Untamed and Changing Skylines – Visit Sweden
Experience the scenic beauty of Sweden off the beaten path and view new horizons and changing skylines in the latest news from Visit Sweden as we explore the places and people across the Country from different perspectives.
The “High Coast” and “Bergman Island” tackle pressing global challenges
On the annual list of 52 Places to Visit around the World, New York Times beckons us off the beaten path on every continent. The 2022 edition is marked by profound global change – and not necessarily for the better. Rather than simply focusing on scenic beauty, editors highlight destinations that tackle pressing global challenges such as climate change and over-tourism. One Swedish region, Höga Kusten – The High Coast – has made the selection. NYT editor Ingrid K. Williams writes:
“Swedes have long sought solitude in the untamed northern region known as Höga Kusten, or the High Coast, for its dramatic cliffs and pristine archipelago. With more than 100 nature preserves, a national park and hundreds of miles of trails, this wilderness refuge is a draw for hikers, cross-country skiers and mountaineers seeking the path less trodden, breath-taking vistas and uncrowded campsites. A dedication to sustainable tourism, including a pledge to make the area fully carbon-neutral by 2030, promises to protect the future of the coast, its beautiful lakes and its old-growth forests. Last summer, new electric buses began ferrying hikers from nearby towns to the park’s entrance. To inspire hikers to appreciate the surrounding nature, the ArkNat architecture project has built several sculptural huts along the trails.”
Further to the south, the island of Fårö in the Baltic Sea also gets a mention. More specifically the drama “Bergman Island” made it to the paper’s Best Movies of 2021 list. The film is set on the island where the famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) lived and worked for many years. The film follows a filmmaker couple (played by Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth) who come to Fårö just north of the island of Gotland, itself off mainland Sweden’s southeastern coast, in search of inspiration as they write their own screenplays. Against the backdrop of the rocky landscape, truth and fiction begin to blur. The feature film, written and shot by French director Mia Hansen-Løve, evokes the raw beauty of Fårö and reminds us that we too can come here to walk in the great director’s footsteps and of course write one’s own stories.
Here are just some of the places to consider when planning your visit:
Ulvö Hotell http://www.ulvohotell.se/en/
Hotell Höga Kusten www.hotellhoga-kusten.se/en
Hotell Hallstaberget www.hallstaberget.se/
Suggestions for accommodation that is a little different:
Högbonden Lighthouse www.hogbondenfyr.se/eng/
Fårögården SEK 1250 per night in a double room B&B for 2 people including cleaning Sudersand resort SEK 1650 per night, min 2-night stay in a cottage for 4 people (suitable for families). Meal, bed linen, and cleaning are available at an extra cost.
Gåsemora SEK 1300 per night in a 3-bed apartment. Meal, bed linen, and cleaning are available at an extra cost. A variety of accommodation types are available here including staying in a mill, a house dating back to the 1700s or a cottage on the beach etc.
Strandakar SEK 1895 per night B&B. A hotel situated on southeast Gotland, beautifully located by the beach in Herta.
Three Pheasants The accommodation with the best rating according to Tripadvisor. From SEK 1400 B&B in a double room.
Villa Alma SEK 1880 per night B&B. A hotel in a stunning location by Almedalen. The new oweners have renovated the hotel to something quite special with the standards and service expected by their international guests.
Take Off under the Northern Lights: Hot air ballooning in Swedish Lapland
The Outpost, a lodge in the tiny village of Mårdsel in Swedish Lapland is offering hot air balloon rides over the surrounding arctic winter wonderland starting in February. Guests are invited to take part in preparations and take-off. Below the gondola, the pristine icy landscape of the Råne river valley and its snow-covered forests glitter. Upon landing, passengers and crew raise a champagne toast before heading in for a warm lunch.
Evening tours are also in the works and promise pure magic: Far away from the light pollution of the big cities the starry sky unfolds, the Milky Way emerges and, with a little luck, you will see northern lights dancing across the pitch-black firmament.
The Outpost Lodge is located in a seven-person village north of Luleå, not far from the Arctic Circle. It offers authentic, comfortable, family-run accommodations with a flair, amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The house menu serves up local delicacies and the hosts personally accompany their visitors on unforgettable adventures.
The associated Aurora Safari camp is an hour’s drive further south: The world’s first glamping facility adapted to arctic conditions. Here guests can live in heated tents – or “lavvu” as the Sami call them. On the frozen Råne River, there is a “floating” sauna where guests who are so inclined can jump into a precut hole in the ice to cool off. Snowshoes, fat bikes, skis and kick sleds are all available for further outdoor adventures.
February and March are an ideal time to visit Lapland as the longer days offer enough light for excursions, while the nights are still dark and long enough to see northern lights. Classic local activities such as snowmobile tours, dog sled rides and ski trips make any stay in Swedish Lapland unforgettable.
A 3-day package staying at Aurora Safari Camp and The Outpost Lodge, including balloon flight (only in March 2023) costs from 24,000 SEK per person.
A Home on the Horizon – The “Pater Noster” lighthouse wins award for best hotel concept
The AHEAD Awards for Hospitality, Experience and Design are some of the most coveted in the international hotel and hospitality industry. In November 2021, the exceptional west coast hostel Pater Noster – A home on the horizon, won the AHEAD award for best hotel concept in Europe, thereby qualifying for the global prize in the same category.
In January the 80-person jury selected the remote lighthouse accommodations, tastefully redesigned by Swedish design agency Stylt Trampoli, as the winner of the AHEAD Global New Concept Award. This prize rewards the world’s best overall concept that combines architecture, design and experience.
“The fact that a small lighthouse keeper’s cabin on the Swedish west coast can attract billions of dollars in investments and win the title of world’s best hotel concept tells you a lot about what type of experience people consider luxurious these days,” says Erik Nissen Johansen, founder and creative director of Stylt.
“The island sets the tone. Catch your own dinner and learn about the dramatic history of the place. The location heightens the senses and serves up some truly unique experiences.”
Since it opened in the summer of 2020, the Pater Noster hostel on the island of Hamneskär has garnered attention worldwide. The hosts emphasize the history of the place, the work and life of the lighthouse keepers that once inhabited it, rather than the boutique amenities.
“Pater Noster has brought the Swedish west coast onto the radar internationally,” says Fredrik Lindén, managing director of the West Sweden Tourist Board. “The lodge is a world-class destination that distils so much of what makes this region special in one place.”
Travelling to the rocky island is an adventure in itself. The boat glides past the island of Marstrand and the 17th-century stone fortress of Carlsten, built on the orders of King Carl X to protect the newly acquired province of Bohuslän. Feeling the waves gives you a sense of why the lighthouse was named “Pater Noster,” the Latin name for the Lord’s Prayer which countless sailors have surely recited for help and protection as they navigated these waters.
Built in 1868 this “king among lighthouses” aided them in navigating the dreaded straits on the border of Skagerrak and Kattegat for over a century. The lighthouse was retired in 1977 after which it lay abandoned for decades. Thanks to the enthusiasts who restored the buildings, it is once again possible to live on Hamneskär. If you enjoy the ocean, are looking to get away from it all and want an unforgettable experience, you can’t go wrong here.
Prices from 6 500 SEK person in a double room with full board and welcome drink, guided tour around the island, lighthouse visits, bathing in saltwater barrels, sauna bath, bathrobe, towel & slippers. The lighthouse keeper’s homemade breakfast, hot lunch, seafood dinner with good accessories, coffee & dessert are served. Rainwear and fishing clothes from Grundén can be borrowed on the island. Rent your own island, contact Pater Noster for details.
Transport to the island: Pater Noster offer helicopter service and RIB transfer which are booked separately.
Sustainable Comfort: Take the “snow train” through Sweden’s winter wonderland
Sweden’s Inlandsbanan or the inland railway has a cult following in Sweden: its route cuts through 800 miles of the Swedish interior from Kristinehamn on lake Vänern in southern Sweden to Gällivare in Lapland. The trip is not just a summer experience; some sections are in service even during the colder months. Dubbed “Snötåget,” or the snow train, the winter route between Mora and Östersund will be served daily until April 24 (five hours each way). Halfway, travellers can catch a bus to several popular ski resorts in the region of Vemdalen: Vemdalsskalet, Björnrike, Klövsjö and Storhogna. In addition, the departure and arrival times in Mora coordinate with night trains to Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. This makes the snow train not just an environmentally friendly travel option, but also one that is safe and comfortable through the Nordic winter.
A single journey between Mora and Östersund costs 311 SEK for an adult.
Of course, Inlandsbanan is not the only train to the Swedish mountains. The extremely popular ski resort of Åre and the neighbouring town of Duved have long been served by the Swedish National Railway SJ, whose winter timetable is valid until March 20th.
Mats Almgren, director of commercial traffic at SJ says that sales have seen a real increase again after a dip during the pandemic.
“We hope that sales for the ski season will reinforce this trend and get more people to choose the train for their winter travel.”
SkiStar, a company that operates seven ski resorts in Sweden, Norway and Austria, welcomes this low-emission travel opportunity. By 2030 they aim to halve the carbon footprint left by guests and employees travelling to and from their hotels.
Swedes enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle year-round, “One of SkiStar’s core values is to facilitate this,” says sustainability manager Fanny Sjödin “With our sustainability strategy, we want to help our guests to continue to enjoy the wonderful mountains in the future.”
On Ancient Trails: Cross country ski race Vasaloppet celebrates 100 years
They say history is written by the victors, but when it comes to Vasaloppet perhaps it would be more apt to say it is written by the stragglers.
Over the years a total of 1,700,000 athletes have pushed their limits between Sälen and Mora, along the route that the soon-to-be Swedish king Gustav Ericsson Vasa skied as he fled the troops of Danish king Christian II in the winter of 1521, leading to a series of events that would make Sweden an independent nation.
This year marks the centennial of this cross country ski event in its modern form. The first race took place in 1922 when Anders Pers, the editor-in-chief of a local paper had the idea of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Sweden’s secession from the Kalmar Union with a national skiing competition, following the king’s route between Mora and Sälen.
Pers had an ulterior motive: He felt that the comforts of modern life had made Swedes too sedentary. He considered this a great peril that must be fought in the name of public health. Be that as it may, the Vasaloppet has since evolved from a purely competitive race into an event that attracts elite skiers, sports clubs and amateur athletes alike.
As is the custom, this year’s anniversary race will take place over several days: Between February 25 and March 6 skiers can choose from a dozen different distances and formats, including relay races, shortened versions and the 90-kilometre classic on the last day. Millions of viewers and amateur athletes tune in via television and some may be inspired to try it themselves one day.
In addition to the ski races, there are also events for cyclists and runners along the same route once the snow has melted: The Cykelvasan [Bike Vasa] and the Ultravasan, the latter an event for ultramarathon runners, which can be combined with a summer vacation in Dalarna. The region is often regarded as quintessentially Swedish in terms of folklore and tradition with its red houses, hand-carved wooden horses and unspoiled nature with the perfect mix of wilderness and accessibility.
When Northern Europe’s biggest mountain bike race Cykelvasan is held in 2022, it will be during Vasaloppet’s 100th anniversary year. Cykelvasan, a race that saw the light of day in 2009, welcomes cyclists from all over the world to the 90 km historic Vasaloppet Arena, located in the county of Dalarna in central Sweden. “Biking Dalarna” is Sweden’s largest mountain biking paradise.
Registration for Vasaloppet’s Summer Week 2022 opens on September 26, 2021 at Vasaloppet’s website www.vasaloppet.se/en
NEW 100-metre skyscraper hotel to become Gothenburg skyline landmark – Jimmy´z
Jimmy´z is set to open on 1st November 2022 and will be the (much) larger sister to boutique hotel Pigalle & Bellora, also created by Ess Group. It’s a new world-class resort with a focus on experiences for every mood. Various restaurants, a multi theatre and concert hall, a sky bar and a Miami inspired pool club on the 28th floor are just some of the many things that you can enjoy at Jimmy’z, which will be one of Sweden’s most spectacular hotels. Did someone mention the speakeasy bar that no one else knows where it is located… or? https://jimmyzhotel.com/
Way Out West Music Festival 11–13 August
Since 2007, WOW music festival in Gothenburg´s Slottsskogen central city park has been known to be Sweden’s most sustainable and will now be the world’s first climate transparent music festival. The program consists of a mix of the biggest world stars, the most interesting newcomers, movie premiers, challenging conversations, good vegetarian food and much more. This year’s headline consists of Swedish artists First Aid Kit along with Dave, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Burna Boy among many others. https://www.wayoutwest.se/wow/sustainability/
NEW Gothenburg Restaurant: Bulot – opens in May 2022
While at Way Out West take a moment to savor one of the many incredible restaurants the city has to offer. Bulot, will open in central Gothenburg in May 2022 and will be a casual fine dining restaurant run by international Michelin chefs Gabriel Melim Andersson and Emil Bjelke. As with the music festival, sustainability is a core value here too and until the restaurant opens at Norra Hamngatan in May, you can visit the very popular pop-up version ‘Bar Bulot’ in Gothenburg market hall.