Prefer downhill skiing on quiet pistes, or cross-country on secluded trails? Then Sweden has what you’re looking for. Åre is the largest ski area in Scandinavia – and we have some top hotels for you to choose from.
With 100km (62mi) of slopes and more than 1,000 acres (405ha) of terrain, Åre, above Åresjön lake, has plenty of options if you want to get away from the overcrowded Alps. The slopes aren’t busy, and you’ll often find yourself on wide, tree-lined runs. The Björnen area is designed for beginners, while Duved favours the more advanced. The accommodation options, meanwhile, are scenic – indeed some of them are quite remarkable, given the size of the town.
Built in 1895, Åregården, in the centre of town, is the oldest hotel in Åre. It has an air of old-school exclusivity about it – the living room features original paintings from 1918 by Paul Jonze and the interior design is by Carl Malmsten. The best is what’s outside, though – the views over Lake Åresjön, and the ski lifts, which are only 100m (328ft) away. For your evening entertainment there’s a choice of two restaurants (try the Arctic char for a main) and the hotel even has its own nightclub.
There are hotels near the slopes, and then there’s Hotell Fjällgården Åre, which is up the mountain surrounded by hills and forests, just metres from the lifts. The hotel is connected back to the town centre by the Åre Bergbana, which is free for guests and takes only seven minutes. The hotel has outdoor hot tubs with a view across the valley, a restaurant with modern alpine chic and après-ski including a downhill race with a rock band.
At the top of the Förberget, in Björnen, 730m (2,395ft) above sea level, you’ll find Copperhill Mountain Lodge. Designed by American architect Peter Bohlin, Copperhill is an internationally recognised design hotel, and is located where the roads end and the snow-covered slopes begin. Copperhill is primarily built using natural materials, making it one of Europe’s largest wooden structures. The spa has also been named as one of Europe’s best – with a scenic outdoor pool looking onto Mount Åreskutan. Think style for miles.
Åre Mountain Lodge consists of four beautiful apartments — two six-person and two eight-person, each with a big, open-plan living room and kitchen, a fireplace, drying cupboards and a sauna. Outside terraces and balconies look over both Lake Åresjson and the Renfjället (Reindeer Mountain). The apartments are in Åre Björnen, a part of the slopes designed for families, but there are plenty of connections to the rest of the 90km (56mi) of slopes too.
Granen is a hotel run by skiers, for skiers. It’s halfway between the town centre and the stunning nature of Jämtland, where there’s skiing and hiking aplenty. You just have to ask the staff to find out about all the best hidden ski spots. The meat served in the restaurant comes from local farms, and offers an inventive take on Swedish home cooking. There’s also a fantastic wine selection – a reward for a big day outdoors.
Buustamons is an environmentally focused hotel on the tree line of Ullådalen, 730m (2,395ft) above sea level and halfway up Åreskutan – what a very Swedish sentence. It offers everything from twin rooms with wall-mounted bunks to self-catering cottages and apartments. What we love best is that it goes beyond using local produce in its restaurants: there’s a distillery in the basement where they make their own vodka and schnapps, with fresh mountain water and local herbs and spices.
A family-owned hotel dating back to the early 20th century, Hotell Kallgården is in the town of Kall, with great views of Kalldalen, Åreskutan and Kallsjön. It’s 30 minutes from the skiing in Åre, but the nearby Huså ski slope boasts some of Sweden’s best off-piste. The hotel is a traditional place, quiet and cosy. There’s access to floodlit cross-country ski trails and snowmobile safaris, as well as Icelandic horseriding and winter fishing.
The highlight of Åre Bed & Breakfast is the beauty of the rooms. They’re not enormous, but they are cosy – so much so that it would be hard to pry yourself out of bed in the mornings, if it wasn’t for the snowy pistes beckoning outside. The bedrooms are rustic, with alpine wood and wildlife-themed decor. The B&B is 1km (0.6mi) from the Åre Kabinbanan ski lift and 1km (0.6mi) from the town centre.
Health and wellbeing comes first at Millestgården, a lodge on the bank of a river and at the foot of a mountain. It’s more about homey vibes here than elegance. Ensuites are available, but many rooms share bathrooms, and organic, natural materials are used throughout. Food is locally sourced and organic, with daily veggie options. While it’s nearer Duved than Åre, you’re only a 15-minute drive away and there are plenty of great hikes, skiing and fishing options even closer.