Sweden is a year-round delight, as stunning under mid-summer sunshine as it is under mid-winter snow. Days linger deliciously on and on under a warm light, and spending them by the sea and immersed in the country’s rural beauty is truly special. On this summertime getaway, you’ll begin on the Luleå Archipelago, exploring its thousand-strong collection of islands from a waterfront lodge. Scandinavian forests, too, are the stuff of fairy tales – something perfectly realised by your stay in the Treehotel and the ICEHOTEL 365. You’ll compare frozen masterpieces to canopy-level art installations.
Day 1: Arrive at Brändön Lodge, Luleå
Luleå is a thing of Scandinavian dreams, islands floating in a pristine sea – an utterly unspoilt archipelago. Following your flight, you’ll pick up your hire car at the airport to make the scenic, coastal drive to Brändön Lodge, sited idyllically right on the seashore. Each of its cabins look over long sea views and dreamy islands. In turn, interiors are as rustic as they should be in a place of more trees than people – there are only about 100 residents dotted about this vast archipelago. Back at base, each cabin has two bedrooms, a sitting room and, perhaps most importantly, a covered porch overlooking the waves.
Day 2: Kayaking on the Luleå Archipelago
The best way to explore the archipelago is by water, so we’ve included a kayak tour of the clear seas and islands. Striking out from Rörbäck harbour, you’ll paddle through the peaceful wilderness, watching out for bird and sea life. You’ll also pause for lunch at Lappö, a picturesque island lined with those wooden red fishermen’s houses so typical of coastal Sweden. There’s also fabulous hiking to be had here, through ancient forests, before heading back over to the harbour at Rörbäck and the comforts of your cabin.
Day 3: The Treehotel
In striking contrast to the low-lying seashore cabins at Luleå, the lofty rooms at the award-winning Treehotel make for the perfect escapist’s stay in Sweden’s wilder reaches. Nestled among the leaves, they overlook a stunning river valley – explored on ranging hikes – and are an experience in themselves. Choose between the likes of a floating mirrored cube, an eighties-inspired UFO and the rustic Bird’s Nest – a bundle of twigs suspended among the canopy. You’ll arrive via a scenic drive inland, plunging through green forests and following the Hedavan River. And, your included dinner here is just as special, typically Swedish and totally fresh and tantalising.
Day 4: The ICEHOTEL 365, Art Suite
After breakfast under the branches, continue north to the equally stunning ICEHOTEL 365. Here, you’ll swap treetop living for the delights of your very own Art Suite – a unique room entirely carved from ice. Expect sweeping curves and ethereally lit sculptures. It’s all made possible by the power of the Midnight Sun, with the entire hotel ironically powered, and in turn refrigerated, thanks to solar panels. You’ll also have the chance to have a drink in the entirely frozen ICEBAR – the perfect end to a day spent exploring with everything from bike rides to river rafting.
Day 5: Depart for UK
Today you’ll be woken with a hot lingonberry juice before warming back up with a sauna visit. Then, linger over a last Scandinavian breakfast before driving the short distance to the nearby airport for flight home.
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