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If you want to understand something about Umeå without visiting the city, you can ponder these figures. 75,000 people live in the densely built-up areas. Of these 35,000 are students at the university – more than 40 percent. Umeå is one of Sweden’s most important student towns and it leaves its mark on everything from culture, sport and entertainment to intellectual stimulation. Festivals, lectures and concerts are held almost every day. The music scene offers everything from song and jazz recitals to major rock concerts, and the jazz festival is one of the oldest in Europe. Umeå Open is the country’s largest indoor festival with pop, rock and club music, while the Norrland Opera, which works with the Umeå Symphony Orchestra, satisfies the need for classical music. This, along with innovative companies in the fields of biomedicine and IT, create a tangible sense of new thinking, belief in the future and confidence in ”the town of the silver birches”. A large proportion of Sweden’s electric power comes from Västerbotten’s rivers, but for tourists, it is natural that the rivers are interesting for other reasons. The Vindel River, one of the country’s largest unexploited rivers, is just one of the waterways to offer fishing and paddling, while the surrounding countryside lends itself very well to adventures in the wild like Beaver Safari and River Rafting. Umeå is also home to the largest sport and exercise facility in the Nordic region, IKSU, closely linked to the University campus.
In Umeå, with the forests, the sea and the river, lots of exciting outdoor experiences await you just around the corner.
Västerbotten cuisine – with local raw materials such as berries, ’almond potatoes’, mushrooms, reindeer, salmon trout, char, grouse and venison – can be ordered at many restaurants. The orange coloured cloudberry is a popular dessert. They grow in bogs and mosses and are a real delicacy. And don’t miss the pride of the county, and one of its most well known products – Västerbotten cheese.
Cosy cafes and bakeries dot the city, and a good cup of coffee, paired with a Swedish "smörgås" (sandwich), is never too far away.
Most visitors will find that there is no shortage of pleasant locations perfectly fit for an evening drink, some hosting live music sessions. From traditional pubs to swanky cocktail bars, Umeå has it all.
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