Situation and characteristicsDalarna (also known in English as Dalecarlia) lies in central Sweden northwest of Stockholm, extending to the Norwegian frontier. From Stockholm to Lake Siljan is about 260km/160mi. It is one of the most popular tourist areas in Sweden, with its colorful little wooden horses providing favorite souvenirs.TopographyThis wooded upland region watered by the Västerdalälv and the Ästerdalälv is one of the most attractive parts of Sweden, with its fertile valleys, the beautiful Lake Siljan and the rugged hills to the northwest.Dalarna began to attract visitors in the mid-19th century. It offers good walking and fishing, facilities for various water sports and, in winter, skiing. Midsummer night is celebrated with particular enthusiasm on Lake Siljan, the "heart of Sweden", though the occasion has lost much of its original charm; visitors are likely to see the celebrations at their best in the smaller towns and villages.HistoryThe people of Dalarna are noted for their bravery and love of freedom. In 1434 Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson led a peasant rising against the then ruler of the area, Eric of Pomerania; then in 1520 Gustav Eriksson called on his countrymen to rise against the Danish king Christian II, and in 1523 was crowned as king of Sweden under the style of Gustavus I Vasa. In the early days of the rising Gustavus was compelled to flee to Norway: an event still commemorated in the Vasa Run (Vasaloppet), a cross-country ski run of 85.8km/53.3miles between Sälen and Mora held every year at the beginning of March (first run in 1922).EconomyThe land rises towards the Norwegian frontier to a height of some 1,200t, and around 20,050sq.km/7,740sq.mi (72% of the total area of Dalarna) are covered by forest. In addition to agriculture and forestry (woodworking industry) there is mining (iron smelting; steelworks) in the southwest of the region. In the old mining town of Falun the red Falu paint with which so many Swedish houses are now painted was originally merely a by-product of copper-mining.
Visitors touring the area around Dalarna will want to start in Avesta. Some of the highlights include Borlange, Djurás, and the tourist town of Furudal.