Västervik is a town in the historical province of Småland, along the coast of the Baltic Sea in the southeastern part of Sweden. It is today the seat of the local municipality, which is a part of Kalmar County. The town has today around 21.400 inhabitants and it is a famous summer destination.
Famous people from Västervik include Björn Ulvaaeus, one of the members of the group ABBA. He was born in Gothenburg but grew up in Västervik.
Our Impression of Västervik
This town really seems to come alive during the summer. Apart from the busy marina with its many guests arriving with their boats, there are also many caravan and motorhome travelers who make a stop here, and of course the many locals. It seems to be a place that many people return to each summer, either due to family and friends or because of earlier experiences.
Västervik has plenty of space for sitting down, either at the park benches along the beautiful waterfront or at the many green areas. For anyone looking to swim in the Baltic sea, it is really only a few steps away. This makes it very easy to combine an urban visit with the many activities usually found away from the city center.
A Short History of Västervik
The town of Västervik has its origins a bit further away compared to its current location. The first known mention of Västervik dates back to the 13th century and the town was at the time located where Gamleby is today. As a result of the new town privileges in 1433, the town moved to its current location next to Stegeholm Castle.
The town struggled for the coming century, due to both domestic and international unrest. During the reign of Gustav Vasa, the town began to really develop as a harbor and trade center. A shipyard was built and the harbor was used for the export of timber. Trade continued to flourish and the town became a shipping port for the iron produced in the area of Tjust.
Industrialization arrived in Västervik with the railway at the end of the 19th century. Connections were built to Hultsfred, Norsholm, and Vimmerby. New and old industries during the 20th century included shipyards, the pulp and paper industry, a factory for matches, and other manufacturing industries.
Things to Do and See
There are plenty of restaurants and shops in the center of Västervik and the area around the square Fiskaretorget really comes to life during the summers. Spots for swimming are never far away and there is plenty to explore even in a small town like Västervik.
As of 2023 the possibility for excursions to Visby, on the largest island of Sweden, seems to have been canceled.
Stegeholm Castle Ruin
Stegeholm Castle was a fortified castle dating back to the Middle Ages. It was built to protect the bay at which Gamleby is today located. The castle was meant to protect Västervik after the move of the town in 1433. It was, however, burned by Danish forces in 1517. After it was rebuilt it stayed in use until it was once more destroyed in 1677. Today it is possible to explore the small part of the castle’s ruins that are still standing.
Västervik Museum & Naturum Västervik
Both the museum and Naturum are on the other side of Stegeholm compared to the center of the town. Västervik Museum has local and regional exhibitions, including an exhibition about the local naval history. Naturum Västervik invites its visitors to explore the surrounding nature and has exhibitions to teach about the local flora and fauna, with a focus on the Baltic Sea.
Båtsmansstugorna is a small quarter with old red buildings. These were built in the 18th century to house the local sailors enlisted in the Swedish navy. Today they house a café during the summer.
Saint Petri Church
Known as Sankt Petri Kyrka in Swedish, this is one of the main churches in the town. It was inaugurated in 1905 and is today a part of Västervik Congregation, a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.
Saint Gertrud Church
This church is known as Sankta Gertrud Kyrka in Swedish. It was built after the move of the town in 1433 and completed sometime during the 1450s. It is today a part of Västervik Congregation, a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.
Västerviks IK & Plivit Arena
Västerviks IK is the local ice hockey club currently playing in Hockeyallsvenskan, the second-tier league in Sweden. The team was founded in 1971 and is currently (as of 22/23) in its seventh season in Hockeyallsvenskan after advancing to the league in 2016.
The team plays its home games at Plivit Arena. The arena was built in 1984 and is able to house 2.500 spectators, making it the 40th largest in Sweden when it comes to ice hockey.
How to Get to Västervik
- Flights: The closest airport is Oskarshamn Airport (OSK), 58 kilometers to the south.
- Car: Västervik is on road E22 between Gamleby and Oskarshamn.
- Bus: Buses from Kalmar Länstrafik connect Västervik with the surrounding area.
- Train: Krösatåg has trains between Västervik and Linköping.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 261 kilometers (2 h 58 min)
- Gothenburg – 309 kilometers (3 h 49 min)
- Malmö – 372 kilometers (4 h 42 min)
- Linköping – 83 kilometers (1 h 13 min)
- Kiruna – 1491 kilometers (17 h 6in min)