southern Årefjällen are connected by hiking trails, which in turn are linked to the Swedish Tourist Association’s (STF) cabins in remote areas for those who want to experience real mountain hiking. When hiking with young children though, we suggest short day hikes and taking plenty of breaks with delicious snacks and perhaps even outdoor cooking. All villages are suitable for those who want to stay in one place and do various day hikes.

Insights provide better views in Vålådalen

Both summer and winter, the Naturum in Vålådalen organizes activities for both children and adults, in addition to experiencing their indoor and outdoor exhibitions. The excursions usually go to different destinations with guides in Vålådalen Nature Reserve or up to Ottfjället mounntain. It could be a waterfall, learning about the tracks of wild animals, tours to learn more about local culture or flowers. Naturum also organizes special family adventures with forest and mountain themes, all to give guests more insights and with these better views when staying in the mountains.

In Vålådalen, you can stay at the cozy mountain station with décor that hints at the station’s long history. Vålådalen’s waffle buffet is well-known. In Vålådalen, they save snow so that every year they can open a ski trail at the end of October for both professionals and families who want to go cross-country skiing. When the natural snow arrives they keep their tracks open until the end of April and sometimes into May.

Take the bus or train from Undersåker to Åre. The train takes about 15 minutes and the bus about 20 minutes.

Bergbanan Åre Anne Adsten
The mountain railway in Åre. Photo: Anne Adsten

An active holiday in Åre

A summer vacation in Åre can encompass everything you’ve been eager to try; mountain biking, kayaking, white-water rafting and trail running in the mountains. But it can also be about lying in a hammock on a fine sandy beach, listening to the movement of the water and watching clouds sail high above the trees and mountain peaks.

Take the mountain railway and cable car up the mountain

The mountain railway called Bergbanan is more than a 100 years old and runs a good distance up one side of Åreskutan to Fjällgården. It’s exciting to see the two train cars meet at a special meeting point halfway up. At Fjällgården, you can grab a coffee at the hotel or purchase access to their rooftop pool.

The cable car was built in the 1970s and can carry a maximum of 75 people in each cabin on the 7-minute journey up to 1,274 meters above sea level. From there, you can reach an accessible platform that offers views over the Åre valley. If you want to go even higher, there’s a summit cabin with refreshments at 1,420 meters above sea level.

Åre bageri glass Anne Adsten
Ice cream party at Åre Bakery. Photo: Anne Adsten

Discover trolls and mythical creatures along Trollstigen in Åre

Trollstigen (The Troll path) in Åre starts under the rainbow Bifrost, and along the path that follows Mörviksån river, or Susabäcken as it’s also called, you’ll find trolls and other mythical creatures to discover among the stones, branches and roots. Perhaps you’ll spot their gemstones along the 1.3 km long trail. Along the way, there are parts of sagas from the Åre valley, such as the story of Rut in Skut and Jätt in Spjett. The path goes up to Fjällgården Hotel/Bergbanan rail end station, and its equally good to follow upwards as downwards, so you can take the Bergbanan (mountain railway) one way if you like. After having done the hiking path Trollstigen, there are more hiking trails suitable for children around Åre.

Ice cream in Åre

Ice cream magic of different flavours, can be found at Grädda, Åre Bageri, Åre Chokladfabrik, and several others around Åre. Grädda’s ice cream has even been praised in the Ice Cream World Championships. Their ice cream is freshly made daily and crafted from milk from the neighbour, with flavors like blueberry and banana-hazelnut.

Jumpyard in Åre for kids and adults

At Jumpyard in Åre, there’s an array of trampolines, foam pits, climbing walls, and SkiRider, a zip line in the ceiling. For climbing, there are different options like Clip’N Climb, suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers with various courses. If you choose the KilterBoard, the grips light up to guide you to a good climbing path. The Ninja course consists of different stations that you choose yourself, some require balance, and others strength. Mega Ramp is a Big Air jump straight into a deep foam pit. Here, you’ll need to first take a “driver’s license” so you know how to train your tricks properly.

Cykling barn Åre Emrik Jansson
Cykling barn Åre Emrik Jansson
Downhill, cykling i Åre | Foto: Niclas Vestefjell
Downhill, cykling i Åre | Foto: Niclas Vestefjell
Downhill, cykling i Åre | Foto: Niclas Vestefjell

Cycling in Åre

Åre offers a variety of cycling options. “The Dirt” is located just below Grädda in Åre with several hills and jumps for those who like freestyle. Åre Bike Park is Scandinavia’s largest Bike park with 50 km spread over 39 different trails. Seven green trails for easier cycling, eleven blue, and ten black trails for experienced downhill cyclists. Åre Bike Park Trail is located in Åre Björnen with several technical trails to enhance your skills and improve your cycling on the slightly longer trails. There’s also a large Pumptrack inside Åre National Arena, the finish line for major alpine competitions held in winter when the Pumptrack is covered in snow. Bicycles are available for rent at several locations in Åre.

Enjoy the evening together at one of Åre’s pleasant restaurants and find a cozy accommodation at a convenient distance from the railway station.

Take the train from Åre to Storlien. The train journey takes about 45 minutes.


Fjällvandring Snasahögarna Anne Adsten
Plupp och Fjällvandringsbok
Fjällvandring Anne Adsten
STF Storulvån sommar

Mountain adventures in Storulvån

Book a bus ticket in advance from Enafors or from Duved railway station to travel to nature’s own adventure land at the end of the road and amidst the mighty Snasahögarna mountains. STF Storulvån’s mountain station has borrowed its design from a Sami hut, which you can see in the restaurant. From the basement and up through the restaurant and all the way to the ceiling, there’s a climbing route made of slate stones. From Storulvån, you can take day trips, for example, up to the nearest mountain Getryggen and say hello to the 5,700-year-old tree, Old Pompe. You don’t need to be mountain-savvy to come to Storulvån. Here, there’s equipment to rent including mountain wear such as jackets and pants, and experienced guides who can take you on tours in the surroundings. Some weeks are family weeks with extra activities suitable for children.

Pool bad Storliens högfjällshotell
Storlien's high-mountain hotel after a day along the Blomsterleden path.

Adventure in Storlien – On the border to Norway

A truly grand mountain hotel

Storlien’s railway station sits at an elevation of 600 meters above sea level. A little higher up lies Storlien’s mountain hotel with 200 rooms, a swimming pool, restaurants, a bar, cinema, playroom, library, Info point (small scale Tourist Information, which can provide activity suggestions), kiosk, and plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, fishing, and paddling in the mountainous areas around during the summer, and of course, skiing during the winter.
Did you know that the King of Sweden has his own vacation home in Storlien?

Brudslöjan Storlien Anne Adsten
Blomsterleden i Storlien. Foto: Anne Adsten
Blomsterleden i Storlien. Foto: Anne Adsten
Blomsterleden i Storlien. Foto: Anne Adsten
Blomsterleden Storlien Anne Adsten

The waterfall Brudslöjan

An adventurous hike with children is to walk down rocks and stairs to the Brudslöjan waterfall, which lies right on the border to Norway. Another hike is the Blomsterleden trail with over 30 different benches along the way donated by former guests, perfect for little legs that need a break sometimes for some energy replenishment. The entire Blomsterleden trail is 6 km long and loops up through Storlien’s ski slopes past the Temple of the Winds and Ernst Cairn.

Candy party in Storlien

If it’s Saturday or soon to be, we can recommend Fjellhandel in Storlien. There are two grocery stores with super-sized candy sections and plenty of varieties of soda.

Trondheim Anne Adsten
Old warehouses and housing at the Nidelven river in Trondheim, Norway. Photo: Anne Adsten

Make a day trip by train to Norway

Stay in Storlien and take the train for a day trip to Trondheim in Norway. The trainride takes about one hour and fourty minutes one way. For the curious-minded, there’s Trondheim Vitensenter with hands-on experiments, and for those who prefer to swim, there’s Pirbadet with saltwater instead of chlorine. The pools are located right by Trondheim Fjord, so you can swim and play right by the seaside even though you’re indoors. For kids and adults interested in music, Rockheim, the national museum of popular music, is recommended. For culture and history enthusiasts there is the impressive Nidaros Dome with guided tours, the adjacent Dome museum and the Vitenskapsmuseet which tell you about discoveries made by archaeologists in the city center, animals of the area and more. Be sure to taste some seafood before you turn back to Sweden.

From Storlien: Take the train from Storlien to Sundvsall and onward to Umeå. The journey takes about 8 hours.

Skip to content