Swedes love to spend their free time by doing sports! In most cities in Sweden there are plenty of options for staying in shape and to have fun. I wanted to show you the best options from Umeå. I haven’t tested all of them, but wanted to list activities beyond my interests, as we all like to do different things. So if you come to Umeå to study or just for a visit, here are some fun activities to do. I wanted to first introduce the biggest sports center, Iksu, as it is the place where almost all the students go, but I’ll talk about other options as well. Enjoy!
Gym is probably considered the most basic training form these days. There are several gyms around Umeå with good facilities and group training classes. The most suitable one depends on your preferred location, the atmosphere you’re looking for and the activities you want to do there. Also the opening hours vary, but in general the opening hours are really good and suit most peoples’ needs.
The largest and most popular place for going to gym in Umeå is Iksu it’s one of the largest sports facilities in Europe with three different facilities, Iksu Sport, Iksu Plus and Iksu Spa. Iksu Sport is the largest one and it’s located right next to Umeå University campus, which makes it really popular among students.
You can access all the activities at Iksu Sport and Iksu Plus with the same membership card. Iksu Sport is a very complete facility, they have a big gym, various group training classes from Zumba to boxing, swimming pool and even wall climbing. The classes are taught in Swedish, but most of them are easy to manage just by looking at what the instructor is doing. Some instructors ask if there is anyone who doesn’t speak Swedish at the beginning of the class. Group training classes are also a good way to learn more Swedish.
I really like the classes they have as there is so much to choose from. The earliest start around 7 am and the latest around 8 pm, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a morning or evening person. They also have courses in other sports, such as basketball, volleyball, or martial arts.
If you’re in Umeå during the winter and want to make to most of it, try skiing (or snowboarding)! There is a skiing hill called Bräntberget, which is conveniently located in the middle of Umeå. If you prefer bigger hills, you might want to rent a car and drive a few hundred kilometers further north.
Cross-country skiing might be a bit easier option to begin skiing. There are skiing tracks around the city so you can choose the right length and track that is suitable for your skiing style. You can search for tracks here, though the site is only in Swedish. If you want to rent skis or ice skates, there is an outdoor sports store at Iksu Sport that offers rental equipment.
Another winter sport option common here is ice skating. During the winter you can do it outdoors, a popular place for ice skating in a nice environment is Nydala lake. Many schools have ice rinks during winter that are open for public outside the school hours. I’ve also seen people ice skating and playing hockey on the pond outside the business school I study at.
Yoga seems to be really popular everywhere in Sweden. There are yoga classes available at Iksu and in addition there is a number of private yoga schools at various locations in Umeå. Here are links to few of them:
Norrlands kungliga yoga center
This was one of the first things I looked up after being accepted to Umeå University. I did pole dancing in Finland for a couple of years before moving here and wanted to continue with it. There is a good pole dancing studio in Umeå, however, for most students the location is not very convenient, as it is quite far from the university and student residence areas. When arriving here I chose to start going to Iksu because it felt natural, as almost everyone goes there, but really missed pole dancing. Now when the snow is melting and I can easily bike again I decided to take a pole dancing course, it’ll start next Monday!
Megazone / Laser tag
Not necessarily considered a sport, but definitely a fun activity to do with your friends. There’s a megazone place in the city center with really cool facilities for playing laser tag. They also have indoor paint ball and escape rooms if you like solving problems and working as a team.
For sure there is more to do out there, but these were some really popular ones I wanted to share with you. There is plenty of nature around Umeå, so if you’re into hiking, running, or swimming in a lake, it’s completely free and a lot of fun!
Featured image: Sara Ingman