Infamous among certain naughty youngsters because its name sounds a lot like a Swedish swear word, Gävle (Yerv-luh) is a lively university town that’s been a prosperous industrial centre since the late 19th century, when it exported local timber and iron. Founded in 1446, Gävle is officially Norrland’s oldest town, but not much of its original incarnation remains due to a devastating fire in 1869. A vibrant culinary scene and a host of oddball attractions in and around town appeal to a motley crew of beachgoers, would-be arsonists, whisky connoisseurs and trainspotters, and make Gävle linger-worthy for a day or three.

Coffee-lovers may be surprised to hear that Gevalia Coffee, nowadays a subsidiary of Kraft Foods, was started by Victor Theodore Engwall in Gävle in 1853.