At the end of summer we were able to make our yearly trip to Dalarna happen. And this year I finally got to visit beautiful Grövelsjön. A place I feel everyone has talked about forever. So my excitement as we were heading there was high, and I was not dissapointed! In this article I will guide you to some really good spots for food, accommodations, hikes and beautiful scenery as well as slow things to do when you need to recover in between activities.
Grövelsjön is an area in Dalarna located very close to the Norwegian border. The name of the area comes from the name of the lake, a long body of water that stretches into Norway. At the southern tip of the lake you will find STF Grövelsjön. This is a mountain station with great food made with local produce and ingredients, and the restaurant does a great job using what’s in season as well. The station also have a good store if you are in need of outdoor food, gear or perhaps paracord or buckles to repair your bag.
This was our first stop on our trip and a great place to start if you haven’t been here before. The staff att STF knows a lot about the area and can help you find trails, activities and areas that best suit your needs and level. We got some outdoor stuff at the store before having lunch here, and it was so lovely to see what a good job they do with local, seasonal food and vegetarian options!
Pack-raft across Grövelsjön & M/S Sylöra Boat Trip
After a good lunch and stocking up on provisions we headed down to the lake that’s just below the STF mountain station. On a dock we met up with Björn from Experience Grövelsjön and got a quick introduction in pack rafting. A pack-raft is an inflatable kayak looking boat that’s easy to carry with you when you aren’t paddling. Here in Grövelsjön you can use it to paddle across the lake, pack it up and continue hiking and use it to paddle across other water further on your hike. Or you can do what we did and just go for a leisurely paddle with the wind in your back and see the beautiful surroundings from the water.
Once we reached the other side we met up with Björn again. He is also the person driving the boat M/S Sylöra that transports people across the lake, and so we caught a ride back with him. The initial plan had been to hike back on the Norwegian side, but I was dealing with an injured knee so we had to keep it a bit easier. But there are a lot of options of what to do here depending on the weather, your energy levels and how much time you have. Björn is great and will help you figure out the best way to enjoy nature on your terms.
After a good first day in Grövelsjön it was time to get cozy for the evening, and so we headed to our accommodations: Lövåsgårdens Fjällhotell. It is beautifully located by the tree line, 804 meters above sea level overlooking the Norwegian mountains to the west.
It’s a perfect location for your home base as it’s so close to the mountains with hiking -and ski trails starting right by the hotel. And after a long day outside you have free access to the relax with an outdoor tub and sauna. Not to mention that the three course meals in their restaurant are excellent!
After settling in, having a shower and getting in some fresh clothes we headed down for dinner where we got served a new take on herring as an appetiser. It was followed by a classic Swedish meal of meatballs with mashed potatoes, lingonberries and peas. Dessert was ice cream, meringues, banana and strawberry served in a Finnish Kupilka cup.
After a good nights sleep we woke up early to enjoy breakfast and prepare for the day. Something that’s really nice with Lövåsgården is that they’re really grasped the concept of people coming here for active vacations. You can pay for a breakfast package where you can grab a thermos of hot coffee / tea / chocolate in the morning and you also get to use the breakfast buffet to prepare and pack a lunchbag. That way you can head out into nature with everything you need to spend the day outside!
After breakfast we met up with Lars Svanerud at the reception. Together we got in a car and drove across the border to Norway and the starting point of our hike. Lars works here as a mountain guide and often puts together a tailored hikes based on peoples fitness level and what they want out of a hike. He had asked many good questions beforehand; both about what we like, how difficult we wanted it to be and how I work in terms of my photography and how much time I need. We talked about beautiful views, varied terrain and good places to stop for lunch and fika (very important!).
I knew based on this that he had planned well, but the hike really exceeded our expectations. It was one of the most beautiful mountain hikes we’d ever been on!
We started below the tree line and got to hike through forest for a little bit before the open views of the mountain landscape opened up before us. On top of it all being breathtakingly beautiful, Lars was a wonderful person to hike with. We had many good conversations, laughed a lot and often stopped to look at trees, plants or moss while talking about science and biology.
I love hiking so much. I get to put one foot in front of the other, zone out and let my body work while I get to experience beautiful nature, talk about interesting things with my fellow hikers and learn new things. On top of that hiking is at a good pace where it’s very easy for me to do photography at the same time.
Time flew by and before I knew it the views opened up even more, revealing a small mountain lake and our first stop for the day. Lars made some coffee and we had some snacks to replenish our energy. I also took the opportunity to take of my hiking boots and socks and dip my feet in the water. It felt so good to cool them down! This is definitely one of my top three fika spots in nature, it was so calming and beautiful. We could have sat there for a very long time.
But after a short rest and the enjoyment of some coffee, dates and home made jerky it was time to continue. So we put our boots back on, laced them up and started walking again. Lars took us through more beautiful views, slowly ascending while spotting plenty of reindeer. Reaching the top of one of the peaks was very easy and rewarding. This is such a good hike when you want to take it slow and enjoy it without the need to be incredibly fit or fully expend yourself.
Through flocks of reindeer, fields of heather, beautiful landscapes in every direction and with blue skies above us – our hike was lovely and we had very little to complain about. I was incredibly happy!
We pushed up one more hill before it was time to sit down and enjoy lunch overlooking the valley. The sandwiches prepped at Lövåsgården in the morning where excellent, the eggs well needed to replenish some energy and the coffee still warm and delicious. We also drank some fresh, cold water from a small mountain river and that is always when water tastes the best.
After lunch we slowly started descending and the views kept taking our breath away, the landscape changed with deep valleys and rolling hills, beautiful rivers and a small waterfall before finally entering the forest again and coming out onto the parking lot. Along the way we also found blueberries and cloudberries to munch on.
Back at the hotel we were incredibly happy, content and tired. The hike was never incredibly demanding, but we did hike for most of the day and our legs and feet could definitely feel it. I was also feeling my injured knee a little bit. We had a warm shower and relaxed in our room for a bit before it was time for yet another lovely three course dinner at the hotel.
We went to bed fairly early to let our bodies rest and recover.
Slow activities to enjoy in Grövelsjön on a recovery day
When you are on an active holiday like this, it’s important to plan for rest days. So after days of paddling and hiking that is exactly what we had planned for day three. After another lovely breakfast at hotel Lövåsgården we checked out and headed out do do a few different things.
Our first stop was at Storsäterns Fjällkapell (Mountain Chapel). We had already passed it with the car when we arrived and were eager to go see it. It’s an incredible architectural design and the woodworking is so impressive! This chapel is Dalarnas northernmost temple and it was was inaugurated on December 21, 1968. The building is built in a rustic style and covered with tarred shingles.
After enjoying the beautiful chapel we headed to Grövelsjö Mountain Bakery to pick up some bread and buns. The bakery is run by Maxime Bouju Kindlund. He’s originally from France but has lived in Grövelsjön since 2016. All his bread and baked goods are made by hand with sourdough and as many organic ingredients as possible. He has even won awards for some of his bread!
After browsing Google Maps we had found a spot with a waterfall we wanted to check out. So we drove to a parking lot close by, packed our newly bought buns and headed for a walk in the forest. We headed across a bridge, greeted some young reindeer and made a right to find a good rock to sit on and enjoy our fika by the waterfall.
Having fika in the forest was very lovely and relaxing. We could definitely feel that our bodies had worked hard in the previous days. When we felt ready to move on we drove to Grövelsjön Alpacka. The owner Beata met up with us and gave us a nice tour of the grounds while introducing us to the animals and teaching us about them. It was another very calming experience and so interesting to learn more about the animals origin, personalities, behaviour and properties of wool. Wether you’re alone, with a partner or a family with kids – this is a great place to go to spend a few hours on a day when you are not up for hiking or skiing.
There’s of course also a little store here where you can buy yarn made from Alpacka wool as well as clothing. We picked up a few pairs of incredibly soft, warm socks that will come in handy later in the fall and wintertime. There’s also a little café where you can grab some fika or lunch. Beata makes some very tasty, savoury waffles that we indulged in. We got one with salmon and one with reindeer that we shared so that we could eat a little bit of both. So yummy!
Behind Beatas place there’s also some nice hiking trails and after lunch we went for a short wander to enjoy the beautiful forest and help our food digest bit better. Had we known about this I think we would’ve planned for combing the visit to the alpackas with a longer hike as this trail seemed really nice!
After a good day with varied activities it was time to head to our home for the night, Storsätra Fjällhotell. It’s very easily accessible and close to everything and it is the only hotel in the area rated four stars, and a hotel that has received various awards! The interior is really nice and what you can’t see from the front is the beautiful big lawn in the back with trees, benches and a river running through it. Down by the river there’s a relax where you can sauna, enjoy an outdoor tub and go for a dip in the river.
After dropping our things off in the room we headed down to the river to just sit and enjoy it for a bit. We ate some of the bread we picked up at the mountain bakery, chatted about our day and just relaxed while waiting for dinner time to come around.
After yet another lovely dinner with carrot soup to start, followed by fish, potatoes and sallad another day in Grövelsjön had come to an end. This also marked the end of our trip. In the morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet, packed our things into the car and started our drive home. Once again nature, people, local crafts and food in Dalarna left a big impression on us.
I wonder where in Dalarna we’ll go next year?