9 extraordinary accommodations close to Swedish nature
Swedish architecture and nature often go hand in hand. So what could be better than discovering Sweden's inviting nature while staying at an architectural highlight?
Here are nine unique accommodations, listed from north to south.
Icehotel, Swedish Lapland
Even though parts of it melt away every spring, Icehotel in Swedish Lapland has been an architectural landmark for over 30 years. It’s the world’s first and most famous ice hotel, built from ice blocks pulled out by the nearby Torne River. Inside, the temperature hovers around -5 to -7 ºC (19 to 23 Fahrenheit), regardless of how cold it may be outside. The entire hotel is an art exhibition that attracts artists from all over the world to the village of Jukkasjärvi to build their designs in the crystal-clear ice. A hotel stay won’t get any cooler than this.
Arctic Bath, Swedish Lapland
Wind down with the choice of hot and cold baths at this futuristic arctic spa in Swedish Lapland. Arctic Bath has been recognised by National Geographic as one of the world’s best new hotels for its “breathtakingly brilliant” architecture. Architects Bertil Harström (also behind the equally bombastic and nearby Treehotel) and Johan Kauppi have designed the spa inspired by the log driving that took place here back in the day. Arctic Bath offers cabins on land and water, built with Swedish design using natural and sustainable materials.
Treehotel, Swedish Lapland
In the northern parts of Sweden, in the midst of a pinewood forest, lies this architectural highlight. Let your childhood fantasies come to life in these tree houses, suspended 4-10 metres above the ground. Choose from different designs such as the ‘Mirrorcube’, a 4x4x4 metre cube-shaped tree house covered in reflective glass, or the ‘Bird’s Nest’, designed to look just like a gigantic bird’s nest. Treehotel is the ultimate place to experience forest bathing the Swedish way.
ArkNat, The High Coast
ArkNat is an evolving design concept made up of nine different shelters designed by leading Scandinavian architect students. One of the shelters, known as ‘He’, is an alternative wind shelter for the lone hiker, offering a magnificent view of the surrounding landscapes. Through its architectural two-sidedness, you’re able to change your experience by either tilting the main construction inwards, to get protection by the rock, or open it up for a beautifully framed view towards the northern bay. ArkNat merges nature and architecture, where beautiful spaces allow visitors to connect with themselves and the surrounding nature.
Bergaliv is the place to visit to really unwind from the outside world. Panoramic views stretch along the Ljusnan River Valley, across the neighbouring meadows to the dense forests beyond. This minimalistic cabin, designed by Swedish architect Hanna Michelson, is built over two floors, with the raw interior made from pale ash and birch wood. The first floor is where you’ll find your sleeping accommodation, while the upper floor is an open terrace with magnificent, unobstructed views — the perfect place to meditate.
72 Hour Cabin, West Sweden
A one-hour drive north of Gothenburg, you’ll find Dalsland, home to these unique glass cabins. Designed by architect Jeanna Berger, the cabins offer a perfect place to experience the calming effect of Swedish nature. Choose to stay in a cabin located on a private island overlooking Lake Ånimmen or in a cabin deep in the pine forests. The 72 Hour Cabin is named after the experiment, where handpicked participants experienced 72 hours in one of the cabins as a way to explore the positive effects nature has on stress levels and well-being. Apart from enjoying the spectacular view and the peace and tranquillity of nature, you can also book a wide range of activities to explore Swedish nature further.
Pater Noster, West Sweden
Pater Noster can be found in the west coast archipelago, on the barren island of Hamneskär. It was built in 1868 by acclaimed engineer Gustav von Heidenstam, and for one hundred years, the lighthouse guided ships through these infamous and feared waters. Today, thanks to a couple of enthusiasts who have restored the houses, the island is once again available to the public. Take advantage of this unique chance to experience the previously inaccessible island, with its dramatic nature and accompanied by the lighthouse’s fascinating history.
Fabriken Furillen – Hermit Cabin, Gotland
In the northeastern corner of the island of Gotland, you’ll find the remote peninsula of Furillen. In the wild landscape around Furillen, just a bike ride away, the Hermit Cabin offers a real off-the-grid vacation. Stripped of everything we take for granted, such as Wi-Fi, running water and electricity, an alternative experience is created where you can truly relax in nature. The cosy 10 m2 Hermit Cabin was designed by Mats Theselius and has been recognised by Condé Nast as one of the best digital detox holidays in the world.
Trakt Forest Hotel, Småland
Deep in the forests of southern Sweden, acclaimed architect Gert Wingårdh has conceived five ‘floating rooms’. Placed on pillars to have a minimal impact on the environment, these forest suites that make Trakt Forest Hotel are inspired by traditional Swedish hunting towers used for tracking moose. On the inside, Scandinavian simplicity is combined with luxury comforts and over-dimensioned windows, putting nature in focus no matter the season. A prime example of Swedish architecture in nature.