Remote but full of life
Åre has attracted visitors for centuries, from pilgrims to entrepreneurs and ski enthusiasts, from around the world. Despite its location in sparsely populated Jämtland, Åre has grown to be a ski center for the whole of Scandinavia, one where locals and visitors enjoy world-class skiing. The village has 1400 inhabitants, but is filled with life and movement thanks to its international character, blooming business, and the fantastic scenery that surrounds it.
– a landmark
Åreskutan, with a summit that is snow-covered from November to May, towers above the village and the neighboring mountains. This mountain and its ever-changing weather inspire the people who live here to open their minds to whatever is possible in the mountain’s shadow. These adaptations have taken place for centuries; continual inventiveness stretches the boundaries of what is possible for life with this impressive giant as a neighbor. In solitary majesty, it rises 1420 meters above sea level and, on a clear day, it can be seen from the county seat of Östersund, 100 km away. “Skutan” is distinctive thanks to its alp-like character and its height; while other mountains and resorts are usually surrounded by mountains of the same height, Åreskutan is the tallest one around.
The western areas of Jämtland, where Åre is, are famed for their barren beauty. The terrain consists of mountain tops, waterfalls, lakes and other waterways, and is home to reindeer, bear, moose, lynx and even wolverine. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic and the Scandes, which run along the border between Sweden and Norway, the weather in this beautiful region is not always hospitable. Severe blizzards and winds of up to 20 meters per second (the record for the top of Åreskutan is 48 meters per second) are not unusual. The warm and damp winds from the Gulf Stream, combined with hard westerlies, contribute to ice formation on the summit. But Åre and Åreskutan’s location also provides the perfect conditions for skiing, climbing, cycling and hiking, with heavy snows in the winter and warm, sunny spring and summer days.
A fantastic landscape
Around 11,000 of Jämtland’s 126,000 inhabitants live in Åre Municipality. The county is about the same size as Switzerland (which has eight million inhabitants) and much of its nature is, in principle, pristine. The impressive waterfall in Tännforsen, which is Sweden’s biggest, and the smaller but more accessible Ristafallet, are examples of attractions that bring many domestic and international visitors every year. The opportunity to enjoy the silence and remoteness that Jämtland offers is the region’s tourist industry’s biggest asset.
Things to do all year round
It’s never difficult to find something to do in Åre. During the summer there are plenty of options such as off-road biking, white-water rafting, hiking and paragliding, and in the winter skiing takes over as the primary activity for both locals and visitors. At the end of the summer, as autumn approaches, Ullådalen, Vålådalen and other places around Åre are clad in their seasonal finery of flowers, berries and mushrooms. Local businesses are proud of the region and offer a great deal of locally produced food and ingredients. Some of Sweden’s best chefs have restaurants in and around Åre, which offer a huge variety and a wealth of flavors using typical Jämtlandic products.
Åre may look small, but don’t let that fool you. It is actually a city in the shape of a village, where both it and its surroundings provide almost endless opportunities for things to do. If you want to experience what nature has to offer, there is everything from riding to game safaris and caving; if you want a more urban experience, the village has plenty of shops, restaurants, clubs, spas, and lots more, all year round.
The focus is on skiing during the winter, although Åre has numerous other activities on offer, but there is lots to fill your days throughout the rest of the year too. Early spring – spring-winter – normally offers the year’s best weather in Åre, and many people take the chance to enjoy ski touring, slush skiing and Sweden’s best après ski in the sunshine. In the summer, the village is invaded by bikers, hikers and – in the skies – paragliders who circle like exotic birds with Åreskutan as a backdrop.
Åre bustles with life in the winter months, which is noticeable in its nightlife. Åre has something for practically everyone and, after a long (or short) day on the slopes, many people want to round off with an après-ski. Afterwards, there is a great range of bars and clubs to choose from if you want to keep partying.
For more detailed information about things to do in and around Åre, go to www.aresweden.com
When hunger makes itself known, Åre has a varied selection of restaurants and eateries, many of which prize Jämtlandic culinary traditions and are inspired by local and sustainable food production. Some are specialized, such as in coffee, chocolate, candy, baked goods or charcuterie, and you can enjoy the raw ingredients and products on site or take something delicious home with you.
If you don’t want to make a packed lunch, there are restaurants and other food outlets both in the village and up on the mountain. If you prefer touring skis to downhill pistes, there are waffle huts and other eateries close to ski and snowmobile trails in the area.
As with activities and restaurants, there are plenty of shops in and around Åre. The focus is on outdoor activities and skiing, but there is also plenty to choose from if you’re looking for unique design and fashion. Several of Sweden’s biggest outdoor and sports brands are represented in Åre, as well as local entrepreneurs and designers.
Local traditions are combined with an international feel in the village, where interior design and handicrafts are inspired by the mountains and the landscape. Don’t forget to look around outside the village for even more wide-ranging options for finding something unique to take home. Read more about shopping in Åre:
Åre’s tourist information office is in the station building (rail station) at St Olavs väg 33, not far from the square. In addition to information about attractions, excursions, activities and more, it has maps, books, fishing permits and permits for the snowmobile trails. The office is in the same premises as the library and opens at 10.00.
Phone: +46 (0)647 16321