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Vanabode Camp, Travel And Live Forever On $20 A Day
In the village of Granö in northern Sweden, the Granö Beckasin lodge offers the modern comforts of a hotel room in the form of a treehouse or “birds nest” as they call it.
The concept of a treehouse still elicits my childhood curiosity about living above the ground amidst bark and birds.
Forming a circle around the top of a small hill along the Umeriver, the six birds nests offer incredible views of the surrounding water and forest.
When the northern lights are in the forecast (fall and winter), they can be visible from these rooms.
However, there’s much more to staying at Granö Beckasin than living in the trees, as I soon discovered during my four-day trip to Vasterbotten.
Granö Beckasin makes an excellent base from which to go on adventures in northern Sweden.
But first, I want to introduce you to all the options for getting a good night’s sleep at this unique lodge.
The birds nests are a popular choice for visitors to Västerbotten.
Comfortable beds, a full bathroom with running water, lots of windows, floor heating, TV, and a small deck for sitting outside are all included with each nest.
As they were fully-booked when I was there, I only had the opportunity to visit, not sleep, in one of these unique rooms.
The nightly rate starts at 2900 krona or about $300.
In 2014, Granö Beckasin expanded to include a 12-room eco-hotel.
The rooms are located 100 meters up a gentle incline from the bird nests and restaurant.
Each room features a full bathroom, TV, and vertical window offering natural light and views of the surrounding trees.
Geothermal heat warms the rooms and building, ensuring guests sleep well, even in the cold winter months.
The nightly rate starts at 1190 krona or about $124.
Individual cabins line the access road running between the birds nests and the eco-hotel.
Each cabin is 15 square meters and includes a double bed and sofa bed (enough to sleep four people).
The small kitchen is equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, and kettle.
Benches are available outside if you want to enjoy the nature day or night.
The nightly rate starts at 1190 krona or about $124.
If you’re on a tight budget or prefer sleeping on the ground, Granö Beckasin offers 21 campsites, all near the river.
The nightly rate is 260 krona or about $27.
The Restaurant at Granö Beckasin
The restaurant at Granö Beckasin offers a direct view of the river, which I enjoyed every morning at breakfast.
Breakfast is a light buffet of pastries, bread, deli meats, and cheeses.
I tried caviar-in-a-tube for the first time, too, which I ate with a hard-boiled egg. It’s super salty!
For dinner, Granö Beckasin offers a small menu with several meat-based dishes and a vegetarian option.
Each dinner began with crispy Swedish flatbread and butter and mushroom soup made from locally-foraged mushrooms.
The first night, I ordered the main course of smoked arctic char (fish) with potatoes and browned butter with yuzu and sesame.
The second night, I went with the steak and mixed vegetables. Both dishes were excellent.
The dessert options were also impressive, considering Granö Beckasin is located in a town of 200 residents.
On my first night, I ordered the sea buckthorn ice cream with caramelized almonds, butter-fried lemon cake, merengue, and cloudberries.
The second night I ordered the chocolate mousse with raspberry ice cream.
Entrees are priced from $23-$29; desserts are $3-$11 each.
When booking a room, you have the option to choose a rate inclusive or exclusive of dinner.
See also: Discover Traditional Swedish Food in Lapland
Local Adventures in Västerbotten
Once you’ve confirmed your stay at Granö Beckasin, it’s time to turn your attention to how best to spend your time.
As I visited in September, my experiences below are based on things to do before the snow starts to fall.
All of these activities and more can be arranged through the lodge.
Husky Trekking (and Dog Sledding)
The highlight of my stay in Granö was husky trekking at Spruce Island Husky, a dog-sledding company that also allows you to take their dogs for walks in non-winter months.
Or, I should say they allow their dogs to take you for a walk.
Guests are given a harness to wear around their waist, and a stretchy cord is used to connect the dog’s harness to the belt.
The dogs are energetic — they prefer to run, so there’s a constant tension as they pull you along.
This is a fantastic activity if you want quality time with a furry friend.
If you’re planning a winter trip between December to March, you can go dog sledding instead!
The forest around Granö Beckasin is easily accessible, and lots of care has been put into creating safe, easy-to-follow trails.
On our first full day, we spent about five hours in nature, starting with a short ride on a wooden raft, continuing with a nature walk, and culminating with an outdoor lunch of moose meat cooked over an open fire.
Moose safaris allow guests the opportunity to go out with a local guide around dusk and look for wild moose.
During the fall and winter months, when the sun sets earlier in the evening, there’s less daylight available to spot them.
Following an early dinner, we went out for a few hours, but it wasn’t until it was near-dark that we began to spot some moose a hundred or more meters away.
As a result, my best photo was outside a hunter’s lodge. Hunting moose is widespread, given Sweden has the densest population in the world.
Our guide informed us that moose safaris in the summer allow for up to five hours of viewing, as the sun doesn’t set until around midnight.
One of the coolest features at Granö Beckasin is the glass house, which is surrounded by the birds nests.
This glass and steel structure with floor to ceiling windows is used for yoga.
You can either practice on your own or arrange for a professional instructor from the city of Umea to visit.
On our last morning, I attended a beginner yoga class for our group.
While I didn’t participate (due to a lower back issue), I did enjoy spending time inside the glass house observing the class.
Sauna and Hot Tub
Another offering by Granö Beckasin to help you relax during your visit is the outdoor hot tub and sauna.
The hot tub, as you can see above, offers a beautiful view of the river and forest, while the sauna can comfortably seat a small group of guests.
More Summer Activities
Winter in Swedish Lapland has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to getting physical.
You can use Granö Beckasin as a base for the following wintertime adventures:
- Dog sledding
- Cross country ski tour
- Downhill skiing and snowboarding
- Northern lights tour
As you can see, the Västerbotten region of Swedish Lapland is a natural playground for adventure sports, wildlife, and spending time in nature.
Based on my three-night stay, I highly recommend Granö Beckasin as your base for adventure in northern Sweden.
My tour of Västerbotten was arranged in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Visit Vasterbotten, and Granö Beckasin as part of my attendance at the 2019 Adventure Travel World Summit.
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