It is often said that Dalarna is Sweden’s centrepiece, the “most Swedish province in Sweden.” Dalarna has retained its rural traditions. Its people have collected equipment, furniture, costumes and everyday objects and exhibited them in lovingly maintained home museums. Examples are the Zorn Museum, the open air museum “Zorns Gammelgård”, the Carl Larsson homestead in Sundborn and many old wooden buildings, some of which date back to the 16th century. Even the famous Vasaloppet and the church boat races are an expression of historical consciousness and traditional customs.
The Siljan region
When we think of Dalarna, we think primarily of Lake Siljan, Sweden’s sixth largest lake. The region around the picturesque lake is well developed for tourists.
On the shores of Lake Siljan there are the famous districts of Siljansnäs, Leksand, Rättvik, Tällberg and Mora. In the north, the lake borders on Lake Orsasjön, and the two lakes are connected by a short waterway. Here you will also find Bäcka, Sweden’s longest street village, which is 5 km long.
The Siljan region reminds us of the Black Forest in Germany and the foothills of the Alps. There are flower-filled courtyards, mountain slopes, alpine huts, rural culture and many lakes. Each village has its own character. There are not only farmers, but also writers, painters, musicians, artisans, and last, but not least, many free-spirits and life-artists living here.
The region has a long history. The churches around the Siljan region partly originate from the 13th century. The church in Rättvik is particularly nice due to its magnificent location right on the shore of the lake.
For the music lover we would like to share a tip from VisitSweden US: When you visit the Siljan region, don’t miss an evening in Dalhalla. It is magical! The former limestone quarry outside of Rattvik has become one of the world’s most beautiful outdoor concert venues with its famous acoustics on par with the best opera houses.
In the south, Dalarna consists of the municipalities of Falun, Borlänge, Ludvika (with the ski resort Säfsen), Gagnef, Smedjebacken and Säter, marketed as “Southern Dalarna”.
In and around Ludvika there are industries such as ABB and Spendrups and a major outpost of the Swedish tax authority. The mood in this industrialised region is different from the Siljan area – not as idyllic and inviting, we feel.
Strangely enough, there is a second tourism organisation that calls itself “Southern Dalarna”. The second region comprises the two municipalities of Hedemora and Avesta, which actually lie in the south-east of Dalarna and are part of the mining district “Bergslagen”.
Western and northern Dalarna
To the west and north, there are the municipalities of Vansbro, Idre-Älvdalen and Malung-Sälen. The north has some of the best skiing areas in Sweden, for example Sälen and Idre Fjäll, with an abundance of cosy cottages. Nordic and alpine skiing are equally at home here, but even in the summer you can have a holiday here and enjoy hiking, canoeing, or mountain biking.
Dalarna is a very popular winter destination. Besides Sälenfjällen and Idre Fjäll, which we have already mentioned above, there are resorts such as Säfsen Resorts (in southern Dalarna) and Orsa Grönklitt (north of Lake Orsasjön).
Our recommendations for Dalarna
- Rättvik by Lake Siljan
- Tällberg by Lake Siljan
- Dalarna as a winter destination
- Vasaloppet Summer Week and Winter Week
- Church boat races on Lake Siljan
Hotels in Dalarna and by Lake Siljan
You can book your stay here: Hotels in Dalarna
Among the accommodations offered you will also find hostels, B&Bs, apartments, and camping cabins.
Holiday homes and cottages in Dalarna and by Lake Siljan
You can book your holiday home/cottage here: Holiday homes in Dalarna
The brightly-coloured wooden Dala Horses – that’s Dalarna
Falun, a World Heritage site
Rättvik by Lake Siljan
Leksand Strand by Lake Siljan