This is the ideal short wildlife break for those who wish to unwind and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of central Sweden whilst watching for European Brown Bears from a comfortable hide. You will be cared for by wonderful Swedish hosts, our friends Håkan and Eva, and spend your days exploring the forests, hills and lakes that surround their peaceful lakeside wilderness retreat before retiring into the bear hide for the night. Brown Bears are sighted on most of our tours, whilst Red Squirrel, Roe Deer and Elk (Moose) are all likely, plus Black-throated Diver, Goldeneye, Wood Sandpiper and Brambling. Our tours depart in spring, late summer and autumn with a special family departure in August.
- Maximum group size of only 8 people
- Idyllic surroundings of lakes, forests & hills
- Simple guesthouse & cabins in glorious lakeside setting
- Overnight in a comfortable bear hide
- Excellent chance of seeing European Brown Bear
- Elk and Red Squirrel also likely; Beaver possible
- Boreal birding during long daylight hours in summer
- Delicious food served by Eva
- Expertly guided by local bear expert Håkan
All included in the price.
Simple! Our wooden Bear Lodge, blessed with an idyllic and tranquil situation, offers basic but adequate cabin accommodation; shared toilets and shower are separate, a short walk away. Our Bear Hide is well equipped with comfortable chairs, beds and a toilet. The home-cooked meals of our hostess, Eva, are delicious.
Day 1 Fly Stockholm and transfer 'Bear Lodge'
Day 3 Bear Hide or Bear Lodge
Day 4 Transfer Stockholm and fly London
This is a wonderful, stress-free holiday to a tranquil and beautiful spot in central Sweden where you will watch for Brown Bears from what is, perhaps, the most comfortable Bear Hide in the world! To reach it you must first take a direct 2-hour flight from London to Stockholm, Sweden’s attractive capital city and worthy of further exploration should you have time to spare after the tour. From here, your small group (maximum eight) will enjoy a scenic train journey north, arriving into Bollnas around three hours later, where your hosts will be waiting to meet you. Your destination is a simple wilderness lodge that occupies an exquisite lakeside position amongst rolling, forested hills. The views from the terrace of the lodge, looking across the large lake, are stunning. The silence and stillness experienced here are intoxicating, broken only by the eerie calls of the breeding Black-throated Divers that echo across the lake and the occasional croak of a passing Raven. Five hours from London, this could be a different planet.
Whether or not you see any Bears, this is a magical place in which to spend time. Yet it is the Brown Bears on which you will primarily focus on this holiday, in the expert company of our guide and friend, Håkan Vargas. Håkan has been studying and photographing the Bears in these forests for many years and, with his father, has built a comfortable log-cabin hide at the edge of a clearing in the spruce forest, just a couple of kilometres from the lakeside lodge which he runs with his wife, Eva, a wonderful hostess who will keep you well fortified with delicious meals that feature many local, organic, forest ingredients. The lodge is small and homely, primarily consisting of a cosy dining-cum-sitting room that looks out over the lake and surrounding hills, and is warmed on cold evenings by a splendid log stove. Accommodation is in separate, small, semi-detached cabins, set on a wooded slope overlooking the lake, views of which can be enjoyed from individual terraces. Each room is small and simple; just a bed, a small log stove, and a wash basin and jug of water; for this is how the locals like to enjoy their wilderness. There are a couple of separate, Swedish-style, shared toilet blocks and a single shower and sauna built into a jetty and terrace that jut out over the lake. This will be your accommodation on your first and last night (unless a second night is needed in the Bear Hide, an option that will be offered only if you do not see a Bear on your first night in the hide), and from it you will be able to enjoy time at leisure — walking, birdwatching, botanising or simply picking berries in the forest; raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries and cloudberries being found here in abundance at the right season! Alternatively you might prefer to row, canoe or fish on the lake, surrounded by Black-throated Divers, Goosanders and Goldeneyes, and keeping an eye skywards for a passing Golden Eagle, Goshawk or Honey Buzzard! You might even prefer to swim in the lake’s clear waters, or to enjoy a sauna.
On your first afternoon, and during the following morning, you will be able to enjoy just such time at leisure, soaking in the atmosphere of the place. Then, after another of Eva’s delicious lunches — enjoyed outside, if the weather is fine, on the lodge’s spacious wooden balcony that overlooks the lake — Håkan will guide you gently up through the forest to his Bear Hide. As you walk, you will need to be as quiet as you can, but listen to Håkan as he tells you a little about the Bears and their habits, perhaps pointing out any footprints, or scratching on the trees, or raided anthills! The hide is cosy, with comfortable seats and viewing slots at the front, and comfortable beds at the back for those not prepared to sit up all through the night. At the far end is a separate toilet with wash basin. You may make yourselves comfortable … and hope for the appearance of a Bear whilst your ever-attentive host serves you drinks and dinner. No wonder the Bears (and Bear-watchers) like this place!
Realistically, a Bear sighting is not guaranteed, although one Bear a night is averaged and the success rate hovers around 80%. With two possible nights in the hide our chances are high, and European Elk and Wolf have both been seen from the hide too. But, for all Håkan’s passion, the magic of this place to us — and we hope to you! — is not just in its wild Brown Bears. It is in the beauty of the scenery, the utter tranquillity, the rich natural history, the accessibility of this wild place; and the charm, hospitality and the vision of its English-speaking host and hostess.
The hosts made us feel very welcome and the cabins were comfortable. The location was beautiful and peaceful and the weather fabulous…the food was good, especially the mid morning coffee and cake!
Mr & Mrs H
Cooked in local 'bothy' in forest and witnessed an unscheduled Elk Drive.
Mr & Mrs G.
Hakan and Eva were most welcoming hosts and nothing was too much trouble. Thoroughly enjoyed our trip and were lucky enough to see a Brown Bear albeit we had to wait until second night at 4:30am.
The venue is one of the best I have visited. The hosts soon became like friends to us all. The hospitality was probably the best I have encountered! The trips into the forest and bear hide were made very interesting and exciting. Actually being able to watch these fine creatures in their environment was thrilling! I cannot praise the quality of this trip higher ... it is at the top as far as I am concerned. The food was better than I would expect at a top restaurant. Thank you for a great life experience!
We had a most fantastic time with our hosts, they did so much for us to make our time with them perfect. Every day was sunny and warm with wonderful views to look at. The meals served were incredible and varied, and they couldnt do enough to make our stay a memorable one. To see a bear was the icing on the cake. I know all of us enjoyed every minute of the four days. Thank you Naturetrek as always for a superb holiday, looking forward to the next time!
Thank you so much for the most fantastic holiday. Our hosts were incredible - working very hard to make our stay most enjoyable. Eva's cooking was outstanding and I don't think you could get better food in the UK. They way they live their lives had an impact on all of us. It was thrilling to see the bear and Sweden is a beautiful country. I can't wait to go back.
The hosts were exemplary. Perfectionists both, every attention to detail, to comfort, and care were lavished on us. We were welcomed as friends. Eva's cuisine was exquisite in every way. We have never had better food anywhere, and I'm 73! Everything was home-cooked including several types of bread, and every plate was cleared ... what more could you want? The hide in the forest was not the shed we expected, but a large well-designed building including comfortable beds and an en suite washroom. The weather was ideal. A great holiday. Four days was not long enough! And we had great views of a bear!
A memorable trip! The lodge and surroundings were a dream, and Hakan and Eva were the perfect host and hostess - warm, friendly and helpful. The food was amazing, and the activities and leisure time were well balanced.