Even if you don’t actively seek it out, it’s hard to avoid nature in Scandinavia. On a typical summer weekend, Stockholm locals empty out into boats and head to the relaxing islands of the archipelago. In Norway, every city is within easy reach of forest trails or idyllic islands.
But to actively seek out nature experiences, most advice suggests you strap on a backpack and break out your tent or take shelter in a basic log cabin. While that’s certainly an enjoyable way to immerse yourself in Scandinavia, it’s not everyone’s idea of a relaxing vacation.
Enterprising Scandinavians have found a solution by erecting a handful of treehouse hotels across the many forested areas of the region. Often featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, such accommodations still retain privacy because of their raised profile.
The natural forest settings enable romantic forest walks and birdsong alarm clocks all with a touch of luxury. There are few better ways to reconnect with nature without abandoning all the conveniences of modern life.
Rather than a typical hotel, treehouse hotels are more like managed Norwegian mountain cabins. Facilities vary from basic to luxury, but all offer the same stunning views and nature experiences. Many treehouse hotels have sprung up in Scandinavia over the past few years. Here are a selection of some of the best.
Seven Scandinavian architects have now contributed to the diverse accommodation of Sweden’s Treehotel. Highlights include the bird’s nest, a mirrored cube, the Snøhetta-designed charred timber cabin and the most recent addition, the stunning Biosphere.
Designed by Danish architects BIG, Biosphere provides suspended accommodation for two surrounded by more than 300 birdboxes. The aim? “To decrease the downward spiral of the bird population in the Swedish woods and instead strengthen the biosphere and natural habitat,” according to the architects.
Treehotel is located in the Arctic forest about one hour by car from Luleå in Northern Sweden. Prices at the design-focused treehouse hotel are on the high side, but this is a true destination experience for luxury travelers. Dog sledding and ice fishing are among the activities on offer.
The camouflaged treehouses, log cabins and fireside communal areas of the Urnatur retreat feel more like a Tolkein-inspired dream world than real-life accommodation.
Each of the four treehouses and six log cabins are individually designed. Anchored in ten pine trees, the ‘Big Raven Nest’ is the jewel in the crown offering space for six people with a comfy lounge, wood burner fire and pond-view balcony.
With a wonderful view across the Sørfjord, these two small yet luxurious treetop cabins have quickly established themselves as the best places to stay in and around Odda, the gateway to Norway’s Trolltunga hiking trail.
The gorgeous pine cone design of Woodnest reflects the nature of the area and helps the cabins lodge naturally in the trees with very little artificial support. Despite their tiny floorplan, each cabin contains beds for four people, a flushing toilet, kitchenette and a bathroom featuring a flushing toilet and a shower.
Treetop Fiddan, Norway
Built on top of ancient pine trees, the rustic architecture of these cabins overlooking a lake in southern Norway is so convincing that it’s hard to believe they are relatively new. Far from roads and other people, Treetop Fiddan guarantees peace and quiet, so much so that moose and deer are frequent visitors.
The ‘Wilderness Tower’ is family-sized accommodation with rainwater collected on the roof for use in the kitchen and bathroom. A workshop is available for guests to make a bird box or a toy boat, while the hot tub with lake views offers a touch of luxury. Drinking water is provided by the host at the nearby farm.
Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway
Despite being on the famous Trollstigen-Geiranger tourist route, the accommodation at Norway’s Juvet landscape hotel is hidden away from the road in a spectacular woodland setting.
While not treehouses, the hotel is very much in the spirit of the other accommodations above.
Architecturally stunning, one of the hotel’s buildings achieved fame on the big screen as the setting for the man in the sci-fi movie Ex Machina. As with many treehouse hotels, the architects Jensen & Skodvin wanted to create a hotel that would exist in harmony with its landscape, not intrude upon nature.
Accommodation includes seven small cubes on stilts, each offering floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the forest or river, and two ‘bird houses’ set on steep slopes high above the other rooms.