PRE 11: Wolves Moose & Beavers in the Forests of Central Sweden

Join this fantastic pre summit adventure with focus on Sweden’s large wildlife. Watch moose, beavers and many other wild amimals during evening excursions. Stay two nights at Färna Manor & Spa and one night in rustic cabins at Kolarbyn Ecolodge, also called Sweden’s most primitive hotel.
— Marcus Eldh, founder of WildSweden
 
 

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Spend three nights in the pristine boreal forest of central Sweden experiencing our largest and most fascinating wildlife in their natural habitat.

This adventure involves walking, boating, canoeing and driving excursions to see moose, beavers and other wildlife like roe deer, mountain hare and even lynx. A highlight of the trip is when we head out to listen for wolves in the dark!

There will also be some time for you to relax at Färna Manor & Spa. This hotel is a big favourite among our guests! Here you can disconnect on a walk in the garden, relax at the spa or use the wifi to catch up on emails. It's such a relaxing place and nature is right at your doorstep ready for you to explore.

The forests surrounding Skinnskatteberg have proven to be one of the best areas in Sweden to watch and photograph wildlife. Our guides have vast knowledge and experience of all animals in these forests, how to track them, and most importantly, how to observe them respectfully without disturbing.

Wildlife is most active in the evenings, and that's when we head out on exciting excursions with a particular animal in mind. We begin with a mission to watch for moose. These majestic animals are elusive, but we've proud to say that we've seen them on nearly every trip for the last decade and a half.

The next evening we go on a beaver safari on a lake and river nearby. We move in small boats with silent electric motors in search for beavers and beaver lodges. We often see beavers and also a variety of birds and other mammals on this excursion, and it's a lovely night on the water.

We end our amazing wildlife adventure by trekking into a territory where a family of wolves roam free. It's a mystical and exhilarating feeling to sit quietly surrounded by wilderness, waiting to hear them howl.

During the daytime we go for interesting hikes and excursions. But there will also be time to just relax, go for a swim or hike on your own.

The plan

  • Watch and photograph moose, beavers and other wildlife

  • Join a tracker to hear wolves howl at night

  • Forage for mushrooms and berries

  • Learn how to bushcraft using knives and flames

  • Canoe on a lake and hike in pristine forests

  • Delicious food made with local, organic ingredients

Who normally joins these tours: Solo travelers, couples, and families with older children are all welcome! Our participants are often world travelers with a shared interest in nature and wildlife experiences, done in an eco-friendly way. They thoroughly enjoy spending these days in nature searching for wildlife and birds. Just like our guides!

September 12 - Day 1 Mossy forests and shoreline beavers

NOTE: You must arrive in Stockholm, Sweden on September 11 and overnight. Hotel is not included.

Take a train from Stockholm Central Station at 9:13 in the morning to arrive in Köping at 10:30 where you will meet your guide for the 30 minutes transfer to Färna. Get your tickets online in advance at www.sj.se. Since the train departs in the morning it means you will have to stay somewhere in Stockholm in the night of 11 September.

After a short drive we arrive at Färna Manor & Spa where we are welcomed by our host Wenche. We sit down for a welcome coffee in the restaurant. Take some time to truly arrive, enjoy the fresh air or go for a walk in the surrounding garden.

After a welcome lunch we are ready for our first outing together, a delightful walk through an old-growth forest. We learn about the inhabitants of our taiga ecosystem and acquaint ourselves with the nature around us. We may not see wildlife, but your guide will show many interesting signs of them. Moose, beavers, wolves and lynx - they are all here, and we are humble visitors in their home.

One of our guests shares her experience:

I can't stop thinking about that thick carpet of moss, lichens, plants, berries, fungi and all the different shapes and colours. It was one of the most beautiful revelations I have ever had.

In the late afternoon we will go down to lake Norrsjön for a beaver safari! It's an enchanting night silently cruising across the pristine lake and river as the sun is setting. We use small boats with quiet electric motors to spot beaver lodges and beavers up close without disturbing. We may see them when it's still light out, on the shore or swimming close to our boat. As darkness falls we use headlamps to watch these busy little animals on the shoreline.

It's a tranquil and very fascinating excursion. Beavers are amazing creatures that contribute greatly to biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. Your guide will share knowledge, not just of the beavers, but of all wildlife we encounter along the way. We may see moose, roe deer, red fox, badger, wild boar, mink, bats, and birds like Kingfisher, Grey heron, Black throated diver, Common crane and Tawny owl.

We stay out for about four hours and share our evening meal on a pretty island in the lake before continuing down the river. We keep going into the night and return to the Färna late.

September 13 - Day 2 Mushrooms, moose and howling wolves

We have a thrilling adventure ahead! After a late breakfast we travel to Ulvsbomuren, a

captivating little farm in the middle of the forest. It is time to forage for mushrooms!

Our fungi enthusiast Hellen will show us how to find mushrooms, which ones are edible and which ones are gourmet. Autumn chanterelles, Penny buns, Bilberries and Lingonberries. During September the forest floor is literally covered in berries and mushrooms of all kinds. When we are happy with our catch we find a suitable place for a campfire. Hellen will fry the mushrooms in butter for us to eat with bread and coffee.

We then return to our hotel for some free time to relax in the cozy spa with a hot spring, various kind of saunas and an indoor pool.

In the evening you meet up with your guide again. This time in search for moose. The surrounding forest is fantastic for moose watching. We go for a walk and your guide shares the skills of tracking as we look for hoof prints, fresh droppings and bite marks. No wonder

being a guest in their home grounds feels so natural, so true - this is how us humans interacted with the wild since the very beginning.

We are out for about four hours, both hiking and driving, and although most moose are seen while driving we always do our best to get out of the van to get a good view. Moose are large and majestic animals, and very beautiful. Admiring them, relaxed in their native habitat, is an awe-inspiring experience!

We light up a campfire and enjoy an evening meal together in a beautiful spot overlooking a small forest lake.

Then after dark we will travel further into the forest where a pack of wolves keep their territory. We walk closer to the wolves to increase our chances of hearing them howl. We always stay at a respectful distance as we don't want to disturb. Our guides are experienced and know how to handle any situation that may occur.

Imagine sitting on a hill in a dark forest, surrounded by trees and watch the night sky above knowing that a family of wolves is nearby. We wait, listen and hope to hear them howl. Although we cannot guarantee that this will happen, we do actually hear wolves howl on most of our excursions.

After midnight we return to our hotel in Färna for a good night’s sleep.

September 14 - Day 3 Bushcraft, canoe and a night in the wild

After some well deserved rest and a late breakfast we will leave the hotel behind to spend one night in the forest. We’re going to Kolarbyn Ecolodge, often referred to as Sweden’s most primitive hotel.

This is a magical place... The ecolodge is a collection of twelve little moss covered huts. At first glance, you'll barely see the huts by the beautiful lake. Covered in moss they blend into all the shades of green of trees and shrubs.

Life is simpler here. Fetch water from the spring, chop wood and cook your meals on an open fire. Sleep comfortably on sheep skins in your charming little hut and listen to the sounds of the forest.

The whole idea with Kolarbyn Ecolodge is back-to-nature and do-it-yourself.

The huts themselves have an intriguing story. Kolarbyn was a site for charcoal burning for hundreds of years, and the workers built rustic insulated huts with a fire heated stove to stay warm in the winters. Well over a decade ago retired forest workers from the nearby

village carried through their idea to build authentic charburners' huts at the very location where generations of them have stood for centuries. Kolarbyn Ecolodge was born.

On arrival at Kolarbyn our host Malin will invite us for a welcome session by the campfire. She will show you where to fetch water, how the loo works and how to sleep well in the forest. Then step into your little hut, unroll your sleeping bags, light some candles. We hope that you will feel right at home!

Knives and fire! We will then meet up with Jonas, one of Sweden's leading bushcraft experts who happens to live near Kolarbyn. Jonas will teach you the art of survival and the concept of bushcraft, with lots of examples and practical tips. You will also learn the history of fire making and different primitive techniques of creating a flame. After this session you will have the basic practical knowledge of how to create fire using a ferro rod and a knife, and how to build and maintain a fire in an efficient and safe way.

When we get hungry we light a campfire and prepare a lunch together. It will be pancakes fried over open fire with lingonberries picked in the forest.

In the afternoon there will be time to just relax or perhaps you want to go for a paddle. Canoeing is the ideal way to explore the lake and the surrounding forest. Skärsjön is a relatively small lake but it is good enough for an hour or two of paddling. If you are not into canoeing you can go for a hike, take a wild swim in the lake, use the floating sauna or just rest by the campfire.

In the evening we prepare a dinner together by the campfire. And as night falls, close the door to your very own cozy forest hut, slip into your sleeping bag and drift off with a smile.

September 15 - Day 4 Wake up in the forest, train to the Summit

Wake up in the forest with a steaming campfire coffee. We will then take you back to Färna Spa where you can have a well deserved shower before you are ready to return to civilisation.

We then take you to Köping for a train to Gothenburg (~4 hours) in the afternoon.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 2 nights at Färna Manor & Spa in singe/double/twin room

  • 1 night at Kolarbyn Ecolodge in single/double forest cabins with sleeping equipment

  • 3 x breakfast

  • 3 x lunch

  • 3 x dinner

  • Guided excursions as mentioned in the program

  • Guided transfer by van from Köping train station with return

  • Access to Färna spa

WHAT TO BRING?

It often gets surprisingly chilly at night during September. A typical day is 8-15°C, but it often drops below 5°C at night. The undergrowth is often damp so waterproof shoes or boots are essential to avoid wet and cold feet.

Note that we never cancel an excursion due to rain or wind, so please bring rain proof clothing.

  • Rain proof clothing

  • Hiking boots, rubber boots or waterproof hiking shoes

  • Thin jacket for cold nights

  • Warm hat for cold nights

  • Camera (turn off any sounds)

  • T-shirts

  • Long sleeved hiking shirt or sweater

  • Hiking trousers

  • Hiking shorts

  • Underwear and socks

  • Soap and shampoo

  • Swimsuit/swimming trunks for spa and wild swim

  • Head lamp (with fully charged batteries)

  • Water bottle

  • You may also want to bring other personal equipment. Let us know if you need any

    advice.

We provide binoculars 8 x 42. Let us know your size if you wish to borrow rubber boots.

Any annoying or dangerous animals?

Sweden’s nature is very safe. There are black adders and they are venomous, but during the last 16 years none of our guides or guests have been bitten by any snake. Wolves and bears are shy and never attack people so that is not an issue at all. The greatest risk is actually to hit a moose while driving, but that has not happened during any of our tours. September means mosquito season is definitely over. However you should always check yourself for ticks in the evenings.

ACCOMMODATION

You will spend two nights at Färna Manor & Spa in the village Färna near Skinnskatteberg some 2 hours from Stockholm. Double/twin and single rooms are available.

One night at Kolarbyn Ecolodge in rustic forest cabins, choose single or double. We provide the following top-quality outdoor equipment:

  • Sleeping bag (3-season Nordic climate)

  • Small pillow

  • Fresh inner sheet

  • Sleeping-mat (50mm)

  • Dry toilets in outhouses nearby your cabin

Eat

Veggie, gluten free or no fish, we take any diet just as seriously as anything else as long as you let us know in beforehand.

Okay, where is this?

In Skinnskatteberg, just two hours from Stockholm. If you’re into nature and wildlife adventures or photography, then Västmanland county is a great place to visit. In fact, the forests surrounding Skinnskatteberg has proven to be one of the best areas in Sweden to watch and experience moose, beavers and wolves among other wildlife animals like roe deer, mountain hare. It is also home wolves, lynx and a few bears.

See first day’s itinerary above for how to get here.

Where do we stay?

  • You will spend two nights at Färna Manor & Spa, a lovely hotel located between two pristine lakes and surrounded by the vast Bergslagen forests. Here you will sleep comfortably between the excursions and enjoy gourmet meals made from locally produced and organic ingredients. The restaurant is certified as organic, is slow food inspired and listed as one of Sweden’s foremost restaurants by the White Guide.
    The manor house was built in 1757. The main building includes a restaurant, bar, lounges and is surrounded by a large garden. They offer 60 rooms, doubles and singles, in total 100 beds distributed over our six wings.

  • You will spend one night at Kolarbyn Ecolodge, also called Sweden’s most primitive hotel. There will be no electricity, no showers, nothing fancy at all, just natural mysteriousness. And that is precisely why you are going to love this place.
    As you arrive at Kolarbyn, you will see lots of trees, more trees and even more trees. You are in the forest and everything is green. But if you look closer you will soon find that in between all trees are twelve well camouflaged little cabins. All covered in mud and grass. Bilberries and mushrooms grow wild on their roofs. As natural as it can be. An ecolodge in it’s true sense. Some guests have even called them mud-holes or hobbit houses. We simply call them forest huts.
    Each forest hut has two beds and a fireplace. Wooden beds. No mattress. But with layers of insulated air-mats and a topping of cosy sheepskin rugs. It gets pretty comfortable, or even soft.
    Roll out your sleeping bag. Lay down on your back. Close your eyes. Sleep like a baby!
    Toilet? Luckily, there are two neat little toilet sheds. Flush the toilets with soil. Wash your hands with water from the stream and some environmental friendly soap.

FOR WHO?

Recommended minimum age is 15 years.

This is a back-to-nature adventure for nature lovers who are not afraid to sleep in a dark forest. You need to enjoy walking in the forest, in fairly flat but uneven terrain and sometimes off trails in the dark with a headlamp. Walking level is medium.

Can you be quiet? Our tours are not for the loud and talkative. We are trying to sneak up on animals. You must be prepared, to follow your tour leader’s instructions, and to be quiet at any time. Such patience will, we hope, be rewarded.

No smoking. Please note that smoking is not allowed at all during any of the excursions and they last for several hours. Our guests are non-smokers and appreciate the fresh air.

SMALL GROUPS FOR MORE GENUINE EXPERIENCES

Maximum 7 participants per guide. On this tour we will be max 14 persons with two guides.

PAYMENTS & CANCELLATIONS

We will ask for full payment due within 7 days after your booking is placed. Cancellations will be charged at 75% of the booking’s total amount. Cancellations made within 14 days of the beginning of the tour will be charged in full.