A Winter Wonderland Getaway to Harads, Sweden
Visiting Stockholm or the Swedish Lapland? Harads, a charming village with only 600 people situated just south of the Arctic circle, is the perfect destination to add on for some ultimate bucket-list winter adventures. From a treehouse to a spa hotel floating on a river, the hotels in Harads will take your breath away for an idyllic winter wonderland getaway. Lulea Airport is only roughly an hour from Harads and has direct flights to Stockholm, Paris, London and Dusseldorf, making it an ideal long weekend getaway or add-on to a Northern Europe itinerary. From dogsledding to snowmobiling to viewing the Northern Lights, the number of winter activities available to you in this region is endless! Because the Northern Lights cannot be guaranteed, the longer you are able to stay close to the Arctic Circle, the more opportunities for viewing you will have.
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Modern suspended treehouses with an on-site bar and restaurant set among the trees in Harads, Sweden.
Design-forward "floating" hotel with warm wooden cabins and a state-of-the-art spa in the heart of Swedish Lapland.
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Day 1: Arrive in Sweden and check-in to Treehotel
After landing at Lulea Airport (LLA), collect your luggage and meet your driver. Ten minutes into your drive, make a pit stop at Cape Wild, a wildlife park featuring a moose & reindeer park. These moose and reindeer are used to humans and very friendly. You can pet them, take some pictures, and even feed them snacks.
Continue on with your drive for another hour and get dropped off at Treehotel. This bucket-list property is built into the pine trees above Lule River and is perfectly located to offer prime Northern Light viewing opportunities. Each room at this property is unique and designed by different prominent architects from throughout Scandinavia. Each room is suspended in the trees 13 - 30 feet above the ground. Will you choose the Biosphere, a glass sphere made up of 350 birdhouses, the Mirrorcube, a cube that reflects the nature around it with its mirrored walls, a human-sized bird's nest, a UFO-shaped room, or one of the other 8 rooms? Make sure to reserve as far in advance as possible as there is only one of each room type available.
After you settle in and take many photos of your unique room, get ready to warm up with your pre-booked forest sauna experience. This two-hour experience will allow you to relax in a sauna and hot tub out in the forest! It also includes local snacks, cold drinks and beer or cider so you can enjoy your time in the forest spa.
Head back to the hotel restaurant for your three-course dinner. Dinner here will feature all kinds of local Swedish delicacies specific to this region, whether it’s wild game, hand-picked berries or local produce.
After dinner, get ready to head out with the hopes of viewing the Northern Lights. Hop into a sled towed by a snowmobile to venture further into the wilderness, away from any artificial lights. While you are out in nature, enjoy freshly baked pastries and hot beverages while you wait for the chance to see the dancing Aurora Borealis.
Day 2: Dog sledding and dinner under the stars
After you wake up, enjoy a fresh, local, and seasonal breakfast in the hotel restaurant to fuel up for the day's activities. Then, get geared up for another winter adventure.
Jump into your transfer to Laplandhusky´s homestead in Krokfors where you will meet Alaskan huskies! After receiving safety instructions on how to drive your own dogteam, you will embark on a 22 km ride in a shared sled, with one person driving the dogteam and one sitting in the sled. At the halfway point, you will stop to rest, eat lunch prepared over an open fire, take photos and cuddle with the dogs.
When you get back to the hotel in the mid-afternoon, head to one of the hotel’s saunas to warm up after your day outside.
Today, enjoy a more adventurous dinner under the stars on a frozen lake. You will start the evening with a 10-minute snowmobile ride along a frozen lake. You will arrive at a heated tipi tent lit by torches and candles on an ice-covered lake. You sit on reindeer skins while enjoying a fantastic 3-course dinner over two and a half hours. While you are dining, you will have a chance to see the Northern Lights, easily viewed right outside your tipi. Not interested in braving the cold? The hotel can also arrange for you to enjoy a three-course dinner 10 meters high up in a tree as well.
Day 3: Outdoor expedition and check-in to Arctic Bath
After you wake up, enjoy another delicious breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Return to your room and pack up your belongings so you are ready to go at checkout. Next, gear up for another day of winter adventures.
Next, a guide will pick you up at the guesthouse. The expedition starts with an educational tutorial where your guide will teach you about safety and how to handle the snowmobiles. You’ll then jump on your snowmobile to begin touring the forest landscape and the snow-covered pine forests. Keep your eyes peeled! You have good chances of seeing moose, reindeer and other wildlife on your drive. At the halfway point, the group will stop for an outdoor lunch and hot beverages, enjoyed while sitting on reindeer skins around a campfire.
Once you return, grab your belongings and take a transfer to your next hotel, Arctic Bath. This hotel is built according to wellness principles and nature is incorporated into the rooms and activities. The hotel is most well-known for its water cabins, which float on the Lule river and are connected to the shore via a floating walkway. The hotel also offers suite cabins, which are elevated on poles and situated on the shore among vegetation connected by walkways. Each suite cabin has a private deck for guests to meditate or enjoy their morning coffee and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows to revel in the nature around you. Traveling with a group? The property also has land cabins, elevated on poles, with a loft that can fit up to five adults and a private deck.
At check-in, you will receive a spa kit that includes a bathrobe, bathing suit or shorts and some spa products from a local brand, all of which you get to keep. After you get settled into your room, head back to the wellness center. The hotel is centered around its wellness center, a circular floating building that looks like an art installation made of wood to blend into nature. The wellness center embraces the local cold bath culture in combination with warm saunas, known as JULEVÄDNO. This ritual involves the combination of two dry saunas, one steam sauna, two outdoor jacuzzis, and an open-air cold pool in the center of the circle. Access to the wellness center is included in the room rate. You can also enjoy spa treatments at an additional charge, including massages, facial or a leg and foot treatment.
After you are thoroughly relaxed from the spa, head to the Scandinavian-designed hotel restaurant for dinner. The Arctic Culinary Dinner Experience is a set five-course menu, inspired by the natural surroundings and local products. The food here is made with local, sustainable and homemade ingredients, when possible, and is influenced by traditional northern cuisine with a modern twist.
After dinner, strap some snowshoes on to join the Evening Snowshoe Safari. After a brief instruction from your guide on how to use the snowshoes, you will embark on an evening hike in the forest. After looking for tracks and wildlife, you will find a good spot to enjoy local delicacies and hot drinks. Borrow a tripod from the hotel; your guide can give you advice on how to set up your camera and take some memorable photos of the night sky and hopefully some northern lights.
Day 4: Moose Safari and quiet afternoon
After you wake up, head to the restaurant for an a la carte breakfast. You have an early morning pickup for your moose safari! During this 2.5 hour tour, you will journey into the forest with an experienced guide in a 4 x 4 vehicle to look for opportunities to snap photos of the king of the forest: the moose. You will take a break midway through this tour for a warm beverage and some pastries.
When you return to the hotel, enjoy lunch at the hotel.
After lunch, enjoy an afternoon at your leisure. You could relax while enjoying the beauty of the property, visit the spa again, take a tour of Harads village, take a yoga or meditation class or enjoy another winter activity.
Day 5: Head to your next destination
After enjoying breakfast and packing, take your transfer back to Lulea airport to continue on to your next destination. If you have extra time before you have to be at the airport, stop at Gammelstad Church Town on the way. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a church town where the city of Lulea was founded in the 17th century. It includes a medieval stone church, hundreds of small red church cottages and an open-air museum.
Have more days to spend in this winter wonderland? There are so many other winter adventures you can enjoy. You can go foraging to learn about local greens, herbs and berries, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, horse riding, sled rides to visit villages and Sami tribes and even multi-day dog sledding expeditions.
Need to Know
For more Sweden travel tips, check out my guide to Stockholm, Sweden: A Winter Weekend Guide to Stockholm, Sweden.
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